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Author Topic: The history of Tone2  (Read 4566 times)

Markus Krause

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The history of Tone2
« on: November 09, 2018, 09:33:14 AM »
I got asked by email about the origins, motives and philosophies that gave birth to Tone2.
Since this info might be interesting also for others i'll post my answer also to the forum.

Markus:

Back in the 90s me and some friends we part of the 'demoscene' and inspired by 'The Future Crew'. At the age of 13 I started programming Trackers for SoundBlaster-cards and DOS. There was not much software available on the marked and we were not able to afford real synthesizer hardware.
That's why me and some friends programmed stuff in Pascal and Assembler in our freetime.

At the end of the 90s i was part of the team which developed 'All Sound Tracker'. A sample-based sequencer tailor-mode for the EMU 8000 chipset of the SoundBlaster AWE 32.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwtJ5qVC5p8

In the early 2000s i played with some friends in a band called 'Wellental'. It was somewhere inbetween of Ambient, Electronic and Jazz Music. We did play everything live and recorded some of our jam-sessions.
http://www.bnro.de/~feilei/obertone-homepage/mp3/wellental/Wellental%20-%20Ambienz.mp3
That's the point where i started programming my own vst-plugins. It was mainly for myself and my friends.

Hans-Peter Diechler and myself did work in a project called 'Druckwelle'. It was trance and dance music.
http://www.Obertone.com
http://www.bnro.de/~feilei/obertone-homepage/mp3/dance/Druckwelle%20-%20Dream%20dimension.mp3
http://www.bnro.de/~feilei/obertone-homepage/mp3/dance/Druckwelle%20-%20MIXXS.mp3
http://www.bnro.de/~feilei/obertone-homepage/mp3/fun/Druckwelle%20-%20Fart.mp3

Later i programmed the audio engine for several plugins released by refx:
Vanguard, Junox, PlastiCZ and Slayer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jroyPUALulo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuMDtqVZ1Lo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoiufpOrWBo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYaM4NBN04E

Tone2 was founded since Michael from refx was unwilled to translate some of my ideas into action (FilterBank and the HCM synthesis of FireBird).

Here is some info about the company Tone2 (scroll down):
https://www.tone2.com/about-tone2.html

----------

I translated some of my old demoscene creations from the 90s (written in pascal and assembler) to html5 (scroll down):
https://www.tone2.com/electronix.html
https://www.tone2.com/ims-exclusive.html
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 09:48:43 AM by Markus Krause »

Alex_Longard

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Re: The history of Tone2
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2018, 02:13:03 PM »
Thanks Markus!
It's very interesting!!!

LeVzi

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Re: The history of Tone2
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2019, 07:33:51 AM »
That is interesting, I bet they are regretting not going with your ideas now at refx , what have they produced in the last decade ? banks for nexus. that's it.

Markus Krause

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Re: The history of Tone2
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2019, 10:18:21 AM »
Initially i had planned to release FireBird and FilterBank with ReFX. The engine was working and there was a working prototype. However Mike refused to publish these products. Mike said 'the HCM synthesis is not useful, i don't like the sound'. Luckily he was wrong with this. Gladiator later became one of the most successful synthesizers.
It became even worse. He kicked me from reFX. So i had to found Tone2 to be able to release new products. It was a difficult time, since i had to start a new and unknown company from the scratch.
Later i it was clear why Mike didn't want to release FireBird and FilterBank. He and Manuel Schleis have been working on Nexus secretly.
If i look back now founding Tone2 was the right way. It was a very difficult one but i do not regret it.
 
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 10:21:25 AM by Markus Krause »

LeVzi

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Re: The history of Tone2
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2019, 12:36:19 PM »
No, and rightly so.

Nexus quickly became an industry standard, very popular, very used. BUT as with all ROMplers, the sounds have become stale and boring. You cannot change the stock sounds in it hardly at all.

Which is why Tone2 synths are superior as they are infinitely changeable. I never owned nexus, I don't like ROMplers tbh. That damn German Trumpet patch dominated UK Hardcore for too long and made the scene stale.

I am thankful you founded Tone2 and I remember when Gladiator was released, people were initially sceptical, I was a regular at the IL forums, and ppl started talking about it, slated it but then started using it and it won them over. Quality always shines through in the end.

