Sounds very, very good.
Easy and intuitive to program. Initially the 'chained' patterns are not easy to handle, but it doesn't take long to master. It's actually a very powerful feature, and allows for complex sequencing.
I personally love the graphics, and the various colours make it very easy to see what is going on.
There is just one feature i would like to see: to be able to copy a single instrument's pattern sequence and copy it to another pattern. Not indespensable, but could be handy.
EDIT. The feature i thought was missing, is already there! You just need to option click when copy pasting patterns to edit a single drum voices pattern.
This drum machine is truly powerful, and the more i use it, the more i love it. The new Sonic Recharge bank of patches is brilliant.
It can be used in many different ways: as a sound generator, synth, drum machine, drum synth, etc...
The midi controller implementation is fully featured, as is host automation. Every possible parameter can be automated, and you can even use a computer keyboard to record automation takes. This is one of the instrument's strong points: total control.
The many supplied presets are excellent inspirational starting points.
Stability is rock solid.
Overall an awesome beat box which is worth a lot more than it costs !!!
> link buttons which tell 'Tonic what to play after (or as a shortcut, what comes before) the current pattern. Pretty simple.
You can also cut & paste patterns all over the place, so simple.
You can drag to set arbitrary beats from 1 to 16. If you want 12 beats per, it's easy.
Also, there are nice sliders at the bottom for roll time (to go from 'da-da-da' to "bzzzzzzzzzt!'), swing, and tempo match.
It's pretty easy to dial up a new drum sound, but my guess is you won't need to (often). There is an army of included presets that suit most music where you'd find a beat box.
User Interface: I was at first put-off by the "Aqua" look, but it's actually very easy to use.
Sound: @#$%^&-ing brilliant. Exactly what you'd want in an electronic drum machine, and then some. One thing to note is that it also supports "tuned" patches, so you can go nuts with the sounds.
Features: The only thing I feel lacking in the step sequencer is the ability to set more velocity levels. However, since I can easily cut & paste any pattern or set of patterns back into my sequencer, it's super easy to do final tweaks there. The "random" button is also excellent for industrial or ambient tracks. Just press "play" and hit the button till you get something odd or nasty. Nice! It supports either a 4-out (2 stereo pairs) which you can easily choose A/B for each part, or a separate out for each patch you have dialed up.
Documentation: very good, though I haven't needed it.
Customer Support: haven't needed it yet, but I got a prompt response on a new feature request.
Value for Money: It's more than I wanted to spend for a beat box in general, by about $20. But I'm cheap, and it was worth it anyway.
Stability: Rock solid.
The sound that comes out of this VSTi is great. Filters run smoothly and the bass drums, snares and claps are better then most I've ever heard. The range of all the drum and percussive sounds is, since the editing is so easy, nothing but marvelous.
I'm a preset guy myself, so I actually got really surprised how much I like to tweak this machine. All the controls that I need is up front and there's no science to editing presets (or patterns). Out of the box you get a bunch of programs (patterns) and presets (drum and percussive sounds) that work great as a start. (Cliche but nevertheless true.)
The step sequencer is easy and straight forward. Programming patterns are made in a 808/909 fashion and two or more patterns can be linked to make up larger pattern chains. Copy, paste and other expected sequencer features are all there. Other reviews here on kvr say that the sequencer is the weak part of this VSTi but I must say that I can't agree. I like it, I like it a lot. I mean, beside ease of use it's got MIDI out, something that is really useful for me.
With the latest update (version 2.0) the two main features that I was missing, eight separate outputs and midi CC learn, are included. Among the new features the direct preview when browsing programs and presets (in sync) and the pitched MIDI mode stands out from the rest.
So what's the downside? Well, when loading a program you're not only loading a set of presets (drum sounds) but also the patterns. The option to load "only" presets and not the patterns of a program would give a more "standard" feeling of loading/saving drum kits. This would be good for trying out different drum sounds to an already perfected set of patterns.
The UI works great from an usability point of view, the looks of the UI however is not what it could be. Icing on the cake would, IMHO, be a more photo realistic (3d) look that breathes more of a vintage-analog-VCO controlled-feel to it. (Something like Tassman4 to be more exact..)
GUI: I love the sound editing area and I hate the step sequencer area. As already mentioned by another reviewer, 16 steps is not enough. Moreover, I would prefer to have a more fine-grained access to step velocities than just normal and accented beat. The worst thing, however, is that you can only see a pattern for one channel at a time. When I'm programming beats I need to see the whole picture, so this limited one-channel-only view renders the µtronic step sequencer more or less useless for me. Also, the pattern chaining mode seems a little bit awkward to me. On the positive side, there is a lots of commands which ease the management of drum kits and patterns a lot.
Sound: Just great. It cuts though everything without being painful.
Features: All you need from an electronic drum module. Can be both nasty and very clean. Great versatility with a very modest amount of parameters.
Documentation: Very good manual which covers everything you need to know in a clear and simple language. I just don't like that it comes as html, I had preferred a pdf document.
Presets: myriads, both patches and patterns
Customer support: My questions were answered within two days at max, unfortunately without being able to solve my problem (see below). As a positive side remark: there was a very nice free Xmas package with additional patches.
