Hideaway Studio Proudly Presents: Chromatix

Chromatix (logo) smallChromatix is a celebration of yet another successful resurrection of an old classic saved from the grave…

This time it was a gorgeous 1983 Rhodes Chroma!

After a very deep clean inside and out followed by a visual inspection it was quickly realised the original rather large and somewhat grizzly linear PSU had burnt out and was showing signs of several past repairs. News got round that a new cooler running switched mode PSU retrofit had been made available and was duly installed. Having returned power to the beast it quickly transpired that at least two voice cards had serious issues and were failing the dreaded auto-tune. This rapidly became a can of worms when it became apparent that almost all of the considerable number of analog multiplexors within the beast were practically dying in front of my eyes due to age and after the shock of being pressed back into action for the first time in several years. Following removal and replacement of some 40 or so unsocketed ICs much of the instrument returned to life leaving a final stubborn voice card really determined not to play ball. On discovery of a number of leaky transistor arrays and tired charge pump oscillators the final voice card eventually succumb to my continued harassment only to have a third voice card fail during soak testing!

After two weeks of intense toil this 16 VCO beast returneth to life… and what a beast!

Chroma_Closeup

Having sifted through and loaded up over 1000 patches during soak testing over 5.5 Hours of raw audio was captured directly from the instrument.

ARP’s Last Gasp…

ARP Instruments, the hugely influential name behind a string of famous instruments such as the ARP2500, ARP2600, Odyssey, Avatar, Omni, Quadra and Axxe, was in its prime during the 70s but by the early 80s the tables had turned for the worse and the company was losing money hand over fist thanks to a series of unfortunate business decisions, excessive cost of sales figures and overheads.

Work had started on the Chroma in the autumn of 1979. After two years of intense development interspersed by the project being temporarily shelved on a number of occasions things were looking decidedly shaky at ARP on the financial front. This was no fault of the R&D team behind this technically challenging design but due to increasing resistance from management who had their own battles to fight.

Philip Dodds was left to head a company dying before his eyes and several months of development were lost to company politics. The situation became dire and he was eventually left with little option but to close down the R&D department. Despite the ongoing stress of the situation he succeeded in selling on the IP rights to the Chroma design to CBS Musical Instruments and in the process was hired to oversee its production. If it wasn’t for this last gasp for survival the Chroma would surely never have existed.

The Chroma was an advanced digitally managed 16 VCO analog synthesizer released after the initial success of the Sequential Prophet-5. Both instruments offered patch memory with the Chroma sporting a bank of 50 user programmable patches. It was one of the first analog synths to offer multi-timbral operation, voice layering and keyboard splitting with velocity sensitivity. The voice architecture was unusually flexible whereby the firmware could route signals through two low pass filters, in parallel or series, or switch the VCA before or after the filters. Through a bespoke digital interface (Chroma pre-dated MIDI) it was even possible to edit voices in a program on the Apple II computer.

CBS released the Chroma in 1981 with a list price of $5295 and proved to be pretty successful with estimates of around 1400 units eventually sold.

56 Unique Instruments Presented in The Layering Engine…

Chromatix features a deceptively powerful layering engine which allows the user to create new sounds and textures with ease by selecting up to four out of a bank of 56 partial voices to be layered. Each layer has its own fine and course tuning, ADSR envelope, panning, velocity sensitivity, LFO and tone controls. This permits anything from huge pads to complex evolving sounds. Many of the demo instrument patches included are good pointers as to how some of these effects are achieved.

Chromatix GUI_release_vs

Above of each of the four voice panels there is an orange LCD display showing the selected voice. By clicking on each of the displays a pull down menu appears allowing one of 56 voice partials to be selected. With a potentially vast number of layered permutations at hand two different banks of 28 partials are available the first set assigned to channels 1 & 3 and the second bank of 28 partials assigned to channels 2 & 4.

Chromatix GUI_Partial_PulldownNaturally the example instruments packed with the library can be used as is but where the fun starts is having a go dialing in your own sounds using the intuitive layering engine. All of your creations can be saved as .nki instruments simply by using the save as function by clicking on the files icon in the main Kontakt control pane.

The layering engine consists of four identical programming panels and an effects section. This release is the first to use a recently updated version of the layering engine which has recently been revised to include separate velocity sensitivity controls for each layer.

