Concept is the first music-focused product from Krotos. We are mainly known for powerful sound design plugins for post-production and games (you might be familiar with plugins like Dehumaniser 2, Weaponiser, Igniter or Reformer Pro, which are used in top films and shows like the Avengers, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones and many more). We took the lessons we learnt from user experience, performability and making inspiring sounds, and applied them to a product specifically created for musicians. Soon after release, Concept was awarded ‘Best Plugin of NAMM 2020’ from Sonic State, (back when we could attend shows in person)!
So you may be asking ‘What’s the Concept behind Concept?’ (pun intended and acknowledged!)
Concept takes a new approach to modulation in particular, putting the ‘Krotos twist’ on a familiar musical problem. It simplifies working with modulation, focusing on a clear workflow, using clear colour coding for each modulator, so you never have to deep dive into menus, tabs or matrices to track the signal flow or find a source of modulation. Soft synths can often feel overwhelming, especially as a beginner; vast panels of identical knobs can make music-making intimidating, preventing users keen on developing their own sound or from going beyond the presets. Everything in Concept is always visible, and the Concept workflow is always direct, fast and creative.
We’ve also included some never-seen-before features which can really appeal to electronic musicians wanting to push the envelope.
With the built-in ‘Audio Input’ modulator, you can easily feed in drums, basslines or melodies to modulate any part of the synth sound, tracking incoming pitch or amplitude as a modulation source. This is done easily using the easy 4 side-chain system in the plugin, so you can connect other parts of your mix quickly and easily, opening up some exciting creative avenues. You can also use up to 4 individual audio input modulators in the plugin; a kick could modulate the filter, a snare could affect the oscillators, and cymbals could modulate our high-quality FX (include convolution reverb, supporting IR import).
‘XY capture’ can capture a movement of the mouse or midi input and use it to modulate anything within the plugin, so you can go beyond LFOs or traditional modulation shapes to create something unique. This intuitive way of capturing movement helps you perform without interrupting your flow.
‘Tweak It’ is Concept’s unique customisation system, used to apply variation of any parameter within a range, even per parameter. This goes way beyond traditional ‘randomisation’ since it is much more controlled – e.g. you can choose to vary only the filter, and keep all other aspects of the plugin as they were, or only certain FX by certain distances, allowing you to shake up your patch without totally transforming it or losing the character you may have built up, or chosen from a factory preset. The ‘master amount’ can also be dialled to tame the overall response of the system. This also maximises the presets that come with the plugin; ‘Tweak It’ can produce infinite variation of these presets, taking you down some exciting rabbit holes or throwing in curve balls that never take you too far from what you are trying to achieve creatively.
There are many ‘Concepts’ we could have explore further…one of which was to simplify even further, and make the core synth engine even more accessible. With this in mind, we recently released Simple Concept; this is an interactive and easy to use soft-synth powered by the Concept synth engine, wrapped into a compact interface. The plugin is powered by 3 powerful macro controls that influence a huge number of parameters under the hood, enhanced by Tweak It. This is an ideal introduction to the Concept family, both in terms of price and features, and is a fantastic starting point for non-synth users wanting to get into synthesis.