ROLI Equator2, The MPE Synthesizer Plugin Taken To The Next Level

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ROLI shows Equator2, a version 2 of their award-winning MPE-focused Synthesizer plugin with more synthesis power, high-quality sound content & more. 

The Roli Equator Synthesizer plugin and my activity have something in common. Both premiered at the 2015 Musikmesse in Frankfurt. At that time I had no press meetings and was able to watch performances from Jordan Rudess and others on their ROLI with the Equator software. Much has changed in the meantime: I do it full-time, I know JR personally and the Roli Seaboard has got a lot of competition. Not only my activity has grown, but also the Equator in a new Equator2 version.

The developers (among others Angus Hewlett of FXpansion) have expanded and upgraded the MPE Synthesizer massively in features making it even more powerful. Something hasn’t changed: I still don’t have a ROLI keyboard in my studio.

Roli Equator2

Roland Lamb, CEO of ROLI, said:

“Ever since I invented the Seaboard over 10 years ago, we’ve worked to develop sound engines and sonic approaches that realize the expressive potential of the instrument. Our approach to expressive electronic music — as embodied in the Seaboard — helped support the development of MPE and a whole new range of MPE-optimized hardware and software instruments.

Now a decade into this trajectory, we’re realizing the world’s first true flagship MPE synth engine: Equator2. It can go head to head, feature by feature and preset by preset, with the best sound engines and plugins in the world. But it also has unparalleled capabilities for shaping sounds multidimensionally through expressive touch. The release of Equator2 is an important milestone for expressive electronic music.”

New Features

Equator2 features a wide range of different synthesis engines. Wavetable, multi-sampler, granular, FM, …. All are assignable to six source slots that let you build unique sounds. E2 includes 42 new multi-sampled instruments with over 180 articulations and variations. From vintage synthesizers like the Roland System-100 to world acoustic instruments like the Sitar and Koto. The samples are richly detailed and highly adaptable, opening new possibilities for sound design. Import your own samples easily.

Then, the modulation system comes from the well-known Fxpansion synthesizers Cypher2, Strobe2… but has been improved again. It includes different envelopes, LFOs, key-tracking sources, macros… that allows you to create very expressive sounds. Also new is an expanded effection section. Equator2 gives you the power to shape sounds with a vastly expanded rack of effects, filters, and dynamics processors. It’s easy to arrange and reorder effects with a flexible routing system and drag-and-drop slots.

Further, Equator2 ships with over 1300 professionally designed MPE-ready and standard MIDI sounds. 500 new sounds built for MPE users and 800 for standard MIDI keyboards. I would have hoped for the opposite since Equator2 sells as an ultimate MPE Synthesizer plugin. Check out the video from Doug of The Sound Test Room to get an idea of how the new content sounds.

All in all, Equator2 has become a lot more interesting. But it now reminds me of a lot of Arturia Pigments who also has a sampler, granular, wavetable.. modules on board.

ROLI Equator2 is available now for PC & Mac in VST & AU plugin formats. It costs $199 USD at launch for a limited time (regular $249 USD). Owners of Equator, Cypher2, Strobe2, and ROLI Studio can upgrade to Equator2 for $99 USD, discounted from the normal upgrade price of $149 USD.

More information: ROLI

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1 Comment

  1. Arturia added MPE support to create Pigments 2. Now ROLI/FXpansion added Arturia-like features to their MPE-focused flagship to create Equator 2.
    ‘Checks out.

    And it’s a cool time to be into MPE, what with Live 11 and the freemium Vital synth from Helm’s Matt Tytel.
    In some ways, Vital also feels related to Pigments 2. The text-to-wavetable isn’t included, yet. But something the Vital Plus version already has (which should also be in the free version when it comes out on November 24) is modulation based on Perlin noise. It’s especially fun with wavetables but it also works well with filters and such.
    YouTuber In the Mix provides access to a prerelease of Vital Plus with an extra patch pack for 20USD.

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