Last Friday the Propellerhead team held a live stream session on Facebook. While there are tons of reasons why Facebook is not the ideal platform from a sound output perspective it is quite clear why they went for this medium. Because of the social aspects and the liking and sharing stuff no one really cares about. On a personal note, I missed the live session totally because I already knew that the feed would be uploaded to youtube later. So I sat this one out.
Europa Shape shifter synthesizer
Now that I have seen the video in a glance (I didn't go through it all because there is a too much talk taking place) there are some features that could be mentioned while we break down the video segment by segment. In theory Europa is a wavetable based synthesizer where the shape is a knob to move through the different wavetable (kind of like what you would have with Thor using the Wavetable oscillator).
Since I am really good at pressing print screen I tool the following screen shot from youtube.
The wave table in Europa are in fixed form. Meaning you can't load up custom wave tables. Which is quite a shame because a lot of people would compare this with Serum in Reason. While this is really no Serum since it misses the most important feature that made it great. But ok, this is nit picking. At some point I could also compare this with Expanse. Again, the same issue is there, Expanse allows loading up custom wave tables, Europa does not.
From what I have heard it sounds Ok for what it does. You have your basic wave forms to mimic analog gear while at the same time you can use complex wave forms such as FM, Shifter, Transformer and such to make some growling moving basses pretty fast.
The modifier of Europa
Next to this we have the modifier. This modifier could be somewhat compared to the shaper of Thor, while the modifier in this case is much bigger then previous 'stock' devices in Reason.
At some extend there are quite some similarities to Expanse from Blamsoft. The idea with modifiers is that they are used to reshape a wave form using an algorithm. The amount determines how much of that algorithm is applied. The problem with instances like Thor you will have to trust your ears a lot (or use monitoring tools to see what the shaper is doing). With synths like Europa, Serum or Expanse you will have a visual on the waveform which gets updated in real time.
The spectral Filter in Europa
The spectral filter is something else. Since it listens in on the Waveform as uses it as a filter or resonance (at least from what I understand from it). This goes in conjunction with a Harmonic switch and setting which can be used as an additive engine if you will.
Currently I am quite curious on what kind of impact filters like Dual Peak and Resonators will have on the DSP, since I know that synths like Expanse and Serum have similar filters but have a pretty big hit on the CPU usages.
The unison of Europa
From what I have heard from listening parts of this video is that the unison is based on a 6 voice unison. While comparing this with Expanse (8) and Serum (16) there is a difference there. But since people have been saying that Europa is like Expanse or Serum I have to do these comparisons. Just to write down that You ... are ... wrong...
To be honest here, I would prefer a unison like this in Thor however (as an update or Thor MK2 whatever). Because I have feeling that the default UN-16 Unison doesn't work proper on synths itself (because there is a difference between unison on audio vs unison per oscillator).
The inner workings from what I am getting from the video snippets I have seen is that it works quite similar as Expanse or Serum. Just because it uses unison per voice (per oscillator) and you can detune them different one by one or spead them out different.
The Filters in Europa
This kind of brings us to the last highlight of the Shape Shifter Synthesizer Europa for Reason 10, the Filters. While these are different compared to the spectral filters because they do not manipulate the wave forms. The Filters of Europa are somewhat similar as the filters of Thor but they have added a few new ones.
The MFB and K35 are different filters based on japanese hardware synths and chip sets. The resonance and drive are the more interesting settings with these filters. Especially if you are in to those acid / techno type of genres.
There are plenty of settings I might have skipped, this is one of the reason why I'll drop in the complete video so you can watch the whole thing (in case you missed it)
Written by hydlide