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Steinberg is keeping new plug-ins flowing fast and furiously these days, with its latest offering,
Plex, resulting from a collaboration with Wolfgang Palm – the man behind the PPG Wave synthesizer from the early ‘80s. Plex is a VST Instrument featuring Palm’s new Restructuring Synthesis,
and a neatly designed, easy-to-use interface.
Plex separates the original sound into four parts, one each for lower frequencies, higher frequencies, filter characteristics and amplitude envelopes. Play all these back at the same time, and you have the original sound.
The user interface has a circular palette of sound resources that can mix-and-match the sound components. This palette is divided into 33 sectors, into each of which can be loaded any of the available sounds. Plex comes with 97 pre-defined sound resources that can be used as starting points to create sounds, and there are 300 preset combination sounds derived from these.
But the fun thing is creating presets: the four components of each sound source can be combined and merged freely to create new preset sounds.
The area to the right of the sound palette contains the controls, and this area can be paged – or swapped – to display the controls of interest, using the group of four buttons at the window’s top right.
The Presets page lists 16 presets and has four buttons that can copy-&-paste, store and recall. The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) and ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) pages both incorporate handy visual displays, and let you make individual settings for the Base, Top and
Filter components. The Global page accesses the globally applied parameters, such as Pitch LFO, Pan, or Delay.
If you fancy the sound of a trumpet combined with an electric guitar, and you want the notes to develop in time in the same way as the sound of a
gong, Plex can create this in a trice. Full marks to Wolfgang Palm for developing this new method of
synthesis, and to the programming team who developed this interface. It’s not an essential purchase, but rather a decent luxury item that’s
definitely worth having.