Fantastic Voyage: portable cosmic studio

I wanted to give a plug to this excellent new piece of Mac software, Fantastic Voyage, which is a “portable cosmic studio” developed by Giorgio Sancristoforo during the Italian corona lockdown. As he describes it:

Fantastic Voyage is a multieffect virtual stompbox with integrated looper and a 4 (stereo) tracks recorder. It’s designed to process and store any external sound, like guitars, microphones, synthesizers. It hasn’t internal generators. The software, like Gleetchlab and Berna, is designed with a modular approach. With the matrix you can connect the various sections of the software in any way you want. This means that there isn’t a fixed signal path and the possibilities of signal processing and re-processing, are immense.

Fantastic Voyage it’s perfect for live performance, as well as a portable studio that does not require any other software to run. Fantastic Voyage is not a plugin. It’s a standalone software, but if you want to use it with your DAW, you can connect the software to and from your DAW with any virtual driver, such as Blackhole (free) or Loopback (commercial but has more options).

The idea of Fantastic Voyage came while thinking at the old Tascam tape Portastudios. In my early experiments in the 90s I’ve loved the machine, so I’ve decided to create a personal updated version of a portable 4 track recorder which includes a palette of effects which I think are useful to create ambient and experimental tunes.

The demo is full-featured but restricts you to 8 minutes (easy enough to quit and reload the application, though, as 8 minutes isn’t enough time to evaluate). At 15 euro it wasn’t a hard decision to spring for the license. It’s situated perfectly for my recording needs, particularly for modular synth - when the bulk of my attention and what I’m doing is on the hardware side, and I don’t necessarily want to load up a big processor-intensive DAW for recording (with their particular ways of working), and I’m mostly in need of lightweight and simple recording tools, yet I still want some flexible signal routing and recorder-as-creative-instrument aspects. It’s a lot like the OP-1’s 4-track recorder in this sense, but deeper and more fun, and with a (semi-)modular architecture at heart. The modules onboard are carefully selected and easy to understand/control, and everything is laid out well. Cosmic trip gives you some instant background ambience/drone, glitch allows for probability-based glitch effects, drum echo is a decent delay, there’s a looper I haven’t tried yet, a nicely usable reverb, some simple onboard EQ’ing, random and double LFO modulation (with min or sum output), and a VCS3-style patch matrix for routing. You can load in a single external plugin effect, and MIDI assign knobs or faders to anything. Perfect mix of simple/accessible/intuitive/instant, yet deep and creatively inspiring - I suspect it will be my ideal end-of-chain recording software for the foreseeable future.

Lovely video demonstration here.


Will check it out. His software Berna is also super fun (if you like all that Hainbach test equipment stuff but dont have any room for it in your apartment)


Yes, was highly impressed with the concept there!

Gleetchdrone also seems to be aiming for a “software Lyra 8”, in inspiration and aesthetic at least, which is pretty intriguing.

More here on both via CDM

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this is really really great, exactly what i wanted! (except maybe overlapping looper instead of being able to import loops—but i’ll get my w/ working again one of these days!). already made a beat for a friend with it just using a PO-12 and I’ve had it for like an hour, I cannot thank you enough for sharing :slight_smile: this will be my bff thru my remaining week of quarantine and beyond—now off to plug my modular in…


It looks cool but OSX only :frowning:

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Im usually a hard sale on software but this looks like an interesting one. How is the sound? Is it lofi like a tape loop?

Based on my limited experience, the input audio is faithfully represented without any de facto degradation. I can’t speak to whether there are ways to get a lo-fi sound out of the various modules offered. Presumably you could use the 1 external plugin for this, though. Something like Klevgrand’s DAW Cassette, for example.

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You are right. I didnt notice that link before.

I took that to be the result of whatever pedals/amp he was using externally, not the inherent sound of the studio itself, but now I’m wondering. Will try to do some A/B testing soon on this.

I’m listening back to the one recording I made and it has a pleasing lo-fi quality, but it involved Mimeophon and Nebulae so those could easily have been the cause rather than Fantastic Voyage. Here’s an excerpt; if I recall, this involved multiple signal paths using the cosmic trip, glitch, drum echo, and reverb modules of Fantastic Voyage:

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This looks pretty great! I’m having trouble understanding from the manual - can you only record one track at a time?

You can record to all four tracks simultaneously, but only one live input at a time.

Regarding lofi-ness. You can get some lofi vibes out of it, especially combining the glitch effect and the granular effect (also the LPF and echo… all the effects seem like they could be used to make lofi sounding music), but I agree with @naxuu the “fidelity” seems very high and crisp.


Ah okay - I was hoping to record multiple instruments simultaneously. Still, for the money it seems like a nice way to record straight from the modular or Lyra without opening up Ableton and getting into that mindset.


Yep, you can record 4 tracks plus a master track at the same time. These are all simultaneously generated as .aif files.

The audio input has 2 channels you can specify. Note that there’s a “mono” option on the user interface. I believe you have the option of either having the 2 channels of the input correspond to L and R of a stereo recording, or having the 2 channels each be in mono. But in either case the only routing you can do is “in” to various destinations at the moment. Having “In channel 1” and “In channel 2” separated out in the matrix would be a good start to at least allow for two separate mono signal paths coming in live and routed individually. Maybe in an update?


Giorgio Sancristoforo has certainly been keeping busy. He’s already released his next piece of software, Substantia, an ‘electroacoustic physical modelling laboratory’.


Substantia with contact mics


Has anyone had any luck routing sound from other applications (like Live or VCV Rack) into Fantastic Voyage using Blackhole? I can’t seem to make sense of that, would love to get it going : - )

I haven’t tried it but here are the steps from Giorgios site.

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