Review: CRYO by Ecliptiq Audio
Almost every parameter is adjustable
Comprehensive set of filters and effects
Simple to use sequencer and arpeggiator
Easy to use
Randomizing feature can open unexpected sonic potential
Tweak-heads delight, if you’re not a tweak-head
Needs time to hone sounds
Many of the patches cannot be played chromatically
Presets are less than inspiring
No real way to go back to a previous combination when changing parameters
Can get lost fiddling with the various modulators
CRYO is a simple but powerful soft synth that will reward a little work and patience with singular results. While it is being marketed as dystopian, it is equally capable of creating beautiful, haunting passages that dynamically change over time. This makes it ideal for underscore and atmosphere. While if does need some tweaking to get the best results, those willing to put in the time will be amply rewarded.
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Review of CRYO by Ecliptiq Audio
CRYO is a simple, easy to use soft synth with deep editing features. Using the powerful granular sampling features of Kontakt, it provides composers with the ability to create unique, evolving soundscapes. Based on some 180 different sound sources, CRYO allows the composer to endlessly sculpt the sound. It hosts a convolution reverb that contains over 250 impulse responses, a full complement of effects that can be assigned in any combination, and 6 different types of modulators that are fully programmable. With that kind of control, it’s pretty easy to create something weird and unsettling. Unexpectedly, it’s also pretty good at generating haunting, ethereal soundscapes that would not be amiss in an episode of ‘Stranger Things’.
Anyone working in the trailer or cinematic world should definitely check it out. Cryo does need some tweaking and knob twiddling to get the best results, so if you’re more of a preset person with little inclination to dive deep, it may not be for you. But those willing to put in the time will be rewarded.
CRYO by sells for $129 from Ecliptiq Audio
“Wish (Naked)” using CYRO by MCR
CRYO is the flagship product of Ecliptiq, a small and eclectic music software company, specializing in niche products at a very low price point. This is their first substantial foray into the mainstream soft-synth market. Hopefully, it will not be their last. While there are other outstanding soft-synth products out there, CRYO definitely holds its own and offers something unique; easy to use tweakability!
The developers certainly thought things through carefully. It’s one of the clearest, most intuitively laid out GUI’s I’ve ever encountered. I mean it. There is a manual that comes with the product, but it’s not very informative. Basically it just lays out what each menu item is. There are no real, step-by-step instructions on how to use the various features, which is just as well. If you have any experience working with synths, you can pretty much figure out what each button does for yourself. And if you don’t, experimenting is a lot of fun and a great way to learn! It took me less than an hour to start recording with it. (See Demo Below)
You basically fire up the instrument in Kontakt. There’s only one NKI to load, which is great.
No need to have multiple instances open at the same time for layering and so on. While there is a bit of a hit on the CPU, it’s nothing that my MacBook pro 2011 i7 couldn’t handle. That’s a testament to the design team who put this together.
Pretty much everything that you might imagine needing or wanting to adjust is basically just one page away. The menu tabs are self-explanatory. Sound is…well where you find your presets and sound samples. Presets, where all the presets are stored. ADSR where all your envelope settings are…well you get the point! There are two sound sources or modules that can be combined or played separately. Both have extensive controls, which can be tweaked individually. With a bit of virtual knob twiddling, you are almost guaranteed to find something musically useful.
Speaking of knob twiddling, the GUI is very intuitive and extremely easy to use. It responds very well to mouse actions. There’s no lag or hesitation, which can’t be said for other, popular, much more expensive products. If you have a dedicated midi controller with lots of sliders and knobs, you’ll be happy. Most of the controls in CRYO can be assigned to any CC# midi controller you like. This adds another layer of dynamics that you can manipulate in real time, adding realism to your performance.
One outstanding feature that needs mentioning is the ATMO tab. Here is where the 250 impulse responses can be accessed. Each module can access any of these responses. Where it becomes interesting is when you insert different instances on each module. Some of them are quite radical in the way they manipulate the original samples adding harmonics and ghost notes. Each impulse response can be tweaked with pre-delay and high-pass and low-pass filters altering the sound even more. Playing with the dry and wet knobs can produce some surprising and fascinating textures. In fact, this is where I spent most of my time and came up with a number of organic sounds. (See Demo Below)
There are 5 delay slots that can be filled with any combination of the 7 onboard effects. I must say that the included effects sound pretty good as is. You can also run them through one of 3 LFO modulators, which will apply the effects, or certain aspects of the effects that you choose to your sounds. Want to add just the feedback from the delay effect to your sound in time with your tempo? Can do. Want to pan the reverb tail back and forth behind your main sound? Can do. Want to see what happens when you apply all 3 modulators at the same time to your patch? Sit back. You’ll probably be blown away by the result.
Which brings me to my two main quibbles with this product.
Quibble one. I wish there was an easy way to save what you do. Right now, the only way I can see of doing that is to save it in Kontakt as a separate NKI. It would be great if modulated sounds could be saved in a user-preset section that could be easily called up without opening a new NKI.
Quibble two. As opposed to other soft synths or VI’s, with hundreds of ready to go gorgeous presets, CRYO’s presets are somewhat pedestrian. While serviceable, I found them to be mostly uninspiring. To my ears, they sound artificial and sterile, but when you start modulating the sounds, adding effects, and a good reverb, they truly come alive. You can create some incredible, evolving organic pads and pulses.
This is a definite advantage from my standpoint as a trailer and TV composer. In a saturated market where thousands are pitching for the same jobs, using the same sound libraries and soft synths, and as a result, sounding very much, well, the same, anything you can do to make your music stand out will be to your advantage. CRYO gives you that power in an easy to use, intuitive format, with a relatively small footprint on your computer’s resources. As long as you don’t mind tweaking and twiddling!
There are many other features available that we didn’t have the room to discuss in this review. By all means, play with it and experiment. Oh, and don’t forget to save as you go.
This library contains 11,000 samples and weighs in at around 8.5 GB. Please note, It needs Kontakt 5.6.5 or higher to run.
CRYO by sells for $129 from Ecliptiq Audio
“Wish (Naked) using CYRO by MCR