Buying a new synth can be a minefield now. There’s so many synths out there that are great, and it’s honestly really hard to decide which is best for you.
In this article, we’re going to review Parawave’s Rapid Synth, put it to the test, and compare it to some other synths available on the market.
P.S. we liked it so much it made our list of best VST plugins.
Rapid Synth (Quicker Review)
❌ A little overwhelming at first
❌ Not widely used yet, so 3rd party sounds rarely available
✅ 8 different layers with 3 oscillators to choose from
✅ Incredible library of factory samples, wavetables & presets
✅ 32 modulation routes
✅ Great sequencer which can be used to create constantly evolving and interesting sounds.
✅ Arp control is extremely precise
✅ Tonnes of MIDI & interesting arp presets
✅ Easy to use interface
How Does Rapid Sound?
Rapid sounds nothing short of incredible.
For the price you pay, the sounds you’re going to get out of this thing are miles better than you could achieve with a lot of popular synths out now.
With that being said, to get those sounds, you will have to put in a considerable more amount of work, and there’s a time and a place for synths that have simplicity.
Of course we can tell you that Rapid sounds awesome and the sounds you’re going to get are amazing, but we think it’s best if you take a listen for yourself.
So we’ve left some preset examples below
Chord Trigger Preset
Lofi Keys Melody
EDM Lead Melody
Trance Melody Preset
Bell Melody Preset
Brass Lead Melody
Lofi Chords Melody
What Is Rapid Synth?
Rapid synth is a powerful wavetable synth, made by Parawave that incorporates 3 oscillators and 8 simultaneous layers into one synth unit. It has a similar workflow approach to Serum, but expands on it with improved versatility, more FX, modulation controls, sequencer, and an incredible arp that can read MIDI.
It’s an incredibly priced, great value for money synth VST plugin that will be sure to get your creative juices flowing.
Rapid Synth is what you’d generally call a power synth, due to the amount of options it has inside.
Power synths are in a different category to your standard synths, because they expand the capabilities of synthesis by including *almost* everything you could possibly want. Other power synths you might know are:
- UVI Falcon
- Kontakt (more of a sampler, but still included in this category because of sheer customisability)
It’s mostly a marketing term, but it usually categorises synths where you can add multiple layers, mix those layers, add performance tools and have all the included capability of filtering, effects and more that you’d expect with a standard VST synth plugin.
Rapid Synth Features
Below we’ll discuss all the features of Rapid Synth, explain what they are and tell you whether they’re any good or not.
First let’s go over the oscillators. After all, without them, you would have no bleep blop sounds 🙁
Inside Rapid Synth you have the option to choose from 3 different oscillators, each with unison capability up to 8 voices, detune, an awesome FX module, and some utility controls like volume, panning, buttons to turn off key follow, tuning, and some really handy bass & treble knobs.
Rapid also allows you to load custom samples, or wavetables in these oscillators.
There are over 250 wavetables to choose from in the factory content pack, and there is an included granular pack, which includes a tonne of warping samples you can load into Rapid.
Rapid also allows you to load what they call multi-samples.
These are samples included with the factory content that have multiple samples inside them, to preserve the quality of them at higher notes and when you are holding sustain on your pedal or keys.
The multi-samples also include a wide selection of fantastic sounding drum kits, where different notes will play different elements of the kit.
This is pretty cool when using alongside the sequencer or arp, and allows you to make wild rhythmic combinations, from the press of a single key.
Just using some of the multi-samples or combining some wavetables with simple enveloping, and you’ve got a sound ready to go.
On top of all that, you can also add up to 8 layers of those 3 oscillators inside 1 synth!
It has separate enveloping, sequencers, filters, effects and is basically just 8 instances of a synth inside 1. It also has a great mix window, which allows you to blend your sounds together with ease and make choices on the fly.
Rapid Synth really suits the name: powerhouse.
I know we talked about sampling above, but I wanted to leave a section here with audio examples to truly show you the quality of these samples included.
I was amazed by the piano samples, and a tonne of others.
These samples really open up the realms of sound design possibilities, because you can mix real world sounds together, instruments with a plethora of FX, wavetables, sequences… you get the picture.
This can create incredibly unique and different sounds that constantly evolve.
And, in the ever saturated music producer world, sounding different is really what you want to be focussing on to stand out from the rest.
Above all, you can make some sounds that make your hairs stand on end, and that’s goddamn fun.
With both the wavetables and samples, you can add your own custom sounds to create waveforms, or you can add your own samples.
The modulation available to you inside Rapid Synth is excessively vast.
There’s so much you can do with this synth, and you’re pretty much able to drag and drop any of your macros, envelopes, LFOs, sequencers to absolutely anything you want.
Having this capability opens up the synth to so much creative possibility, and it’s almost freeing.
With Rapid Synth you’ll get:
- 4 Envelopes
- 4 LFOs
- 4 Sequencers
- A MIDI reading Arpeggiator
Along with this is an extensive routing area (similar to Serum’s matrix modulation), where you can pretty much control anything with anything, up to 32 times.
