Cherry Audio Introduces Chroma, A Virtual Synth Based On The Classic Rhodes Chroma

Cherry Audio today introduced Chroma, a new virtual instrument, based on the legendary 1982 Rhodes Chroma synthesizer.

In 1979, ARP Instruments began development of the 16-voice Chroma analog poly synth. ARP faced bankruptcy in 1981, and the design was taken over by Rhodes, who produced the Chroma from 1982 to 1984. While the Chroma’s flat-panel numeric interface made it challenging to program, the the synth is revered by many for its sound and deep synthesis options.

Cherry Audio created Chroma with the goal of faithfully recreating every aspect of the original, while vastly improving the UI and ease of operation.


  • Authentic Sound Reproduction: “Meticulously” emulated to match the original Rhodes Chroma, from its 16 polyphonic voices to its expressive velocity and aftertouch capabilities.
  • 16 Oscillators, Filters, VCAs, and LFOs, and 32 Envelope Generators: These modular elements are arranged in 16 distinct preconfigured signal paths, ranging from straightforward VCO-VCF-VCA setups to intricate configurations featuring oscillator sync, filter FM, ring modulation, and variable or serial filter paths.
  • Extensive Modulation Capabilities: All of the original Chroma’s modulation capabilities have been precisely replicated to create a powerfully flexible modular synthesizer-like programming experience. Modulation paths are configured quickly and easily using modulation pop-up menus.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Intuitive pop-up menus and real-time displays simplify the programming process, making it accessible to novices and seasoned professionals alike.
  • Expander Module Integration: Includes the Chroma Expander, which adds an entire second Chroma synthesizer to the mix, running in layer or split modes for expanded creative possibilities.
  • Full Array of Effects: Chroma includes seven studio-quality onboard effects, including distortion, phaser, flange/chorus, delay, and reverb, as well as a global EQ and limiter.
  • Direct SysEx Import: Owners of MIDI-retrofitted Chroma or Expander hardware can directly transfer banks and individual patches to Cherry Audio Chroma via a SysEx dump. Additionally, users can easily import Chroma SysEx files through drag-and-drop, thereby bringing decades of sound design into a modern workflow.
  • 700 Presets: Loaded with the original 250 factory presets, plus by an additional 450 new presets.

Here’s the official video intro:

Cherry Audio also shared a short documentary, The Story of Chroma, exploring the history of the original Rhodes Chroma:

Cherry Audio’s Chroma synthesizer is available for macOS (10.13 and above) and Windows (7 or above) in AU, VST, VST3, AAX, and standalone formats. A free 30-day demo is available. Visit for additional product details, a deep-dive instructional video, system requirements, and an extensive collection of awe-inspiring sound demos.

Pricing and Availability:

Cherry Audio Chroma is available now with an intro price of $69 USD (normally $89). Cherry Audio will donate 5% of profits from its May website sales of Chroma to the ARP Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to preserving the legacy of Alan R. Pearlman.

10 thoughts on “Cherry Audio Introduces Chroma, A Virtual Synth Based On The Classic Rhodes Chroma

  1. Alleluia! Been waiting for this for years, since my Chroma was stolen and never found.
    Hope it’s close to the original

  2. I’m glad Cherry Audio are focussing on rarer and more obscure synths. Their PS3300 emulation is superb, I’ve never even knowingly been in the same building as a real one of course, but I’m familiar with various recordings that use them and have watched lots of YouTube demos of them in action, and it seems to me that it is very much in the same sonic territory and others who have experience with the original say it is a good soundalike. And if course they are so rare nowadays, especially in working condition, that it is churlish and irrelevant to focus on what differences there are, sonically and architecturally. The same is true of the Rhodes Chroma.

    I’ll hold off on this for now as I’m still immersing myself in the PS3300 and don’t want to fall victim to virtual GAS, but it’s on the watch list for sure.

  3. I have such a love hate relationship with Cherry Audio Synths. They sound great on their own and there are SOOO many presets, but I always struggle to use any cherry audio stuff within an actual mix, even after processing. Also, having purchased 4 of their synths, they all kind of sound…the same? It’s like the same synth engine with a new skin each time.

    Their arturia counterparts always end up getting used in my final mixes.

    1. Absolutely right! I have almost all of them and want to support company from the very beginning. but I end up using U-He, GForce, Synapse Audio plugins…they just sound so real.

    2. The same is true with lots of analogue gear, don’t forget. 70% of 1980s synths were CEM or SSM based, even the SH-101, Jp-6, Jp-8 and I think the JX series all used CEM oscillators and had fundamentally the same signal path as each other (CEM3340 into IR3109 filter into CEM3360 VCA), just with different modulation/routing options, and obviously variable polyphony.

    3. Which four Cherry Audio synths do you have? You may be perceiving sameness because you’re using them in a manner that if used with the orignal synths on which they’re based would also sound similar.

      I have the Dreamsynth, Polymode, Mercury-6, and Eight-Voice (and also the free MG-1 and SEM) and use them all the time in my mixes. They sound great and certainly don’t sound the same to me.

  4. I have faint recollections as a kid back in the day seeing Chroma ads in Keyboard magazine with Joe Zawinul endorsing the Chroma? Truth or Mandela effect?

  5. Mr. Burns: Funny, I feel the same way about Arturia’s “sameness.” I get good mileage from Cherry Audio. You’re right about each company having its own flavor. Its interesting to consider what kind of coding differences lead to those distinct aromas.

    Cherry Audio modeled a real Chroma for quite a while, so I trust the sound to be close. I only got to poke at a real one in a store, so I can”t really compare them. Its also hard to pass up two of the same synth in one unit. Some of the routings are a bit modular, so I think I’ll try the demo and see how it stacks up against my other poly synths.

  6. I’ve owned a Rhodes Chroma with expander in the eighties. The electronics were extremely unreliable. Every time you fired up the Chroma, the soundboards were tested and they always gave an error or one or two boards were not working at all. Programming was APITA. I’m really looking forward to the Cherry Audio Chroma. I’ve owned several hardware synths (ARP AXXE: broken, Alesis andromeda A6: broken, Yamaha DX7: sold after 30 years, never gave any problems) and I cannot hear the difference between their vst counterparts. The vst’s run on a second hand workstation and I have a backup workstation at hand. I agree with S-Trigger Dave, for some reason I cannot make the arturia vst’s working in my music, plus they give me a headache. The Pro Soloist from Cherry is a real masterpiece. It sounds exactly like the original hardware. The Elka-X and GX-80 are masterpieces also. Keep them coming, those unicorns!

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