Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation Review

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: Sunday, 13 March 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation Review

Remember those old days when you watched a movie or home recording on VHS? You would have to fast forward or rewind the tape if you missed something or wanted to watch it again.

The mystery of vintage video logo music was the inspiration for Phonec. These were the spooky little intros at the start of public information films and educational material from the 1970s and 1980s.

The name is inspired by a piece of electronic equipment. The phrase “it sounds like a cassette that has been left in the sun on your car’s back seat” comes to mind. If this interests you, go for it.

Warped Washed-Out Sounds

Remember the warped washed-out sounds that have been so normal when watching VHS? If you want to create those sounds with character and an edge, Phonec 2 is the synthesizer for that dusty warped 70-80 years of beautiful color and tones. 

With Phonec 2, you get the same warped, washed-out sounds that you remember from those old days. But this time, you can create those sounds yourself, without having to fumble with a VHS tape. Psychic Modulation did send a review copy with no strings attached.

If you enjoy the sound of the Phonec 2 Synth and would like to take your own synthesizer collection and apply the same texture you can use also a plugin from the same company. EchoMelt (Review) by Psychic Modulation is a detuning,  warbling, drifting, and smoother plugin that you can use to melt your tracks and create those stylish old VHS tape-sounding recordings.

Phonec 2 – Installation

After purchase you receive a download link, next step is to install the plugin, and you are ready to use Phonec 2 in your DAW.

Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation Review

Phonec2 is a powerful, dual oscillator synthesizer with analog-style drifting and a wide range of sonic possibilities. Whether you want to mix and sync your oscillators for classic sounds, ring them together for bell tones, or create unique X-waves, the options are endless.

Plus, with its 2-stage filter and 8 modes, as well as its acid filter mode, Phonec2 can create an impressive range of tones – from lush pads to aggressive leads. And for even more versatility, it also features a post-highpass filter and saturation driver.

Looking for otherworldliness and atmosphere retro sounds from 30-40 years ago? Your search for worn-out VHS and faded sound memories has come to an end. The sounds that the developer of Psychic Modulation reacted to in this synthesizer are diminished or sullied and that in a right way, like a worn-out VHS tape. Phonec 2 is resembling this effect shown in the video below.

PHONEC PHOSPHOR with loaded Soundbanks from The Unfinished
Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation Review

Oscillator Hybrids

Phonec2 has an Oscillator scheme that uses multiple blends which allow you to come up with exciting new sounds. The included Oscillators can be mixed, synced, and combined through Logic gates. The resulting sounds can be further mangled especially through the unique feature Melt which gives a warped, drifting, and mysterious characteristic tone.

The Oscillator mode in the Phonec2 has an Oscillator system that employs a variety of combinations to create unusual new sounds. Oscillators may be combined, synced, and even joined using Logic gates with adjustable switching points to produce sounds not heard from a set of waveforms.

Filter Functionality

The Filter component is extremely flexible, with Lowpass and Highpass filtering methods that can be arranged in a variety of ways. A filter is a powerful tool for sculpting your sounds, and with many modes to choose from, as well as its acid filter mode, Phonec2 can create an impressive range of tones. For even more versatility, it also features a post-highpass filter and saturation driver.

A variety of Filter options are accessible, including a special AcID Filter with enhanced resonance clarity. Phonec’s filter system includes three types of filters: one for each channel, plus a master EQ and limiter. The Phonec Filter Separation, Saturation Driver, and pre/post gain distortion are some of the elements that make up their filter system. There’s also a 3-band Parametric EQ for further frequency tweaking.

Phonec2 Melt System

The unique sound of the phone is based largely on its Melt system, which generates a warped, drifting, and somewhat spooky quality that gives you a feeling of VHS nostalgia.

The Phonec2 Melt has a VHS vibe and character that can be enhanced with the EchoMelt plugin. This plugin creates an old-school sound that can be used to add texture and atmosphere to your tracks.

PHONEC PHOSPHOR VOL 1 and 2
PHONEC PHOSPHOR VOL 1 and 2 Soundbanks from The Unfinished (Matt Bowdler)

Phonec2 Sequences and Patterns

The optional Arpeggiator and Sequencer in CallC2 work in tandem to improve the overall playing experience. While they may be utilized individually, things get really interesting when both are in use.

The Sequencer adds subtle variations, Filter offsets, and volume drops or pauses to the Arpeggiator. The two units might even have different timing settings, resulting in unexpected melodic formations.

