TC|Works Mercury-1

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The Mercury-1 is a monophonic multitimbral modeled-analog synthesizer for Mac and PC based VST-compatible audio programs. It has a basic and simple design and architecture just like the classic Moog and Roland synths it is modeled after. It also packs quite a punch with its monophonic analog sound and quality Moog-like filter. It sounds great when generating basses, leads, growls, 303 sounds, synth percussion and effects.

So what's the Mercury-1 got to offer you? It is a two oscillator monosynth with pulse-width modulation, a sub-osc, a warmly overdriven TCF 24dB/oct lowpass filter modeled after classic analog Moog-type filters. It's a lot like the Model-E, but falls short with only two oscillators as opposed to the Model-E's three. But Mercury-1 does have more extensive envelope and modulation features. It also has 4-part multitimbrality so each time you open a Mercury-1 you actually load 4 mono synths! This allows you to have 4 patches layered up on top of each other. You can add more since the number of Mercury VST-Instruments you can have is dependent on your computer's RAM.

Modulation comes in many forms on the Mercury-1. A classic LFO offers some basic waveforms, sample-and-hold features and MID sync. Oscillator Sync can also be modulated by the LFO and the Envelope Generator. The TCA section is a basic amp with Volume and Drive via TC "SoftSat" algorithm for analog sounding distortion. It is switchable between ENV 2 or Gate modes. There are two ADSR envelope generators assignable to various sections including the TCF filter, Pitch Mod, PWM, and TCA. Additionally there are pitch and mod wheels, glide, ring modulation, white noise generators and more. MIDI controller data can be recorded and sent to all of the controls of Mercury-1 for real-time programming.

Mercury-1 provides an excellent all-purpose analog mono-synth full of classic sounds...without all the hassles of a real classic synth. Although it costs as much as some better featured competing softsynths, musicians using VST-compatible sequencers would benefit from adding this plug-in to their arsenal. It offers clean sounds and works seamlessly with VST sequencers in realtime. It does have a few limitations to be aware of. It uses high-note priority instead of the more common last-note priority method. And its single-trigger envelopes mean that you have to actually leave a brief gap between notes to re-trigger the envelope. Otherwise you may hear your notes decay away under the envelope of your first note if you play too fast. Careful sequencing can easily overcome this sometimes annoying performance feature. But it's easy to use and will be both familiar to seasoned programmers, and an easy learn for those new to classic analog mono-synths.

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Demos & Media

Audio Clip 1 Hear an excellent demo of the Mercury-1 playing a variety of sounds in this demo. The drums are provided by Native Instruments Battery, but all the synth sounds are from the Mercury-1 plug-in. A tempo-locked heavy echo was also slapped on. This demo was made using Mercury-1 with Digital Performer on a Macintosh.


Polyphony - Monophonic
Oscillators - Modeled Analog Synthesis: 2 plus sub-osc; osc 1: saw/sine/square/noise; osc 2: saw/tri/square/variable pulse width. Osc 1 and 2 SYNC. White Noise Generator.
LFO - 1 (sine/saw/square/S&H)
Filter - 24 dB/Octave Low Pass 4-pole Filter (Resonance, Key Follow, LFO amount, assignable to either Envelope Generator)
Envelopes - 2 ADSR Envelope Generators
Memory - 128 Patches (Unlimited storage to disk)
Effects - Ring-Mod, Pulse-Width Mod
Control - MIDI (4-parts, velocity, key range can be split)
Macintosh - Mac G3 or G4, OS 8.6 or higher, 64MB RAM (128MB w/ OS9), VST 2.0 compatible sequencer
Windows/PC - Pentium II or better, Windows 95/98/2000 or NT4.x, 64Mb RAM, VST 2.0-compatible sequencer
Date Produced - 2001

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Images from TC|Works Web site.