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Orion Pro is the is the affordable edition of Orion, for beginners and experienced users alike. It provides all the essential tools to get you started making music with your computer: sequencer and playlist for arranging the parts of your song, a selection of Generators with preset sounds, a range of Effects to process and modify those sounds, and a Mixer with everything you need to to bring it all together.
With an ASIO compatible soundcard, Orion Pro can achieve latency as low as 2 milliseconds. VSTi and DXi standard instrument plug-ins are supported, giving you access to a wide market of instrument plugins. The Sampler comes with an integrated Groove Slicer, which automatically chops up beats and grooves, which you can then rearrange in the sequencer. If you're ready to begin composing original music yourself, Orion Pro is for you. It provides you with the tools you need to create your own unique sound, and compose your music from the ground up - at a fraction of the price of even a humble home studio.
Realtime and exported 44.1 and 48 kHz playback rates are possible - suitable for recording to CD, or for post-production of your exported music in a third-party sample editor.
Orion Pro comes with a selection of 20 internal effects. Additionally, there is full support for third-party VST and DirectX software effects, which integrate seamlessly into the working environment
Orion Pro comes with the following generators:
•Tomcat - Versatile drum sound synthesizer
•Sampler - Multisample player with two LFOs and three envelopes. Supports reading many industry standard formats such as SoundFont (SF2), Akai S5000/6000 and many more
•Wasp - Virtual Analog synthesizer with two oscillators + subosc, two LFOs and three envelopes, integrated effect unit and six different filter modes. From the beautiful to the plain weird, from lush pads and strings to harsh leads and basses - the WASP does it all, and with conviction
•Drums - Flexible sample-based drum machine, with up to 18 tracks, containing its own step and velocity sequencer. Both single WAV files, as well as multisampled LM4 kits with velocity layers can be imported
•Monobass - Monophonic bass synth
•XR-909 - Analog drum synthesizer, with individual parameters for each of the eight individually modelled drum circuits. The XR909 contains its own step sequencer, but like all Orion generators, it can of course be controlled via MIDI, the piano roll or even PC keyboard as well
•Wavefusion - Wavetable synthesizer with three oscillators, three LFOs, three envelopes and three filter modes
•Screamer - 2-Oscillator virtual analog monosynth with special overdrive and accent/slide circuitry
•Plucked String - Physical modelling synth
•MIDI Out - Use this module to compose with external gear
•Plug-in Support - Full VSTi and DXi integration
Sequencing in Orion is pattern-based, but is not bound by the limitations of classic pattern-based arrangement.
Vintage pattern-sequencing features, such as step-sequencing, are preserved as optional extras, and combined with a high-precision piano roll sequencer - which provides plenty of editing functions, unlimited undo/redo, parameter automation and individual note velocity editing.
Using the playlist, you can easily arrange your patterns from individual generators into a complete piece of music. The playlist provides support for audio tracks, via a special generator for synchronized playback of pre-recorded WAV files, such as vocals or live instrumental recordings. Rather than having it's own interface like other generators, the Audio Track Generator integrates with the playlist, making it a simple task to add audio clips to your arrangement.
The flexible Mixer in Orion automatically expands as needed - whenever you add a new generator to your project, it's outputs are automatically connected to new channels on the Mixer.
Channels on the Mixer have all the common elements that you would expect to see on a real Mixer: gain, pan, mute and solo controls, stereo VU-meters, an EQ section, insert and send effects. All of the controls can be automated, simply by recording knob movements, or by manually editing the graphs in the event editor.
The EQ section is parametric, and consists of 7 parameters controlling 4 bands. Individual EQ sections can be switched to soft saturation ("analogue" clipping).
Each channel supports two insert effects in serial, and 4 send effect slots are available across the Mixer, with individual send amounts for each send on every channel.
Up to 4 insert effects (in serial) can be assigned to the master output. In Orion Pro, this is done via a dialog box.
Orion platinum comes with 20 high quality effects, and full support for all DirectX and VST effects. Integration of effect plugins is seamless - for example, the preset system works in the same manner for internal and plugin effects, and automation features are available where supported by the plugins.
