M-Audio Unleashes Venom Virtual Analog Synth & Editor
Although M-Audio’s Venom has been in development for two years, Avid was able to surprise quite a few people when they launched this very affordable virtual analog synthesizer at this year’s NAMM show.
The Venom 49-key synthesizer combines the character of classic analog synths with modern digital processing to deliver an aggressive, infectious new sound. Even though you can dial up nice atmospheric pad with the Venom, the synth has a more Nord-like brittle edge to its sound, which Avid describes as “angry and downright nasty.” It’s hard to determine where this will sit in today’s music, but there will be quite a few budding and mature synthesists who will have no problem plunking down around $500 (street) for this new entry.
» 49-key, full-size, synth-action keyboard
» 12-voice polyphony, each voice including:
— 3 oscillators with 41 waveforms and 53 drum sounds sampled from vintage analog synths, FM digital synths, and drum machines
— pulse-width modulation, sync, FM, and ring modulation
— resonant multimode filter with tube saturation limiting
— 12 dB/octave (2-pole) low pass
— 12 dB/octave (2-pole) band pass
— 12 dB/octave (2-pole) high pass
— 24 dB/octave (4-pole) low pass
— 24 dB/octave (4-pole) band pass
— 24 dB/octave (4-pole) high pass
— 3 LFOs with selectable sample-and-hold
— 3 AHDSR envelopes
— 16 modulation routes
» 4-part multitimbral operation with independent MIDI-syncable phrase sequencers
» 512 onboard Single patches
» 256 onboard Multi (layered) patches
» 2 global bus effects: Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser
» 1 insert effect per multitimbral part (4 total): Compression, EQ, Distortion, Bit Reduction, Decimation
» classic arpeggiator with up, down, and alternating patterns
» tap-tempo and manual BPM control from top panel
» built-in USB 2.0 audio/MIDI interface (USB 1.1 backward compatible)
— 2 x 2 24-bit, 44.1 kHz operation
— mic, instrument, and stereo line level inputs route to DAW
— synth sounds route to DAW
— DAW audio output mixes into main outputs
— stereo main audio outputs (1/4″ TS)
— stereo headphone output (1/4″ TRS)
— master volume knob; instrument and mic gain knobs
— MIDI In and MIDI Out (5-pin DIN)
» large custom LCD
» 4 rotary encoders and 1 button for performance control and editing
» dual-function octave up/down and transpose controls
» assignable pitch bend and modulation wheels
» sustain (1/4″ TS) and expression (1/4″ TRS) pedal inputs
Venom comes fueled with 512 Single patches and 256 Multi-sound (layered) patches. You’ll also find a classic arpeggiator for added animation. Tweak the sounds using the intuitive top-panel performance controls or dig in deep using the Vyzex software editor (see below).
With a synth engine, Venom merges analog flavor with digital power, providing a unique sonic signature that stands apart from the glossy sheen of other virtual analog synths. You get 41 oscillator waves and 53 drum sounds sampled from vintage keyboards of the past four decades – complete with DSP-induced oscillator drift for a retro vibe. Each of the 12 simultaneous virtual analog voices features three oscillators, giving you tons of flexibility for octaves, intervals, and fat, detuned offsets. Venom even offers FM, sync, and dynamic wave-shaping on all waveforms for unique hybrid sounds.
For even more sound-shaping possibilities, the Venom resonant multimode filter features 12dB/octave (2-pole) and 24dB/octave (4-pole) operation, with tube saturation limiting on the input for that classic overdriven sound. Each voice also sports three LFOs with selectable sample-and-hold to create evolving, rhythmic sounds—plus three AHDSR envelopes for total control of your unique sound.
You can even use Venom as an audio interface with Pro Tools M-Powered (Requires Pro Tools M-Powered 8 or higher) and other music software—forming a powerful production machine to take your music in dangerous new directions.
A nice compliment to the Venom is the included Vyzex Venom software editor. This is many users will really get creative with the synth and we have a feeling Avid will be upgrading Vyzex as Venoms fly off the shelves.
» arrange sounds into banks, rename patches, and save backups
» patch collider feature mashes up multiple patches to create new hybrid sounds
» 16-cell modulation matrix offers comprehensive routing configurations
M-Audio’s Venom costs only $599 and is available now. More information on M-Audio Venom.