The ‘E’ buttons at top left control which Element is up for editing. Above them is the sample used by the Element. The knob controls are moused straight up and down, not circular. If only dimension pro vst hardware units had as much room between pots!
Dimension Pro VST or DXI
The ‘E’ buttons at top left control which Element is up for editing. Above them is the sample used by the Element. The knob controls are moused straight up and down, not circular. If only more hardware units had as much room between pots! Cakewalk have taken the workhorse soft synth that was bundled with their Project 5 loop sequencer, put the sound library on steroids and made it available as a separate product on both Mac and PC.
Cakewalk are gearing up for the future, first compiling a bit version of Sonar and now releasing their first cross-platform product. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Apple are turning to Intel chips and that we end users may finally be seeing a harmonic convergence at the end of the tunnel?
I don’t know about that, but Cakewalk have stuck a toe into a bi-platform future — for their synths anyway — starting with Dimension Pro. The original Dimension was one of the synths included with the second incarnation of Cakewalk’s Project 5 loop sequencer; for an overview, see Sound On Sound ‘s Project 5 review. Although Dimension was anything but ‘unprofessional’, Dimension Pro expands the sample set included with the synth, and comes on two DVDs to pack the incorporated samples, which total 7 gigabytes.
More Than Samples Though Dimension is a sample-playback synth, it has a couple of other tricks up its sleeve. First, any sound that is less than samples long is read as a single-cycle wavetable, just like an ordinary synthesizer oscillator; Dimension Pro generates an image of the sample that eliminates digital aliasing so it can be used across the entire keyboard.
There is also a waveguide generator, for plucked-string instruments. Each patch consists of up to four Elements, which are basically complete synth voices except for the global modulation and reverb effects, and are made up of a sample or multisample, along with the associated Element controls.
You can even assign different MIDI channels to each Element, as long as you can live with channels one through four going to Elements one through four. You can load and save individual Elements, and combine them with others as a Program.
When an Element is loaded, the name of the sample appears below the Program area in what Cakewalk call the Element area — the main body of the synth. Samples can be loaded by clicking on the sample name space, which opens an Explorer window, or you can drag and drop from Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder. Dimension Pro will load in all manner of samples: It will recognise loop points in these, and you can write your own SFZ file see box to use with it.
You have to watch out for resonance, as it has a woofer-blowing unpredictability. The associated envelopes and LFOs reside at the bottom of the Element page. Left-clicking on the arrow next to the filter name brings up a list of filter types. Many of these don’t seem to do much until they are modulated over time, so it is worthwhile experimenting with them.
They may not be as dramatic as the low-pass four-pole filter, but are still useful. The next section is an overdrive, with knobs for shape and tone and a similar pop-up list of algorithms, including tube, soft, mid, hard and asymmetric.
Although everyone probably has their own favourite third-party distortion effect, the built-in algorithms are useful because they allow you to apply drive to only a single voice within a patch, or use different combinations for each Element. Next, your decimated, filtered and overdriven sample goes to a three-band parametric equaliser. What is there to say? It works and sounds good.
Again, you can EQ each Element differently, and unlike the bit decimator and overdrive sections, you can assign MIDI controls to the parameters for each band, including gain, frequency and Q, and thus change these over time. Individual Elements can be switched off, but be aware that this can silence the whole program, since there is an ‘Element chain’ which allows you to pass the output of one Element to the next Element’s effects unit, saving CPU cycles.
Of course, if you turn off the last Element, everything chained to it disappears. Alternatives There are several other cross-platform soft synths that combine a broad selection of bread-and-butter sampled sounds with other synthesis methods such as subtractive, wavetable and FM. Steinberg’s Hypersonic 2 reviewed in SOS March offers all of these and some neat ergonomic features, though its 1.
A modulation matrix is now a part of many synths, and Dimension Pro ‘s allows any MIDI Continuous Controller, most keyboard controllers or random settings to affect the usual assortments of destinations, as well as effects and sample offsets.
Most of the voice destinations are set up to receive on either a single Element, or all of them. The main screen’s clean interface hides a wealth of control, which is only a mouse-click away. The bottom panel shows the FX page with the two global effects. The Vector Mixer is an X-Y pad-style gain stage that allows real-time mixing between the four Elements. Click on the cross-hair itself and your mouse controls the blend. The Decassel field adjusts of the speed of change as you click on different quadrants of the X-Y pad.
In conjunction with the Modulators, these give all sorts of choices for a sound’s dynamics. The former is one of the modern point-and-click multi-segment types; position the cursor over the envelope line and click to add a node or nodes , then drag the line up or down.
Hit ‘S’ or ‘L’ to add a sustain or loop segment to the point while holding down the mouse button, and click again to remove it, if you change your mind. The LFO also contains a status field — to the far right — where most parameters are selected. These are self-explanatory, including absolute or host-based timing.
To the left of it you choose one of 20 different wave shapes, and below the wave shape is a line with only two nodes. Dragging one node or the other maps keytracking for the associated parameter, allowing the filter cutoff to open up as you play up the keyboard, as well as panning, amplitude and, more unusually, resonance.
As stated above, each Element is a complete synth voice, and Dimension Pro provides plenty of ways to morph a simple sample over time to something its own mother wouldn’t recognise. But as they say on the television ads, wait — there’s more!
