GForce Software impOSCar3 first look review

GForce Software impOSCar3 first look review: the popular OSCar Synthesizer emulation is back in focus with new features and a fresh HQ UI.

GForce Software has updated its plugin portfolio step by step over the last three years. Thanks to the Oberheim partnership, they also added new synths and drum machines to their portfolio. Just recently, in March, they released a major update for its excellent Virtual String Machine (VSM).

Anyone looking at the updated plugin list will notice that one classic is still missing—the impOSCar2. GForce Software left this plugin until the end, but there is news about it just before Superbooth. The long-awaited impOSCar3 update is out now. I took a closer look at it.

GForce Software Imposcar3GForce Software Imposcar3

The developers kindly gave me access to it before release so I could give you a detailed look.

GForce Software impOSCar3

impOSCar3 inherits the previous version, imOSCar2. The new version is a VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin and runs with current systems. Also, on Apple Silicon System. Finally, it’s back to the modern system. A highlight of the impOSCar3 can be seen immediately when you open it for the first time.

It has a fully-scalable UI that looks gorgeous—no comparison with the impOSCar2. The preset browser has received the same beauty treatment. This can be accessed quickly and categorizes all available presets with dedicated tags: collection, category, types, timbres, and patches.

This contains patches from all previous versions as well as many new ones. In numbers, it ships with over 1800 presets, including 450 all-new ones. Yes, it takes a bit to try them all out.

GForce Software Imposcar3 presetsGForce Software Imposcar3 presets

Each patch has four macro controllers, each mapped differently for each sound. These can be filters, FX, or different parameters at once. There is also an init patch button, an audition function, and a randomizer.

Anyone with one of the newer GForce Software plugins will find their way around immediately. The compatibility with the old presets is praiseworthy. So you can continue to use it. I couldn’t test whether they sounded the same because the impOSCar2 hasn’t worked for me for some time

Wavetable Engine

The original OScar Synthesizer by legendary designer Chris Huggett is a hybrid Synthesizer with digital oscillators and analog filters. Just like the impOSCar2, the impOSCar3 authentically emulates this British synth classic.

Like its predecessor, it hosts two multi-wave oscillators with classic waves and instruments. impOSCar2 has an additive synthesis matrix with virtual red sliders. GForce Software has taken this to a new level in impOSCar3 and upgraded it to a full wavetable engine for both oscillators.

GForce Software Imposcar3 editorGForce Software Imposcar3 editor

This makes more sense these days and allows for more sound possibilities. It’s also easier to use. But it’s not 100% perfect because the editor isn’t the best I’ve worked with.

The additive part is still there, with which you can craft custom waveforms. But with the possibility of designing complete wavetables and saving them in the plugin. The editor also has advanced modes like X-fade, spectral, and morph. Too technical? No worries, there are over 150 wavetable presets to start with.

Then, impOSCar3 features the same nine filter modes with cutoff, resonance (Q), separation, and drive controls. The modes include LP, HP, or BP 2-pole and 4-pole with parallel settings.

Updated Modulation & FX

On the modulation side, the new version still has two envelopes, one ADSR and one DADSR. Both LFOs are there again but this time with the option to use your own waveforms. You can now design your own shapes in the same menu as the wavetable editor, using additive synthesis.

GForce Software Imposcar3 LFO editorGForce Software Imposcar3 LFO editor

This makes the LFOs significantly more extensive and versatile, especially if you want to create more complex modulation signals. For your first step, it hosts 25 user LFO presets. Unfortunately, there are still no X-mod envelopes and LFOs here, so you are limited to two envelopes and LFOs.

Also, the new impOSCar3 includes an upgraded FX section. In addition to multimode chorus, ring modulator and delay, it now ships with the lovely-sounding atmospheric matrix reverb. This effect was already convincing in the other GForce software plugins.

Further, you can work with four programmable macros to easily manipulate sounds. People who work with one of the new GForce plugins also know this. Here, you can map one or more parameters to one macro. Conveniently, they implemented the macros into the preset browser with the assignments.

Not to forget, you get a chord mode and arpeggiator with various modes to play around. The synth also has unison (mono, poly) and pan modes again. It’s also possible to program velocity with different responses and aftertouch in your patches for expressive play.

NKS support for Native Instruments Controllers, however, is missing.

First Look Review

I would have liked to add a big sound demo for you, but this was no longer possible due to the Superbooth 24 coverage. I’ll try to catch up. Nevertheless, I was able to have a good time playing around and experimenting with the impOSCar3. It’s nice to have OSCar emulation back on the system.

The interface remains a bit special initially because the parameters are very close together. Just like the original OSCar by Chris Huggett. The new features (wavetable, LFO shapes…) make a lot of sense and expand the sound of the original without taking away that OSCar sonic character.

The sound is at a very high level again—beautiful, glassy, ​​raw, and unique, like the OSCar. The 1800 presets will keep you busy for a long time, and there are many highlights here. I particularly like the new ones specially created for impOSCar3.

I have a few little downers. It’s a shame there aren’t more modulators (X modulators) or deeper ones, like multi-segment envelopes. And I would like to see NKS support in the future.

Overall, it’s an excellent upgrade for the last GForce Software classic synth. The new features fit together well, and the new interface is night and day compared to the old one. I don’t need to say that it is a must-buy for every imOSCar2 user, especially for everyone who got the synth for free in the past.

Availability

GForce Software impOSCar3 is available now for a limited time at an introductory price of £59.99 + VAT (reg. £99.99). Existing users of impOSCar2 can upgrade for £29.99 + VAT. It runs as a VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin on macOS (native Apple Silicon + Intel) and Windows.

More information here: GForce Software

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