Cascade Synthesizer Offers New Approach To Synthesis


112dB has introduced Cascade, a software synthesizer for Mac OS X & Windows that explores ‘Cascade Synthesis’ – an approach based on a complex delay network that can ‘densify’ a sound up to 5832 times.

This lets you create sounds that can develop over time, with the delay network adding extra dimensions to the sound. You can also select the most interesting part of this development process as the part you want to hear.

Here’s the official intro video:

About Cascade Synthesis

Cascade was inspired by the work of Austrian composer Peter Ablinger.

He experimented in the late 1980’s with sound densification using 12 tape decks. Sound was recorded and played, recorded and played, and so on, until colored static noise itself was the result.

In 1993-94, Ablinger’s concept of sound densification was refined by Peter Bðhm, Wolfgang Musil (ELAK, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna) and Thomas Musil (IEM, Institute of Electronic Music and Acoustics, Graz). Thanks to the IRCAM Signal Processing Workstation (ISPW), that contained an incredible powerful audio processor (for its time), for the first time, sound densification be achieved in real time.

112dB says that they wanted to take this concept to the realm of synthesis to open up a complete sonic territory. In our opinion it’s precisely the subtlety that makes sound densification such an interesting addition to the modern sound repertoire. And of course, we couldn’t resist the temptation to add ‘a little spice’, most importantly the possibility to modulate the cascade synthesis itself. This makes it possible to create sounds with a unique character. If you want to compare it to something anyway, we would say: a super fat chorus ensemble.

Cascade is available now for the introductory price of 99 EUR/USD through September 1st, 2016 (after that, 179 EUR/USD).

13 thoughts on “Cascade Synthesizer Offers New Approach To Synthesis

  1. interesting conceptually but not getting enough idea of its potential from the video, and the blandness of its face doesn’t inspire me either. There are prettier free vsts. Still maybe future demos will allow it to shine forth. Good luck with it.

  2. Downloaded the demo… its not bad… its just kinda meh :/

    The only problem in marketing something like this with the phrase “new form of synthesis”, is that as a user you’re hoping to hear something that actually sounds new or at the very least different. There is nothing in the demo and bundled presets that I heard which made it standout. Nearly every sound I ran through is something I could easily make in any number of synths, some with sonically better results.

    Dont get me wrong, its not a bad synth. I’m just not sure it warrants a $179 price tag. For that kind of money you could buy something like DIVA of Hive, two synths that, lets be honest, this synth simply cant compete with.

  3. I’m glad to see 112db back, a few years ago the main developer actually died, it’s a sad story. His wife has kept the company going and I think hired another programmer (possibly more) and I think this is maybe the second product they’ve released since reforming.

    Having said that, I’m not too impressed with the Synth. I haven’t used it because I just don’t see a reason to, nothing in that trailer really sounded very interesting (maybe the initial sci fi intro music) and I think you could accomplish much of the same thing with a better sounding synth with more interesting sound creation options and some Valhalla DSP FX.

    Better luck next time?

  4. I agree that the demo video should have been 110% better, but I grabbed this synth yesterday and while I’m still not up on the time delay matrix….if you enable the Sustain and start playing with Cascade it does produce some very interesting structures and evolving patterns.

    Thing is guys this is a first version and that we have another programmer investing their brain cells to create something different should be encouraged and not just dumped on. I’ve already sent the company a list of more than a dozen improvements I’d like to see and I might even open the documentation so I can figure out this time delay thing.

  5. Now that I’ve spent the better part of two days with Cascade I can start to see the genius at work here. Yes there are some things that need explaining and new users should invest some time to use the Dirac wave in VCO-1 leaving everything else alone except the Cascade row. Turn up Wet to 100%, Render to 5000ms, Density to 3 to 5, enable Freeze, change the Time and start to understand what exactly is going on. Now change the Dirac Wave to a Sine Wave and enable WIND which is actually a Hanning Envelope Window and change its Width. Switch the VCO-1 to Pink Noise and tell me where you’ve heard this type of synthesis before. Enable a Square Wave on VCO-2 and start to change the LFO in VCO-MOD or use Brown Noise with Geiger Noise, guys there are a lot more possibilities here than meet the eye or ear on a quick listen.

    This synth needs to be finessed as the nuances between settings can be feather sensitive with large changes coming from subtle shifts in value. The presets are not the best introduction to this synth and the guys leading with that was a big mistake. As you get to know how the VCO-MOD, LFO-MOD, VCF-MOD, and CASC-MOD work with the oscillators, LFO, VCF, and envelopes all spilling into the Cascade I think you’ll start to get the idea why they billed it as a new form of synthesis. It’s worth a deep dive not a casual glance.

  6. Jwise –
    Do you think the design of the parameter values should be changed so that it takes more knob turn to make a difference ie. less sensitive ?
    – maybe an update for the next version ?

    Personally I don’t controls that are over-sensitive. I like to have control and be able to fine-tune parameters by turning knobs or sliders.

Leave a Reply