Applied Acoustics Systems Intros Chromaphone Percussion Synthesizer

Applied Acoustics Systems has introduced Chromaphone, described as a ‘creative percussion synthesizer’ for Mac OS X and Windows.

Chromaphone combines ‘acoustic resonators’ to create drums, percussion, mallet, string, and synth-like instruments. Drum skins, bars, marimbas, plates, strings and tubes form pairs that are triggered by a configurable mallet and a flexible noise source.

At the heart of Chromaphone lies technology that models how vibrating objects interact and influence each other, capturing key acoustic behaviours of musical instruments.

“This new resonator coupling technology we are introducing in Chromaphone brings our physical modeling platform to a whole new level,” according to Philippe Derogis, CTO of AAS. “Musical instruments are made from combinations of interacting mechanical objects and coupling allows us to take into account this complex dynamics with great acoustic precision and sharpness.”

Chromaphone runs on both Mac OS X and Windows in host sequencers supporting the VST and Audio Units plug-in formats.

Chromaphone is available now for US $169 through December 5th, 2011. After that, the price goes up to $199.

14 thoughts on “Applied Acoustics Systems Intros Chromaphone Percussion Synthesizer

  1. There is a forum in applied acoustics regarding the eminent upgrade of their “flagship” product.
    Their moderator wanted to know what we, the tassman users want to see in tassman 5.
    It’s 6 years old !!!!
    This says everything about this company and why i will never , ever purchace a product from them.

    1. I didn’t know what you meant there for a minute. I thought it was great that they were asking users what they wanted. but I went and looked at the post. It was started in 2005 and 6 years later people are still posting asking what is going on – lol!!

      I think in fairness to AAS they brought physical modelling to more people than any other company before them. I think the Chromaphone is a bit overpriced at $200… you can get student versions of Max 6 and Live for $250. It should be priced more like a single plugin around the $100 mark but to me it sounds more like an a $80 plugin… based on how things are priced these days.

  2. There is a balancing act between actively developing existing products, developing new products, and generating enough sales in general to cover all these activities. I think if a company can stay in business, keep their current products fully functioning with new OS’s and develop new products; then they are accomplishing something. That said, it would be nice if older products could evolve on a regular basis.

    I just tried the demo of Chromaphone and like it very much. It shares some qualities with Logic’s Sculpture, but with far fewer features, and a simpler, arguably more intuitive interface. The ability to purchase it a la carte, to learn it quickly, and to run it in other DAW’s make it a viable alternative to Sculpture.

    Unless I am missing a hidden page, the ability to modulate parameters is hard-wired (and limited) in the architecture to key and velocity on specific parameters. There was no mod matrix that I could find. Those are the ones I would most need. I suppose realtime mod (while a voice is sounding) would put a strain on CPU, or not be workable in the architecture.

    As others have commented, the interface requires clicking in small areas and is a bit tiny, inelegant, and not easily manipulated (esp. with a track pad). Though it is logical and easy to learn.

    For all its simplicity, it is a very versatile, musical and nice-sounding instrument.

    The demo has periodic fade-outs, and times out at 20 minutes (requiring a relaunch). That’s what I just did. It was quick and easy, and gave me a good idea of the rig’s capabilities.

    As for the price, it is bit hard to judge. The quality and usability of sounds puts it on par with some comparable instruments, but there isn’t an apples-to-apples alternative out there. I’ve been wanting an alternative to Sculpture (sans Logic), and this is as close as I have seen. Fortunately, I have a coupon from a recent Korg Microkey purchase that I will probably cash in.

  3. @stub:
    Making every last penny you can is not always the best business decision.
    A company must have a minimum of respect for their clients.
    And in the end why don’t they discontinue it ???
    I think you’ll be hard pressed to find a program that hasn’t been updated for 6 years !!!!
    Whats the point on going software at this rate ?
    Who in his right mind would spend 170 $ for a program next to be updated, if ever, in 2017 ?

    indeed they were one of the first, if not the first to bring physical modeling.
    And tassman actually sounds very good.

