Absynth (the name is a wordplay on absinthe and synth) is a commercial, proprietary software synthesizer, currently in its 4th generation, available on the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS platforms. Developed by Native Instruments GmbH, it combines a range of traditional synthesis techniques (subtractive) and modern (granular, sample-based) to create complex sounds and timbres. It may be used either as a stand-alone program or as a plugin within digital audio workstation (DAW) software such as Logic Pro or Cubase. Absynth is compatible with all major formats of plug-ins: VST, Audio Units, RTAS, DXi, etc.


From the technical standpoint, Absynth features three main synthesis "modules", which can be customized to fit a particular synthesis type, such as Subtractive, Frequency Modulation, Amplitude Modulation, or Granular, as well as direct sampling of raw audio data. It also boasts a single filter (12/24 dB LP, HP, BP, Notch, and Comb), as well as a distortion algorithm, and effects (FX) inserts. FX include a trio of resonant filters, "pipe" reverb, and Multi-tap Delay. Absynth also features a sophisticated modulation matrix, allowing the user to utilize three LFO units to create motion within the sound.

Furthermore, Absynth features its own extremely flexible, graphically-edited envelopes which can be used to modulate a wide range of parameters. These highly innovative envelopes may be assigned up to 68 breakpoints each, and so are far more powerful than traditional ADSR envelopes. Breakpoints are the markers where the envelopes change from one phase to another (as in the attack, decay, sustain and release phases of an ADSR envelope). Breakpoint times and amplitudes may be manipulated further via MIDI controllers (not available in Version 1). In addition the gradients of the curvatures of the phases between breakpoints may be modified. These features provide the musician with sequencing and control possibilities unavailable in traditional synthesis.

Waveform support

Absynth relies on user-based addition of waveforms, which can be drawn either directly, or via manipulation of a sound spectrum. They can also be extracted from a WAV or AIFF file. Each added waveform is reusable as an LFO, or an oscillator wave. Current research and additions to the synthesizer include fractal manipulation of waveforms and oscillators, further utilization of granular technique, and better sample manipulation. Absynth may be used as an effects unit, with realtime audio input replacing internal oscillators or samples as the sound source.

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