Cherry Audio – Chroma (Windows)

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System Requirements: 

  • Windows 10,11 (64Bit Only)
  • Lifetime Activation
  • Instant Download 
  • Future Free Updates 
  • VST, VST3
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A year and a half in the making! The long-awaited and often requested Cherry Audio Chroma synthesizer is a virtual instrument that brings back the spirit and sounds of the iconic Rhodes Chroma polyphonic analog synthesizer from 1982 with the utmost accuracy. Due to its highly complex nature and sheer number of parameters, this has been among the most challenging virtual instruments Cherry Audio has ever created. We’ve painstakingly emulated every aspect with exacting precision while making the sound programming experience more intuitive with easy-to-use pop-up menus and informative real-time display directly built into the parameter buttons.

Topping it off, switching the standard single instrument mode to double mode adds a Chroma Expander – an entire additional Chroma Synthesizer that can run in layer or split modes!

The Story of Chroma

In 1979, the pioneers at ARP Instruments began researching and developing one of the most ambitious synthesizer designs of that time – the Chroma. The Chroma was a 16-voice polyphonic marvel, controlled by a microprocessor, with aftertouch and advanced signal routing and modulation. Unfortunately, ARP was entering bankruptcy in 1981. Fortunately, the Chroma design was preserved by Rhodes, which produced it from 1982 to 1984, at the dawn of the new digital era. While it was a feat of engineering, the flat panel interface of the Chroma wasn’t up to the task of accessing its immense sound and feature set. Despite its challenges, the Chroma was a monumental final achievement for ARP’s visionary engineering team. Explore the heritage of the Chroma synthesizer in our video documentary The Story of Chroma, featuring exclusive interviews and insights through the firsthand accounts of those who stood at the forefront of its creation.

The Chroma is a rare and exceptional synthesizer, with only around 3,000 produced by Rhodes and as few as 150 keyboardless Expanders. It is highly regarded by synth luminaries and is still cherished for its unique sound. The Chroma was famously used by musicians including Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Jethro Tull, and Oscar Peterson. It’s also the source of the signature “wah-wah” chords heard throughout Spandau Ballet’s smash 1983 hit, “True.”

A Chroma – Expanded! – for Everyone

Cherry Audio’s Chroma synthesizer is a stunning virtual instrument that meticulously revives the essence and sonic capabilities of the legendary original. This endeavor has been one of Cherry Audio’s most ambitious projects, presenting a formidable challenge due to the original’s complexity and the vast array of parameters it comprises. The result is an instrument that not only matches but elevates the original’s experience, offering an unmatched level of innovation and authenticity worthy of the original.

Chroma faithfully reproduces every nuance of the Rhodes Chroma with astonishing accuracy. Remarkably, it allows direct import of SysEx patch data from the original instrument and even WAV-format cassette tape data, bridging four decades of sound design into a modern workflow. Cherry Audio has painstakingly recreated each component of the original Chroma hardware, from its 16 oscillators, filters, VCAs, and LFOs to its 32 envelope generators. These highly modular elements can be selected from 16 distinct preconfigured signal paths, ranging from straightforward VCO-VCF-VCA setups to intricate configurations involving oscillator sync, filter FM, ring modulation, and variable or serially connected filters.

Central to the Cherry Audio Chroma’s design is an improved user interface that dramatically simplifies programming. Intuitive pop-up elements and real-time displays integrated directly into parameter buttons make sound design an effortlessly rewarding experience. All of the original Chroma’s unprecedented modulation capabilities have been precisely replicated to create a powerfully flexible modular synthesizer-like programming experience. Modulation paths are configured quickly and easily using comprehensive modulation pop-up menus.

A glimpse at what was: a small portion of Chris Ryan's complex Parameter Chart that allowed users of the original Chroma to translate the hardware's numeric values into synthesizer parameters. Cherry Audio's Chroma interface dramatically simplifies programming by making all of this data considerably more accessible.
A glimpse at what was: a small portion of Chris Ryan’s complex Parameter Chart that allowed users of the original Chroma to translate the hardware’s numeric values into synthesizer parameters. Cherry Audio’s Chroma interface dramatically simplifies programming by making all of this data considerably more accessible.

The original Chroma was renowned for its expressive capabilities, including velocity sensitivity and aftertouch, and keyboard assignments for six monophonic modes (including unison), four polyphonic modes (including poly unison), and six arpeggiator modes. Cherry Audio Chroma captures these features and enhances them significantly by including an emulation of the Expander, effectively doubling the possibilities with layers and splits and 16 polyphonic voices across all modes.

Loaded with the original 250 factory presets and enriched by an additional 450 custom presets crafted by our sound design virtuosos, the Chroma synthesizer offers an expansive library that caters to every musical genre and production style. Chroma also includes seven studio-quality integrated effects, including distortion, phaser, flange/chorus, delay, and reverb, and a global EQ and limiter.

Cherry Audio Chroma is more than just a virtual replica of the original synthesizer’s complex structure and expressive depth. It goes beyond that and incorporates Cherry Audio’s own characteristic innovation to finally make Chroma’s unique sonic qualities accessible to today’s musicians and producers.

To get users up and running with Chroma, lead designer Mitchell Sigman has created an introductory tutorial video that walks users through the features of this iconic virtual synthesizer and offers tips on how to get the most from it quickly.


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