Cherry Audio Sines Combines Additive, Subtractive & FM In One Polyphonic Software Synth

Cherry Audio today introduced Sines, a new software synth for Mac & Windows that combines additive, subtractive and FM in one polyphonic synth engine.

Sines lends itself well to three approaches to sound design:

  • Subtractive synthesis, where sine waves are wave-shaped into other familiar waveforms, then processed through an analog-style filter.
  • An additive synthesis approach stacks sine waves at different pitches and amplitudes, like a supercharged Hammond tonewheel organ.
  • FM synthesis – oscillators can modulate each other in multiple configurations, mimicking the classic DX-style FM carrier and modulator architecture, but with much less effort than original 80s instruments.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Employing four sine-wave oscillators, Sines utilizes diverse waveshaping methods to bend these pure waveforms into infinitely variable and complex shapes. When combined with its wide-ranging modulation capabilities and effects, users can create a distinctive array of unique timbres ranging from the sublime to sizzling.”

Sines is designed to provide immediate access to all sound parameters. The user interface features a wide array of illuminated indicators, color, and mini oscilloscopes, to provide instant visual feedback.

The primary sound design controls are grouped horizontally in bands ,emphasizing its “four of everything” nature: four LFOs, four oscillators, and four envelope generators.

At the core of each section are the unique sine-wave oscillator waveshaping controls: feedback, phase, width, shape, wavefold, and drive, along with a sub (octave-down) oscillator and a super (octave-up) oscillator. Phase modulation and ratio dials allow the oscillators to be configured in a modulator/carrier arrangement for four-op DX/FM-style synthesis.

Sines also features Cherry Audio’s most extensive multimode filter to date, four LFOs with 14 wave shapes, four envelope generators, an arpeggio, a “best of” selection of the company’s effects, a drift function, and an integrated eight-band graphic EQ.

A four-slot mod matrix provides deep modulation options for nearly every Sines parameter.

Here’s the official video intro:

Features:

  • Four independent sine waveform oscillators, with waveshaping controls to bend the pure waveforms into other standard waves (sawtooth, square, pulse, triangle) and more complex and novel shapes
  • Six waveshaper controls: feedback, phase, width, shape, wavefold, and drive, each with modulation source assignments available
  • Sub (octave-down sine wave) oscillator and a super oscillator (octave-up sine wave) for each oscillator
  • Oscillator utility function to copy/paste, randomize, or reset any oscillator settings
  • Glide (portamento) and keyboard (pitch) controls independently enabled for each oscillator
  • Up to 16-voice polyphony
  • Polyphonic (two modes), chord memory, single voice, and unison with unison detune
  • Resonant multimode filter with 6, 12, 18 or 24 dB/oct lowpass, highpass, bandpass, or notch modes
  • Four tempo-syncable LFOs with 14 waveforms: sine, triangle, sawtooth, sawtooth, exponential sawtooth, logarithmic sawtooth, three-step sawtooth, four-step ramp, exponential ramp, logarithmic ramp, three-step ramp, and four-step square random
  • ADSR filter and amplifier envelope generators with velocity controls
  • Two additional auxiliary envelope generators usable as mod sources
  • Four-slot mod matrix allows modulation of nearly every parameter in Sines
  • Arpeggiator with tempo sync
  • Four fully modulatable effects sections: multiple distortion and sample-crushing options; mod FX with phaser, chorus, flanger, or rotary speaker; delay with stereo, ping-pong, or tape delay modes; five reverb effects
  • Drift controls that optionally apply variation to oscillators and filter frequencies to add ‘analog character’
  • Eight-band graphic EQ
  • Channel pressure and polyphonic aftertouch as a polyphonic modulation source
  • Support for MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) — Pitch, Channel Pressure, and Timbre — making Sines capable of more organic and expressive performances when using MPE-compatible controllers
  • Cherry Audio’s Focus zoom-in feature, as well as standard UI zoom and resize with drag
  • Over 700 presets created by a talented and diverse group of sound design veterans
  • Complete MIDI control and DAW automation for all controls, with easy-to-use MIDI learn
  • Preset and Global level MIDI mapping
  • Highly optimized coding for optimal performance with ultra-low CPU load
  • User-adjustable oversampling control
  • Sines is available in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats.

Pricing and Availability

Sines is available now with an intro price of $39 USD, normally $59.

 

32 thoughts on “Cherry Audio Sines Combines Additive, Subtractive & FM In One Polyphonic Software Synth

    1. It sure is… um… dense. On one hand, the control-freak in me likes it. On the other hand, the control-freak in me wants more complex envelope shapes.

  1. – so they designed the GUI using MS Word – ok, but additive? Additive requires a plenthora of sine waves and a healthy number of routable envelopes – to fill the definition (my K5000S have 64, I whish it were double .).. anyway – this might be an intresting piece of software.

