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Full Bucket Music: PECS

A free ‘string machine’ synth emulation plugin.

By

7 December 2023

German programmer and software engineer Björn Arlt began building VST plugins under the name Full Bucket Effects in 2010. Being a musician, and a synth enthusiast from a young age, he was drawn to analysing and building software synths. He now offers both synth emulations and effects as freeware through his website.

PECS, or Poly-Ensemble Construction Set, based on the classic KORG PE-2000 Poly-Ensemble S string machine from 1976. The notable difference between This instrument and its competitors is that it did not use a BBD1-based delay unit to produce the essential Ensemble effect, instead implementing three independent oscillator banks. Each one one of these was equipped with its own tuning control and Vibrato generator. These oscillators were based on the common “Top Octave Synthesizer” (TOS) and “Octave Divider” schema which was the fundamental design pattern of almost all electronic organs (and string machines) of that era.

PECS is a 64 voice polyphonic string machine consisting of three oscillator banks with individual Vibrato LFOs, a VCF and VCA, plus envelope generators (EG) per voice, two formant filters (Pre-Filters 1 + 2), two static filters, a six-stage Phaser effect, and a Modulator section. 

Features:

  • Humble recreation of 8 original presets
  • Tweakable instrument parameters
  • Vintage Vibe
  • Resizable user interface (not N version)
  • MIDI Learn – all parameters can be controlled by MIDI CC
  • Plugin supports Windows and macOS (32 bit and 64 bit)
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Issue 93

REVIEWED

Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.