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Test: Arturia Pigments3 - Must-have für Sounddesign

Published 8:50 am on Monday 5th July 2021 by Beat Magazine

Love at second sight. Since Version 2, Arturia‘s Pigments has been one of the busiest software synthesizers in my DAW. Surely most users are already happy with it in its current state. But Arturia is still following up and presents their shining light for Spring 2021: Pigments 3. Unlike the numerous emulations of classic synthesizers that Arturia groups together in the successful V-Collection, Pigments 3 is a standalone and quite musical sound provider. It combines several synthesis forms with a nifty sequencer and a good effects section. If you are familiar with Pigments 2, you will not notice many changes in the user interface. For our first contact with this new version of Pigments, we will, therefore, take a closer look at the new presets. It is precisely these that show the extended features. So, filter for „Banks“ in the browser and select the „Pigments 3.0“ library.

Additive synthesis

After Virtual Analog, Sampling, Wavetable and Granular, they’ve now added another engine: „Harmonic“ offers extensive additive synthesis with up to 512 partials and several options for shaping the overtone structure. Admittedly, this form of synthesis is not very popular, but the presets of „Pigments 3.0“ have their potential, which we demonstrate acoustically. I first get stuck on the „Intro Pad“ preset. With only one engine, it shows how individual partials cascade one after the other and how Additive Synthesis is capable of smooth undulations. Now you should turn on the inactive Engine 2 and add a piano sample to this preset. The preset with the appropriately named title „Harmonic Sweep“ offers something similar. Voil - these are two spherical, slightly pulsating sounds for which I appreciate Arturia Pigments (see sound demos „Intro Pad“ and „Harmonic Sweep“).

Wavetable, Filter and more

Pigments 3 has been equipped with 64 new wavetables and additional samples. You should first get to know them purely: After calling up a template, you can directly use Engine 1 for wavetables and Engine 2 for samples, respectively, and browse the browser in the „Pigments 3“ folder. In addition to drums and pianos, you can hear FM sounds and other synthetic sources. What you can construct from combined wavetable and sample engine is already demonstrated with the two new presets „Long Forgotten Tomorrows“ and „Spy Movie Break-in Scene.“ Pigments 3 complements Engine 1 and 2 with a „Utility Engine“ that contains three sound sources: Noise 1 and 2 and a sub oscillator, all with extensive parameterization. Other than that, there is the low-pass filter of the Jupiter-8 and some additions in the effects section: Pitch Delay, Flanger, Chorus and a multiband compressor. Not to forget: Operation via the scalable and color-structured GUI is quite pleasant; however, you don‘t necessarily need to do sound design yourself, but can instead consume presets en masse. Arturia introduces a new commercial soundbank with 500 extra presets. Of course, earlier soundpacks can be loaded as well. All this extra soundware can be conveniently loaded via Pigments 3‘s browser („Store“). Pigments 3 is especially perfect for spherical, mystical, cinematic and pulsating sounds or sound collages. For extremely hard, direct and brute sounds, you should take a look at some other synthesizers.


Number 3 also impresses us sonically: Pigments 3 is not something you have to love, but at least know or have. It is a powerful digital all-round synthesizer that sounds unique, inspires with a wealth of musical presets when producing and animates when sound designing. Considering that Pigments is always up for grabs for 99 Euro in sales, one can speak of a great price-performance ratio. For previous owners, this successful update to Version 3 is free. Overall, Arturia proves to have very good product maintenance. If the developers keep up their high work rate, some more surprises and maybe FM and Physical Modeling as further synthesis options should follow soon. Nevertheless, Pigments 3 is already a lot of fun and practically a „must have“ for all synthesizer fans who want to experiment far away from vintage sounds.

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