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RazorbyNative Instruments
 Razor by Native Instruments is a Virtual Instrument and a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin and Soundware (e.g. samples or presets that load into other products). It includes, and is therefore "powered by", Reaktor Player, which functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, an RTAS Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
Razor
Razor
Product Razor
Developer Native Instruments
Price (MSRP) €99
Type / Tags
This product is "Powered By" Reaktor Player. The OS and Format icons listed below should be accurate for the latest version of Reaktor Player.
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 1.7.0  - Released
 1.7.0  - Released
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Razor is an innovative and highly distinctive software synthesizer designed together with forward-thinking electronic artist Errorsmith. For use in Reaktor 5 and in the free Reaktor Player, Razor uses powerful additive synthesis to create intense and profoundly modern sounds for contemporary electronic music production.

Berlin-based producer and renowned Reaktor instrument designer Errorsmith is dedicated to the "expansion of the sonic horizon through digital sound synthesis". Razor realizes this credo through the additive synthesis capabilities of the latest Reaktor 5.5 generation, which were used to develop a high-resolution synthesis engine with unconventional sound shaping features and a unique real-time 3D spectrum display. The pristine and extremely dynamic sonic character of additive synthesis allows Razor to generate a wide and very distinctive array of energetic, hyper-modern sounds, ranging from expressive basses and leads to complex, futuristic soundscapes.

Razor utilizes up to 320 partials for its sophisticated sound shaping algorithms. The dual oscillator section provides a wide arsenal of timbres, ranging from typical analog-style waveforms to unconventional models like "Primes", "Sick Pitchbend" and "Hoover Sync". The two filter sections offers 20 different filter types including innovative formant, vowel and waterbed models. A further section provides an arsenal of unique "Dissonance Effects" that further contribute to the unmistakable, charismatic sonic footprint of the instrument. Razor even integrates a high-performance 34-band vocoder that can also be used to process external audio signals of any type.

The user interface of Razor builds on familiar concepts of subtractive synthesizers, providing especially efficient and intuitive control for the underlying highly sophisticated synthesis engine. Razor also includes a library of 350 carefully selected presets with a focus on cutting-edge electronic sound aesthetics, accommodating both contemporary club music genres like Dubstep and Techno as well as modern film and game scoring applications.

Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 6 reviews

Reviewed By a_Scientist
July 1, 2015

Very interesting synth (as I love other Reaktor synths).

The sound is sharp; at least before you refine it as you want, (the name "Razor" fits).

You won't find common oscillator types here. Any oscillator here is special (what surprised me in the beginning). Like:

Formant.

Number Pitchbend.

Synced Noise.

Razor relies on heavy use of filtering. Putting a filter on (as other modules) is very easy, simply click and select image. By the way, it's graphically advanced. It even has 3D! (which you can turn off for 2D to save CPU time). Examples of filters:

Lowpass Phaser.

Vowel.

Formant.

Effects section is awesome too. Like special type of reverb.

Almost everything can be automated with 3 Envelopes and 2 LFO, for Filter parameter 1 - up to 3 modulators. There are two filters.

I like how everything is organized (as for other Reaktor synths).

This synth had positive impression on me, which increased as I used it more.

Sorry for my English good luck.

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Reviewed By FarleyCZ
October 21, 2013

Razor ... eh ... let me tell you. Untill Razor, I thought I'm a audio geek. But once I've seen what this Errorsmith accomplished in freaking Reaktor. I mean WHAT?!?

Features: 9/10.

So what the hell is it? Let's put it this way. Additive synthesis used to be all about "adding" those harmonics to the fundamental. What Errorsmith realized is, that it's not just about level. You have all sorts of other stuff you can do with bunch of partials. Shifting them, retunning them in milion ways, you can mimic filters, mimic analog behaviour and so on and so on. To be fair, synths like Alchemy had function of altering different parameters of partials before, but the way it's introduced in Razor is amazing. Intuitive, quick, clean.

Sound: 9/10.

It's hard to compare Razor to anything. Hard to judge on any level. If you like any kind of "traditional" sounds, either electronic or acoustic, Razor will dissappoint you, becouse it sounds like no other thing on earth. If you like experimental stuff, you won't believe your ears. It really is that good. It has it's character, so, espcially when used for bass, you can identify it even in other people's work ... which can be said about 303 also and nobody gives a damn about it, so I guess it's a good thing. :)

GUI: 8/10.

Looks nice, well thought. Loving the spectral view. You see what's happening all the time. Nice touch. I don't like how it's big. That's common problem with todays plugins for me. They don't care about 1366x768 pix laptop monitors anymore. :/ (Much worse in Prism though.)

Value: 7/10.

It blows your mind, when you think about this thing being built in Reaktor. I mean it had to take ages, or this Errorsmith is genius on his own. ...having said that, this being Reaktor ensemble drags it down a little. For sure, you can use it to learn Reaktor, but honestly, when just producing, you want it to load instantly, not after opening Reaktor and browsing through your ensemble database. I've seen some ensembles that made it into a real software, kinda hope this happens here also. But aside that, this synth si crazy. It gives whole new meaning to the expression "additive synthesis", I really recomend you to at least try it. :)

Cheers,
Martin.

