Access Dark Star Synthesizer (NAMM Hotness)

Access Virus TI Polar Dark Star Synthesizer

2011 NAMM Show: Dubbed Dark Star, the Virus TI Polar WhiteOut Special Edition comes in a military gun metal look, featuring an evil red logo light on the back.

Yeah – they got our memo on color schemes for synths.

Virus TI Dark Star Synthesizer

All technical specifications for the Dark Star synthesizer, color scheme aside, are identical to the Virus TI2 Polar.

Technical details below.

dark star synthesizer


  • Oscillators Three main oscillators and one sub oscillator per voice. A main oscillator can comprise of various oscillator types including the classic virtual analog oscillators (saw,variable pulse, sine, triangle, 62 spectral waves with several FM modes) and hypersaw (a multi saw-tooth oscillator with up to 9 stacked oscillators, 9 sub oscillators and sync oscillator at the same time). Wavetable oscillators with 100 multi-index wavetables, feature variable resolution and optional pulse-width mo-dulation. Graintable oscillators apply granular synthesis techniques for independent control of pitch and formants to warp a waveform beyond recognition. Formant oscillators sound like running a signal through a massive, modulatable filterbank with hundreds of resonant bands being morphed by the wavetable index.
  • Filters Two fully independent filters (lowpass, highpass, bandpass, bandstop) with an optional saturation module located in between both filter blocks. The saturation module can add one of several distortions and lo-fi effects or an additional low/-high-pass filter. Optional self- resonating MoogTM cascade filter simulation with circuit overload and 1-4 poles.
  • Modulation Two-dimensional modulation matrix with six slots (1 source and 3 modulation targets each). Every feasible parameter can be modulated in realtime. Three LFOs with additional hardwired destinations along with one user-definable slot. Two lightning-fast, multi-stage envelopes (ADSTR) – LFOs can be used as ramp generators as well.
  • Effects The FX section has independent delay and reverb per patch (even in multi mode), along with multiple distortion/lo-fi algorithms, phaser, chorus/flanger, character control, ring modulator/shifter, EQ plus a global vocoder. There is no difference be-tween single and multi modes – patches sound exactly the same.
  • Arpeggiator Each patch contains it’s own arpeggiator pattern feat. 32 programmable steps (length and velocity can be adjusted per step) along with a global control for swing/shuffle timing and one for note lengths. Pretty much every parameter including the pattern itself, the amount of octaves and many more can be controlled using the modulation matrix. I/O 6 balanced outputs (@ +4dB), backed by 192 Khz/24bit D/A converters, with soft-limiting. Two inputs with 24-bit A/D. Dedicated headphone out. MIDI in, out, and thru. S/PDIF digital audio (44.1/48 kHz) inputs & outputs. USB is used for MIDI and audio transmission (adding 3 additional stereo audio outputs) and works at 12Mb/s.
  • Enclosure Great synth-action keyboard with 37 keys, velocity response and aftertouch. Hold and Control pedal inputs. Black finish, aluminium and wooden side panels, red LEDs and white display, wood rail beneath the keyboard.
  • Surround sound output Every part can be panned dynamically between two stereo outputs for quadraphonic effects.
  • Hardware controls 32 knobs, 43 buttons, 73 LEDs and Pitch/-Modulation wheel if applicable.
  • Polyphony Between 25 to 110 voices, depending on the complexity of the patch. Estimates are based on single mode performance results may vary in multi mode.
  • Multi Mode Multi programs can have fully-independent embedded singles, without the links to single banks required by most synths. This provides freedom from breaking other programs.
  • Memory 1024 RAM and 3328 ROM sounds, 16 em-bedded multi patches along with 112 conventional multi slots, 16 parts in multi mode.
  • Remote Templates Turn the Virus into a MIDI remote, the sound engine will still work independently. 32 user programmable templates to reassign most panel knobs control- ling control third party plug-ins and MIDI synthesizers.
  • Smooth parameter changes Adaptive control-smoothing provides parameter changes with no zippering artifacts. With knob quantize, a clock ratio is selected and parameter changes are updated at specified intervals only. The result is sample-and-hold parameter movements, evocative of step sequencer sounds.
  • Atomizer The unique DJ style audio slicer turns the Virus TI into an powerful realtime FX for DJ applications.

Total Integration

Total Integration seamlessly links any Virus TI model and a computer to create a unified system consisting of a powerful hardware synth and a virtual instrument plug-in, which not only controls the Virus TI but also receives audio from it, in order to allow post-processing right inside your computer.

This way you get the best of both worlds: Your Virus TI will calculate all the voices and effects and therefore makes the CPU of your computer available for other tasks. Since it is driven by the Virus Control plug-in, the timing (unlike normal MIDI and USB-MIDI timing) will be sample-accurate, and all sound data will be saved within the song or project. Virus Control also offers editing capabilities, along with an easy-to-use librarian page to keep track of all your Virus TI patches.

The Virus TI’s analogue input and outputs can double as an audio interface, the MIDI sockets can double as a MIDI interface.

Virus Control is an VST/AU/RTAS compatible plug-in. Total Integration is certified for the following hosts: Apple Logic 9, Steinberg Cubase 5, Ableton Live 8, Digi-design Pro Tools 9, Cakewalk Sonar 8.5, ImageLine FL Studio 9.

14 thoughts on “Access Dark Star Synthesizer (NAMM Hotness)

  1. Aw. I was hoping for something new from them. Though I guess the virus is kind of a 'does everything' kind of synth.

    Pretty, but also pretty underwhelming.

    I wish they would release a patch editor/librarian that didn't use the TI engine.

    1. I went on to purchase both Darkstar & Polar .It’s a powerful sophisticated & beautifully designed timeless synth and now a classic, still commanding high prices and legendary status over ten years later ….integrates perfectly with Ableton DAW too

  2. Luckily new Virus TI2s doesn't sound like a Juno with its balls cut off. 😉 I love my Viruses. With the purchase of a Dark Star, I now officially have a Virus "collection". To me, it takes three (3) of anything to make a collection… Mine; a TI2 Polar, a TI2 WhiteOut keyboard, and a TI2 Polar Whiteout "Dark Star". I consider myself very (very) lucky, and very happy! :))))))

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