Oh boy, this is a big one! I’m very excited to finally introduce our new instrument: Objekt Modeling Synthesizer, a new Rack Extension designed for real acoustic sounds—familiar or yet unheard.
Like most devices we make, Objekt started with a need. When talking to producers, diving into the charts, and exploring underground genres I realized something that in hindsight shouldn’t have been surprising. Music today is a real melting pot of different sounds. Everywhere I looked songs were sprinkled with interesting acoustic, organic instruments. Dynamic percussion, processed bells and mallets, traditional instruments, even interesting textures that had a realistic character.
So, the question became: how could we help? How can music makers get new sounds with an acoustic flavor? Sounds that can’t be easily duplicated by just any plugins or samples. Sounds you can still tweak to sound unique. Enter physical modeling synthesis! And so, co-founder and DSP guru Peter Jubel went deep into research mode.
Physical modeling is a synthesis method that reproduces the behavior of real acoustic sounds. It’s based on one or more resonators (think of it like the actual instrument, a bell or string for example) and an exciter (the thing that sets the instrument in motion, like a mallet or guitar pick). Most of the physical modeling instruments out there either reproduce a very specific instrument—like our own Friktion—or hide a lot of the parameters behind preset settings. After a lot of testing, we decided to go the opposite direction and open the hood on physical modeling synthesis, presenting it like what it is: a synthesizer.
As development progressed, we were completely floored by what Objekt was capable of. It made extremely dynamic and realistic reproductions of well-known instruments, but it could also create brand new sounds that still sounded decidedly real. With the important parameters easily accessible it was very easy to start from a patch and tweak it into a variation unique to you. In fact, making patches was so rewarding that the development team spent more time on that than almost anything else on this device.
Still, physical modeling is not your parents’ synthesis. Starting from zero can be daunting. To make sure anyone could jump in and get going we added templates for the resonators for easy starting points and a powerful Randomizer that’s capable of both subtle variations and generating a brand-new sound from scratch. And of course, there’s already an in-depth tutorial to get you going:
Objekt is also a perfect fit in the Reason Rack. Go modular with the CV and audio connections (try using an external Exciter signal!), play it with Players, build your perfect device chain in the Combinator, and work how you’re used to with Reason’s native undo, browser, and more. I personally can’t wait to see Objekt show up in Reason+ Sound Packs either, it really adds a new category of sounds.
Now here we are on launch day, and I’m completely convinced Objekt is the most unique and innovative instrument we’ve ever made. It opens the door wide to a whole new world of sounds that simply can’t be made with anything else. If I can leave you with one recommendation, it’s this: try it and dare to experiment. Where you end up might sound familiar or like an imaginary instrument that doesn’t exist. Until now.
Mattias Häggström Gerdt
Product Manager, Music Making