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At the Dutch Dancefair 2014, DJ Promo (aka producer Sebastian Hoff) and DJ Free-K (aka producer Freek Vergoossen) approached Rob Papen with the idea of a synthesiser that focused more on 'distorted' sounds with an easy to use layout.
Renowned for delivering fresh, cutting edge and musical plugins for producers, Rob Papen invited the DJs to his studio for a brainstorming session resulting in a list of 'must have' features and tools for a brand new synth. Armed with this list and several more brainstorming sessions later, Rob Papen and his development team created a powerful new virtual synth RAW. RAW has two oscillators each with an X/Y field, (as included in Blade and BLUEII) to distort the waveform using Phase Distortion. But that's not all, you can also draw two of your own 'waveforms' and use them as LFO waveforms enabling the creation of unique 'wobble' movements that are perfect for for DubStep and other electronic music styles.
RAW has all the great Rob Papen filters to shape your sound further, but in a refreshing twist, 'EQ', ‘Waveshaper', 'Distortion' and 'LoFi' have also been added on a voice synthesis level. Other FX such as Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Stereo delay and the amazing HQ Reverb of Rob Papen can all be added to your sound and of course, the cool Arpeggiator/Sequencer, Easypage and preset bank manager have all been included as standard.
In true Rob Papen style, RAW comes with many great presets with mainly contributions from several well known DJs and Producers for instant user inspiration! Promo, Ophidian, Mad dog, Deathmachine, D-Passion, Rob Fabrie, DJ Thera, N-Vitral, Tha Playah, DJ Hidden, The Viper, Warface and many more...
Rob Papen’s RAW is exactly what you’d expect from a synth named RAW. Edgy, loud, and in your face. The very first patch you are greeted with upon opening RAW, titled “Agony”, gives you a perfect introduction to the brutal sounds this plug-in can make. RAW features voice by voice distortion and automatic volume adjustment to keep your distortion in line with a reasonable mix level (which can be toggled on and off). “'EQ', ‘Waveshaper', 'Distortion' and 'LoFi' have also been added on a voice synthesis level.” RAW also includes built in FX such as a stereo delay and reverb which won’t make you cringe upon turning on.
RAW’s performance is stable and the GUI easy to operate. Two Oscillators are readily available with basic waveforms but also user generated waveforms using RAW’s waveform editor to create your own shapes and LFOs. The Arpeggiator/Sequencer is absolutely phenomenal at creating the one note wonders, presets that seem to be a song entirely made from one note. If you’re familiar with other Rob Papen synthesizers this one will be just as easy to pick up.
With great power comes great CPU usage. Voice by voice distortion as you’d imagine can take quite a bit of processing power when many voices are utilized. It doesn’t mean that one instance of RAW will bring your CPU to it’s knees but your experience may vary based on the specs of your computer. The distortion can sound a bit “digital” at times but that’s nothing a little EQing and processing can’t fix.
Who is RAW best suited for? Anyone who needs edgy, distorted, in your face, bass-tastic, monstrous sounds. To name a few genres that might benefit, dubstep, drum n’ bass, hardstyle, trap, etc. That doesn’t mean RAW is limited to this specific sound set but it certainly excels at it. The price tag is a reasonable $179, which can be purchased and downloaded digitally from Rob Papen’s website. It runs on both Mac and Windows environments including 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Almost anyone would benefit from having RAW in their arsenal of production tools.