As I said before, Synthmaster is a seriously deep synth with a lot of features, so you'd expect the interface to be complex and overwhelming. Happily, that is not the case and through good use of multiple pages and tabs, KV331 has managed to squeeze everything in in a manner that is nice to look at and easy to navigate. Synthmaster is also skinnable, should the default look not be to your liking.
The top of the interface consists of a series of buttons on the left that control what is displayed in the bulk of the screen. It's here that you can select one of SynthMaster's two layers, controls for the 4 global LFO's, the Global FX section, a patch browser similar in feel to the type Native Instruments tends to favor, and the "Preset" page, where you can categorize, add author information, and comments to patches.
To the right of this is name of the current patch, buttons to scroll through patches one by one, a panic button in case you get stuck notes, and saving options. A parameter display resides beneath this, as do settings for Quality (lower settings help save CPU), Buffer and Polyphony, as well as the velocity curve for the current patch.
Fancy a little Wavetable synthesis? Just switch the Oscillator Type to "Wavetable" and you can build your own scannable wavetables by combining up to 16 different selectable single cycle waves (most of which are actually different than the previous types). Couldn't be easier, and done well, it can sound fantastic. Maybe it won't totally quell your gear lust for a Microwave or PPG, but it's a lot of fun to play with and rewards experimentation with some sounds you could never get out of those classics.
The final mode (there is an AUDIO IN, but this is the last synthesis type) is Vector Synthesis, the style famously championed by the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS. You can select up to 4 waveforms or samples that can be smoothly crossfaded. They can each have their own tuning as well. X and Y indices can be independently modulated.
The Basic, Additive, and Wavetable oscillator modes all offer FM, PM, and AM for further sound-mangling capabilities with 4 dedicated modulators (read: LFOs) that can also be used to control things like pulse width for PWM type sounds. Additionally, in Basic mode, Oscillator 1 can be hard-synced to Oscillator 2.
The right top square houses SynthMaster's twin filters per voice. Lowpass, highpass, bandpass, bandstop, low and high shelves, peaking, multi (allows you to smooth transition from one filter type to the another), and dual (a filter with two sets of peaks) modes are all offered in both Digital and Analog flavors with selectable Slope controls. One of the really nice features here is the display. If you click and drag within it, you can quickly tweak the filter's cutoff and resonance at the same time. A simple distortion can be applied before, inside, or after the filter, and a simple limiter is available to keep those crazy resonant peaks on your next acid jam from getting out of control. The difference between the analog and digital modes is most noticeable in how they handle resonance. The analog ones will go handily into self-resonation, while the digital ones will not. A Comb filter is also available only in Digital mode.
The fourth square holds the settings for SynthMaster's multiple Envelope types, the LFOs, and Keyboard Scaling. The first four envelopes are your standard ADSR affairs with the interesting additions of a Bit Depth control (which sets the 'resolution' of changes in levels), and a Drift parameter, which introduces random fluctuations to the envelope level.