Retro AS-1 – a software analogue synthesizer – is the stable mate of the Unity DS-1 sampler (reviewed in November). Now you can have those killer sounds from the ‘60s and ‘70s at your fingertips.
Key features include up to 128 stereo-voice polyphony, over 1,300 factory sounds, up to 96KHz sample-rate and 32-bit internal processing. You can play Retro AS-1 live or from a sequencer using OMS (Open Music System), FreeMIDI, or a native Logic interface.
And, it works well with ASIO cards, ReWire, MAS 2.0 and DirectIO for audio integration with Cubase VST, Logic Audio, Digital Performer and Pro Tools. Also, any application that supports OMS or FreeMIDI names will automatically get all of the installed bank and program names.
You can also use Retro AS-1 with Pro Tools using either DirectConnect or RTAS.
The MIDI processor application lets you set up splits and layers, and has an arpeggiator (multi-note sequencer) that you can apply in realtime.
The arpeggiator can be triggered automatically or manually, and its tempo can be synchronized to the MIDI clock.
The Mixer application lets you load up to 16 sounds for playback from an external controller. Using an external MIDI-controller, you can switch between different MIDI channels, load up different patches on each channel, and then simply cycle between the channels to play the different sounds.
You can modify the factory sounds, or create sounds from scratch using the editor application. This features three oscillators – each with fifteen waveforms, such as random tuning, sync, and pan-ring modulator – and two filters.
There are also two insert effects per MIDI channel – including EQs, delays, chorus and distortion – along with two global effects to let you add overall reverbs and delays. Retro AS-1 can also process live audio signals with its ring modulator, filters, and effects. You can even trigger MIDI notes from an external audio source.
Retro AS-1 is a full-featured analogue synthesizer emulation, which integrates with most Mac MIDI and audio applications. The supplied sounds give you access to many of the classic synthesizer sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s in a very affordable software package.
This review appeared in the Expo issue 2001