Iris Lets You See the Sounds


iZotope has long been known for its work in audio analysis and restoration using sophisticated spectrograms, a unique and very successful visual based methodology. Using this as a starting point, the company has turned its attention to sound creation and the result is Iris, a sample-based synthesizer that allows both the ears and the eyes to work simultaneously. This means it’s very easy to start creating wonderful soundscapes and unique “instruments” using any kind of sound source imaginable, a dream palette not just for the sound designer or film composer, but music creators in general.

The program starts by analyzing any sample introduced to the program, finding a root note, mapping the sound across the built-in virtual keyboard using a sophisticated time-stretching algorithm, and then displaying the waveform visually as a spectrogram. At that point, various tools can be employed to draw in frequency ranges in multiple forms, from straight ahead band-pass blocks, to isolating multiple “blobs” in any part of the audible spectrum with a lasso tool, to brushing in snake-like patterns that move up and down the spectral content. One can even draw in letters, creating “graffiti” defined sounds. It’s like Photoshop for audio.

Up to three layers can be combined along with a sub-waveform component. For each sample, aside from doing the above, one is able to adjust envelope shaping, instantiate a tempo-synced LFO, while other parameters allow for adjusting amplitude, modulation and playback. Each part has access to iZotope’s DSP that includes distortion, chorus, delay, reverb and filters. Adjust several parameters simultaneously with Macro Controls, and map Iris controls to the knobs and buttons on a MIDI controller. A global filter, LFO and effects section allow for unifying the overall sound.

To get started, Iris ships with over 500 patches covering vocal, percussion, keyboard, experimental, pads, and lead categories, amongst others. Over 4 GB of diverse samples include recordings of insects, animals, machines, musical instruments and much more, sounds that can be used as starting points for creating custom patches. Additionally, any user samples can be placed in any of the three layers for even greater custom creation possibilities. The instrument runs as an Audio Units, RTAS or VST plug-in, or stand-alone, both under Mac OS X and Windows.

System Requirements Mac, OS X 10.5.8 or later (Intel based Mac only) - PC, Windows XP SP2 or later, x64, Vista, Windows 7
Formats Audio Units, RTAS/AudioSuite, VST, VST 3, Stand-alone
Plug-In Host Compatibility Pro Tools 7.4+, Cubase, Nuendo, GarageBand, Logic, SONAR, ACID, REAPER, SoundForge, Peak, Ableton Live, Digital Performer and more
Authorization iLok or Challenge/Response

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