Cakewalk to release Z3TA +2

(ShackMan | Posted 2011-07-23)

Cakewalk to release Z3TA +2

Cakewalk has finally given us a release date for it's Zeta+ 2 synthesizer, and it will be available in 9 days. The Cakewalk Zeta+ synth was known for being one of the most underrated gems in software synth libraries, not just for its simple and in-depth design but for the sheer amount of sound banks and tones it could handle and that were available for the ZETA+ program. There are still plenty more being created, and with the addition of the ZETA+ 2 program coming out on August 4th, I don't see that slowing down any time soon.

Z3TA+ is highly revered in forums as a classic synthesizer (and just got its price dropped to $19.99US, folks) with unique character and tonality. Its unmistakable signature sound has been used in countless electronic, trance, and dance productions around the globe for nearly a decade. The key to Z3TA+’s success has been its formidable sound synthesis generation engine, featuring unique per-oscillator waveshaping capability, vast filters, multi-stage envelope generators, morphing and advanced modulation matrix with powerful effects routing. Cakewalk's ZETA+ was a success because it stressed that each oscillator had the fullest capacity for tone-shaping individually, rather than working simply for a finished product that may have copied a Waldorf, Prophet or ARP 2600. Sure, they have plenty of pre-done presets, but buying this synth for the preset programs is like buying a Lamborghini to go for milk runs and never taking it on the highway; there's so much you're missing.

Z3TA+ 2 builds upon the solid foundation of this classic wave-shaping synthesizer with improved controls via a complete user interface overhaul for extensive, hands-on control of parameters including envelopes, effects routing, waveshaping, and performance functions. Real-time performance and expression controls are centralized into the Performance Module featuring the new Adaptive Pitch Bend. All this provides new inspiration for sound design, real-time expression, and is all bounded by impeccable sound quality.

Z3TA+ 2 loads all original Z3TA+ patches and sports a new browser providing easy access and organization of patches. Z3TA+ 2 also includes hundreds of new presets from renowned sound designers Nico Herz of Big Tone Studios (who crafted many of the original Z3TA+ patches), Francesco Silvestri/FI Sound, Frank Genus/Pro Sounds, and Chad Beckwith/ FI Sound / Patch Arena.

Z3TA+ 2 Highlights:

• Waveshaper is now an integral part of the Oscillator section with 4 new Waveshaping modes. All Waveshapers are now accessible via the modulation matrix opening up an enormous amount of new sound shaping possibilities.
• 4 new Filter modes bringing the total to 14 filter modes with separation control for tweaking resonance peaks on stacked filters. Both filters are readily accessible and visible simultaneously.
• New Graphically controlled Envelopes providing visual representation of all envelopes, mouse controlled ADSR, and improved naming and interface arrangement.
• New Graphical LFOs clearly show the resulting LFO shapes when morphing between two waves and the new AMOUNT fader quickly scales an LFO’s intensity.
• New Graphical Arp provides visual display of Arp patterns, including 100 new patterns from Dance MIDI Samples. 50 new ‘Gate’ patterns, also from Dance MIDI Samples, instantly apply trance gates to synth pads and leads while Humanize and Swing controls increase total Arp flexibility and expression.
• Effects enhancements include: Simple drag and drop routing of all effects, new Hypertube distortion algorithm, and highly flexible distortion module routing (apply to filter busses and master section or both simultaneously).
• Real-time Expression is enhanced with Adaptive Pitch Bend which allows for the bending of notes within the key and mode performed; automatically learns key based on performance.
• All Waveshapers can be mapped to the modulation matrix opening up a whole new world of expression when mapped to velocity and bend controls.
• XY Pad speed control allows users to adjust the morphing speed of XY coordinates.
• Z3TA+’s legendary sound engine has been improved with a new ‘HIGHEST’ SRC algorithm providing smoother, more accurate interpolation of wavetables.

Other UI enhancements
• Layout is rearranged with numerous usability improvements
• Menu items now show graphical previews (oscillator shapes, velocity curves, etc)
• New extended ribbon controller with latch (Shift-click)
• Menus are revamped with clearer organization and descriptions

You can bet I'll be getting my hands on a copy of this just to see how much Cakewalk has done. Z3TA is one of the most overlooked synths on the market, and I can't wait to hear the new waveshaping forms and feel the ease of having graphic representation for so many more features than the original Z3TA offered. Improving sound is one thing, but improving workflow is just as important to me. Being able to simply look up and see my exact filter and waveforms pictured is a huge help.

Z3TA+ 2 (Win/VSTi) has an estimated street price of $99/€99/£89 (vat inclusive) and will be available at August 4, 2011. Customers who purchase Z3TA+ 1.5 starting July 18, 2011 will get a free upgrade to Z3TA+ 2 when it becomes available. Registered Z3TA+ customers can upgrade for $49/€39/£35 (vat inclusive) at

James Rushin is a bassist, keyboardist, writer, and composer living and working in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He has performed with Selmer artist Tim Price, Curtis Johnson, guitarists Ken Karsh and Joe Negri. His compositions have been featured in and around Pittsburgh, at West Virginia University and Valley Forge Christian College. He is currently performing with recording artist Ben Shannon and singer/songwriters Tim Ruff, and Nathan Zoob (who is still in the process of getting a website - Music to come soon!).

Got questions? Comments? James can be reached as ShackMan in the Music Gear Review forums, or you may e-mail him at

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