The TONE control is a deceptively powerful feature. In the fully downward position the signal is unaffected. As the control is moved upwards a continuously evolving complex EQ curve is applied. With some experimentation this feature can be used for embellishing formants within each voice partial and helping to sit each of the layers together in the mix.

System Requirements:

This library requires the full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher.
Approximately 1.35GB of free hard disk space is required.

Download Contents:

1030 24-bit Samples
56 Partials/Voices presented in 4 Channel Layering Engine
75 Example Instruments
User Manual
Audio Demo

  $25.00 inc VAT (1.15GB download)

Credits:

Dan Wilson (Hideaway Studio) Rhodes Chroma Restoration & Sound Design, Sample Capture, Example Patches & Demo. Stephen Howell (Hollow Sun, RIP) Original Layering Engine ConceptMario Krušelj Synth Engine Script,GUI Design & Graphics &  Anders Hedström (Flavours of Lime) GUI Graphic Design.

HS-4KL-A016 30/06/15HideawayStudioLogo

The Hideaway Studio Store Is Back Online!

Sincere apologies to all for the disruption but after a significant amount of effort migrating to the EU VAT compliant intermediary FastSpring for digital downloads we’re finally open again for downloads!

During this period I also took the opportunity to make several modifications to the site in answer to numerous requests to ease navigation by introducing product pages available from the menu in the panel to the left.

Please note that a number of tweaks have been necessary for a number of reasons in direct consequence of the migration which are detailed as following:

– Although the main Blue Zone library is still very much a current product, the original incremental Blue Zone releases are no longer available for purchase.  For those wishing to complete their libraries please email me as I am happy to arrange solutions to this on an individual basis.

– All pricing shown on the Hideaway Studio site is now in USD and includes VAT/sales tax.  How the cost + VAT/sales tax is broken down for your country is shown during checkout.

– Please note that as an unfortunate consequence of the new EU directive I am no longer able to make libraries to non-VAT registered UK customers VAT free.  This is due to the intermediary service being VAT registered and beyond my control.

– You will notice that some prices have changed slightly and indeed some have been reduced fairly significantly such as the Blue Zone and the Orbitone Collections.    The price changes are universal and are not applied on a country specific basis.

– For all VAT registered customers you are given an option to enter your registration number.

– As before, you will be able to pay both by card or Paypal.  Once an order is completed, you will receive an email containing a download link.

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Reviews & Testimonials

Chromatix is proving to be a popular new Kontakt library.

A review was recently published by David Baer in the on-line music magazine, SoundBytes: Chromatix Review in SoundBytes

And a selection from a string of kind feedback from customers over the past few weeks:


“I’ve been playing around with Chromatix for some time now and I think this is the best Sample-library I’ve purchased for Kontakt.  Being the restless guy I am, I usually make small tweaks to existing patches to suit my needs.

But Chromatix have made me make quite a number of sounds of my own. (If you know some of the latest releases from Hideaway you’re also aware that the way you can build sounds with different layers of samples isn’t new, So I’ve had the opportunity to make sounds this way already, in other libraries.) But there’s something about the Rhodes Chroma that appeals to my taste and makes me dive deeper and deeper into a search for new sounds. Thanks Hideaway!

I know I’ve already made a comment on this library further up, but I haven’t used any other sounds for nearly two weeks now and I thought Chromatix (or Dan) deserved a ‘thank you’.”

M:)  KVR Forum.


“Bought this last week -well into double figures with my Hideaway sound sets now and this is right up there with the best of them!

I’ve never actually got my hands near a Rhodes Chroma, but I have had the privilege of hearing one in concert on a couple of occasions and this sample set captures the warm, powerful sound very well indeed.

What I’ve always particularly liked about the original Chroma’s sound is its potential for complexity and movement – that layering system! Dan has captured this aspect perfectly -as always, the GUI is superb – simple and intuitive, with the layers feature adding lots of options for experimenting and creating your own sounds.

Already using some of the sounds in a new piece and starting to create my own patches!”

ChamMusic, KVR Forum.


