ROLI has released Equator2, which they say extends Equator's leadership in MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) focused sound design while adding a wealth of new capabilities that put it on par with the most advanced, fully equipped synths available to music-makers today.
Years in the making, ROLI believes that their new flagship synth marks a coming of age for MPE. They say that the launch of Equator in 2015 pioneered a new approach to expressive sound design, though primarily on the ROLI Seaboard for which it was created, and that Equator2 offers a vastly expanded range of tools for shaping MPE sounds, and is now part of a much larger MPE ecosystem.
Roland Lamb, CEO of ROLI, told us, "Ever since I invented the Seaboard over 10 years ago, we've worked to develop sound engines and sonic approaches that realize the expressive potential of the instrument. Our approach to expressive electronic music -- as embodied in the Seaboard -- helped support the development of MPE and a whole new range of MPE-optimized hardware and software instruments. Now a decade into this trajectory, we're realizing the world's first true flagship MPE synth engine: Equator2. It can go head to head, feature by feature and preset by preset, with the best sound engines and plugins in the world. But it also has unparalleled capabilities for shaping sounds multidimensionally through expressive touch. The release of Equator2 is an important milestone for expressive electronic music."
Comprehensively expanded and upgraded, Equator2 has an array of new features including:
A broader array of synthesis engines
Six fully assignable source slots let you build unique sounds, drawing on a wide range of synthesis engines. A wavetable oscillator with a library of over 240 waveforms combines with a high-resolution multi-sampler, a granular engine, FM and more to provide an infinite palette of sounds and textures.
New multi-sampled instruments
Equator2 includes 42 new multi-sampled instruments with over 180 articulations and variations. From vintage synthesizers like the Roland System-100 to world acoustic instruments like the Sitar and Koto, the samples are richly detailed and highly adaptable, opening new possibilities for sound design. Import your own samples easily.
A powerful, versatile modulation system
Equator2's versatile modulation system -- evolved from the Cypher2, Strobe2, and Equator engines -- makes it easy to add modulation to any parameters. A flexible assembly of envelopes, LFOs, key-tracking sources, and macros animate patches and help you create deeply expressive sounds.
An expanded effects section
Equator2 gives you the power to shape sounds with a vastly expanded rack of effects, filters and dynamics processors. It's easy to arrange and reorder effects with a flexible routing system and drag-and-drop slots.
An even larger library of MPE sounds, plus new standard MIDI sounds
Equator2 ships with the biggest, broadest library of MPE sounds in existence. With over 1,300 expertly crafted presets -- including over 500 new sounds built for MPE and 800 standard MIDI presets for conventional controllers -- Equator2 offers a kaleidoscope of sounds for any music maker.
Angus Hewlett, VP Engineering, Research and Technology at ROLI and founder of FXpansion, said, "Equator2 is a distillation of all we've learned at ROLI and FXpansion about expressive instruments and multidimensional MPE synthesis. Whether you're already using an MPE controller like the Seaboard or a conventional MIDI keyboard, Equator2 is a deep and powerful synth that puts expressive sound design at your fingertips."
Pricing and Availability:
Equator2 will sell for $249. It is now available for a time-limited, launch-period offer of $199. Equator2 is available on Mac and Windows as an AU and VST. Owners of Equator, Cypher2, Strobe2, and ROLI Studio can upgrade to Equator2 for $99, discounted from the normal upgrade price of $149.