VFM: although 70 bucks is at my upper limit for a specialized plug, I consider the VFM very good.
Stability: never ever had a crash, although I sometimes treated it not too good (changing whole drum kits while it was playing etc.). A big nuisance, however, is that when you record midi notes through the midi output of the plug, these notes are mostly out of sync. The developer is aware of the problem (which seems only to occur in Cubase SX) but wasn't able to fix it so far. Also, µtronic sometimes seems to ignore the start/stop commands via midi notes.
Yes, this is a great drum synth, but it's not perfect. So instead of talking about it's wonderful tweakability, easy sound manipulation and crash-proof life, here's a few things I don't like:
- Chaining patterns together isn't intuitive. Maybe for you, not for me. Can't see what the hell is going on.
- It's a pig to synchronise to other sequencers if you decide against using the in-built 16-step toy pattern sequencer.
- The pattern sequencer is a joke. 16 steps ?! If this thing was designed as a horizontal GUI rather than a bathroom-tile square then they could have fit in an a workable 32-step pattern. I mean what the hell - 16 steps and then we flip to another pattern ? Is this 1990 ?
Hopeless, in fact truly woeful. Unbelievable. When everything else is so good to shoot itself in the foot with such an amateurish and frustrating restriction just takes my beath away.
I also find the GUI insipid and washed out. Maybe it's trying for some sort of Mac-like translucency, but for me it doesn't rate.
Other than that I'm very happy with this device. It's got a beautiful sound, absolutely superb noise and filter & EQ to get very subtle shades of tone, and lots of odd sound potential.
I slep on this one at first, it had been out for two months before I noticed it on the KVR ad banner. I said "fuck it! I have nothing else to do , I'll try the demo". Whoa! This damn VST is the best fuckin thing I have heard in a long time! The sound quality is amazing,everything in it is tweakable. I have been looking for something like this for a long time. I just have to say I can't wait to see what Sonic Charge does next! This Vst is going to be a classic along side the Pentagon I.
Well, I was pointed at this after some adverts on the propellerheads site and I have to say I was so impressed (and the nagging got to me) that I had to buy it...
This thing is capable of pretty much all manner of electronic drums, bleeps, effects and other weird atonal noises. The interface is a easy to use, so modifying existing presets, or making your own from scratch is simple to do.
The feature that sets this apart from everything else is the pattern seqencer. If you've used Reason or ReBirth, this will need no introduction (there's a very strong swedish connection with this synth btw). Basically you don't need to sit there with a drum-roll style editor programming drum loops - its all done x0x style... Much simpler to use than other drum synths, and saves having to copy/paste patterns. Of course if you're a sadist, you can turn this off...
The presets give a good idea of what the synth is capable of. A lot of the built-in patterns form great track basis in their own right.
Overall, I really like this. It won't sound like a real drum kit, but then it's not supposed to... but if you make any sort of 'proper' electronic music, get it and you won't regret it.
If you like electronic percussion then this is the VSTi for you! MicroTonic is like the best of every vintage drum box rolled into one, and then some. In a word, it's superb. The interface is very intuitive, and it is capable of producing a wide range of sounds from abdomen-thumping bass, crisp vintage x0x cymbals, snares, etc., blips, bleeps, bloops, hisses, statics, clicks, boings, atmospheric washes, and general distorted electronic mayhem. You will not get bored. In addition, it comes with a huge selection of presets, both individual percussion sounds, and entire kits including preprogrammed sequences. The sequencer has 16 steps, each with an "accent" and "fill" switch. You can adjust the measure (1/8, 1/8t, 1/16, 1/16t, 1/32), swing, and fill rate. The patterns can be linked to play sequentially, controlled using MIDI keys, or you can turn off the sequencer and use it as a straight sound generator. The sound generation is simple, but very broad. There is an oscillator and a noise generator, which can be mixed together. The noise generator can be filtered, while the osc has an eq slider. Various parameters can be affected by velocity, which can make for some interesting variations. There are 8 pads, each of which can contain one drum patch. Each pad has a mute button (ctrl+click to solo) Pad muting can also be controlled via MIDI keys.
There are lots of ways to work with MicroTonic, which is a great strength. It's easy to navigate between patches, cut, paste, and exchange, so editing is a breeze. The one quirk about this plugin is its method of saving patches. You can save each individual drum hit as a patch (.mtdp), or you can save an entire kit (up to 8 hits plus 12 sequences .mtpg). In having its own patch formats, it does depart from the traditional VSTi patch saving paradigm, but once you begin using it you will realize this makes it far more versatile. Depending on your host, you can also save programs traditionally (for example, Cakewalk users can still save complete programs using the VST wrapper's patch management facilities, although individual drum patches must be saved as .mtdp files directly from MT).
This is a top-quality plugin, and an excellent value for the money. It has never crashed on me, and I've been using it since its release day (Sonar3 and Project5). I've never had the need to contact tech support. It is super-efficient with CPU usage. The documentation is fairly basic, but good. I didn't have to refer to it much because it really kind of documents itself. The documentation does contain an excellent technical explanation of how the thing works, and all basic features are covered.
If you enjoy electronic percussion, this truly is the VSTi for you.
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