Planetarium, a multi-layer granular “space opera” virtual instrument for UVI Falcon

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Developer Tom Avatars has released Planetarium, a new Falcon-based virtual instrument packed with a multi-layer granular engine for “space opera” soundscapes. 

UVI Falcon is a powerful multi-engine Synthesizer that offers multiple forms of synthesis (VA, wavetable, FM, additive…) as well as stereo sample manipulation (stereo granular…). A sound designer’s dream. As with Native Instruments’ Kontakt sampler plugin, there is also a market for third-party Falcon libraries. It is significantly smaller but not less interesting.

The developer Tom Avatars recently contacted me and informed me about his new virtual instrument release for Falcon 2.5. It’s called Planetarium and takes the musicians on a granular space journey. When it comes to granular, I always prick up my ears.

Planetarium Granular Space Opera

A Granular Space Opera

Planetarium is a virtual instrument based on the mighty Falcon engine. I particularly emphasizes the special user interface, which has a solar system-like structure. Parameters can also be edited in this way, which looks very beautiful.

It consists of four granular layers powered by samples manipulated by the Falcon granular engine. Planetarium ships with a set of samples, but it also gives you the option to import and tweak your own content. So endless soundscapes. Sounds can be manipulated with a full set of granular parameters accessible on diverse knobs and menus.

Tom Avatars Planetarium

Then, you get six powerful LFOs including classic LFOs, step sequencers and random generators. You also get an ADSR envelope on most of the parameters. Plus, you get a fun arpeggiator for creating instant melodies.

Tweak Sounds With Planets

The unique point about this virtual instrument is the operation. Hidden beneath the solar system design is a macro engine that tweaks multiple logically related parameters simultaneously. For example, the yellow “coordinates” knob controls the position of the playhead and the fading between the four samples in order from samples 1 to 4. There are also smaller parameters that complement this macro.

Mass controls the duration of the grains (size) as well as the density of the granular engine. The Radition knob lets you manipulate the jitter, and the variation of the position and pitch with a twist. Another tempting knob is collapse. It travels through four different filters (digital low pass, phasor, comb, VCF-20 dual) and a noise peak. The engine also features a number of Falcon-powered effect processors hidden under the H2O and Electromagnetism knobs. From a delay, reverb, tremolo, filters, and more. Again, all hidden under very mysterious and cosmic names.

Planetarium is certainly one of the wildest and most experimental “unofficial” expansions available for the Falcon Synthesizer. Because it allows you to load your own samples, Tom Avatar’s new release is more than just a sound expansion that you load into Falcon. It is a fully featured multi-layer granular Synthesizer with full control. Particularly interesting for those who want to quickly build granular sounds with Falcon from the available or own samples.

Planetarium by Tom Avatars is available now for 49€ and requires UVI Falcon 2.5 Synthesizer. It doesn’t work with the free UVI workstation!

More information here: Tom Avatars

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