Aegis is a freeware phase distortion synthesizer VSTi plugin (Windows only) developed by Xenobioz and based on an old Amiga virtual synthesizer called Sonix.
After the amazing Cybermath wavetable synthesizer which was released earlier this month, here comes yet another out of the ordinary freeware virtual instrument which proudly stands out in the crowd consisting of more or less generic subtractive synthesizers. Aegis is not a groundbreaking or revolutionary virtual instrument (nor was it intended to be so – after all, it’s a close emulation of an old Amiga virtual synthesizer), however it does pack some rather interesting features and offers a refreshingly different workflow.
Instead of the standard oscillator section and the common array of saw/pulse/sine waveforms, Aegis comes with a pair of user-editable waveform generators which work as the signal source for the oscillator section, as well as the LFO module. To make things even more interesting, it is possible to add 2nd and 3rd harmonics to the currently active waveform with a single mouse click. The waveform editor also features a small but handy set of preset waveforms which can be used as a starting point for further waveform editing.
Surprisingly enough, the filter section is limited to a single low-pass filter module with fixed resonance, however it does work rather well for creating fat analogue style bass sounds, as you can hear in the demo video which is attached to this article. The filter can be modulated by the ADSR envelope and the LFO section.
Speaking of the ADSR envelope, it features three additional knobs (apart from the standard ADSR sliders) which can be used to modify the slopes of the attack, decay and release curves. This provides a nice and easy way to make a patch snappier or more rounder sounding, as well as to get some super smooth envelope decays and fade-outs.
My favorite part of this instrument’s synthesis engine is the phase distortion module which is more or less the heart and soul of Aegis. With just two controls (for speed and modulation depth), the phase distortion module can turn a simple boring patch into a lovely organic sounding one. At extremely low speed settings you can get some beautiful evolving sounds (perfectly suitable for pads or those long bass sequences which gradually change over time), whereas the higher speed settings lead to fatter and more solid sounding patches.
The plugin was created using SynthEdit and it is limited to 32-bit Windows based plugin hosts. It would be truly amazing if all SynthMaker plugins could go 64-bit (and perhaps even Mac OS compatible) some day.
Aegis is available for free download via Xenobioz (2.6 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit).