Crazy Diamonds is another one of those very small specialized softsynths that only attempt to do one thing, in this case it's capture the sound and vibe of a Solina String Ensemble. It's not alone in this respect, as Big Tick's Cheese Machine attempts the same thing, and I must say that both of these synths though specialized, do what they do very well, while still sounding unique. Crazy Diamonds sounds a little more vintage than Cheese Machine, and seems better at quickly reproducing those classic String Ensemble sounds as it has the organ-esque sound of the Solina's. Crazy Diamonds also allows for more control over the sound than Cheese Machine which is nice, but doesn't take away from the quality of the latter. If you're looking for some cool simple vintage string/pad sounds, then you owe it to yourself to download both, but don't expect either to do much more than that. Also experiment with layering these sounds with different string sounds, either from other synths, or samples for even more fun. I love simple, and specialized VSTi's, as long as they do that task well, and Crazy Diamonds fits the bill. Of all the freeware that has come and gone from my VST Plug-ins folder Crazy Diamonds has been a constant.
Like Mr. Progfusion, I was drawn in by the Pink Floyd reference- and true to it's name, this thing does a beautiful impersonation of that sound. However, the real beauty here is that it can do more than just that. In fact, you can actually get a pretty wide range of sounds from it.
It may not be a "do-it-all" instrument, but what it can do it does very well. It's capable of some incredibly lush sounds, especially when using the "milk & cream" sections.
I've only had one crash when using this VSTi, and I can't be sure that it was to blame. Other than that, no problems here.
So, what it comes down to is this: this is a great free VSTi that just may help you make some nice sounds you might not come across elsewhere. I would definitely recommend it.
Reviewed By progfusion74 [read all by] on 3rd May 2002 Version reviewed: 1.1? on Windows. Last edited by progfusion74
on 3rd May 2002.
Mr. Taips once again provides an excellent free VSTi. Although I don't use it as much as I used to, it is still a good string ensemble VSTi. Being a Pink Floyd junkie, I was drawn in by the name. Some of the presets are excellent. "Shine on .. " has always been on eof my favorite tunes to play and here I have a canned sound for it.
I still use this occasionally, mostly for harmony parts (splits time with Cheeze Machine). I have had problems with high pitched screeches but it is possible that subsequenct updates have fixed that. I recommend this for anyone into 70's string ensemble sounds.
Seriously this is one of the best organ tones I have heard. Reminds me very much of the organ (pipe organ?) they used in the theme from "Phantom of the Opera" (the exact title escapes me at the moment). It allows for some phasing and delay effects, but the lack can easily be made up for by using the plugins of your choice.
I cant properly pronounce the developer of this synth, Id rather play this sweet VSTI instead. It sounds exactly like the synth in the song in which it was named after. What a huge sound!! Very nice. People have asked how it compares to Cheezemachine. Thats hard to say because they are really totally different. Crazy Diamonds doesnt really sound like a string ensemble, it has more of an organ tone. I think people will find unique uses for both synths. Both synths together would really compliment each other. This is one excellent free VSTI!!
Reviewed By MarkB [read all by] on 11th February 2002 Version reviewed: 0.4 on Windows
Another lovely free synth from Rumpelrausch Taips. I personally love "limited" freeware synths, if they sound as good as this one does. I don't know how stringy this synth sounds, more organish to me--but it's very creamy sounding with nice effects, and after playing with it only a few minutes I knew I would be using it soon in a composition, and it would sound terrific. Just a wonderful little pad machine--no more, no less. Yum! Thanks again for sharing this, RT!
Reviewed By [read all by] on 10th February 2002 Version reviewed: 0.3 on Windows
Rumpelrausch' VSTi, to me, have always been of high standard. Here we have a VSTi which sounds good - and is FREE! Like his previous work, the ZR1, I recommend this to anyone. If you like nice sounding pads, or even a Bagpipe sound (!!!), you will like this.
I will take the opportunity now to commend Rumpelrausch, and the many other fine developers designing freebies and cheapies for us music makers of all appreciations, for their time and commitment given in creating these. And I really don't understand why so much slagging goes on about the functionality of these freebies when every single free instrument i have downloaded has been so good. Keep up the great work Rumplerausch! oh..this is a review of version 0.3 and already (after one day) a new version 0.4 is available! Hows that for commitment! :)
Reviewed By Har [read all by] on 7th February 2002 Version reviewed: - on Windows
A damn nice-sounding string-ensemble VSTi! :) Has a very thick, warm feel with plenty of punch in the low-end. And the effects sound great.
No, it certainly doesn't sound anything like a real, orchestral "strings" or string-quartet in the literal sense (nor does Cheeze Machine for that matter)...but then, it's not *SUPPOSED* to: it's supposed to emulate the sound of the vintage "string ensemble" hardware keyboards of the 70's and 80's, like the ARP Solina, ARP Omni, Crumar Performer...etc. They had a different idea of what "strings" on a keyboard were supposed to sound like way back then... :) Actually, none of these were true oscillator-driven synths in the usual sense, but were actually based on electronic organ/tone-generators pumped through a whole bunch of ensemble/chorus/phaser effects...so the fact that Crazy Diamonds has a sort of "organ-y" sound actually makes it close to the mark of the "real" vintage string ensemble keyboards.
No crashes using this on Orion Pro. I've also noticed the lag-time when changing presets, as well as it changing back to the previous preset if you let go of the mouse-button *outside* of the Program Control box....I sent the developer an email about this, and it's being looked into (BTW: he replied very quickly, so good marks for Customer Support!)
Overall: I REAL nice job. If you also own Cheeze Machine, try combining it with Crazy Diamonds for a really nice HUGE sound!
Reviewed By [read all by] on 7th February 2002 Version reviewed: 0.1 on Windows. Last edited by Dingo865
on 7th February 2002.
Crazy Diamond is a pleasant surprise of a 'freebie' (though you are expected to pay for it in the long run) that is both more AND less than what it claims to be.
LESS, because its sound (to me at least) is closer to a lush, deep organ than to any string - real or synthesized - I have ever heard. This is not a string quartet - you had better turn to Cheeze Machine if you are looking for that. Hardly surprising, mind you, given the author's history.:^) There is no documentation, and only a handful of presets, nice though they are. The interface is stylish; a bit unusual, but while I miss the traditional knobs, I am also happy to see the digital readouts. In any case, it is better designed than the vast majority of VSTi's out there that are fighting for attention with often outrageous and dysfunctionally funky GUI's. Some people find that categorizing the controls as 'Milk' and 'Cream' and 'Butter' are disconcerting, but I actually LIKE these rather descriptive names.
MORE because, though it is definitely a one-trick pony, that trick is AWESOME. Crazy Diamond is not designed to be a universal VA or some such beast, but a cream machine, the perfect synthesizer for a certain category or class of sounds that Pink Floyd once made their own. And that it does fabulously, offering 27 different controls for fine-tweaking the silky beauties.
OVERALL, I DEFINITELY WANT IT IN MY ARSENAL. It runs OK on a Win2K PIII450 256MBRAM SBLive! machine in Orion Pro 2.75, although changes between presets are a bit slow and buggy (takes a sec or two to visually update). Give it an update or two, and I am certain it will be one of the best niche softsynths on the market! As it is, a must to download.
Reviewed By Link [read all by] on 7th February 2002 Version reviewed: 0 on Windows
I really love the sound (it inspires immediatly tons of ideas for new songs), it's exactely what I was expecting from it. I have no crashe for the moment in OrionPro. I just don't like the name of the parameters sections (milk, butter, etc...). Very good !