“Just to say, I’m absolutely loving the new Chromatix sounds, particularly the minute attention to detail you’ve put into every patch. Things like Trails of Light, Galileo and Unknown Territory have a wealth of things unfolding and then the decay will offer a fluttering twist to give you just an extra sparkle of magic. Wonderful stuff!”

Simon Power, Meonsound.


“Sublime. majestic. flat out gorgeous. I’ve spent about an hour just previewing patches, and I’m only through the “N”s. :) I can only hope to compose pieces that are worthy of these sounds.”

Stroker_ace, KVR Forum.

Just received news of a nice review by David Baer on three of Hideaway Studio’s libraries at the Sound Bytes Magazine:

http://soundbytesmag.net/synergenesisandtwomorefromhideaway/


Some of the Many Kind Testimonials Received From Customers on Other Hideaway Studio Libraries

“Dan, I finally had the chance to purchase Synergenesis …WOW, this is even better than expected. I’ve only been playing around with the presets for an hour or so, and BOOM, Immediate inspiration! The Synergy has been my long time favorite Vintage Synthesizer for many reasons. Thank you for bringing the Synergy back to life, especially for those who have dreamed of actually playing/programming one. You will always have my support …Long Live Hideaway Studio!”

Michael


“Wow, Dan! What a fantastic story. I cannot thank you enough for going through such enormous efforts for not only preserving these unique technological wonders for the world, but also make them available for us to play them and enjoy them for such an affordable price!! Simply awesome!”

Basspartout

“Like many guitarists, I love the retro-analog world, but can’t always reside there. But thanks to Hideaway Studio’s Dan Wilson those ‘primitivo’ tones can flourish in my digital domains. Dan is easily one of my two or three favorite sound-mongers. He doesn’t just have access to the “right” gear — his recording, processing, mixing, mastering coupled with great GUI designs by Hollow Sun’s Stephen Howell are unfailingly hip and musical. At this point I don’t even audition Hideaway’s audio demos — I just buy everything Dan makes the instant he announces it. How convenient that his products are as affordable as they are awesome!”

Joe Gore [Tom Waits,Tracy Chapman, PJ Harvey, Eels, Courtney Love, DJ Shadow, etc.]


“These Blue Zone sound libraries are some of my favorites. Shimmering, murky, distant, distressed, and very evocative. I love sounds that feel like they’ve been through hell on their way to the speakers, and these are right on the money. Highly recommended, and such a bargain!”

Charlie Clouser, Film & TV Composer.


“GREAT JOB!!   I love these new old sounds. Wobbly, retro, noisy as hell in some   cases, worn, distressed, evocative of a bakelite world…

Death to the Giant Silver Workstation…

Just great programming from an enviable source library. Unique. Saliva-prompting. Above all a profoundly musical collection of refreshingly flawed tones.”

Harvey Jones, Synth player with Sex and Sorrow, Nadia Ackerman, and Blow Up Hollywood.


“when I first came across them, I spent a whole afternoon listening through in absolute wonder. They are without a doubt, some of the best tones I have ever heard & so meticulous in their detail. I’ll look forward to using them on up coming film & media production cues and in a variety of other projects, too.”

Simon Power, Composer & Sound Designer for BBC’s Doctor Who audiobooks


“Some jaw-droppingly beautiful sounds, and highly recommended!”  DavyAch, KVR


“This instrument is really made with the creative musician in mind , simple , efficient, reliable and inspiring…”   Claude Samard-PolikarMusical director, musician and arranger for Jean Michel Jarre and award winning film/video games composer. www.claudesamard.com


“I have Gforce VSM, K8U, Synth Magic, Tronsonic, etc. But after playing the demo song against a few of my fav’s, I feel like hideaway really has its own identity and spin on a familiar territory. I like the sound of its playability. It just works! Check it out.”  KK, Chronic Audio NYCwww.chronicaudionyc.com


“Just to let you know – I hate you.  I was really only going to look at your page and admire the work.  Suddenly my mouse started clicking away.  Now I have spent all my “play” money and part of my food allowance.  Expect me for dinner at some point if I can ever get away from my computer.  This stuff is just Gorgeous!”  hueynym, KVR Forum


“This is startlingly beautiful! Well done – it’s a privilege to own such a great collection of synths, and I’m happy you share them with the world. I love the sound of real orchestras, but there’s something about the synthetic voices of the 1960s and 1970s that really works well with modal and minor key pop music.”  Ray Savage


