Image Line has introduced Harmless, a software synth that creates the sounds of subtractive synthesis through additive synthesis.
“Everything is fake,” says Image Line, “the tone generator, the filter & its resonance, the phaser, all performed on the harmonics, before partials are computed.”
Why do subtractive synthesis with additive synthesis?
Harmless is designed to allow fine control that wouldn’t be possible through classic subtractive synthesis. Filtering and phasing can be assigned unusual shapes & slopes, something normally only possible through offline digital filters. Filter slopes can even be defined in Hz instead of octaves. Finally, you get control on each partial’s frequency, creating timbres definitely impossible using common synthesis methods.
Check out the Image Line site for audio demos.
Unfortunately, only a Windows version is available now; a Mac version is planned. Through Dec 31st 2009, you can pay what you think Harmless is worth; final pricing is to be announced.