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Full Bucket Music: Ragnarök

A free soft-synth emulation of a custom-built performance / lead synthesizer.

By

5 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.

The original Ragnarök hardware synth was a custom-built performance/lead synthesizer built by Hans Peter in the early 1980s. The Full Bucket software equivalent is a standard architecture VA-synthesizer, consisting of an oscillator section running into a dynamically controlled filter that is followed by an envelope-controlled amplifier or output section. It has some additional sound-shaping options by means of an overdrive on the filter output, and an additional 7-band static filter — also known as a Graphic EQ. 

Where Ragnarök shines is in it’s combination of three stacked and slightly detuned oscillators, with a divide-down array that replicates these three oscillators over four octaves. This means it can do three slightly detuned oscillators, and four octave-tuned oscillators at the same time — the equivalent of 12 oscillators on one voice. The oscillators offer square and pulse waves simultaneously, so even those can be mixed up. 

In addition to this there is yet another array of square wave oscillators available that are tuned to an interval (default set at a fifth). Although the original Ragnarök was purely monophonic, modern software technology has made it possible to have a polyphonic version now. This adds tremendously to the usefulness of the instrument.

Ragnarök is the collaborative work of Hans Peter (synth concept, GUI design, user manual, patch programming) and Björn Arlt (DSP, GUI, and patch programming).

Features:
  • Up to 64 voices polyphony, including portamento
  • Unique 3+1 band-limited oscillator bank, up to four oscillators per voice
  • Additional white noise generator
  • Multi-pole zero-delay feedback filter (6–12–18–24 dB/Oct low- or high-pass)
  • Two envelopes (ADSR or AD) with exponential slopes
  • Low frequency oscillator
  • Built-in Overdrive effect and 7 band graphic equaliser
  • Repeat/pseudo arpeggiator functionality
  • Double precision audio processing
  • All parameters can be controlled by MIDI controllers
  • Exchangeable graphics (for individual skinning)
  • Plugin supports Windows and macOS (32 bit and 64 bit)
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READ ONLINE NOW
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Issue 93

REVIEWED

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