WOPR – new polyphonic virtual analog synthesizer with unique evolving modulation
WOPR is a polyphonic, stereo virtual analog synthesizer with totally unique evolving modulation driven by vintage 1970s cellular automata. It’s made for iPad 2 or later only. WOPR is a performance instrument, a stand-alone instrument in the same spirit as the Korg Monotron.
It’s brilliantly playable: the full-width Wribbon keyboard lets you play pitch-perfect notes every time, then bend them like a guitar god to convey your inner pain to the screaming masses.
It’s performance-friendly: you can create customized control panels for comfortable access to parameters. That’s much better than contorting your fingers to fit some tiny panel layout.
WOPR is a seriously powerful analog, but what sets it apart is its modulation grid: you paint a pattern of cells into a grid, set the tempo, hit ‘run’ and let the cellular automata evolve your pattern. You link areas of the grid to any of the synth’s parameters and your patches come to life, rhythmically pulsating as the patterns shift with each beat. Constrain parameters to ranges for tight control over rhythmic modulation, or set them free to dynamically breed new patches.
Being a virtual analogue synthesizer, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include some allusion to the past. Here it is: the modulation grid is a bona fide 1970s invention called Conway’s Game of Life. Look it up, marvel at the infinite variety of patterns, geek out on the math, then put them to work twisting knobs in WOPR.
The core synth engine justifies its powerful modulation. WOPR has:
- 2 pannable oscillators with sine, saw, square and triangle waves. Each oscillator has an incredible range: 32′ to 1′, with +/- 500 cent detune (a perfect fourth either way). There’s also a white noise generator.
- 3 ADSR envelopes, 2 assignable between osc 1 & 2 and the third dedicated to the noise source.
- 2 fruity, resonant 24Db/octave low pass filters, assignable to osc 1 & 2 or to the left and right stereo channels.
- 2 delays, a free-running delay with fine control over low intervals, and a tempo-synced delay running from 32nds to two whole beats. Delays are independent, or can be assigned to feed eachother in any sequence. Howls, rings and reverbs are easy to create; so are good, old-fashioned solid, rhythmic delays.
- 2 octave, full-width Wribbon keyboard: play piano like a guitar, bending individual notes or entire chords. All without losing fixed-key pitch accuracy when you don’t want to bend. Best of all the whole width of your iPad 2 is there for performance.
- 6 voice polyphony. If that’s not enough (maybe you have tiny fingers), it comes with the best note stealing algorithm on the iPad.
- Modulation matrix: use this to link controls to the Game of Life, or simply use it to define a custom control panel for easy performance.
WOPR is version 1.0.0. It doesn’t yet have these features, but they’re being worked on:
- Audio copy/paste (it’s coming soon.)
- A giant preset library. (More are available for free download within the app.)
WOPR’s architecture might change a bit too. It’s young and has a lot of growing up to do. Right now Omnivore is experimenting with stereo BPF & LPF filters that you can insert into various places in the signal pipeline. We’re looking at ways to drive a wavetable library from the grid, too. Feedback is welcome, so please send your requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, what does WOPR stand for? Anything you like. Wave Oscillator Piano Replacement? Wickedly Optimized for Phat Response? Who knows. All we can say is that it’s the synth David Lightman would choose…