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Reviewed By Greg Houston
October 2, 2013

Sound: 10 stars.

In general, it can take a lot of experience and effort to make a pleasing sound on most synthesizers. With Razor, though it may be a little more trial and error to make a specific sound you have in mind, I find it difficult to create a sound I simply do not like. Pretty much everything that comes out of it sounds wonderful to me in some way. It just might not be what I was going for which I attribute to additive synthesis in general more so than Razor in particular.

Usability: 10 stars.

Great workflow.

CPU: 2 stars (it hurts ... a lot)

Razor has quality settings, but it could use some even lower ones. Maybe use fewer partials?

Stability: 3 stars (due to Reaktor)

You can't review Razor without reviewing Reaktor as well. Reaktor is a nightmare to me. I keep hoping that some new version of it suddenly won't be, but alas, that has yet to be the case. Regardless of the instrument I am using it can crash out of the blue for no apparent reason. It will corrupt my Cubase project files so that I cannot open them. It is really rare a Reaktor instrument makes it to the final mix of one of my projects, and if so, there will only be that one instance.

Preset Management: 2 stars (Reaktor)

Native Instruments has a synth with my favorite preset management (Massive) and then with my least favorite by far (Reaktor). Bad preset management is also an impediment to sound designers releasing patch libraries for Razor. Sound designers I've requested Razor patches from have specifically mentioned this. Again, contrast this with Massive. [Sorry for the comparison KVR mods but I really want to drive this point home].

GUI: 9 stars.

My only gripe about the UI is that you cannot see the text value for a knob unless you change the value. Hovering over a knob should display it's current value.

If Razor was a standalone plugin I think it would be much more popular. An imaginary standalone version I would give 9.5 stars rather than 7. I would also pay considerably more for it.

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Reviewed By schnapsglas
July 25, 2012

I will keep it short.

Razor uses additive synthesis using 'partials' and can be used with Reaktor or Reaktor player. It features UI that is friendlier than most of the synths on the market. In one word, Razor is special.

Razor is one of my favourite synths for many reasons but I feel it's my duty to warn people that it may not be what they are looking for. It is special in the way that it can create sounds that you really cannot achieve with other synths; the downside is that whether those sounds are actually usable is another story.

It isn't certainly synth that does everything; at what it does, it isn't even close to being perfect. You may end up noting that sonic characteristics of presets can be harsh and dull and anything in between. To our rescue, there is spectral clip and safe bass setting which adds or subtracts bass and top frequencies respectively. I have to say without these two features the synth would be very much out of control.

However, with filters it features with modulation options and 'sidechain' modulation which lets you modulate more than one knob at a time, this isn't certainly a synth that goes for instant usability. It needs careful tweaking, and even then you may need help from aforementioned two features to control your sound.

Many synths use word 'innovative' and so does Razor, but I feel it is one of very few synths that actually deserve this title. As I said, it does not do everything; it doesn't try. At what it does, it can fail. But the point of Razor is that it can really make some otherwordly sound.

So if you are looking for another subtractive synthesizer or VA, this is certainly not the place. But if you are looking to add to your sonic arsenal, you will find that Razor can offer you sound that you've never dreamed of. And certainly spectral clip and safe bass settings make it much more usable. It could certainly be my sound design ability, but you may find that sometimes it can be difficult to get the settings right, for it demands near exact settings for a usable patch. But if you love playing in your sonic lab, tweaking settings, coming across failures, willing to try an additive synthesizer, or experiencing sound that you would have not even dreamed of, Razor is for you.

I don't like giving out numbers but for sound I would say Razor is at about 7 or 8. But for its innovation and how tempting it is to get this unique synth at such agreeable price, I will give it a 9.

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Reviewed By NEF
March 30, 2011

NI Razor For Reaktor is a amazing instrument! The demo of this beast caught me first, as im sure it did most people with the DUBSTEP WOBBLES. When I finally got the product I had no idea that it did so much more.
The quality of presets are amazing! They have some of the most unique sounds ive ever heard. They even put a new twist on some familiar synths and basses. I really do have to suggest this to anyone looking for a good rich synth. The sound is...well its Native Instruments...duh!. and the interface is very very streamlined. Easy to use, and not ALOT of knobs for easy midi mapping to your favorite controller. 10 outta 10Read more
Discussion: Active

Discussion

23 March 2012 at 4:49pmSarahBellum

WARNING !!

what Native Instruments don't tell you anywhere is that while Razor will load and play in Reaktor Player you have to buy the full version of Reaktor to use Razor as intended. In Reaktor Player none of it's controls are assignablefull to MIDI (either in a DAW or to a control surface), so no real time 'wub-wub' or 'meow' bases.

If you only have Reaktor Player then don't waste your money on Razor

10 August 2013 at 5:07ammurnau

so you finally find out why it's named "player" do you? :D.

25 January 2013 at 9:25pmCytem01

On the NI website, they have it listed for $99 now instead of $79. No announcement or anything, they just upped the price. Way to run an honest business Native Instruments.

