In short, this thing is a monster.
WTF? ONLY two oscillators? Don't think of it that way as with the zillion programmable envelopes and shifting waves, it sounds thicker with one oscillator than many with three. This is the synth the Waldorf XT and Ensoniq Fizmo were trying to be, but is magnitudes ahead of them.
This is the perfect "desert island" synth. Unless you are immortal, you will NEVER even scratch the surface of this tool. Yes, it is deeper than Rhino and Absynth (also two very fine instruments).
What is seems to do best at is incredibly moody pads and otherwordly soundscapes and effects. Kubik is perfect for painting sonic pictures and while it can do "standard" synth sounds and has a full complement of modulation controls, is not the one you would likely reach for as your main performance synth.
Kudos to the author for creating a v-e-r-y different kind of synth that will never grow stale. You will be amazed each and every time your explore this beast.
For all it's massive firepower, the CPU hit is lower than expected and is quite stable. The layout is pretty straightforward and has a clean and usable look. With most synths, I have a wish list and mine on Kubik is very short: add more tools to make it easier to dive into.
Alright! I'm in love. I'm in radical amazement. I'm slack-jawed knocked out by Kubik. Been lost the last few days in exploring it. I don't know whether it's a strange serendipity of synth and preset (and there are several sound-designers from KVR that contributed) but the sound-designers seem particularly inspired and so playing around with the sounds has been really delightful.
I'm not a heavy synth-tech guy nor am I a great under-the-hood, from-scratch tweaker but ever since I started fooling around with Kubik I find myself slipping deeper and deeper into different and varied aural universes. I don't think of it as being the type of synth that can emulate accoustic instruments - although maybe it can (and I did hear some nice el. piano kind of stuff) - but I do think of it as being incredibly musical. By that I mean, I can see it having real inspirational value in working up soundscapes etc. Long evolving pads, richly colored tapestries of sounds, spacial ascents, sublimely bizarre effects. I'm still exploring it after a few days and still have nowhere close to feeling like I know it's boundaries. That may also be one of the benefits of having banks from different developers...people seem to have a very different take of Kubik...giving alot of choice in type of preset.
I had a bit of an early tussle getting it installed and going but that could well have been my fault or the fault of my system. Jon, as per usual, was very gracious and quick with support. There's a MIDI learn function -which is great...and other aspects of the synth seem to be really well thought out and intuitive. I can take a preset and mangle it in moments. There are hundreds (maybe) of different waveforms and wavetables to continually mix and match so I think of Kubik as being relatively infinite in the choice available. I admit that I haven't finished the manual yet but it seems comprehensive and straight-forward.
Best of all, I've found, once I got it working right, that the exquisite, richness of the sounds is not choking my CPU -even when I play full chords or evolving pads with delays and other effects. This efficiency is of particular importance to me as some of my other favorites tend to smother my Athlon 2100+ CPU.
In sum, I love ConcreteFX synths for having unique character and a bit of attitude. With this synth, though, Jon has taken synthesis to a whole new level. I give it the highest recommendation. I will stop going on and on about it now so I can get back to playing with it.
Kubik is a wavetable/wavetable sequencing synth. It has 2 oscilators (upto 4, count unison modes), which are wavetable based. This means the oscilators are made up from between 1 and 64 seperate waveforms, wave position is modulatable. They can be drawn individually by drawing the wavefrom or adjusting 64 harmonics. It can also anaylize wave files in segments and resynthesize them, its not intended to be highly accurate but adds to the ability and intrest of the synth.
It has a list of preset waveforms in catagories.This is a very usefull thing to have and makes for good starting points. There are many more neat touches as far as making wavetables goes. It has menus for editing and modifying your waves and wavetables. Options such as reverse, normalize, smooth, move to zero for waves. Options for editing/modifying waves are, distort, FM,low & highpass filter, ring mod & phase distort. You can perform morphs & interpolate, where any gaps in the table without waves in are interpolated or morphed! Each oscilator has its own volume , pitch, tuning, pan and wave offset amount and unsison features. There are wave shaping options such as bit, S&H,Phase, Rectify and Pulse Width.
All this is before we even get to the filters! Which sound very good, it sounds sort of sophistocated in its standard modes. However it has more exotic modes such as formant,comb,ringmod & noise. They have keytracking and a vari amount , depending which filters used has a different function.There are 2 filters & 4 routing options.
Next you choose how the filter outputs are mixed or interacted, they can be added, subtracted, mixed, ringmod, FM, waveshaped, sync, sample and hold, or PWM. These options allow a very wide range of sounds to be generated. These can give wild results, especially when you consider how complicated the sources being interacted can be to begin with! Metallic and otherwordly sounds are easy peasy with this synth.
The envelopes and LFO's are very flexible indeed. Envelopes are upto 32 sections with variable slope. Its easy to latch the mouse on to points without having to be too precise & double click to add points. You can set your own loop sections (which is easy) even loop the whole envelope. There are preset/saved envelopes, & randomize options. LFO's are also flexible, they have sine, saw and square components mixed together, can be modulated by velocity and have smooth, humanize, symmetry parameters, also have their own delay, attack and decay options.
There is a Mod panel it allows LFO's, keyboard parameters and midi control sources to modulate the destinations. It has 4 slots and phase, smooth and humanize parameters to control modulations. There is also a full mod matrix with 20 slots which can transfer settings from the pre wired envelopes and LFO's & allows you to modulate loads of parameters with a huge range of sources.
Kubik has a 2 wavetable sequencers. This is a 64 step sequencer, it allows you to sequence several set parameters. This is very cool, it can be displayed numerically in rows and columns, it isnt difficult to use like that, and also has a visual editing option which can help to make viewing relative values at a glance easier.
Theres are global control sections where an arpegiator lives and you set poly/mono, bend ranges and filter smooth amongst others. There is a global attack and release control which is very useful. I would love a full global page with more extensive global controls! There are also very usefull midi latch options for the parameter sliders.Polyphony can be set from 1-16.
Finally we come to the effects. There are 2 main effects cells. Cell A & B they both have modulation/distort, delay,reverb,comb filter. Then it passes to an E.Q, compression, widener, vibrato and tremelo. They sound good, & add a lot to an already superbly equiped synth.
Theres plenty of good presets & banks (some v good). Kubik has many little touches that show alot of thought been put into it, and its paid off! It can sound warm if you want, but it can very easily sound harsh,fizzy,abstract,biting,raspy & metallic. The interface is good and you will soon find your way around. There are some good tips in the manual, it really does pay to read it.
Support is very good, bugs are sorted very quickly when they're posted and Jon has a very cool and pleasant attitude both on the forum and in emails. He welcomes suggestions and appreciates feedback, and is obviously a hardcore synth nut, so I have no problem buying his products.
This is a very powerfull synth as it stands, and it keeps getting better with each update!. I would recommend this to anyone wanting something exotic. Its capable of a very wide range of sounds, warm to harsh and many intresting ones inbetween, and its ok on the CPU too. If your only half intrested in it, its worth trying out, and at the price is very good value for the features. It takes time to know this synth, and Ive got to know its a gem.
Kubik is a modestly complex wavetable-type synth. I'm not going to go deeply into the technical details because (a) it's already been covered and (b) I'm not a tech-head, I just want to play!
The UI is nice, easy on the eyes, and everything is easy to get to. Bank loading/saving and preset selection are fairly common-sense, although how a preset is saved with the song but not the bank last loaded threw me off for a bit - a post in the ConcreteFX forum and I had my answer quickly. You can't beat getting a fast answer from the person that developed the synth himself!
On to the most important thing for me, the sound. Kubik can make the most amazing noises! I've stacked two/three instances and had some killer pads, which is mostly what I use Kubik for. There are a ton of presets, both that ship with Kubik and many others freely downloadable, so (being the preset user I am) I have a pretty large pallette to work with. It can be a bit harsh at times, it's definitely digital, but I like that (lol). The factory banks are nice but don't show the full power of the synth, I recommend Tim Conrardys banks as well as the Blaster and DJSL banks.
An excellent value for money, I'm actually surprised there isn't more buzz about this synth! It's not an end-all/be-all instrument but it does what it does quite well! :-)
Kubik is the cumulative work by ConcreteFX. It incorporates a new level of sophistication and unique features seldom found anywhere but CoFX products. I was a part-time beta tester and perpetual nag, trying to get my ideas heard. Were they? No, they were developing before I could say to Jon, "hey can we have an individual dialog box for each of the 64 note waveshapers, and so on.
The interface is a lovely, easy on the eyes flat design. It screams functionality and lives up to it's promise. Each oscillator is exceptionally modeled with filters that are warm to pliantly thin. Kubik is about sound possibilities and uses several approaches to it, in particular wavetables, many of them, all as simple as you want it to be and capable of massive complexity that I wouldn't be happy with in a ConcreteFX design.
Patch designers will love the wavetable designer which works like a microWave on steroids yet can make the funky, weird little sounds PPG Wave users have grown fond of. More importantly, Kubik takes on the wavetable design, makes it dead simple (providing you read the included manual) along with a slew of analog beauty in the filter department straight through to near FM by way of implited FM sound matched to a beautiful timbre reminicient of Big Tick Rhino 2 and even parts of VirSyn TERA 2. These are not idle comparisons, for as good as the wavetable theme is addressed, and it beats Waldorf's PPG Wave 2.v VSTi which was quirky and a tad confusing compared to Kubik's clean lines and direct programming capabilities, Kubik ups the ante and throws a "diga-log" style synth at you as well.
Hybrid synths are more the norm than specialty item they were in 2003. Users are expecting more and they are getting a full compliment in this exemplary synth. For those who ever wondered if the Waldorf sound could be improved upon and driven in different directions that have a truly unique synergy, the answer is yes.
Kubik can sound like the virtual (no pun intended) Chaeleon. Big thick leads, pads and basses are available. Even bigger, expansive pads and evocative synth sounds are shown in full ardor. Kubik is one bad ass synth that does a lot of things well with less firepower than some may expect.
While the effects are excellent and of course have gating capabilities that will make a trance head get moist, the thing that keeps impressing is how broad the range and how high the quality Kubik exudes. In a recent discussion I asked Jon at ConcreteFX if he felt Kubik was his masterwork. It is obvious Jon has confidence in his work, and of the existing developers, none have been as neglected as ConcreteFX; most likely because, like Kubik, selling at $90. The line is kept ascessible in price with wonderful package deals and frequent updates.
While Jon may be too polite I'm not; Kubik is one of the best synths of 2004 and on a budget that Mother Theresa could have found the cash for.
Customer support is excellent with potential bugs taken serious as a heart attack. ConcreteFX has run the gammut of virtual synths but in Kubik have found ways to uncrown several FM synths (used with external effects!!), the venerable PPG Wave 2.v and other wavetable synths.
There are many available single cycle waves to work with. Just like a real PPG you add the waves to create a wavetable. In terms of control you have 64 waves per table and those left blank are interpolated, meaning in essence morphed, for that classic sound we've grown to love (and in some sad souls, hate) but even in the wavetable itself there is enough control between the modulation and LFO routings and envelopes to take the typical moving sound and make it more undulating and liquid. It's a neat trick and when employed with the modulation matrix can do some remarkable sounds that are refreshingly unique.
Though often thought of as a "role player" synth, there is plenty of sonic firepower for the average user to experienced developer.
There are many hundreds of presets available in Kubik's library. More will show up as I think this will become an important synthesizer, not just for 2004, but in years to come.
The craft and complexity of Kubik are trademarked ConcreteFX staples, but on Kubik there are many areas that are simpler to use than previous "concept synths" such as Adder, Ensembler, Etherial and Digital. For the first time ConcreteFX extend the audience by creating an exceptionally full and rich synth that can be learned as one goes along and has the presets to make all audiences happy.
At $90 it is a steal. Support shareware developers, they like to eat. Download and hear for yourself how wonderful the overall sound is.
Kubik is my pick of the year. It is amazingly deep while remaining fundementally easy to learn and outright fun. It's only down-side is how easy it is to get lost in the many traditional and expressive sounds capable...and at such a reasonable price!
"If you choose to accept this mission you will be asked to program the future sounds of a far away planet. Starfox, prepare for takeoff!!"
Kubik is made for sounds from far-off space. This baby can produce sounds you're just not going to hear elsewhere, period. A treat, I mean a real treat for those of us who love big ass cosmic shifting tones. A pad lovers nirvava!! Kubik does the standard synth sounds amazingly well so the possibilties of using just Kubik for your tracks are vast. The sheer number of timbres possible will make you a convert.
Everyone wants a comparison so I'll say that I find it closer Reaktor synths such as Amiphytron & Metaphysical Function than to the popular monsters here at KVR.
In fact, I feel it blows another famous NI synth plain out of the water.
This synth is first one I've found capable of producing the sounds in my dreams.
The key is the interaction between the (a)2 morphing 64-wavetable oscillators and (b)step sequencer as each is uniqe yet function in tandem.
You might say "only 2 osc's?" but each sweeps thru a number of 64 wave shapes (there are a massive number of built-in waveshapes with the ability to beef them up) to change the sound over time. Brilliant! And the sequencer is unique also morphs the sound with additional time & pitch info to each of the waveshapes. I am still in awe of what a few tweaks to a waveform and the sequencer will produce.
And if the above two features weren't enough there are all the goodies we've come to expect from todays softies; graphable envelopes & LFO's, built-in FX, Mod matrix, multi-mode filters, an arp etc. Kubik even has a built-in GUI skin editor!!
And let's talk about price... an ultra-bargin. I mean forget group buys... Kubik is priced lower than what many of the other synths get to at their best discount price. This is an absolute must-have!! My venerable MetaSynth is shaking in it's boots right about now.
I have come to use Kubik in eXT (with the Trackion skin) and it integrates (both in visuals and functionality) seamlessly. Did I mention how much I love this synth?? :)
Another class-act synth and support as Jon is always here at the Forum.
Latest 6 reviews from a total of 6