Review: Cruiser by Soundiron

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Cruiser is a vintage monophonic & polyphonic synth derived from the rare string synth, the Siel Cruise (AKA Sequential Fugue) that will have you cruising through the 70’s and 80’s.

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Review: Cruiser by Soundiron

 

Cruiser boasts 32 preset banks (16 sustains and 16 staccatos) and these are conveniently laid out on keyswitches as well as a bank display in the center of the console graphic. The GUI displays an angled console graphic against a stunning neon 70’s disco-like logo in an homage to the analog console which has these neat spaceship-looking levers instead of sliders.

Cruiser sells for $29 from Soundiron

Thoughts

When you open Cruiser, you can’t help but want to try out all the levers. On the GUI there’s a lever which controls each of: Volume, Attack, Offset, Release Vibrato, and Octave. An additional lever to the left side of the console graphic controls Glide—or portamento. Increase Glide and Vibrato to get your most operatic thereministic lyricism on the sustain banks or use with staccato banks if you fancy having a goofy-sounding conversation with R2-D2.

Click the little gear below “Soundiron” on the wallpaper (it lights up when you hover over it) to reveal controls for LFO Filter and Arpeggiator. All of these parameters can be manipulated while in the main GUI window (on the Performance Tab) and while playing, giving you an experience close to working on an analog console.

LFO can be assigned to Volume, Bass, Treble, Pitch, Pan, Resonance, or Frequency and can be tempo locked to your DAW. You can choose the waveform by clicking either the icon or using the drop-down menu.

Filter allows you to adjust the number of steps from 2-32. You can choose from 13 types: Legacy, LP6, Ladder LP1, Ladder LP2, Ladder LP3, Ladder LP4, Ladder HP1, Ladder HP2, Ladder HP3, Ladder HP4, Ladder Peak, Ladder Notch, Formant 1 and Phaser. The Filter has 12 sources to choose from: Velocity Frequency, Velocity Resonance, Modwheel Frequency, Modwheel Resonance, Expression Frequency, Expression Resonance, Aftertouch Frequency, Aftertouch Resonance, Key Position Frequency, Key Position Resonance, Graph Frequency, and Graph Resonance.

ARP will let you sequence up to 32 steps. You can turn the velocity graph on or off.

There’s a menu at the top left within the ARP’s column—the button changes the graphic to show which setting is selected, the default is “As Played.” This menu lets you choose from 14 different behaviors for the arpeggiator: Up, Down, Up-Down, Down-Up, Zig Zag Up, Zig Zag Down, Zig Zag Up-Down, Zig Zag Down-Up, Move In, Move Out, In & Out, Out & In, EZ-Roll, Random, and As Played. The only problem with this is that you have to memorize the symbols because it doesn’t highlight the current one for you in the dropdown menu.

The time menu does the same—when you make a selection it changes the graphic displayed on the button so you know what note value is currently selected.

At the top right you can choose between 3 modes for the ARP. In Normal it will only play a note while the key is held down. In Hold it will repeat the last keys pressed so changing keys changes the notes being repeated in an endless ostinato (I actually couldn’t get out of this, I had to change the mode or turn the Arpeggiator off). The third mode is Hold +/- and similar to Hold this mode will repeat the most recently pressed keys, however in this mode if you press a key that is part of the current cycle again, it will remove that note from the pattern. I found Hold +/-mode great for creating sequences of runs—I was able to do a two octave chromatic scale and keep remove one note at a time at the bottom. The fact that the ARP can take so many steps and has different patterns available means you can get a lot of variety very easily. Saving your arpeggiator settings is one of my favorite features of this instrument.

The excitement doesn’t end there; Cruiser has another hidden window of fun. Click on FX Rack tab to get at the DSP effects rack. There are 10 total slots; 8 banks in the rack and 2 post sends. Signal flow is left to right and then the next row below. You can select EQ, Chorus, Tape Saturator, Jump, Distortion, Delay, Reverb, Amplification, Transient, Master, Cabinet, Filter, Flanger, Compressor, Apocalypse Micro Fi (Lo Fi), Phaser, Rotator, Skreamer, or Stereo Model. There are some very cool effects in this including 8 effects presets: Event Horizon, Skrate, Code 7, Cooling Off, Industrie, Rehearsal Space, Wilder, Clipper. One especially nice feature is that you can save your settings as a preset.

Overall, Cruiser delivers a stylish and accessible encounter with a vintage synth. The controls are almost all right at your fingertips, allowing quick experimentation and tweaking which is precisely what is most enjoyable about the analog consoles. I like that the banks are on keyswitches for ease of playing continuously, but I wish the instrument had a bit more range into the bass. As it is, it is perfectly suitable for lead and does go an octave and a third below middle C.

I also wish there were a way to have multiple LFO and multiple filters on the Performance Tab running at once. They are so fun I want to create even more combinations.

Cruiser offers a smooth ride into the space-age, techno sounds of the 70’s and 80’s

Facts

2.10 GB Installed
Requires Kontakt 5.5.2+
$29

Cruiser sells for $29 from Soundiron

 

Demos of Cruiser by Soundiron

Videos of Cruiser by Soundiron

 

Contributor Alex Mueller reviews Cruiser by Soundiron
“Cruiser is a vintage monophonic & polyphonic synth derived from the rare string synth, the Siel Cruise (AKA Sequential Fugue) that will have you cruising through the 70’s and 80’s.”