Rob Papen Soundware has unleashed RAW, a new soft synth specializing in distorted sounds with an easy-to-use interface. When Rob Papen attended the Dutch Dancefair earlier this year to demonstrate his products, little did he know that he would come away with an almost fully-formed idea for an all-new soft synth. So how, exactly, did that happen? At the event, producers Sebastian Hoff and Freek Vergoossen (a.k.a. DJ Promo and DJ Free-K, respectively) made an approach to propose a synthesizer that focused more on distorted sounds. Always open to the idea of delivering fresh, cutting-edge, and musical plug-ins for producers, Rob responded favourably by inviting the two DJs to his well-stocked studio for a brainstorming session. The result? RAW.
“While I’m always seeking new directions, I noticed that I also have roadblocks to my way of thinking,” Papen reveals. “Maybe this is because of my long-lasting association with classic analogue hardware synthesizers like the Minimoog and Roland Jupiter-8 that don’t have onboard effects or EQ. I can clearly remember the first synthesizers that came complete with EQ, which was weird. ‘EQ is for mixing desks,’ I thought! On the other hand, I enjoyed effects like chorus, phaser, delays, and so on when they started showing up on synths. So the moment that DJ Promo and DJ Free-K discussed this idea of synthesizers having more ‘distortion’ and EQ, my immediate thought was, EQ in a synth? Hmmmm…
How does it differ from other developers’ soft synth offerings, as well as those musical must-haves from Rob Papen? Its co-creator comes clean about its inherent idiosyncrasies: “RAW has a different signal setup, synthesizer-wise. We have two oscillators and a FILTER, but what is new when compared to our other synthesizers is that you have an EQ that can be pre- or post-distortion. After that, there is also a WAVESHAPER and dedicated DISTORTION module with several types of distortion, as well as a LOW FI control. This is new to this synthesizer, and it’s part of the concept that the distortions are on the voice level, so it’s not just a case of a total signal going into the distortions, but rather each voice has its own WAVESHAPER, DISTORTION, and LOW FI — plenty of options to shape the sound here!”
In addition to the flexible X/Y fields found in the OSC 1 and OSC 2 sections, RAW users can effectively draw their own waveforms to be used as LFO waveforms, enabling the creation of unique wobble sound movements — perfect for dubstep and other EDM styles. Other effects such as CHORUS, FLANGER, PHASER, and STEREO DELAY all add to the superlative sound sculpting possibilities on offer, as does the super-cool step sequencer/ arpeggiator, and many more fanciful features above and beyond.
Speaking of which, user presets are arguably always where it’s at when it comes to true originality, of course, but by enlisting the tuned-in talents of world-class DJs and producers — such as Deathmachine, DJ Hidden, DJ Promo, DJ Thera, D-Passion, Ophidian, Mad Dog, Rob Fabrie, N-Vitral, The Playah, The Viper, Warface, and many more besides — to create crowd-pleasing presets galore for RAW alongside the numerous creative contributions from Rob Papen himself instant inspiration is truly guaranteed. Just add tunes, turn up the distortion, and mix to taste… you’ll soon be sounding really RAW! All in the best possible taste, of course.
Papen’s RAW is available now for the Mac (32- and 64-bit, AAX, AU, and VST for Mac OS X 10.6 or higher) and PC (32- and 64-bit, AAX and VST for Windows Vista, 7, and 8) for $143 / €119 until the end of the year when will rise to $179 / €149.