MATRIXSYNTH: Introducing... The Swarm, By Artium Instruments

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Introducing... The Swarm, By Artium Instruments

video upload by Artium Instruments

"Artium Instruments is thrilled to introduce its very first offering, The Swarm, a polyphonic desktop synthesizer."

via Artium on Kickstarter

At Artium Instruments, we approach our designs with the understanding that musicians cultivate intimate connections with the gear they employ to create their art. We firmly believe that instruments ought to possess not just functionality, but also personality, character, and a distinct identity that inspires its user. First and foremost, we've dedicated significant effort to ensuring that the synthesizer and onboard effects produce exceptional sound quality akin to professional studio-grade equipment. The Swarm features a SuperSaw oscillator with 8-note polyphony, curated onboard effects, and a full-featured arpeggiator.

At Artium Instruments we are committed to knob-for-knob functionality in our desktop synths. Every feature of The Swarm is directly mapped to a knob, button, switch, or jack, ensuring effortless control. There's no need for menu-diving or complicated button presses to access features; everything is conveniently accessible at your fingertips.

With over a decade of experience in the effects industry, we have carefully curated a selection of effects that complements the synth core. Unique to The Swarm is its capability to use the onboard effects with other equipment, allowing you to route external audio through the input jacks on the back.

We've invested considerable thought into crafting the overall feel of the instrument. From the layout of the knobs to the choice of colors, artwork, and weight of the enclosure, every detail has been considered. These details matter to us because we recognize that the connection a user forms with a piece of gear is nearly as crucial in the creative process as the sounds it produces. We hope you can feel the love and passion we've poured into every detail of The Swarm, from its sonic capabilities to its design aesthetics.

The Swarm is controlled by MIDI through a USB-C port. Most modern class-compliant MIDI controllers with USB functionality should plug in and work immediately with zero setup. Additionally, The Swarm provides power to your controller, streamlining your setup process. For older controllers that only have DIN connections, a USB to DIN converter can be used to ensure compatibility.

The Swarm features a SuperSaw oscillator with 8-note polyphony. This oscillator is composed of seven individual saw waves stacked on top of each other. The magic happens when you detune the waveforms by applying a frequency offset, resulting in one of the most massive synth sounds available.

The Swarm employs this SuperSaw oscillator through two distinct control modes: Polyphonic Mode and Arpeggiator Mode. In Polyphonic Mode, you can play up to eight notes simultaneously. Arpeggiator Mode offers a comprehensive monophonic arpeggiator, automatically sequencing held notes in a variety of patterns.

All onboard effects can be used with external equipment. Simply plug an external audio source into the rear input jacks, and The Swarm will seamlessly mix the external audio with its synth core, allowing for simultaneous processing of both signals.

By pressing the touchpad on the right, The Swarm records a 1000ms sample of the current audio. It then layers, and smears the sample, creating an infinite drone frozen in time—a perfect foundation for layering additional notes. The freeze effect facilitates overdubbing, and pressing the touchpad with the freeze knob at its minimum setting erases the memory, allowing you to capture a fresh sample.

The Swarm's delay is a digital delay with a subtle touch of warmth. The delay length synchronizes with the arpeggiator clock, which can be adjusted manually using the clock knob or via the tap tempo touchpad on the left. Additionally, the delay features a multiplier knob, offering a range of unique subdivisions that complement the synced arpeggiator, including quarter notes, dotted eighth notes, eighth notes, and triplets.

The reverb effect in The Swarm strives to enhance the natural body and ambience of the synth core without overshadowing it. Its stereo reverb algorithm is controlled by a single knob, which adjusts both the mix and decay simultaneously. This versatile control allows you to seamlessly transition from realistic room or hall effects to expansive cathedral-like soundscapes, offering a wide range of atmospheric possibilities.

The SuperSaw oscillator practically demands to be paired with a chorus effect. The Swarm employs a stereo 4-voice chorus effect alongside a gradually shifting LFO, aiming to craft dimensionality without becoming nauseating.

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