All the stuff you don’t see on the surface level of the synth, can be found in the routing panel.
Each of the routing panels have on and off buttons (something I wish was in Serum), which adds to the workflow nicely, and percentage value amount settings you can alter.
Also, when you change to coarse pitch the sliders change from their 100% value to a +96, -96 measurement, to ensure you stay in key.
Unfortunately unlike other synths, you can’t double click these values and put other measurements in.
The MIDI reading Arp and Sequencers were probably my favourite thing in this synth. It means you can input MIDI from your sample packs, or stuff you’ve recorded inside your DAW already, and play the whole progression with 1 note.
Playing different notes will transpose the progression, up, or down.
You can then use the sequencers to control anything you want, and can create completely custom shapes with the provided editing window.
This is great for controller filters or other expressive elements, to create a truly unique, evolving bit of sound design that will make your listeners feel encapsulated in sound.
With the sequencer there are a tonne of preset to choose from as well, which helps workflow a lot.
But, if you want to draw in your own shapes, the editing window is a little bit difficult to get to grips with and could definitely be easier to draw shapes in. Maybe a clickable point system would be better?
Right now it works on choosing shapes and then changing the patterns based on those shapes, much like the performing in the original Massive.
Filters & Effects
Rapid has 2 separate filters: 1 as a built in module, and the other as an addable effect to the FX chain. And, with those filter effects you can choose from up to 24 different filter shapes.
There are a lot of cool options to choose from, including some amazing sounding vintage filters, acid filters, formant filters and your classic low-pass, band-pass, & hi-pass filters.
The FX inside Rapid synth are where it really came alive for me.
With Rapid, you get a total of 22 different effects to choose from, and they are absolutely fantastic for sound design purposes.
Each effect is simple to use, and can also be modulated, adding to the depth and creativity of your sound design sessions.
The FX included are as follows:
- Dual Delay
- Shaper Multi-Band Saturator
- Chorus, Chorus X
- Trance Gate
There were a couple I found particularly useful/inspiring when using Rapid, and those were the Trance Gate, Vintagizer, Chamer and Send effects.
The send effect is just plain useful because you can send all the information from one of the layers to another layer inside Rapid.
That means if you have a nice FX chain on one of the layers, you can send your channels through it too!
The Trance Gate is a gating effect that can sound as smooth or as choppy as you like. I really liked using this with vocal samples, and have always wondered how producers got that choppy effect.
It’s really useful to have this in Rapid because it can add a lot of rhythm to your sounds.
You can place it after FX like reverb, or delay and create a huge pumping, atmosphere effect that could then also be side chained using the sidechain plugin.
The Vintagizer is like having access to RC-20 inside your synth. It makes things sound all kinds of dissonant, wonky, underwater… all the things you’d want for making a classic vintage sound.
Although Rapid is a power synth and seems to be more aimed at the EDM market, I am going to 100% be using this to create Lo-Fi melodies and samples for my upcoming pack and, also future RnB/future stuff.
The synth is versatile.
It can be used to create growling wubs, warm, vintage chords, huge ethereal pads, realistic sounding guitar, piano, and so much more!
Rapid is extremely easy to get to grips with, but can be a bit overwhelming to start with due to the vast nature of the synth.
On the whole it’s really simple to use, and the drag and drop modulation is a dream to use.
However, there are a few things that didn’t seem as intuitive as they could be. For instance, there’s no undo button (I actually pressed the panic button when I changed my synth in the hope it would undo my changes lol).
Also the step sequencer, even though it’s amazing, is pretty fiddly to draw shapes with, and seems like it could have a simpler, click draw approach, or you could use your mouse to draw shapes.
Other than these pretty minor issues it’s amazing to use.
The sounds it produces are incredible, the workflow is quick, simple and easy to understand, and it’s surprising very, very CPU efficient, even with multiple layers added!
If you’re looking for a new synth, Rapid is definitely one you should consider. It includes a hell of a lot, for a very small price, and performs extremely well.
Compared to other synths on the market, Rapid’s value for money is exceptional.
This was working perfectly with my M1 Mac.
Rapid is optimised to run quickly, and not be a tax on your CPU. Unlike other power synths, Rapid does this pretty well.
Having used both Omnisphere and UVI Falcon, Rapid’s performance for the same amount of layers and effects seems to be lightyears ahead of what I found when testing other popular power synths.
It even outperforms Serum in this category with it’s measly 2 oscillators (that you can actually do a lot with).
Although, when you do start to increase the oscillator amount, you will definitely start to see the CPU be bogged down.
It’s best to use clever freezing and re-sampling to keep your machine running smoothly.
Rapid Synth (Quicker Review)
Rapid is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking to get your hands on a new synth VST plugin. It definitely contends with the likes of Serum, Phase Plant and other synths that are in its price range.
I would even stretch to say it sits up there with Omnisphere.
Give it a try!