  2. I am both delighted and disappointed by this synth. Even though I guessed that lack of “guess what we are building” hype suggested an original Cherry synth, but when I heard the pre-release teaser, I thought, “just maybe”….

    In preparing for Hurricane Ian and the threat of an overwhelming storm surge, I was forced to prepare my studio for a potential excursion of about three feet of water. At minimum, that meant getting everything that was electronic and touching the floor to a higher elevation (including everything in the studio closet). For reasons I have trouble explaining to my wife, I have five 61-key synths stored on their ends in that closet. Among them was the one synth I will not part with until I find a satisfactory replacement (i.e., a synth that can do everything it does). That synth is a Kawai K5000S. What I have found totally unbelievable (and what gets me to the point of this) is that it was released in 1996, and almost 30 years later nobody has replicated even a facsimile of it in software. Just before last Tuesday (night before Ian) I first heard about the new Cherry synth, and saw the teaser video. So, as I was moving the K5000 to higher ground I wondered if Cherry had finally done it (clone the K5000 in software, I mean). Then, since I had the Kawai on a stand in my living room, I plugged it in and reminded myself of why I have held on to it for so long (only a Kurz K2000S have I kept longer). The Kawai is an additive synth that allows individual envelope control of 128 partial sine waves (64 x 2 by allocation) since the mid-90s, and that nobody has replicated that feat, let alone all of the other modulation possibilities, filters, etc. provided, still amazes and frustrates me. If ever there was a synth that called out for software cloning, this would be it because there isn’t anything that it does that you shouldn’t be capable of duplicating exactly (as far as the sound goes) in software, since there really isn’t anything “analog” about it. Well,m today I found the the new Cherry synth isn’t it (although I keep my fingers crossed that it may happen some day).

    Based on what I saw in the Shoebridge video, I am really excited about this synth. Also, just based on that video alone, I can clearly see what each of the front panel controls does and how they interact. As far as additive synths go, I guess it can be configured as a 12-partial synth (four oscillators each capable of producing two octave-related harmonics of varying amplitudes, although all three of those “harmonics” would be under the control of one envelope). As far as additive synths go, this isn’t too much. However, when you factor in all of the modulation and control possibilities, what you end up with is something that goes much farther than what you can accomplish with a phase modulation- or phase distortion-based synth. Again, the Shoebridge video hints at the enormous range of synthesis capabilities of this synth.

    Personally, I think that Cherry has hit a home run with this thing, especially for the price. I also think that Shoebridge is correct in his description of the UI as being intuitive. Who wouldn’t drool at the thought of a synthesizer with hardware interface that provided identical controls?

    1. I haven’t found the “dream additive” yet. Image-Line’s mostly-abandoned Morphine had some nice features, but like most, there isn’t any per-partial control. It kind of gets around it by letting you morph between 4 different settings. VirSyn made a couple intriguing yet inexpensive iOS apps, like AddStation.

      A true powerhouse additive synth with 128 partials, with per-partial envelopes for Amp, PItch, and Pan would be wonderful. Setting that up in a very zoomable GUI so that it is not having to split hairs would be helpful. Having the right tools for editing, morphing, mod matrix, re-synth, vocoding, etc. etc. would be pretty essential.

      Seems like we’ll have to keep waiting.

    2. The Synclavier V from Arturia gives you 12 partials with independent envelope control over both amplitude and FM amount. Each one of those 12 partials itself contains a carrier and a modulator that are time-variant additive voices (each is composed of 24 partials that can be modulated in amplitude and phase by keyframes you place on a timeline that can be looped).

      It’s no K5000, but it was the sleeper of the V Collection for me. It’s a very powerful additive/FM synth that I feel gets overlooked.

      If you want something in software approaching the K5000 in terms of the sheer number of additive partials with independent envelopes, Max is your friend.

      The GUI on this Cherry Audio synth isn’t for me. It’s the kind of interface that would certainly be fun to use on a hardware device where you can develop some kind of muscle memory for it…but it just feels unnecessarily cluttered in a software incarnation.

      1. Agreed about Synclavier V. It’s one of my desert island synths that I use almost every day. And the mind blowing thing is the 100 ‘scenes’ per partial. So it’s really like 1200 potential sound ‘moments’ every time you press the key.

    1. (Maybe you’re being sarcastic?) I don’t begrudge them having a big ole knobby GUI– the alternative is dumbed down editing with no depth, or lots of tabs. As for the old-school skeuomorphism, that’s kind of on-brand for Cherry.

    1. When I think about visual display during realtime control, it makes sense to have sliders for pan & volume. And realtime control of envelope values is less typical (I suppose), so seeing a knob rotate with attack time is not as weird. However, I’m with you that I don’t like using knobs to adjust envelopes. I really prefer multi-segment envelopes with adjustable curves for each segment.

