MANUFACTURER – DAVIDE CARBONE
PLUGIN – CARBON ELECTRA
FORMAT – MAC/PC NATIVE
PRICE – £59
Plugin Boutique's latest offering comes in the form of Carbon Electra — an easy to use, four-oscillator subtractive synthesizer that a certain Carl Cox proclaims is “absolutely brilliant” and his “go-to synth”. Based on vintage analogue routing, Carbon Electra's user-interface is clear, concise and comprises of eight sections:
Firstly, the Oscillator section allows users to easily layer up to four oscillators whilst offering five different waveforms per oscillator. The first oscillator allows for adjustment of the FM amount and all oscillators allow independent adjustment to Pitch, Tune and Width. You're also able to sync multiple oscillators with a click of button.
The Envelope section gives you Amp and Modulation envelopes to play with. The section is straight-forward and is presented with standard ADSR, Amplitude, Velocity and Keyboard Track controls. A helpful physics-based envelope-shaped graphic is also shown, as well as controls to edit pitch within the modulation envelope. The simple Mixer section comprises of four amp controls for each oscillator, as well as a fifth for noise.
Next, the Filter section gives you four controls to shape your sound. Cutoff, Resonance, Keyboard Track and Modulation Envelope amount are all present. You're easily able to select between five different filter-types and also add filter drive and saturation, which works great with bass sounds.
The Carbon Electra has three LFO modules and boasts five varied LFO types. These modules will treat each LFO type differently with varied controls available for each module including FM, Pitch, Delay and Phase controls (amongst others).
At the bottom of Carbon Electra’s sizable GUI is the Step Envelope section. This step editor can be assigned to Pitch, Volume and Cutoff which can be used independently or simultaneously. The editor also includes various wave types and an edit mode, allowing node creation and line curves.
Here you’re able to create hugely-engaging rhythmic sequencers with ease. The last section of the Carbon Electra is an obvious one. The Master section gives you control of your overall sound, with a collection of varied controls. The obvious volume and tune controls are present, along with a group of unison controls and more.
The Carbon Electra includes over 600 presets from some of the biggest names in electronic music, including Mike Huckaby, the Freemasons and Carl Cox to name a few. These presets really show the versatility of this great-sounding synth and range from sequences, chords, bass, leads, keys and more.
All in all, the Carbon Electra is a versatile, powerful and easy-to-use synth with a massive library of presets that will be an asset to anyone aiming to create interesting electronic music — it's great for novices and pros alike. The Carbon Electra is available in VST 2.4 (32 and 64bit) and Audio Unit formats for both PC and Mac.