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Product of the Week: Arturia Pigments 3

Two new engines—Harmonic and Utility—have been added to the popular software synth, which extends the concept of working with sounds as colors.

Arturia describes the newly released Pigments 3 as a “Polychrome Software Synthesizer,” meaning, according to the simple concept, that Pigments produces a wide range of synthesis colors.

As soon as I heard some of the demos Arturia posted on the Pigments 3 Resource Page, and then got a chance to play it, it all made sense. This synth, which comes in plug-in and standalone formats, offers a robust feature set—expanded in some significant ways in Pigments 3—and a variety of synth engines to mix and match.

Two new synthesis engines have been added: the Harmonic Engine and the Utility Engine. These augment the three carried over from Pigments 2: Wavetable, Sample and Granular, and Virtual Analog.

The Harmonic Engine is additive synthesis–based and brings in even more sonic variety. The Utility Engine, which includes an additional oscillator and noise sample layers, can be used with any sound to make it richer or used on its own as a sound source.

Pigments 3 Wavetable

With Pigments 3, Arturia beefed up the Wavetable Engine with 64 new wavetables. The overview video on the Arturia site describes them as ranging from “mellow and bell-like to more harsh and buggy.”

In the filter department, Pigments 3 debuts a new Low Pass filter and now allows you to route filters to the various effects buses. Speaking of effects, Version 3 also brings with it several new effects for its already stocked effects section.

Read more Product of the Week: Empirical Labs Arousor Rev 3.

Pitch Shift Delay is one. It lets you apply pitch shifting to the delay taps for creating some really cool effects. Also new is the Multiband Compressor, which allows you to selectively compress three user-selectable bands, providing a new level of sonic control.

You’ll also find two new modulation effects in Pigments 3, the BL-20 Flanger and Chorus Jun 6. Arturia brought these over from its standalone effects offerings. You also get a new bank of sound designer presets.

The tutorial and video offerings for Pigments 3, some built right into the GUI and others available on the Arturia site, are excellent. The company clearly made an effort to provide comprehensive information about the synth and how to use it.

A demo of Pigments 3 is available, but as is Arturia’s custom, it only lasts 20 minutes. You get the full functionality, but for such a short time it’s only possible to get a brief taste of what the synth can do. Particularly with a product this deep, a longer demo period would be helpful. As it is, it leaves you wanting more, which I guess is the idea.

Arturia is offering Pigments 3 at an introductory price of $99 until May 13, at which point it will sell for its list price of $199. If you order during the introductory period, you’ll also get the Spectrum Sound Pack for free. Pigments 1 and 2 owners are eligible for a free upgrade and get a reduced price on the Spectrum Sound pack.

If you’re looking for a versatile synth that’s powerful, while still being user-friendly, Pigments 3 is an excellent fit.