      I also pay attention to devilish details like whether polyAT and release velocity are available control sources, that info is not easily discovered. The manual is very good, but that kind of question is tricky. MIDI learn doesn’t always let you get to things like release velocity.

  3. What a terrible ui, gave me noisea just by looking at it for 2 minutes

    Could cause epileptic seizures
    Sound wise it’s nothing special I’m afraid…
    I don’t have any cherry stuff installed on my computer and I’m.afraid that I will not install this one as well

  4. NI’s RAZOR is a very good additive synth. It ‘only’ offers 320 partials, but that’s quite a lot in practical terms. The sub-sets of useful partial groupings and analog-style controls are well- considered.

    Stub’s wish for per-partial control sounds like madness to me, due to the serious work load required. The results could be good, but the cost/benefit analysis makes it seem iffy. Computers can handle that now, but why, really? I had a Kawai K5, which came out far before its time, but now that world of sound can be had in 50 flavors.

    If you have a special need for something super-alien and the head for partials or sine waving, dig in. Otherwise, a lot of PD, physical modeling or DX-7-friendly options can give you most of the bells, basses and icy pads you need.

    BTW, that’s an eye-crossing panel, but if you’re into FM that much, you’re going to be on intimate terms with it anyway. Its mostly left-to-right, so its not bad for the intended use.

    1. It’s obvious that you never seriously played with a K5000. Having an envelope per partial is almost a necessity for making an additive synth behave the way you would want it to. In reality, the beauty of a well devised additive synth is to allow you to construct things that aren’t all that alien or glassy. The K5000 demonstrated that controlling 64 (or 128) envelopes isn’t all that difficult or any more time consuming than it would be to produce an equivalent sound using FM (if that could be done at all). I had a K5, as well. The major problem with it was that Kawai was apparently just beginning to explore synthesis when they developed it. Also, the advances in microprocessors and ASICs that occurred between the delivery of the two synths made a hell of a lot of difference in the way that the K5000 responded over the K5.

    2. The “per partial” settings would work similarly to how they are in Alchemy. You choose a parameter (like AMP/ENV/ATTACK) and you can drag/draw across all the partials and use tools to adjust all the partials in macro ways, or you zoom in and drag one if you want. Then move on to the next parameter (AMP/ENV/DECAY, e.g.) It’s not really dragging each partial for each parameter, but you could if you needed.

  5. Really surprised with all the GUI-hate here. I bought this synth right away (seems to be more and more common with Cherry products nowadays), and had the whole synth figured out in 10 minutes. Spent hours last night making new presets. Amazing synth. Smart and intuitive GUI. The End.

    1. Yeah, there are a lot of knobs, but all four oscillator banks are the same. It seems fairly straightforward. And for $39.

  6. Another impressive synth from CA. It would be best if Mr. ULI instead of copying (and well he does) the old dinosaurs, make such affordable synths. It would be good to see Sine and Dreamsynth in hardware form as well.

    1. Even though I’m a solid Arturia user, there is something about the Cherry Audio synths (especially the MemoryMode) that makes me want them in hardware form more than any other company’s plugins. They have really figured something out that the others haven’t.

  7. Why Cherry in Sines and UVI in Falcon prefer 4-op FM system? Yamaha said “don’t be as cools as MODX”? AFAIK, patents were expired so there is nothing to care about.

    1. Could you please elaborate on what you are saying? By your comment comparing the Cherry to a 4-OP FM system seems to suggest that you have completely misunderstood the nature of this synth. It was never supposed to have been an “FM-synth”. Apparently you have a similar opinion about Falcon (which could possibly be the most flexible and comprehensive synthesizer currently available, especially in its latest incarnation). Falcon makes the Yamaha keyboards seem like really expensive jokes!

  8. I get the vague feeling that some synths go for 4-op because with more numerous waveform options now, 2 more operators wouldn’t necessarily make a sound more musically useful. (Less coding time needed, too.) Its not unlike seeing three oscillators on an analog synth, but rarely four or more. The potential for Mud is too high. There’s a sweet spot; it just slides back and forth a little.

  9. This is a good UI, the mystery is why more virtual synths don’t look like this. Knobs are good and virtual knobs are free so why not have loads of them?

    1. The upside is no tabs or menu diving. The downside is readability. Once you know what all the knobs do, you can find your way around even if controls are tiny & fiddly.

      Sometimes a developer creates a GUI that is practical, efficient, and even intuitive, but some will call it ugly because they might not have usability in front of mind. There are synths that do a good job of balancing efficiency with aesthetics; but it is difficult to assess what was sacrificed in the process.

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