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Antares Kantos VST & RTAS

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Antares Kantos Audio-controlled Software Synth

Kantos is a plug-in with a difference — its synth engine is not triggered via MIDI, but
by an audio input, from which it also derives its pitch. Is it a uniquely creative use
of Antares' pitch-tracking technology, or merely a novelty one-trick pony?

Antares' first venture into virtual instruments, Kantos (which comes from the ancient Greek word meaning 'to manually propel an empty
metal soft drinks container') rather unsurprisingly incorporates the company's proven pitch-tracking technology, as seen in their now-ubiquitous
Auto-Tune software and hardware products. Indeed pitch-tracking is the only way to play Kantos — rather than designing the system to be
controlled via MIDI in the usual plug-in fashion, all the necessary pitch and trigger information is derived from an audio input.

Kantos runs under VST, MAS or RTAS on compatible Mac or PC platforms and is authorised using the now familiar challenge-and-response system.
The program will run for 20 days prior to authorisation, so you can use it as soon as you install it. Like most software instruments, Kantos uses
a fair amount of CPU power; a computer with a fairly fast processor is essential if you want to use multiple plug-ins at the same time.

Basic Operation

Despite a graphical user interface that looks like a sneeze in zero gravity, Kantos is based on a fairly straightforward two-oscillator synthesizer topography
where each oscillator can generate a waveform selected from a wavetable menu plus a further fundamental sine wave. There's also a single noise s
ource. A mixer section allows the levels of the oscillators, the noise and the original audio to be combined along with the onboard delay effects.
Conventional filters and envelope shapers are used to modify the oscillator sounds, and there's a very easy-to-use modulation matrix that
allows any one of eight sources to be mapped to a choice of destinations with variable modulation depth. Where Kantos differs from
conventional synthesizers, apart from the use of an audio trigger source, is that the timbral characteristics of the source are
monitored and may be used to 'articulate' the oscillator and noise sounds in way that is both reminiscent of, and entirely
dissimilar to, a vocoder. You have to hear it to understand what I mean by this!

Trigger Sources

The audio used to trigger the synth must be monophonic and of a reasonably uniform loudness if accurate pitch-tracking is required, though some
interesting atonal chaos can be had by feeding drum loops or polyphonic sounds into the instrument. Normally an audio track will be used as
the triggering source, in which case it should be as free from background noise and crosstalk as possible and preferably normalised. Guitar
workswell as a trigger source, but you have to take care not to allow notes to ring on when you pick a new note, as this confuses the
software. I also tried Kantos with a live audio signal, but found this introduced a noticeable tracking delay causing each new note
to jump up to the correct pitch shortly after triggering. Presumably this doesn't happen when working from audio
tracks, as Kantos gets a preview of the audio moments before having to output the pitch.

Articulation, Effects & Envelopes

Articulation is applied in a technically very complex but operationally very simple way. A graphical window functions as a kind of virtual
joystick which sets the degree and character of the formant processing, so all you have to do is move the ball around the display
until you get a sound you like. When the noise signal is passed through the articulator, the result is a weird robotic whispering
effect, which works well added to the oscillator sounds, especially when vocals are being used as the source.

No synth would be complete without LFOs and Kantos includes two multi-waveform types that can be routed via the modulation
matrix (shown above). Their frequencies can be adjusted using sliders, or alternatively, there's a tap-tempo function.

Using Kantos

Because Kantos functions using an audio source, it is deployed as an insert plug-in rather than as a virtual instrument. My first impression
was that the user interface was a case of 'design before functionality', and even after getting used to it, I still find it unnecessarily dark.
However, the signal flow is fairly easy to follow and the little blobs of light on the green 'sneeze' lines function as fader handles making
adjustment easy. While setting up, it helps to use one oscillator only and to pick a fairly simple synth waveform, such as the default
sawtooth, or a square wave, to help optimise the detector thresholds. I also found that when using guitar as a trigger source, the
tracking was better when using a bright sound, so if you experience difficulty with any source, inserting an EQ before Kantos may help.

Conclusions

No device that follows audio pitch is ever going to be a plug-and-go solution, but Kantos works well on the majority of pitched sound sources, providing
they are strictly monophonic and include no delay-based effects. You will have to work at the input settings and may have to edit your audio tracks
to remove spurious noises and sounds, but the reward is a unique type of synthesis that follows many of the nuances of the original signal. I'm
still not convinced by the user-interface design, but once your eyes have adjusted to the 'snot-in-outer-space' styling, it's not difficult to master.

Demo
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Dee Jay

Respekt Used to use this years ago..give it a spin again..its cool looking for sure.

TSG

This looks interesting.....
Seit wann hat Antares den Kantos als Freeware deklariert ???
(10-01-2014, 11:29 PM)nox link Wrote: [ -> ]Seit wann hat Antares den Kantos als Freeware deklariert ???

http://antares-kantos-vst-rtas.software.informer.com/

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