u-he - Zebra v2.2 / Synthesizer

This list is probably not comprehensive, but as a result of a major overhaul of the u-he plugin engine and of a lot of effort put into improving the user experience:

  • factory presets were replaced with all new bank by Howard Scarr
  • it's now compatible to MacOS X 10.5 Leopard
  • presets load way faster
  • user interface opens almost instantly
  • a "compact install" for Muse Receptor compatibility was added to Windows installer
  • a factory bank of oscillator module presets was added (also by Howard Scarr)
  • gui consistency was improved (i.e. renamed some parameters, too long texts get shortened to fit)
  • that infamous MSEG bug is fixed (single trigger MSEG may have caused deadlock)
  • the Preset Manager remembers name & location of loaded patch, saved with song
  • the editor window opens in the state where you last closed it (doesn't/can't save with song though)
  • global parameters such as FX Returns are available in modulation matrix
  • smoother ModWheel, Breath Controller, Expression and PitchBend
  • speaking of PitchBend, ranges can be set to 0 now to free the Wheel for other tasks
  • MidiLearn now requires a conscious decision for a menu entry - preventing users from accidentally Teaching a parameter
  • Preset scripting was improved so that 3rd party waveform converters are fully supported (still no decent documentation for scripting though)
  • a bug in the reverb diffusion on SSE2 machines got wiped out - if that changes your sound, set "D-Feedb" to 0.00
  • the Preset Manager can now be used to create new folders and refresh the directory listing (right/ctrl-click)
  • .h2p is now default patch format - set to native to save patches for use within host applications (usually not necessary)
  • text rendering quality on Windows was improved
  • there's no more need for Microsoft Runtime Libraries on Windows (finally!)
  • one can now import patches made with the Computer Music edition of Zebra aka ZebraCM
  • number of voices can be set to 0 in an Arpeggiator step, making this step a "skip"
  • and more...

Zebra at a glance:
Phat, warm and organic sound. A very musical character
Beautiful, intuitive user interface
More than 250 great presets included, thousands (!) available for download (see download section)
Fully stereo signal paths for wide and deep sounds
Outstanding filters (19 types)
High quality oscillators with innovative Osc FX
Built-in modular effects matrix
Flexible modulation matrix
hundreds of fully automatable parameters

Zebra for live performers:
(or just awesome new creative experimentation)
4 XY-controls, allowing for deep realtime sound morphs
nice and quick preset browsing
MIDI Learn: All knobs remotely controllable by Midi Control Changes, also with relative/incremental controllers

Zebra for sound designers:
Modular architecture with up to 4 oscillators, 4 dedicated fm oscillators, 4 filters, 4 vca/pan, comb filters, waveshapers, ringmodulators, noise generators for each voice
that's 24 audio modules, 28 modulation sources, thousands of parameters to tweak, accessible over a still very intuitive user interface
drag and drop circuit building
4 syncable MultiStage envelopes/step sequencers
4 ADSR envelopes, 4 LFOs per voice
Playmodes: polyphonic, single trigger, legato modes and arpeggiator/step sequencer
Spectral Editor: Unlimited number of Waveforms (including additive synthesis)
Flexible Modulation Matrix
16 on-board Effects: ModFX (Chorus, Flanger, Phaser), Delay, Reverb, Ringmodulator, Filters, Waveshapers, Mixers
2 internal send busses and flexible effects routing
Many effect parameters can be modulated!

... and so much more!

A demo version (AU, VST Mac & Win) is available to musicians with fastidious sound requirements.
Zebra can be ordered online for only 199$ (US)!

"Zebra is a next-generation virtual synthesizer plug-in. It combines subtractive and additive synthesis with a powerful modulation engine that even smoothly integrates with the built-in effects section. With version 2, Zebra has not only become an even more wireless modular synth. It also adds the sonic capabilities of FM, modeling of natural sounds and advanced wavetable synthesis... latter can be learned & used quickly with Zebralette, which is an included mini-Zebra" Via