Each Element also has an FX section, consisting of a filtered delay line. The FX filter offers the same modes as the main voice filter, with knobs for cutoff and resonance, along with an LFO with speed and depth though no choice of waveform.
The delay unit has 15 presets, ranging from simple stereo delay to the more reverbish ‘symphonic’, along with chorus, phaser and panning presets. For most of the delay presets, the delay time is sync’ed to the host, making it very easy for the repeats to sit in the song-tempo pocket. When I think of all the hours I’ve spent trying to sync echoes to the beat manually, such instant gratification brings tears to my ears. I was plunking through sounds on Dimension Pro for a half-finished song, and found a nice one.
After a little tweaking, I added the stereo delay. In no time at all, I could use one finger to follow the ‘one and three four’ beat of the song, and the ‘three’ and ‘four’ delayed signal bounced across the speakers.
An SFZ file formats a sample or multisample; at the most basic level, it defines the key assignments for a set of multisamples, but you can also set up LFOs and EGs, MIDI control, crossfades and pages of other parameters. There is a free editor, but even Notepad will work. However, there is no visual editor planned, and there probably couldn’t be until the opcodes are finalised — the format is still evolving. Unfortunately, there is no single place you can go to get the full scoop on SFZ.
A primer remains at his RGC audio site www. Hopefully, Cakewalk’s new Instrument forum will help coalesce the info on the SFZ along with examples, but it is a slow go. I opened up Dimension Pro in Cubase, and although I didn’t have a Mac to try it on, there have been no complaints on the forums about any Mac problems.
The expanded sample set also gives more folders and programs. I haven’t sat down and counted all the new samples, but Dimension Pro has added a folder from the Garritan Pocket Orchestra — the original Dimension and the native Dimension Pro folders concentrate more on the rock, pop and electronica genres, so the Pocket Orchestra sounds fill out a lot of missing instruments.
They are no substitute for a full collection, but for temp tracks or supporting roles, they fit the bill. Though many third-party sample collections don’t cover the Dimension format yet, it is easy enough to load in samples and set up most sample parameters from the front panel.
To use multisamples, however, you need to modify the SFZ file attached to the program in a text editor — see the ‘SFZ’ box. A look at the various multisamples included with Dimension Pro. Click on the sample name and a browser pops up, or you can drag samples into an Element. If you like the beat but not the sound, change the program. The rest of the standard sample sets are well covered. Since Cakewalk suggest that you uninstall the original Dimension before installing Dimension Pro, it is difficult to recall exactly how many different instruments were in each of the many folders.
Though my keyboard interpretation might make a real brass player laugh, there are some nice saxes here; some of the programs are layered, so as you hit or lean into the keys, the sax changes from breathy to full bore to a falling note.
I couldn’t get any squeals out of it, but it is certainly not your GM sax. The Layers Folder makes good use of controllers. One program uses the mod wheel to blend DX piano and Hammond sounds, with the DX responding to velocity for good measure. Real basses are another interesting collection and show the thought that has gone into program design.
There are plenty to pick from, and many are double-mapped with the bass repeating on the right hand of the keyboard, plus slides and so on, so now even the ambidextrously challenged among us keyboarders can play expressive bass lines.
There seem to be more string patches, on top of the ones in GPO, and these were already a strength in P5 ‘s Dimension. There are more sounds in the already well endowed Piano folder, and the Electric Pianos folder also gets new programs.
B3 players will certainly want more, but can add their own samples besides tweaking what is already there. While no substitute for the real thing or even a synthetic one, Dimension Pro should cover most general organ needs. Add a few trumpets in the Brass folder, then the Synth Basses, Pads, Bells and Ethnic folders and you have a well-rounded sample set. Not everything for everyone, but enough samples to cover most work.
Finally, there is a Vocals Folder, with different uhhs and ohhs and vocal riffs from Jacyn and Lauren mapped across the keyboard to last all night at a rave — or dubbing vocals for porno movie scenes.
The plus programs contain more of everything, and then some. There are a lot of paddish sounds if you need more than the ones in the Pad folder itself or the examples scattered throughout the other folders and long, evolving textures.
I got double use out of one of the textures that had a nice analogue white-noise flavour. A little fiddling with filter resonance and tuning with the Element EQs, and I had quite a playable noise. I used variations of the altered program in two songs back to back. Many of the textures are extremely useful for that sort of over- or under-laying a beat.
It is easy to dial in EQ so the texture doesn’t step on or muddy up the instrumentation. Lastly, the Dimension folder uses samples of backwards and otherwise animated strings. The Violin Intercourse programs make good use of them, especially if you have a hankering for something in the vein of Ligeti or Bartok, or just to add a touch of avant garde class to a more standard piece.
While Dimensions isn’t a natural ‘go to’ folder for rhythm sounds, it is a great place to look for new sounds to spice up a track or a building block for your own experiments.
General Product Information
HiIs there any way of working out within a project if the Dimension pro used is the VST or older DXI? Cheers. Dimension Pro by Cakewalk (@KVRAudio Product Listing): Dimension Pro offers an It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin and a DirectX Plugin.
VIDEO: Dimension Pro Vst
Dimension pro VST free download. Multimedia tools downloads – Dimension Pro by Cakewalk Music Software and many more programs are available for instant. Instant Delivery for your Cakewalk Dimension Pro! Advanced sample-based synthesizer for Mac/PC – RTAS, VST, AU, DXi; Over 1, preset sounds, ranging .