Sample Fuel has introduced Drop CRE8, a dual-layer synthesis engine for the free HALion Sonic SE software instrument VST/AU plugin by Steinberg.
Drop CRE8 is a virtual instrument powered by Steinberg HALion. This means that you will need to install HALion first in order to use it but the good news is that Drop CRE8 is fully compatible with the free HALion Sonic SE. So, you should first download and install the HALion Sonic SE rompler on your computer (more info available in our Röhrich 12AX7 article) and then proceed with installing Drop CRE8. The concept is similar to using Kontakt-based virtual instruments, except that there are no demo limitations in this case.
Ok, but what does Drop CRE8 do? The instrument features Sample Fuel’s custom-made CRE8 engine for loading samples which is used as the backbone of pretty much all of their products. In the case of Drop CRE8, the user has access to a sample layer and a granular layer. As you may have assumed, it is possible to load any audio file in the two available layers and use it as the sound source. The rest of the engine features an array of standard synthesizer building blocks like filters, envelopes, effects, modulation tools, and so on.
Due to the relative complexity of the synthesis engine, the developers decided to place all of the most important control parameters on the main page of the UI and offer additional tweaks in separate pages. For example, the Drop-S panel is where you’ll make all of the sample-related adjustments such as sample start, sample length, etc. Likewise, the Motion page is where the modulation sources are located, including two LFOs, a couple of step modulators, and three envelopes.
Drop CRE8 is a rather capable sample mangling tool which is only held back by the fact that it requires the installation of third-party software in order to work. Once you install HALion Sonic SE, though, you can use DropCRE8 like pretty much any other VST/AU/AAX plugin on PC and Mac. As a sound design tool, it is both easy to use and intuitive, unlike most granular instruments I’ve tested in the past. If you’re interested in experimenting with granular synthesis but don’t know where to start, be sure to give this one a try (but also don’t forget to check out the amazing PolyGAS instrument by Stone Voices).
Drop CRE8 is available for free download via Sample Fuel (54.8 MB download size, ZIP archive, compatible with HALion Sonic SE).