by Chadwick Wood
March 15th, 2021
Back in November, friend of Patch Base Stefan George (who helped with the MKS-50 and DW-8000 editors) contacted me asking if I'd like to borrow a Access Virus C and Virus TI Snow in order to make editors for them. I gladly took him up on the offer.
December and January were mostly eaten up by fixing bugs and improving performance in Patch Base, not to mention avoiding other viruses, so it wasn't until the end of January that I actually got to work with these synths. And they are complex! Then February came, and almost a week of that month left our home without electricity (and heat) due to the worst winter storm Texas has seen in my lifetime. But now here we are in March, and the new Access Virus editors are here as well.
The Virus is the best-sounding virtual analog synth I've heard. And the TI line in particular has the most parameters I think I've seen! The modulation capabilities and the deep effects sections of the synth are astounding. The editors Patch Base now offers capture all of that depth in a compact form for quick access to any part of the synth. Below I'll go in-depth with the Virus TI Snow editor. The Virus TI editor (which also supports the TI2) is almost identical, with the exception of offering 16-part Multis rather than the TI Snow's 4 parts.
The Voice Editor is split into 4 tabs, organizing the hundreds of available parameters into something more digestable.
The Main tab shows you the core of the sound. Here you have full control over the 3 oscillators and all of their modes, the 2 filters, FM, Ring Mod, and sync settings, the Filter and Amp envelopes, and the other "common" parameters for a voice.
The Mod tab is where the modulation happens. You have all 3 LFOs, 2 more envelopes, the full Mod Matrix with 6 sources mapping to 18 destinations, and the Soft Knob settings.
The FX tab shows you all of the Effects section in one screen. You have the Chorus, Phaser, Distortion, Character, EQ, Delay, Reverb, Vocoder, Filter Bank, and Input Follower all on one screen! It's a lot to fit into a single sentence, let alone a single screen. But it's all here, and the controls update dynamically based on which mode you select for each of the Effects.
The Arp tab shows the arpeggiator settings. All of the basics are in the first row, and below that you have full control over the User pattern for the arpeggiator, where you can turn on/off 32 different steps, and control the length and velocity of each step.
The Multi editor gives you full control over the embedded multis on the Virus. By "embedded" I mean that both the "general" multi settings are there (volume, key range, midi channel, etc), but also the actual settings for each Voice in the multi are right there as well. Each voice is in its own tab, and is saved with the multi. Voices can be saved and loaded from your library in each voice tab of the multi as well. It's truly a one-stop editor for creating complex multi-timbral setups.
Also, as with other Patch Base editors you have access to our standard bank editors, giving you control for organization and backup of all 512 user-writeable voices as well as the multi bank, too.
The Virus C's Voice and Multi editors are similar, though the Voice Editor is actually more compact (2 tabs!) because of the C having a lot fewer parameters than its newer siblings. Also, the Multis are not "embedded" on the C. You can see individual screenshots on the Virus C Editor page.
Ok, more on the way, as usual! I know lots of people have lots of synths they want to see support for. I'll try to keep up.