Tone2 Icarus - 3D Wavetable Synthesizer

Tone2 latest offering, Icarus is a “3D wavetable synthesizer” offering 53 effects, 3×10 stereo oscillators with hypersaw, dual stereo filters with 62 filter types and distortion, an arpeggiator, a vocoder, a wavetable editor and more!

Tone2 have developed several innovative instruments, including wavetable synths, in the past, but Icarus offers not just synthesis but a full wavetable editor, so you can create and export your own wavetables without leaving the one instrument. Handy… but what’s it like in use?

First impressions
Icarus uses an installer and a keyfile and so is easy and familiar to install – double click, follow the instructions and point it to the keyfile when prompted. Done. Don’t forget to put the keyfile safe.

If you know Tone2 instruments Icarus will be familiar in a toned down way. The 3D graphics are minimized, with no weird backlighting or shadow effects, so nothing jumps out at you or becomes incoherent. I like it.

The GUI is divided into 9 sections/modules: Master, Oscillators and Filters across the top, Envelopes, LFOs and FX across the middle, Arpeggiator, Mod Matrix and output EQ/Limiter across the bottom.

Soundwise, Icarus sounds like a wavetable synth made by Tone2 – the large number of presets are very clear, incisive and very polished. Fortunately, the effects section can be switched out revealing a warmer than expected tone, this is a wavetable synth with a heart after all….

3D wavetable synthesis
OK. This is where it all happens. You get 3 identical oscillators for layering complex sounds. For each oscillator all the usual pitch and volume controls are present.
Each oscillator offers a large selection of unison modes with detuning (fig 5) plus a control to scroll through the individual waves in the table with its attendant LFO amount control and a morph control with LFO mod.

The Wave control accesses a wavetable selected from a dropdown menu just above it, any audio imported through the resynthesis/vocoder algorithms or any third party wavetable dropped onto the waveform display. Any modulation source can be applied through the mod matrix, or automated from your DAW.

Conclusion
Icarus is straightforward to use and easy to explore. Everything is pretty much where it should be and behaves as one would expect. Sound quality is excellent and different enough to complement other similar instruments or work alone as the main instrument. CPU load is also pretty good for such a complex instrument.

There are some eccentricities, like the nearly hidden setup menu with the LFO sync functions within it (while we’re on the subject of LFOs: the random LFO is not a continually changing sample&hold type, but a randomised waveform which is unusual), and not being able to click through the morph modes as you can with the wavetable selection, accessing the dropdown menu can slow things down a little.

Compatibility
Mac OSX 10.5 or higher, Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

Supported plugin formats
32 bit VSTi, 64 bit VSTi, 32 bit AU, 64 bit AU, Standalone for PC

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