“Thanks so much for yet another great sounding, great looking and very cleverly programmed instrument! The price is equally great.  11 stars (of 10)…”  Tpot, KVR Forum


“I love the The Pentodian Resonator Choir library. I thought it would be good, but I seem to be reaching for it every time I need a choir-like sound at the moment.”   Shangsean, KVR Forum


“Pentodian Resonator Choir … Love it, absolute no brainer!!”  don1thedon, KVR Forum


“Love this thing, and not the first I bought from Hideaway and really clicked with it straight away. Keep up the good work!”  Vicshere, KVR


“The Bass Machine has an awesome analogue sound to it! Loving what you can do with a bit of tweaking. Congrats on a great product.”

Phil Meadley (aka Lucidity Lo-Fi)


“Sounds beautiful. If you keep makin’ them, I’ll keep buyin’ them.” bharris22, KVR Forum


“Quite pleased inventive and creative work still happens like this. Also pleased it happens to come at this price!” thisplace, KVR Forum


“a truly inspiring, deep and unique treasure trove of organic sound. In fact, I got stuck on preset #1, Apollo Strings, and time just flew…”   Joachim Smith


“I bought S-VX yesterday and am liking it a lot. I have only just scratched the surface but I can see lots of warm, moving tones and plenty of mangling opportunities. Well done. I look forward to more from you. And the Multis inspired me to try out a few of my own – there are loads of possibilities.”  DarkStar, KVR Forum


“just bought this (S-VX), and been playing around for a bit, and every single noise that comes out of this beast is warm, lush, and straight-up INSPIRATIONAL!  i have a suspicion i’ll probably be (over)using this beast for quite some time!”  Funky Lime, KVR Forum


“First, the Noble Horns would make any soundtrack maker very happy. It has exactly the right blend of “almost acoustic” and “ageless” and “epicness”. I really, really dig the “grrraaaawwwwrr” of the sound. Amalfi Strings… yum. I think you’re at something that speaks to me in the exact right words. I cannot describe it better.”  Petri Alanko, Game & Film Score Composer (Xbox 360 game, Alan Wake)


“Listened to the demo, concluded it was a bloody lovely sound library and bought it on the spot.  Great bargain!  I think it’s a lovely set of sounds.  Really.  Right in the zone for the work I am trying to do.  Gorgeous.  You have a very good ear.”  tropicalontour, KVR Forum


“Dan,  I saw your website on Rekkerd.org recently and checked out your demos. I got thru the first Orbitone example and immediately bought both of your sample sets. From earthy to epic, it’s all there. What really impresses me is the warmth of the samples.  I’ve had some real fun combining both the Orbitone and S-VX Hybrid patches. I think the best thing that can be said of your sample sets is that it inspires me to make music!  Great work!!! Keep them coming!”  Rick G.


“The sounds are so human and expressive and made me want to record something/anything immediately. I think that’s a rare skill you have, to be able to create sounds of such delicacy, detail and warmth that are also eminently playable and feel so right under the fingers.”  maestroeden.com

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Migration In Progress…

Just to reassure all that migration to the new EU VAT compliant intermediary service is underway and hopefully everything should be back up and running before the end of the month.

In the meantime, sorry to all for any inconvenience this is causing.

All the Best,

Dan Wilson, Hideaway Studio.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

Due to fundamental changes in EU VAT legislation which come into play on 1 Jan 2015, all B2C digital download service providers selling direct into the EU must charge VAT at the customer’s local rate.  The new “place of supply” directive affects very many world-wide online businesses including most sample library developers who sell and supply direct to the public over the internet.  Frustratingly the new directive was very poorly publicised in the UK and left a tremendous number of smaller businesses unaware of the impending situation. To achieve direct compliance would require VAT registering in all 28 EU states posing a huge burden on small businesses due to a mountain of extra paperwork.   For this reason Hideaway Studio and several other independent sample library developers are in the process of migrating our payment and digital download facilities to fully compliant intermediary services.   The migration and subsequent testing is likely to take a number of weeks to undertake and I regret that during this period the current purchase and shopping cart functions will be disabled from 1 Jan for customers from all regions.   I apologise in advance for the inconvenience this causes.

