I had the pleasure to review Rob Papen’s new synth called RAW and I took a little time to dig in to see what it offers. RAW has many cool features to keep a tweaker and sound designer happy. From what I’ve read RAW is inspired for EDM music but can be used with other genre’s. Let’s dig in.
What Is It?
From the promotional material, RAW came about when Rob Papen was approached at a Dutch Dance fair by DJ Free-K and DJ Promo with an idea of a synth that focused on distorted sounds. After the brainstorm, RAW was created. RAW has 2 oscillators each with an X/Y field, to distort the waveform making use of Phase Distortion. You could draw 2 of your very own ‘waveforms’ as well as use them as LFO waveforms making it possible for the development of one-of-a-kind ‘wobble’ motions that are excellent for DubStep as well as various other songs styles.
In the Preset Part you take care of all the Presets, Banks and external command setups of RAW. It has a Favorite feature, making it very easy to create as well as handle your very own collections of favorite RAW Presets. You choose a Preset by clicking on the Preset screen which will open a preset selection menu. The presets are pretty good and will give you idea what RAW can do. With all the features RAW has, there is an Easy Mode that simplify the settings to make things easier to spot. You still have access to both Oscillators in easy mode.
RAW utilizes two oscillators per voice (note played). Each oscillator has its very own setups. You have access to change waveform which is typical of analog synths. There is a Free switch which is made use of to choose the reset-behavior of the oscillator. If Free is switched off, the oscillator waveform is reset to absolutely no phase position each time you play a note. When Free is switched on, the oscillator is totally free. The trak button allows as well as disables keyboard notes. It manages whether the pitch of the oscillator is or adheres to the keyboard no matter what note played. The last setting might serve for non-pitched sound effects or percussive audios. I had to remember to select Trak when I wanted to hear pitch. Other features are Oct, Semi, Fine, Sub etc. You have access to typical features for the oscillators.
Among the coolest attributes of RAW is the XY controller. Make use of the computer mouse to manage the equilibrium in between distortion of the adverse area of the waveform and the favorable part of the waveform. The X-axis (left/right position) represents the positive signal. The Y-axis (up/down position) stands for the adverse part of the signal. You can use your mouse to tweak XY Pad as you are playing and afterwards to record these movements as paths. The XY pad functions as a programmable two-dimensional LFO. The XY pad is additionally a modulation source for usage in the modulation matrix. A person can spend hours playing around with the XY Pad.
Raw also has an analog modeled Filter and Amp that is accountable for the sound’s volume. It enhances the signal as well as customizes the volume. An Essential element of the amplifier section is the Volume Envelope. The envelope defines the volume curve. The amplifier section also contains the velocity control. This establishes the feedback of RAW to the velocity details. The Amp also has a Volume knob, Pan, Velocity, Volume Envelope and LFO; Pan / LFO; Vol. RAW also has a primary LFO that creates modulation signals for the filter, volume as well as panning of a preset. These modulation targets are pre-wired in RAW and have actually dedicated commands. The main LFO is likewise a common modulation source that could be designated by means of the modulation matrix.
A RAW voice consists of 2 3-band parametric equalizers. The first equalizer (Pre) is positioned just before the distortion part while the 2nd equalizer (post) runs after the distortion. Utilize the Pre-EQ to establish exactly how you intend to drive the distortion section. The Post-EQ is there to touch-up the distorted output where needed. The EQ part has a single screen and a single set of controls for the equalizer setups. I think having EQ built in is cool and can give individual so much more sound sculpting abilities.
RAW can produce a distinctive sound by incorporating distortion effects as component of its voice architecture. Three distortion effects are readily available: Waveshaper, Multi Distortion and Low Fi. The distortion FX is placed in the output stage in between the Pre-EQ and Post-EQ parts. The Distortion is where RAW get its grit sound from which can get real grimy.
Users can also draw in their own waves for the Oscillators and LFO. This is a cool feature but not sure many will use it.
RAW comes with a traditional design arpeggiator. The arpeggiator has an integrated sequencer for making balanced patterns, as well as supplies tune, velocity, and free modulation. With every note that it plays, the arpeggiator actions through its series. This permits you to figure out just how the arpeggiator plays each individual note. The arpeggiator is easy to use and intuitive.
As you can tell, RAW is a very deep plug-in synth. RAW has so many features to keep an individual busy for a long time. Most of features are intuitive and you won’t need the manual for most of it except with the Modulation Matrix. The Modulation Matrix is not intuitive at all and you will have to read the manual to understand it. I really enjoyed using the EQ in RAW. The EQ adds a different dimension I usually don’t see in many plug-in synths. The Distortion is a cool element that can give you grit if that’s what you’re looking for. The EQ and Distortion are good features but maybe useless since you can do the same things in a DAW. The XY Pad is very fun to play with and is a unique feature that makes RAW interesting. The FX in RAW are typical aside from the distortion. Reverb, Delays and Chorus are there if you need them. Is RAW worth it? Well, RAW does sound good and not thin like many other soft synths on the market. Rob Papen makes quality plug-ins and RAW is one of them. If you’re looking for an interesting analog modeling synth to add a new twist to your sound, then pick it up. This is not a bread and butter synth so walk by if you’re looking for that.