You should take a bow for all you have achived and will continue to do so :) All the people at T2 should.

Markus Krause

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Re: The history of Tone2
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2020, 10:48:55 AM »
Here is an except of an interview i gave for Computer Music magazine


• Tell us about the history of Tone2, from its origins to today.

Back in the 90s me and some friends we part of the 'demo-scene'. At the age of 13 I started programming Trackers for SoundBlaster-cards and DOS. There was not much software available on the market, and we were not able to afford real synthesizer hardware. That's why me and some friends programmed stuff in Pascal and Assembler in our free time. I also started to develop simple synthesizers. Since the computers in those days were too slow to generate something useful in real-time the output was rendered to a wav file and used as samples for a tracker.
At the end of the 90s i was part of the team which developed 'All Sound Tracker'. A sample-based sequencer tailor-mode for the EMU 8000 chip-set of the SoundBlaster AWE 32.
In the early 2000s i played with some friends in a band called 'Wellental'. It was somewhere in between of Ambient, Electronic and Jazz Music. We did play everything live and recorded some of our jam-sessions.
That's the point where i started programming my own vst-plugins. It was mainly for myself and my friends.
Myself and a friend also did work in a project called 'Druckwelle'. It was trance and dance-music.
Later i programmed the audio engine for several plugins released by refx: Vanguard, Junox, PlastiCZ and Slayer.
Tone2 was founded in 2004 to translate some of my ideas into action (FilterBank and the HCM synthesis). It was very difficult to survive in an overcrowded market.
Luckily Gladiator and Electra were a big success and many artists did buy our products.


• Tell us about your latest synth, Icarus 2. What sets it apart from high-end synths by other developers?

Icarus2 one of the most versatile and mighty synthesizers ever. Icarus2 allows you to combine 54 different synthesis methods and provides a gigantic sonic range. The audio engine is not only able to create all classic synthesizer sounds. It can produce a vast range of fresh sounds, which are impossible with other products.
Icarus comes with the largest collection of filters available within a synthesizer. The audio-engine offers many powerful features like a drum-sequencer, a built-in vocoder, re-synthesis, a glitch-sequencer, the most advanced wavetable-editor available, an extremely mighty oscillator section, MSEGs, ...
The audio engine offers high-end sound quality and extreme flexibility with low demands on your CPU.
Icarus ships with an inspiring collection of 1600 production-ready sounds created by professional designers.


• How would you differentiate the various synths in the Tone2 catalogue? What are the main strengths of each?

Icarus2: A huge synth with a very modern sound. It has a massive amount of features and is targeted towards professionals.

Electra2: A popular multi-layer workstation that is powerful, but easy to-use.

Gladiator3: The innovative HCM-synthesis offers a different approach to sound-design.

RayBlaster: Impulse-Modeling-Synthesis is a radically new and different approach to synthetic sound generation. It creates its distinctive sound by combining many short bursts of energy.

Nemesis: Can do classic FM as well as a new approach called 'NeoFM'. NeoFM is more powerful and more easy to program. It offers superior sound quality. A signature-sound is generated by its engine, which is capable of providing warm, silky and creamy tones.

Saurus2: It is an emulation of analog synthesizers.


• Your synths are often described as characteristically ‘edgy’ and ‘digital’. How would you respond to that?

People often say that our synths sound a lot different than the rest. They sometimes describe it as a 'polished plastic-sound'.
I'd say it depends on what product you use and how you program the sound.
Gladiator, Nemesis and RayBlaster indeed do have a digital sound. But it's a harmonic and warm digital-sound.
Saurus is an analog emulation. It is limited to analog sounds only and not digital at all.
Electra and Icarus can do both - digital as well as analog. They come with big selection of analog-modeled filters.
There a free demo versions available on www.tone2.com where people can try the synths for themselves.


• Tone2 is known for developing new and interesting digital synthesis styles. What’s your favourite synthesis method, and which was the most difficult to develop?

My favourites are FM, wavetables, phase-distortion and additive. The most difficult one to develop was the impulse-modeling-synthesis of RayBlaster. Since it is a radically new approach it was not clear what features it needed, what sample-content works best with it and how sounds are designed. I had to do lots of experiments and measurements.


Markus