    1. I can’t say whether AAS is trying to “make every last penny.” Any business is going to prioritize their software development in order to stay in business. But you are absolutely right that a developer SHOULD aim some resources at helping their products to evolve– and AAS’s products are great candidates for improvements.

      On a side-note, I wonder how much of their business is made from the patch libraries they sell, and whether they are attempting to avoid version conflicts with their libraries.

      I have a few programs that have not been developed in six years– and I’m not happy about that, for sure. But at least they still work perfectly in my current OS. What’s worse is when a developer sells a product that is basically buggy cripple-ware, with no support, no updates, no fixes, and its the only choice for a particular application. (I’m currently in that boat with another app).

      Tassman looks like one of those special products that SHOULD evolve!!!

      1. i like the sounds of all aas products; they released 64-bit updates for tassman, ultra-analog and string studio last year, so the product-lifetime is very high. a like the chromaphone sound very much and i hope i will be available soon as “no brainer deal” from audio-midi 😉

  4. I like AAS and even purchased Ultra Analog several years ago because to be quite honest, its a pretty incredible vst. Tassman as well is also incredible as a virtual modular… even if it is more than 6 years old.

    Complaining about aging software is retarded. Look at Reaktor.. Ive been using it since version 3 and the last major update for that vst came out in 2005… sure there have been a few minor updates within that time, but nothing that warrants mind blowing awesomeness. Reaktor is already fucking awesome regardless of how old it is… just like Tassman is.

    And as far as pricing their software goes, I don’t think they should be slagged for choosing to price their instruments as they see fit. If people are willing to pay for it at that price, whats the problem? That being said, my personal opinion of Chromaphone isn’t exactly complimentary. There isn’t anything there that can’t or hasn’t already been done with a myriad of Reaktor ensembles, so yeah, its hard to warrant the price if you already own Reaktor. But if you don’t own Reaktor, like the way Chromaphone sounds AND have the bones to shell out for it, more power to you.

  5. Complaining about complaining while denigrating the developmentally disabled is truly idiotic. But we’re not taking you too seriously after you suggest that we SHOULD NOT gripe about investing big dollars in software that becomes stagnant. Some of my software evolves, and that is awesome. Developers listen to users, add features, fix bugs, make it more efficient, etc. That is cool. Some developers don’t even fix bugs. Then some a$$-munch tells us we’re “retarded” to complain. — see how that name-calling doesn’t really help matters?

    Drumaxx is pretty cool. It’s a drum machine, where each “pad” has a separate set of controls for a modeled percussion sound. It lacks some of the expansive features of Chromaphone, in terms of being able to create a wider range of tones. But it is a smart program.

    1. Well, I never called anyone specifically, retarded… just the ideology 🙂

      But yes, regardless of whether your intelligent enough to understand it or not, complaining on the internet about a manufacturers decision to run their business the way they want IS retarded. Not nearly as retarded as not being able to tell the difference between pointing out the obvious and misinterpreting words as a complaining… but retarded non the less. Have you bought the software? Are you on the board of directors at AAS? Do honestly believe you bitching on a forum is going to revolutionize software development?

      I will say this though… posting on a forum under some pseudonym and calling people a$$munch without at least leaving a website or email is PUSSY. My website is, my email is [email protected] and my full name is Joel Carlo, which can incidentally be found . Instead of taking the pussy approach and and actually calling some one an a$$munch, why dont you man up and shoot me an email so we can discuss things further , tough guy. Your name doesnt start with a C does it? Hugs! 🙂

  6. I bought Tassman, and I like it but in the end is has just enough limitations that I don’t use it much. I feel like AAS keeps releasing “tweaks” to Tassman as entirely new products, but I wish they would just update Tassman instead. It’s clearly all the same tech base! So now they have an array of only somewhat interesting products instead of one or two really great ones.

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