Effects are assignable via the Mixer, where two Insert effects can be assigned per channel. Up to four global Send effects can be used in one song, and four master inserts can be assigned to the main output.
The screenshot on the left shows a couple of effects, and shows how to create and assign an insert effect via the Mixer.
Certain effects support audio and/or MIDI sidechains.
A sidechain is a secondary effect input, used by some effects that allow, or require, simultaneous processing of two different inputs.
The Sampler comes with an integrated Groove Slicer system, which makes it possible to cut up and rearrange sampled drum loops and grooves, from mono or stereo WAV files.
The Groove Slicer is fully automated - after adjusting a few simple parameters, it can automatically detect all the slices in a loop, and optionally reconstruct the original loop in a pattern. On most loops, automatic slicing is highly efficient, but of course you can also manually edit the slice points after the automatic slicer has done the basic work. Reconstruction of loops is a powerful feature in combination with another one of Orion's features: Groove Templates. By applying a Groove Template to your reconstructed loop in the sequencer, you can effectively apply a "feeling" to it: shuffle, groove, jazz swing, salsa etc.
Volume, panning and pitch of each individual slice can be adjusted, and you can of course use all of the other features from the Sampler, such as filtering, envelopes, velocity response and so on.
The sequencer comes with a special note editing feature, called Groove Templates. By applying a Groove Template to a pattern, you modify the timing, lengths and velocities of notes slightly, giving "feeling" to rhythms and grooves.
For example, Salsa, Shuffle and Jazz Swing templates are included - when you apply one of these templates to your pattern, it acquires a certain "feel" that is typical of a certain style of music.
Orion comes with an advanced Arpeggiator integrated into it's sequencing system, which can be used for sequencing as well as for realtime performance, like the arpeggiators you would find on performance keyboards.
The Arpeggiator creates melody lines from single notes and chords, using various predefined patterns. It has a large number of parameters you can play with, including a fully programmable autochord system.
It is often a great tool for inspirational experimentation, and if you come up with something good and decide you want to manually make changes to a few details, you can use the rendering feature, which will generate a non-realtime copy of the arp sequence into a pattern, as notes.
The impulse response processor (also called convolution reverb) is an effect exclusively available in Orion Platinum. It allows you to apply the sound of real spaces such as rooms, halls, cathedrals etc. on your mixes. The effect works in realtime, thus it can be used in live situations as well.
Any impulse response in WAV format can be loaded and used as a convolution source. 16, 24 and 32-bit WAV files are supported, both mono and stereo files at any sampling rate.
Orion provides full native support for all major VST and DX plugins, both instruments and effects.
Effect plugins (VST and DX) fully integrate with the entire system, and using them is identical to using internal effects - controls can be automated, and plug-in effects can be assigned freely as inserts, sends or master effects.
The integration with instrument plugins (VSTi and DXi) is completely seamless - sequencing, mixing, automation and effects processing all work exactly the same as with any of Orion's internal synthesizers.
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Comments about Synapse Audio Software Orion Pro Virtual Studio:
I write Electronic Industrial music. Orion is flexible enough to take me through the entire process, from writing the material, to recording it, to mixing, and through production and mastering. Orion comes with a handful of powerful software synthesizers and a studio's worth of professional-quality effects (including reverbs, delays, compression, chorus, distortion, saturation, bit-crushing, etc.), but supports VST, VSTi, and DirectX instruments and effects, just in case you want more! If you run into problems, there is a knowledgeable community in the forums section of the manufacturer's website. So far, the forum community has been able to solve every one of my issues (many of which were my own fault). My only gripe would be that Orion tends to crash, when using certain VST effects. That, however, is a problem with the VST instrument, or effect, and not of Orion, as a host. Well formed VSTs are extremely stable, within Orion. All said, Orion is an absolute gem that has, somehow, managed to fly under the radar. Orion is certainly worth a lot more press than it has been given. And for the price, you really can't beat it!