Thursday, February 12, 2009

IceCream by CosmicBoy

How can you not like Cosmic Boy's IceCream, a free VST with a 8-bit/SID-like chip character. This instrument is just plain fun. It's success is in some clever details. First is the sequencer. The fact is, it's just a programmable LFO, but because it gives IceCream the typical sequencer sound of the SID chip, calling it a that way is fine. Two destinations are available, cutoff and pitch, there's a tempo sync division knob and a list of templates for the pattern. A "smooth" knob round things a bit, makink it more LFO-like. Quick, easy and it does the job. Too bad it doesn't offer to reset the sequence at key press, but it's OK.

Then there's the bit reduction that is at the bottom of the interface. Instead of making it global, you apply it individually to each of the two oscillators ... ahhh! To my knowledge, this is the first time I see a synth with a bitcrusher applied that way. It adds to the character of IceCream a lot. A nice touch.

There's also a nice 8 band EQ that is used to shape the sound, but this one seems out of place here. I mean, everything in the interface is colourful and simple with a minimum of control and then ... 8 bands EQ? I would have preferred a nice 3 or 4 bands EQ, or even treble and bass knobs to go with the spirit. Oh well.

The rest of the specs are more conventional: multi-mode filter, two ADSR envelopes, reverb and delay. Saddly the delay doesn't sync to the tempo, a strange omission. The XY pad and Harmonyx button are a nice touch too. The choice of a standard knob to vary the oscillators waveform is strange, as you don't see which waveform you choose, and the knobs makes you think it's continuously variable, while it's not.

Of course what strikes immediately the user is the not so serious candy-like interface. I like it, but I admit it might make some think this is little more than a joke. Believe me, this one nice VST that you have to try. It doesn't tries to be a faithful emulator of a C-64, Atari or Nintendo chip, it just takes bits form this and that and makes a instrument that is original, easy and fun.

No comments: