After an intense few days of noodling, I came up with the following brief summary. I hope you find it useful — Tommy Zai
INTRO CrX4 by LinPlug is a feature-packed sample manipulator VSTi that delivers ear-pleasing sounds, ranging from smooth and dreamy to rough and chaotic. The purchase, download, and installation process is easy. Authorization is done by way of a serial number. No need for a doggle of any kind. The interface is neat and clean, with an attractive color scheme of grays and greens. Almost everything is accessible on the main screen, which makes things convenient, but it is packed and might initially seem a little overwhelming to some users at first. Once I became familiar with the Generators, which are the heart of this beast, I felt at ease. Anyone with subtractive synthesis experience should quickly identify and understand most of the controls. The sample integration features will take a little more time to master, and the PDF manual can fill in the blanks. To shorten the learning curve, I found several online tutorials, reviews, and overviews. .
BASIC ARCHITECTURE Four generators encompass the synth design and performance, and each can be assigned to function as an Oscillator Generator, Noise Generator, Sample Loop Generator (handles WAV and AIF files up to 24-bit/96k), or Wavetable Generator. Each generator has an array of assignable features, including a variety of filters with envelopes, LFOs, a modulation matrix, multi-effects, etc. Each generator also has many other features and options, like volume, filter routing, cross modulation, and much more. The two filters are responsive and include all the standard parameters (cutoff, resonance, etc.) and unique offerings like saturation. The synth has a glide, chord memory, programmable arp/seq, and many other useful performance tools, i.e., built in multi-FX (bit crusher, chorus, delay, EQ, filter, flanger, reverb, etc.). There is also a deep Mod Matrix with many slots, sources, and destinations.
THE SOUND CrX4 sounds great. There is no denying that, but what makes a desirable patch is subjective. Speaking of patches, it has a great browser section whereby a category or patch name at the bottom opens the full-screen browser. There are some useful categories and over 1000 sounds, many of which are creative and esoteric. The overall timbre is more digital than analog. This synth could certainly be used by anyone for just about anything; yet, in my opinion it really shines as a unique ambient, atmospheric, texturizing backdrop. Simply put, this VSTi is a sound designers dream! I enjoy loading samples from my own library, and then mutating them into something beautifully freakish. The multitude of on-board options make this a perfect synth for creating otherworldly timbres. Could someone use this as their "bread-n-butter" synth? Sure, but I see this as much more specialized and special. For a monster workhorse, I would recommend Spectral, by the same developer. In my opinion, CrX4 is the ultimate auxiliary or companion synth that magically fills in the gaps.
• Ships with over a gig of sample material.
• Fun to tweak with lots of control.
• Ability to load own samples (WAV+AIF) — SWEET.
• Excellent presets and management.
• Time stretching.
• Super sound quality.
• Nicely priced.
• Funky, innovative developer team.
BEST SUITED FOR: Anyone into authentic drones, pads, effects, and evolving sounds — this special hybrid synth-sampler will get plenty of playing time.
LEAST SUITED FOR: Anyone looking for a "go to" synth for all the basic mainstream pop sounds or an analog emulation.
OTHER THOUGHTS: The initial download takes some time as it's a large file. Busy interface, but perhaps it has to be — lots of great stuff on one page. Not extremely versatile, but what it does — it does amazingly well.
SUMMARY CrX4 is a must-have for any eMusician or producer, who is passionate about sound designing and track sculpting. CrX4 deliciously digital with just enough analog warmth to keep things from getting to cold. Tommy Zai gives CrX4 two dreamy thumbs up. Thank you, LinPlug, for developing this inspiring virtual instrument.