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Iris 2: The Story Behind the Sounds

December 19, 2014
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Our vision for Iris 2 was a virtual instrument packed with highly musical sounds that you could start playing with right away. In addition to all the technical features that were developed, we carefully curated 350 patches and 11 GB of samples to be included with every purchase; everything from acoustic instruments to environmental textures.

With such a vast scope of sounds, Iris 2 is naturally a great tool for sound design. But it’s capable of much more than that—a synth that sounds, plays, and feels like a serious musical instrument. An incredible wealth of sound sources coupled with rhythmic motion that easily syncs to your host tempo lives within a simple interface that can help you instantly find your signature sound.

In fact, more than being a single synth with its own distinct sound, Iris 2 is actually capable of being any kind of synth you can imagine: any sound or sample can become the basis of your own, unique instrument. What you create with Iris today might not be the same as what you'll get out of it after a few sessions. The possibilities of Iris 2 blossom along with your own personal journey as musician and sonic artist.

Important notice: Iris 2 is no longer available for purchase from iZotope. We are continually developing new products, services, and solutions to enable and innovate on journeys in audio production. We occasionally need to retire older products in order to focus our resources and development efforts on building new, innovative products and features. Support for this product will remain in effect for 12 months from your date of purchase up through October 27, 2023.

Designing the patch library

The sound design effort for Iris 2 was led by Jack Côté. Jack assembled a team of world-class sound designers, specifically chosen for their diverse breadth of styles and background, who have developed sounds for some of the best hardware and software synths in use today.

Some of the sound designers involved in this project might be familiar to iZotope users. Toby Emerson from BlackOctopus worked with us previously on the Modern Grooves pack for BreakTweaker, and industry veteran Kevin Lamb was one of the early adopters and advocates for the first version of Iris.

Members of the iZotope development team also contributed to the sound design, helping illustrate some of the lesser-known features and capabilities that they themselves helped implement. There were dozens of other designers involved, ranging from long-time Iris users to professional sound designers who saw all sorts of new possibilities in this version of Iris.

Exploding the possibilities

Rather than simply translating Iris 1 patches for use in Iris 2, we committed to a ground-up development of the patch library that takes advantage of all the new sonic possibilities that Iris 2 provides.

What we did curate from the Iris 1 content was the very best of the sample collections that had been sold as individual content packs over the past two and a half years. This comprises about eight of the 11 GBs of content included with Iris 2.

The samples span an incredible breadth of sound sources, from classic analog oscillators to exotic animal sounds and environments that you might not be able to go record yourself. Layering these sounds with your own field recordings and sample library can yield incredible sonic possibilities that simply haven't been easy to create with any other synthesizer before.

Additionally, we created new samples to fill out some spaces in those original libraries, and meet the demands of our users and sound designers.

Broad strokes and subtle tweaks

Iris 2 is incredibly flexible and accessible for all experience levels. With an infinite list of sound sources, you’re never pigeonholed into any genre or mood. You can shape Iris to be the synth you need at any given time. Exploring the patches illustrates many of the great new possibilities that are available in Iris 2 through modulation, flexible routing, and sonic layering.

Iris 2 is also an immersive learning lab—you’ll learn much about synthesizers and synthesis just by exploring the Iris interface. Visual representation and real-time metering of modulation mean anyone can simply load a patch and immediately see all the components of the individual sample layers that contribute to the sound.

Then, you can make broad strokes or subtle tweaks. Pull out a layer, replace a sample, move some Macro knobs, or try out a new filter type or LFO wavetable to learn a little more about how the instrument works. And at the same time, you’ll be creating sounds that are uniquely your own.

Sounds for sharing

In addition to the 350 patches that come with Iris 2, we've included 11 GB of 24-bit .WAV samples curated specifically for Iris 2 and its possibilities. As .WAV files, they can be used in any sampler or used directly in the audio or video editor of your choice.

One of the main reasons for this was to give all Iris 2 users a common library which they can design sounds from. Working from this shared collection, we can easily share and trade patches, while third-party sound designers can develop and distribute their own patch libraries with a broad palette of sound sources.

What have you created with Iris? Download the Iris 2 demo and share your music with us! Post it to our Facebook or Twitter feed or upload a video on YouTube tagged with #IrisInAction.

If you need a little inspiration first, listen to a sampling of sound patches from the Iris 2 Sound Library. With over 350 patches available for immediate use (you can access 45 in the free trial version), Iris 2 is ideal for any musician dreaming of diverse and compelling new sounds.

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