Phonec2 Modulation Madness

The Phonec Modulation system is geared toward serious tinkering. The Phonec’s three LFOs and two Envelopes allow you to create sounds that would otherwise be impossible. The High-Frequency Oscillator (HFO) can generate FM, AM, and PM tones. The HFO may be allocated to various objectives via complex formulae that result in unusual and beautiful sounds.

Phonec2 Aftertouch Supported

Phonec2 lets you assign different levels of pressure to several parameters at the same time. The Modwheel can also be used to control parameters in the Aftertouch section, which allows you to adjust several settings at once and drastically change the sound of a patch with the movement of a single knob.

Sound Design with Phonec2

Phonec’s unique selling point is the ability to create and manage patches. The Patch Management system makes it simple to generate and catalog your sounds, but saving and reloading Sub-presets is where things get interesting.

Sub-presets are tiny patches that may be used to alter various aspects of the synth, such as the Oscillator, Filter, Sequencer, and other components.

Several Sub-presets are included with Phonec2 to help you get started. And Patch Randomization, which randomizes patches for specific sets of controls, may produce surprising results when you’re in a hurry or want something new.

Phonec2 Third-party Soundpacks

There are already third-party Soundpacks for Phonec available, I highly recommend THE UNFINISHED Phonec Phosphor Vol 1 and Phonec Phosphor Vol 2 to expand the already included Soundpacks expansion.

Phonec 2 is doing shaping the sounds like no other synths are doing it, if you try to generate similar sounds on a different synth, you would spend hours and still not come close.

Volumes 1 and 2 of Phosphor delve into this sick synth environment to create a unique balance of the holistic, harmonic, and terrible. Phosphor is a meandering, capricious, and sumptuous environment of damaged and delicious sounds that is at turns beautiful and terrible.

User interface & Usability

The Interface is simple and if you get the flow you can easily produce unique sounds that come with a past decaying character. Patch banks management of included and third-party soundbanks could be improved by integrating a better and user-friendly browser.

Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation is an excellent synthesizer with unique sounds that can easily be used to create retro-sounding tracks, atmospheres, and pads. The developer reacted to sounds that ads, atmospheres, and soundscapes are this synthesizer’s specialty. If you are looking for a synth that can create these kinds of sounds, Phonec 2 is definitely worth checking out.

Patchbanks managementPatchbank management

Conclusion

Phonec2 is a two-oscillator polyphonic synthesizer, with the usual filter, amplitude, and modulation sections, but it’s the numerous tweak points that give it its distinct character.

The Phonec 2 by Psychic Modulation is an excellent synthesizer with unique sounds that can easily be used to create retro-sounding tracks, atmospheres, and pads. The developer reacted to sounds that ads, atmospheres, and soundscapes are this synthesizer’s specialty. If you are looking for a synth that can create the sound that can change the meaning of a word.

Phonec2 is the product of an era when VHS logos were popular. It’s a far cry from clean sound, inspired by past VHS logos (and undoubtedly Boards Of Canada records as well). It can be damaged by input voltage, electromagnetic interference (EMI), mechanical problems (including worn brushes), and overheating. It’s also susceptible to static electricity, so keep that in mind when storing it away or working on it while wearing your clothes!

Phonec2 – Rating: Five out of five stars

Phonec 2 is an awesome-sounding synthesizer and can create worn-out (VHS-like) tones. You can quickly produce vintage analog tones, lo-fi soundscapes, and pads that also have become very demanded driven by different shows produced by Netflix and others.

As a Synth Phonec 2, it is totally under the radar for most composers and belongs on stage and be looked at by any modern composer. Alternatively, you could buy one of those old VHS recorders, put your song or tracks on tape, and watch the tape for numerous hours until you see the effect kick in.

It is much easier to use Phonec 2. The sound, character, and uniqueness make Phonec 2 a really attractive addition to your toolbox. 

An analog synthesis technique is odd. It has the ability to evoke both the future and the past. Despite the fact that electronics have existed for many years, a pair of analog equipment may still sound like tomorrow to some people. Others might feel analog is particularly evocative, with its mournful wails and ups and downs representing memory and all its faults. With Phonec 2, Psychic Modulation has captured the best of both worlds.

The UI is designed to be extremely powerful and easy to use. You can quickly dial in sounds that are both familiar and unique. The Aftertouch feature lets you control several parameters at once, allowing you to create complex sounds with a simple gesture.

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