After selling Plex here on kvr, i think it´s time for a review;-)
The´re several reasons why i sold it:
1. The basic sound is for me very nasal. The´re are indeed some very nice presets, but when i tried to programm some patches from scratch, the results were in most cases unsatisfying. maybe other programmers have more luck.;-)
2. What i dislike most is the ´top-partial-component´, it sounds just like dripping in the pan....
And that´s the biggest problem: the several sound-components don´t blend together as one (it´s like you combine at random a lowpass and a highpass-sound, in common terms). Many combinations are senseless i.m.h.o., especially the one which the marketslogans courted for (can´t remember, i think it was a piano and a flute??!) :-)
3. I missed a semitone-controller, you can only choose the octave. Furthermore the phasersound is very onesided.
Beside this the´re are still some pro´s:
- great gui
- great env and lfo-options
- good "live"-options
conclusion: the plex isn´t that bad. if you´re fond of the provided samples and the basic sound, plex will do a good job for you.
well plex was an odd failure in marketing terms... which is really strange cause this unique synth definitely produces beautiful - and very expensive sounding - digital pads and "moving" sounds. personally i find the soundscapes this synth is capable to do very close to the sound of my wavestation sr. sure it doesn´t feature wavesequencing ... but it sounds airy, impressive and soundtrackish to the max imho. the userinterface indeed looks like a electronic game from an bygone age :) but is amongst the most accessible interfaces for a synth i ever saw. it´s so easy to come up with useful musical sounds... sure it doesn´t produce one-note wonders, but used in a arrangment the sounds become "alive"...glittering and sparkling with beauty and class. if you are looking for realistic analog sounds or imitations of natural sounds you won´t get happy here, but if you like those etheral pads and synth sounds this is the right thing to get. and since it was included with newer vstis from steinberg for free it´s an absolute steal to have!!!
if i had to describe the soundcharacter i would say: airy, digital, crisp, floating above the ground... (ok, i am biased, i love this thing).
it´s not about the single sampled elemnts... it´s the combination. plex sound is more than the sum of its parts! e.g. try the 8080 patch in the factory soundbank... just change some elements... you will come up with beautiful soundtrackish pads in no time... simply amazing...
p.s. being the lucky kind of person i am i bought it before it became a free added bonus...
There seems to be a backlash against so-called 'large' companies and their products. N.I. experiences this problem as does Steinberg. In Steinberg's case some of their entries in the VSTi world have deserved negative attention.
Plex is different though. It is a 90's rompler workstation with the brain of a mad scientist. At times Plex sounds like the Wavestation's cousin.
Plex works with a bit more than 90 processed samples that work as data for various color coded segments of the instrument's character. Yellow = filter, Red = base sample and Green = Top component. The forth component is the simple but effective LFO and ADSR envelope areas.
Designed by Wolfgang Palm this instrument cleverly combines simplistic control while associating timbre and sound functions with colors on a interface that at first look seems daunting but is very simple. Read the manual, it is well written.
The principle of Plex's synthesis engine boils down to this; you have restructured waves as your virtual instrument's basic tonal character, it's color (or overtones) and it's physical characteristics. Restructured waves are based on traditional instruments, synths and a few novel but interesting artificial objects and for lack of a better way of saying it, realities.
The LFO is simple yet powerful and depending on how you construct your instrument can be anything from a simple lead to something wildly exotic. Plex is digital sounding due to some seemingly uninteresting samples, but looks decieve.
If you're buying Plex as your virtual rompler keep looking. Plex is more than the sum of it's samples. They are constructs that come to iife when the patch is designed.
Great sounds can be made with Plex. It's samples are designed for synthesizing, not realism. Think of wavetable synths, would you judge the microWave based on the sound of it's wavetables? Similarly, why judge Plex by bland samples. It's not a sample playback synth!
Plex is unique and has a lovely sound.
i think plex is underrated.
It got some bad reviews, and it seems nobody talks about it anymore.
and that's wrong. Ppex can produce some very cool and unique sounds, the samples it's based on may not sound very good on their own, but combining them and playing with the lfos (extremely flexible lfo's btw) and adsr and stuff is the real strength of plex.
the sound definately sound digital, not analog at all, but alive, breathing, and NOT cheap.
this synth (you should treat it as a synth, not as a sampleplayer)is one of the few really unique synths out there that are godd and USABLE as well.
and of course the interface simply rocks, one of the best interfaces i've seen so far. and it's easy to use, and the manual is ok as well.
you can't go wrong with plex if you want to add some unique sounds to your collection.
This is a modern sample based VSTi which is a good thing as this thing allows me to quickly dial up certain standard sounds plus some more.
This is already the real strength of this synth -SIMPLICITY- as it has the right blend of not too many parameters but enough to make some changes to the sounds, easy and predictable. I've got enough super versatile synths for the mega tweaking so this simplicity here is a real strength.
User interface: not good looking to me and the controls don't feel cool when moving so while there aren't too many of them and I don't tweak this thing very much I can tolerate that.
Sound quality: Some sounds are really great. some samples could be better but generally it works for what I want from it.
Features: The one feature I really miss is the ability to use own samples. I'm not sure if that would really do but in some situations it's highly desirable.
Documentation: The manual is OK.
Presets: Some really good ones, a lot OK ones, with own programming much more cool stuff is possible.
Customer support: These guys really want to help and do know a lot.
Value for money: Definitely yes!
Stability: Completely stable.
I personnaly love it because its resembles what impressed me most in a hardware rompler like trinity i.e airy and breathy.
Anyone can stack strings over a piano but its a lot harder to make the sounds move also. This synth does it.
If you really want to go to la la land, try stacking 2 instances, like a combi mode, on the same channel and add ext. reverb. wow
The individual samples arent that great but the magic really happens when you assign 3 different ones. The qualitites of each samples are kept only.
Also very stable and low CPU on my Athlon XP 2000+.
it's buzzy, cold, weird, fun to play with, and never crashed on me once. i found the docs are more than sufficient.
the sound is brash and totally rediculous which is a departure from the glut of samey-sounding synths which abound. not to mention the interface is stupidly fun and invites you to PLAY with it (reminds me of that old game Simon where you slap colored plastic surfaces... i think i just dated myself :( ).
what more could you want??? cmon man... it's $200 retail and you can probably squeeze more out of it on your pc than a hardware unit 4 times the price.
it's like fm7's hippy brother.
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