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November 8, 2004
Access Music announced their new VIRUS Total Integration (TI) Line of synthesizers, creating an advanced stage/standalone instrument, while simultaneously extending the product capabilities with a suite of studio integration features.
New synth features include greatly increased polyphony, 2 new oscillator types, a per-patch programmable arpeggiator, 16x2 delay/reverb fx, embedded singles in multi mode, and more. The new TI products link to your computer with VIRUSControl, a companion software product which ports the hardware synth into a host sequencer for use as a sample-accurate VST/AU instrument, simultaneously offering 2-way audio and MIDI connectivity, control surface functionality, editor and librarian functions, and more.
What is Total Integration?
A scalable USB link connects the VIRUS to a Mac or PC for total integration of synth and studio. The VIRUSControl plug-in automatically detects and connects the synth. From inside a host application, the plug-in enables the new VIRUS hardware to appear as a multi-channel VST/AU soft-synth with up to 4 sub-mixes (or 2 stereo), all with with sample-accurate timing and a delay-compensated audio/MIDI connection.
Seamless interconnectivity also provides a real benefit in the software sequencer environment. All multi-timbral sounds and settings used for a project are stored within it with the plug-in, for snapshot total recall plus editor and librarian functions with no SysEx or 3rd party software hassles.
The new VIRUS hardware is also well-equipped to capitalize on the power of Total Integration. With 24-bit 192KHz balanced analog, S/PDIF I/O and MIDI in and out ports, the new VIRUS is suited for use as the main audio and MIDI I/O center for your entire rig. These functions are especially practical for the laptop studio, offering an unmatched range of features and capabilities from one product.
Additionally, a new Remote Mode allows the VIRUS hardware to become a control surface for any MIDI-capable device or software, mapping each of the 33 knobs to a specific MIDI message. TI ships with a selection of templates and includes 32-user memories for custom controller maps.
New Improved Sound Engine
The power and performance of the synth engine havd been taken to new extremes, thanks to a newly optimized core. For starters, polyphony is more than doubled, to 80 voices under average conditions. Two completely new oscillator models have been added. First is the real Wavetable oscillator model. This unique algorithm can blend waves to create evolving motion or switch between them to create gritty lo-fi textures. Also new is HyperSaw. It taps up to 9 parallel sawtooth oscillators (plus 9 optional subs!) for colossal classic layers. The number of voices can be changed smoothly in realtime. Surprisingly, HyperSaw doesn't require additional power or reduce your polyphony. With 9 main plus subs per voice, the VIRUS TI can play over 1800 oscillators in realtime.
The Mod Matrix has also been expanded to 6 sources with three destinations each (18 routings total) for greater real-time control and patch programming freedom. The new Knob Quantize Mode syncs the effect of real-time or sequenced parameter changes to a pre-selected clock interval. Changes are updated on the selected pulse and held until the next, resulting in staggered parameter movements like those produced by a step sequencer.
The VIRUS TI also features the addition of a programmable arpeggiator. Users can create and store their own rhythmic pattern in every patch.
Enhanced with new power and resources, Multi Mode now embeds 16 patches for self-contained sounds you can tweak and transform without overwriting your singles or affecting other Multi programs. Use it to build impressive layers, splits, or poly-arps for performance or recording. A mode for use with sequencers is also provided, emulating the classic Multi which loads sounds from withinthe single banks.
In either case, the complete sound engine is always available to each Multi part, including dedicated delay and separate reverb fx for all 16 sounds. In effect, the full VIRUS TI single modes is replicated 16 times.
Optimization from the Ground Up
Besides adding convergence and synth engine features, Total Integration is built around a major hardware platform upgrade, sporting a complete redesign inside and out.
A large white graphic display shows multiple parameters at the same time which can be edited using three Soft Knobs. Keyboard models feature an illuminated logo on the I/O panel (it looks great, and even pulses in sync with the tempo for other musicians or the audience to enjoy).
Also new in the hardware, a Tap Tempo button helps live VIRUS musicians stay in sync with drummers and turntablists using a sophisticated algorithm based on Access' SyncXtreme technology.
Other Details and Enhancements
TI also employs studio-grade converters with 192 Khz/24-bit D/A. These are paired with +4 dB balanced inputs and outputs and a switchable soft limiting algorithm, and accompanied by S/PDIF digital stereo output and input as well. The onboard USB port is compatible with USB 2 specifications and works with USB and Hi-Speed USB devices and peripherals. For easy access to all these new jacks, the entire I/O panel of the TI desktop model can be rotated 90 degrees so the interface is on the rear panel. The 4U Rack mounting kit is also included with the desktop model.
The onboard memory has been drastically expanded: 512 RAM patches and 2048 (rewritable) ROM patches plus space for 16 self-contained Multi Mode programs described above. All these new numbers add up to one hell of a synthesizer.
Three New Models
The VIRUS TI Line is comprised of three different models which all share the same technology inside for identical soft specifications. Products are expected to ship in December 2004.
For more information, visit their web site at www.access-music.de