Cherry Audio’s new The CAT replica goes “way beyond” 1976 original, says original designer

The CAT’s designer, Carmine Bonanno, says the virtual replica “goes way beyond” the 1976 original

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Cherry Audio's Octave Cat synth

Cherry Audio’s Octave Cat synth

Plugin developer Cherry Audio has launched a new virtual instrument, the Octave Cat, based on Octave Electronics’ classic synth The CAT, launched in 1976.

The original duophonic synth, designed by Carmine Bonanno, was one of the first affordable and portable synthesizers to ever be made, coming in at $599 – a steal for such advanced tech at the time. It had a gnarly, aggressive sound, used in tracks by The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, Devo, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and more.

This recreation of the classic synth, the Octave Cat, according to Cherry Audio, faithfully recreates the essence of the original CAT synthesizer.

It offers over 300 presets and features dual panel views for synthesis controls and extended effects capabilities as well as monophonic, duophonic, and polyphonic voice modes, with unison options available. The Octave Cat boasts two VCOs with discrete wave settings, a vintage-correct four-pole filter, and accurate replication of the Transient Generators section.

Cherry Audio's Octave Cat synth
Cherry Audio

The Octave Cat utilises its digital format and goes beyond the features of the original, with expanded polyphony, an impressive integrated effects suite, and a versatile dual-step sequencer. It also has a sample and hold glide, MIDI clock sync, and a suite of effects.

Even Bonanno himself got in touch with Cherry Audio, according to the brand, to commend the authenticity of the plugin.

“It goes way beyond what a hardware CAT is capable of.” He told them. “For instance, on a hardware CAT, you can’t save a patch, you can’t control modulation with an external MIDI controller, you don’t have full polyphony, etc.”

“All of this,” says Bonnano, “makes the Cherry Cat incredibly more versatile than a hardware CAT.”

We were able to review the new plugin ahead of its release, and were extremely impressed, awarding it a whopping 10/10.

In the review, we said “Some of Cherry Audio’s recreations are iconic synths and others are more esoteric. While Octave CAT arguably falls into the latter category, the sounds it makes seem surprisingly contemporary. That’s probably because they’re just so damn usable – a lot of the stuff this synth puts out is ready to go across a whole range of productions. These kinds of instruments can sometimes be daunting for new users, but that’s certainly not the case here. Yes, it has lots of parameters but they’re all right there at your fingertips and really reward being tweaked, pushed and prodded to see where it takes you.”

The Octave Cat is available to download for an intro price of $49 (original price is $69). Find out more information about the virtual synth at


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