Metamusic Generative Tools (2MGT) offers the EVOX Limited Version virtual synthesizer as a free download for Windows.
EVOX v1.0 (32-bit) is an experimental synth that works as a standalone application for Windows.
The EVOX synth has 2 layers (A/B) that you can use individually or together to create more complex patches. The GUI looks very busy at a glance, but each layer has duplicate controls, so it’s not as much to get to grips with as it first seems.
First up is the wavetable selector, where you can choose from the 6 built-in wavetables or your own user wavetables. Your selection here sets the foundations of your sound that you can then shape in various ways. 2MGT says that wavetable/granular synthesis is the primary method of manipulation, which lends itself well to evolving pads and soundscapes.
At the time of writing, I haven’t yet tested EVOX (no access to a Windows system today, unfortunately), but I like the granular aspect of it. Granular synthesis is when an audio sample is split into tiny segments called grains for anyone less familiar with it. It’s a great way to add all kinds of texture to your sound.
Grains usually range from 1 – 100 milliseconds, but there are controls to alter the grain size, wavetable position, and multi-tonality mode. EVOX also has a randomizer for those parameters, which is always interesting with granular synthesis.
With no keyboard, the sound is generated by pressing the playback button, which has multiple playback modes. Pitch is determined through pitch/transpose, pitch shift, and fine pitch controls. Pitch shifting is available up to +/- 24 semitones.
EVOX has a 16 step (8×2) crossfade pattern sequencer. Each step contains an individual patch that crossfades into the next to create longer evolving patterns. You can fine-tune the length, pitch, and other parameters of each step, as well as the crossfade time ratio.
2MGT describes EVOX as a platform to create drones, soundscapes, and ambient music. I think it seems like it does that and a bit more. There are a couple of sound demos on the website, and they showcase a fairly versatile range. All of the sounds on the demos come from stock presets with no further tweaking.
As we are talking about EVOX Limited Version, I should say it does come with some limitations. Unlike the paid (donation) version, you can’t save patches, patterns, or banks, nor can you access Edit mode.
Three’s more to EVOX than I’ve covered, but as I’ve not yet tried it out, I’d love to hear your opinions on it in the comments.
More info: EVOX