The German company Air Music Technology (formerly known as Wizoo Sound Design) has released THE RISER; an all-new instrument for designing musical transition effects. In fact, it is a synthesiser based transition designer especially for Electronic Dance Music (EDM).
But – is it really only usable for EDM? Or could also composers for film, tv and games have a use out of it? If you follow me in this review we will find it out!
- Transition designer optimized for electronic music production, scoring, and remix work
- 3 editable oscillators; sweep, noise, and chord
- 3 LFOs; free-running, tempo-synced, and Pumper
- 23 filter types including multi-pole and phase shift
- 300 professionally designed, editable presets
- Randomizer generates patches at the click of a button
- Invert mode creates complementary patches by instantly changing transition direction
- Easy MIDI-Learn Mode; just click and twist to assign parameters to your favorite MIDI controller hardware
- Pumper effect creates pulsating movement
- Configurable delay and reverb with wet/dry processing; 4 reverb types
- Adjustable panning movements and master stereo width
After having downloaded the installer the installation process itself was flawless and easy. The installer provides all important plugin formats as VST (32/64bit) qualified for Ableton Live, Cubase and many other DAWs, AudioUnit (64bit only) qualified for Logic Pro X and AAX (32/64bit) qualified for ProTools 10.3 and 11.x. After a few clicks THE RISER is installed on your system.
THE RISER uses PACE as copy protection and all you need is an iLok account. An iLok USB key is NOT needed, although if you have one, you have the possibility to transfer the license to your key. I know that some people say NO to any software which is dongled with an iLok. They may have been right in the past but nowadays – as an iLok USB dongle isn’t needed anymore and iLok accounts are free and a registration takes only a few minutes – this discussion is obsolete, I think.
Interface & Routing
The signal flow is pretty simple and straight forward. THE RISER has three generators (like oscillators) as soundsource – Sweep, Noise and Chord. Each paramter is adjustable via a curve with a starting and ending point.The shape of each curve can be changed by clicking and dragging. Pending on the sound generator you can decide if the volume sweeps from quiet to loud, the pitch goes up or down (you can change frequencies also to notes) and each generator has its own volume knob where you can adjust the volume and mix those three sources together before the signal routes into the filter – if you want.
Each parameter can be additionally modulated by two LFOs. LFO A runs free, LFO B is tempo synced to your host. A very nice feature is, that you can fade on each parameter with a crossfader which LFO should influence in percentage the paramter. This means that in the end you can use them together, independently or partially. On the left hand of the LFO section there is also a small ‘Tips’section where you get short but important hints.
The length of the transition is based on the tempo of your DAW host and als depends on the note you hit on your keyboard. Lower octaves are slow and long, higher octaves fast and short transitions. If you use the modwheel you can also invert the transition pending if it is a drop or a riser.
Leaving the sound generators the signal routes into the filter which has in total 23 (!) different filter types. From Lowpas to HiPas and Bandpass every filter type with different slopes and styles. As known from nearly any synthesiser the filter frequency and resonance can be edited by their own controller. The filter has also an additional distortion section with five different distortion models to beef up your sound. Pending on the model it can be subtle to very gritty. As known from the sound generator section all parameters can be modulated.
The amp section controls global volume and stereo panorama. To achieve a pumping sidechaining effect there is a third LFO called Pumper which is tempo synced to the host and the depth to the signal can be adjusted separately. Also here as usual, all parameters can be modulated.
As effect there is a tempo synced delay and a reverb with four reverb models. The usual suspects are availbale as parameters. A nice addition is, that delay and pumper can be locked. The decay section has the same functionality than the release parameter on an envelope and last but not least the Master section where volume output and stereo width are controlled.
Well the 300 presets show everything you can do with THE RISER. Pitch- and Atonal Pitch-, Resonance-, Modulated- and Rhythmical Drops and Risers in all flavours and colors. Most of them are perfect for EDM, Dubstep, Drum And Bass and all kind of electronic music and therefore I have the feeling it is really aimed for. BUT with the tweaking possibilites even Sound Designers or Composers for Movie, Film and TV will get enough out of it.
During my testing I was working on a library production with a sound designish kind of trailers. As I like to design my own sounds rather than to take some samples THE RISER was perfect for me and this production. Nearly every transition in this cues have been made or layered with THE RISER.
I’ve never seen such a straight forward working and easy to use synthesiser like THE RISER. Sure, it is no full featured synthesizer like Massive, Spire or any other – and made for a special topic, but even for this it is pretty simple. If you want to create your own transition or customize one of the 300 Presets – easy going. If you have experience in using and programming synthesisers or not – THE RISER makes it easy to get very fast good results and with a little time investment the perfect unique sounding transition for your projects.
I also like several small but clever features which have been implemented. The INVERT and SWAP buttons allows to check variations of one sound within seconds. INVERT reverses the sound generator controls, leaving the effects unchanged, while SWAP reverses everything including the effects. As a good starting point, if you don’t know what you want is the so called randomizer. A paradise to get inspired.
The only thing I don’t like is, that it can be very annoying to adjust the starting and endpoints of different curves as the switches therefore are really small. You have to aim very good with the mouse. But this a small CON and only complaining on a high level.