Lurking in the top right-hand corner of the UI is our brand-new Glitch button: your one-stop shop for new inspiration. It's a "musical" randomising control, which means that clicking it randomises the whole interface, generating an entirely new sound – but with a bit of clever maths predisposing the randomising towards "musically useful" results. (For example, the Glitch command only randomises the Fine tuning controls every once in a while; so most of the time, the patches it generates will be musically harmonious… broadly speaking.) Clicking away at the Glitch control tends, in our experience, to yield something genuinely useful and inspiring pretty often – once every 10 clicks or so is our guesstimate – and it's a great way to take your sound design in an unthought-of new direction, or break a creative block.
Finally, round the back, we have some ear candy to bring your patches to life still further. The Echo Generator can produce conventional echoes, or be tuned ridiculously tight for more mechanical, ringing, distorted effects. The Reverb control patches in a custom convolved Plate reverb sample. Both of these effects can be applied to the whole sound, or just the Sine operators, which usually yields a more musical result (most of the time, echoing and reverbing up the Interference Generators just results in a noise-roaring mush of sound… though sometimes that's what you want!)
The Output Chain selector harnesses eight combinations of speakers and microphones, ranging from full-range studio monitors and condenser mics through to nasty little 3-inch radio speakers and a wonderful old-school graphite mic (the same technology that powered the telephones of forty years ago). This is where you can take those full-range Sines and make them sound like they're coming from a battered old Radio Shack receiver.
All in all, Shortwave is a strange, wonderful, sometimes unnerving, sometimes ethereal addition to your synth arsenal. It can surprise and captivate you, moving from raw, crackling energy one moment to distant, shifting echoes the next – just like tuning a shortwave receiver! As a source of pads, washes and drones, it's pretty much guaranteed to out-weird any other synth. Shortwave – time to go on the air...