Rainbow Circuit continues to dream up fanciful new Max for Live creations with eye-catching interface inventions. In the latest, Rift, you get a uniquely configurable custom additive synth oscillator.

Earlier this week I praised the simplicity of Sinevibes’ Flare for reducing how much you edit with your additive synth. This is basically the opposite of that, though that makes sense in the onscreen context and with the visual aids Rainbow Circuit has built into the design. Rift is your ticket to get weird with additive synthesis, if you desire.

Additive synthesis as a concept is easy: you add sinewave oscillators in parallel to build up a sound’s spectral content. Adjust the amplitude of the different partials, choose even or odd partials, and so on, and you get different timbres.

Rift’s conceit is to give you lots of lovely geometric abstractions of what you’re doing, custom configurable partial oscillators, and plenty of modulation. In brief:

  • 48-partial oscillator, tuned to the harmonic series, with presets for triangle, square, and saw, plus –
  • A custom mode for drawing in your own user partials with quick-access to thinning out to odd, even, fifth, or octave partials
  • Transposition (in semitones or cents), pitch modulation (with multiple sources)
  • White noise source
  • Smoothing (as otherwise, you get some clicks and pops, though you might like that)
  • Frequency modifiers: Shift, Funnel, Segment, and Interval, each with its own character for detuning in harmonic and inharmonic ways
  • Amplitude modifiers: Brickwall (with low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, band-stop modes), Ripple, Segment
  • Two envelope generators
  • Two LFOs

The frequency modifiers and amplitude modifiers are the heart of the fun here; each comes with a visualization to tickle your geometry synesthesia and offers unique sounds. Nothing quite sounds like Rift. Developer Takuma Matsui continues to innovate. And you can get some gorgeous sounds.

Here’s a little (somewhat odd) jam with Rift, plus Wriggle and Petal (also by Takuma-san), as well as GrainyDay by AVAL (also Max for Live) and Efx FRAGMENTS by Arturia.

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