Lush 101 _ Stripped Down Sound Design [Review]
So I decided to treat Lush like I treat my analog synths, playing back Midi notes and messing around with the parameters. I’d record everything to audio and use the audio files for my projects, only keeping the Midi data without automation for adding more variations later when needed. I love Ableton’s freeze function since Lush got installed.
The above track was created with one instance of Lush and 10 Plugins only, as part of the subsekt “One Synth Patch” challenge
Next thing to mention is the user interface and the way how to work with Lush and how to use and access the possibilities. It’s pretty obvious that there are sliders and buttons instead of pots. Plenty of sliders. Some of them set the parameters and others set the amount of effect a parameter will take. The buttons (each of them with an LED) change the routings of all the modulation possibilities. For modulation sources we have 2 LFOs, 2 envelope generators and a pulse width modulation for the pulse Osc. Then there’s a simple high pass filter and a flexible and routable multimode filter. In the source mixer are some sliders to set the volume of pulse, saw (supersaw), subharmonic (which adds a lot of pressure to your signal) and the noise oscillators which all play together and are detuneable.
Lush has an arpeggiator too and pitch/sync section and a simple amp to select which modulation source affects the volume of the output audio signal. After these classic analog synth elements we have the master settings; pan, fine tune and volume of the synth, insert effects, voices/portamento, timbre and layer settings like midi channel and audio output channel and keyboard zone mapping. Yes, they are layer settings. As mentioned before, Lush is a complete multilayer synth-rack within just 1 instance of the plugin. All the above mentioned sections are running up to 8 times in parallel. So you can access 8 supersaw OSCs and 8 square OSCs and 8 subharmonic OSCs with one note.
AND if it’s not impressive enough, there are pages for a complex modulation matrix and a page with a sophisticated mixer to mix and add FX to your 8 layers. Even with 8 active layers Lush is still a fully polyphonic synth if you and your CPU want it to be. There are plenty of sections, but all very classic ones. There’s no fancy innovative granular or wavetable whatevers. Only classic analog synth modules; but still we can do plenty of things that other synths are not capable of.
The most sophisticated and surprising part is the filter section. There are 9 sliders which look all the same. 3 of them are the obvious frequency, resonance and key tracking sliders. Of those that remain, 4 mix the modulation resources (ENV1 & 2 and LFO1 & 2) for frequency modulation and 2 of them mix the modulation resources (ENV2 and LFO2) or resonance modulation. It takes a short while to get used to it but it’s pretty cool that d16 doesn’t differ between modulation and modulation source mixing sliders. The effective frequency of the filter is the combination of the frequency slider and all its modulation sources. You can get nice filter modulation patterns without any automation. The envelope curve is almost as snappy as the well-known Moog envelopes, but they produce a more subtle smack when you open the filter quickly. There are some lovely sounds to be explored and enough possibilities to keep sound designers with a certain affinity to detail and analog sounds motivated.