It is worth noting that there will be two direct consequences of these changes.  Firstly, all very small or incremental downloads such as the individual Blue Zone releases will no longer be available as the VAT and commission on these products no longer makes them viable.  With this in light the blog entries covering the incremental TBZ releases will be moved to a separate area for reference with the original blog still covering all major releases.   For customers who wish to complete their Blue Zone library then please contact me for a solution.   On a positive front this will help to make the blog a little more concise and easier to navigate.   The second consequence is that in some EU countries (but not including the UK) the Hideaway Studio libraries will appear a little more expensive.  Customers must understand this is entirely out of my control and all VAT levied on EU customers will be collected by the intermediary and returned directly to the appropriate tax authorities.   For businesses that are currently VAT registered there should be a mechanism available to enter your registration number.

I will keep you all informed of progress during the migration period.

In the meantime, if you have any enquiries or are urgently in need of a product, then please contact me through the email address provided in my newsletters.

Wishing You all a Happy New Year & As Ever, Very Many Thanks for All Your Support!

Dan Wilson, Hideaway Studio.HideawayStudioLogo

Much Going On In The New Synth Workshop…

Dear all – firstly may I heartily apologize for the lack of recent postings on the blog.   I want to make it very clear that I am still very much committed to my sound design and that a considerable amount of raw sample material for new products is very much in the can awaiting attention.   As many of you know, there are two sides to my passion in electronic music both in my sound design and returning cherished vintage studio gear to its former glory.   What with there only being so many hours in the day, it is sometimes very difficult to strike a balance between these two obsessions in my life and I often end up feeling like I have let the other side down during times of particularly hard graft.

The last couple of months have been exceptional but more importantly represent a once in a lifetime opportunity…

KS GDS Refinished

Some of you may already be aware that I have practically lived with two extremely rare early groundbreaking digital synthesizers in my new synth workshop for several weeks now working very hard to return them to their former glory.   The two instruments in question represent literally two out of the three known complete existing examples in the world.  They are 1979 General Development Systems (aka GDS) originally costing $30,000 and designed in part by members of Bell Labs and MTI/Crumar.   The GDS is the instrument that became the direct basis for the wonderful DK Synergy which you have all recently heard in sampled form in Synergenesis.

One of the two examples shown here in the recent photo was owned by a very famous pioneering German EM composer and founder of a very influential EM group.  It was used extensively in number of well known recordings from the early 80s.    This is just the keyboard console – the system comprises of a very large 8-bit computer with twin 8″ floppy drives running CP/M and a large serial terminal.  Both systems are now back up and running for the first time in very many years and have been retrofitted with HxC disk emulators which is most definitely a first for this particular model of synthesizer.   This has resulted in all of the original software and the factory sound library on 8″ floppy disks being safely immortalized in a modern digital format.

For those who are interested I have blogged the progress of both restorations at the Vintage Synth Explorer forum:
http://www.vintagesynth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=77037″

It is worth pointing out that such distractions on the hardware front are actually a great thing because all of my time spent working on such technical wonders of yesteryear serve much potential for capturing new sample material and subsequently lead to the basis of new releases. With this in mind the hope was to release such a major release for Christmas based on a significant amount of material captured from a wonderful old beast I restored earlier in the year. This library is still due for release but will now be expected in the New Year.

That said, I hope to have at least a little something to allow you all to have the opportunity to play some material captured directly from the KS GDS during testing along with a small offering with a festive edge in the next few days captured from a very rare vintage tube amplified electromechanical instrument. Also lookout for some festive offers on libraries from Hideaway Studio in the near future.

IMG_3746

May I also take this opportunity to give you all my sincere thank yous for being so supportive over the past year.   It has definitely been a year of highs and lows and the tragic loss of Stephen Howell has been extremely painful for myself and Mario and his family.    During the summer I channeled a lot of my energy into building a wonderful new synth workshop which really helped to take my mind off of things.   I even managed to finally construct an area dedicated to all of my vintage test gear which has since grown substantially.   A large chunk of these vintage wonders were used in the making of The Blue Zone series and are now very much cherished so its great to finally have a dry and warm place to store them for future use.