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The Sound of Rapture

Cakewalk delivers a strong new Wavetable soft synth for Mac and PC By Frank Moldstad

Cakewalk has been on a soft synth tear recently, releasing three strong virtual instruments as standalone products -- Z3TA+, Dimension Pro and the newest one, Rapture, which, like Dimension Pro, has been released for both Mac and PC.

A Wavetable synthesizer, Rapture ($259 MSRP) can produce a broad array of unique and highly customizable sounds, from airy floating pads to overdriven anabolic leads. Electronica music fans will find a treasure trove here, but the deep controls give Rapture flexibility for many music styles. It comes with 500 programs, grouped as basses, leads, pads, splits, keys, bells, simulations, drum and sequences. Rapture can also load single sample Wave and AIFF format files of one minute or less, or multisample SFZ files containing key mapping and velocity switching assignments.

On the PC, Rapture requires Windows XP with at least a Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or Athlon XP 1500+ chip, and is compatible with DXi, VST and/or RTAS formats. On the Mac, it requires OS X 10.3.9 or higher with a G4 1.2 GHz chip, and supports VST, AU and/or RTAS formats.

Intrigued by the opportunity to use a Cakewalk product on a Mac, I installed Rapture on a dual 2.7 GHz PowerMac G5, using Logic Pro 7 as the host and an old Roland JP-8000 analog modeling synth as a controller. The installation was straightforward, but I was surprised to find that Rapture needed to run as an AU instrument. Apparently, the Rapture VST when wrapped does not pass Apple AU validation. But this did not present a problem, and Rapture launched and played back normally as an AU instrument. After browsing through Raptures programs, it soon became apparent that it was a great complementary addition to Logic Pro 7s diverse group of virtual instruments, with a strong implementation of the Wavetable synth format.

Rapture's main interface

Wavetable synths use audio samples as the basis of their sounds. Raptures architecture has an efficient design that allows it to use single-cycle audio files, playing them across the entire keyboard with no aliasing. And as well see, the basic programs are just the beginning they can be radically altered with things like effects, a Low Frequency Oscillator, an Envelope Generator and a Step Generator.

Using Rapture on a basic level is uncomplicated just load the program and go. But knob tweakers will love the multiple parameters and levels of control this instrument provides.  Fortunately, the interface does a good job of presenting things, so youre not forced to burrow down through submenus to access the controls. Everything is available from just two screens, the main interface and one with global settings. 

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Related Keywords:Cakewalk, soft synth, Rapture, Wavetable, synthesizer, Mac, Z3TA+, Dimension Pro, virtual instrument


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