New firmware for Ploytecs MIDI powered, duophonic synthesizer

Ploytec, the german makers of ultra small footprint synthesizers „they say the best things come in small packages“ releases a new firmware for the  for the Ploytec „πλ² Pi L Squared“ synth. The new “PL02.56 firmware“, comes with a “Vocal Tract” model filter offering formant sounds and speech. It’s a tribute to the General Instruments SP0256-AL2 chip from the early 80s, combined with the ability to play it as an instrument.

There are different performance modes available, allowing both: Playing the “allophones” (speech elements) on the keyboard while controlling the notes via the modulation wheel, or the other way around, selecting the allophones via the modulation wheel and playing notes on the keyboard. The PL02.56 firmware lets you choose between alphabetical and original order, plus supports using e.g. an Ableton Launchpad mini to access all 64 allophones.

About the PL2 Synthesizer

Despite its small housing the PL2 is a complete duophonic mono synthesizer. The PL2 generates an enormous variety of sounds with the help of two analog square wave (pulse) oscillators which can be interconnected in variable and innovative ways – these are fun to experiment with. Up to 32 of your own self-programmed sounds can be stored in the user memory area. In addition, further 32 factory sounds are located within a fixed memory area which provides ideal starting material to experiment with.

Generally the PL2 follows the principle of subtractive synthesis in which the waveform (generated by the oscillators) first runs through a wide range adjustable digital filter stage (low- high- and band-pass) to edit the frequency spectrum and/or amplify the resonance area if desired. After the digital filter an additional analog low-pass filter follows which particularly ensures the necessary warmth especially for destructive- and digital-like sounds.

 Wait, there’s more: a dedicated analog saturation stage at the output provides dynamic compression and therefore a respectable bass punch is created. Of course the PL2 includes several additional options in terms of sound and playing manipulation like LFO modulation, PWM, ADSR envelope and various play modes. Another interesting detail: LFO- and envelope-speed synchronise automatically to an external applied MIDI clock – whereby the PL2 perfectly adjust to your song tempo.

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