So I came across this awesome little plugin a little while ago after reading an Amoss interview. It's called Synplant, by Sonic Charge. Now I've never reviewed a plugin here before since there are plenty of websites that already do exactly this and do it better than I can. However, I thought it was worth mentioning this as it's got a really unique way of generating sounds. If you're anything like me, you always want to introduce as much (controlled) randomness into your sound design as possible, and you want to do something different every time you make a particular sound.
As stated on Sonic Charge's website, "Synplant is a software synthesizer with a genetic approach to sound creation. Instead of creating patches the conventional way by turning dials and knobs, Synplant lets you explore a world of organic sounds by planting seeds that grow into synth patches." Therefore its a really good tool for basically removing the visual component of sound design, and simply using your ears. The way it works is that you start with a seed in the middle of the interface. Around this seed, you have a key ring, representing the twelve keys in an octave. Branches can be dragged from the seed to the outer ring, changing the sound's characteristics and tone. Each note has a different sound that changes in this manner. You can save presets at any point if you like a particular sound or sounds.
One of the really cool features is that you can either clone a branch so that you have the same sound across all twelve keys, or you can plant a seed based on any branch you have so that Synplant will generate 12 new similar sounds based on the sound you selected. There are obviously options to go more in depth with precise parameters of the patch, however in my view, the real value of Synplant lies with the fact that it's not the type of synthesizer that you'll sit there tweaking parameters trying to get the perfect sound. Rather, you can get a bunch of unique sounds very quickly. These range from evocative, atmospheric sounds right through to the harsh and metallic.
This unique synthesizer is definitely a useful tool in any producer's arsenal, and something that might be particularly useful in generating sounds (and therefore ideas) when you get stuck. Synplant costs $99 and can be purchased from Sonic Charge's website, here. They also have a three week demo version available. Stay tuned for a Synplant sample pack next week.