10 August 2013 at 5:05ammurnau

"Reaktor only causes me frustration, causing projects in Cubase to crash and or become corrupted and not openable.".

LOL.

11 August 2013 at 11:06pmspirit

+I.

I own Razor & Reaktor and fully sympathize about the presets. I've also been using Reaktor for years and still can't understand the preset management system - it's a woeful mess. Likewise I have trouble getting the right version of Razor to open - the player version always seems to want to be the one that loads and I always have to fiddle about trying to get the other version. That alone is a real disincentive to use this synth.

27 August 2013 at 10:11pmJohnny!

KVR reports current version as 1.0, but the synth was updated 3 times now, with current version numer being 1.3.

27 September 2013 at 8:14amGreg Houston

I would pay $300 easy for a standalone Razor that uses a tenth as much CPU. That is my dream synth.

I absolutely love the sound of Razor. I love making presets with it. However Reaktor is a nightmare. Reaktor causes my DAW to crash for out of the blue, it's preset management is stupendously convoluted, and it will often corrupt my projects. It is really really really rare that a Reaktor based instrument will make it to the final mix on one of my projects. So that is a huge strike against Razor. The next one is the obscene amount of CPU it uses.

So my dream synth is a version of Razor that is stable like Massive and low CPU like Massive.

28 October 2013 at 4:51amUser3333

Hello, for a Windows 7 PC with a decent graphics card how good does your CPU need to be approximately - eg, Intel i5 is ok? In other words for those who have issues with running Razor what is your CPU and RAM specification? Thanks in advance.

28 October 2013 at 7:37amGreg Houston

I have an i7 with 16 GB or RAM. I don't think there is a really a set up right now that you will be able to use more than one or two instances of Razor.

28 October 2013 at 4:54amUser3333

Hello, I'd like to confirm if the free version of Reaktor (player) is sufficient to use most or all the options of Razor. Thanks.

28 October 2013 at 10:04amUser3333

I have an Intel i7 860 @ 2.80GHz and require one instrument/instance of Razor played at a time. They say that a dual core notebook may struggle so Quad core should be sufficient. Thanks. Btw, Image line Harmor looks inferior in appearance to Native Instruments.

28 October 2013 at 11:07amWildfunk

"Harmor looks inferior" in comparison with Razor???

Razor...

  • can't import own waveforms.
  • can't import wav/mp3 samples.
  • can't edit timbres.
  • uses too much cpu.
  • only has 2 osc/14 waveforms.
28 October 2013 at 12:19pmjottinger

Yeah, Razor's kinda... expensive. That said, it sounds nice; I haven't really had that much of a problem with the settings management. Most of the criticisms of Razor seem aimed at Reaktor.

28 October 2013 at 11:25amUser3333

Hi I would like to use Razor via my Roland A-500 Pro MIDI keyboard and NI say in the comparison to Reaktor 5 that Reaktor Player allows: Total Recall and full automation in your DAW

..so that should mean in Reaktor Player I can assign the pitch bend and knobs (hardware) to Razor (software) - eg open or close filters via the Roland.

is this true or does Reaktor Player allow only the keys to operate on the screen? sounds strange that NI would disable the sliders, knobs, pitch bend in Reaktor Player but just allow the keys.

I'm interested in Razor and Prism for the moment and don't need a lot of the other items they bundle in Komplete 9 standard.

btw I reckon Harmor does not look as good as Razor in user interface appearance, im not comparing the audio quality or features. Thanks.

28 October 2013 at 11:59amSarahBellum

the answer is in the first post on this page - NO, IT DOES NOT.

28 October 2013 at 12:36pmUser3333

Sarah I read your comments today but maybe your setup is different or a few years ago. I've got a Quad Core i7 supporting Windows 7 Prof, Cubase Artist 7, Roland UA-55 Quad Capture, and the Roland A-500 Pro. That's a fairly good setup for my bedroom DJ'ng & producing and the quality or lack-of might be causing the bottleneck at your end. Could you enlighten me on the setup of your equivalent items or should I just accept that only the full version of Reaktor will enable all the controls. I am about to press the "Submit Payment" button and I don't yet have any NI products except from 1999 which are in the bin. Cheers.

28 October 2013 at 1:09pmjottinger

User3333, I don't know what setup Sarah has either, but I noticed on *my* quadcore i7 that razor had a distinct and measurable impact. I think the synth is worth the investment (I invested!) and GOLLY it's pretty, but it IS CPU-intensive in its normal configurations. (I say that because I can imagine you can turn off things and use less CPU - my PC is in the shop right now or I'd measure and test this.)

28 October 2013 at 12:58pmUser3333

in addition to post 28 October 2013 at 4:36am even though the keyboard and audio interface are midiable I am using USB v2 cables, not MIDI.

28 October 2013 at 1:17pmSarahBellum

the limitations of Reactor Player mean that you cannot assign controllers to Razor. I requested refund for Razor from N.I. on the grounds that they didn't make clear that due to the limitations of Reactor Player it meant that modules (inc Razor) could not be MIDI assigned - they refunded without any fuss :)

It maybe that this has been amended in more recent versions of player.
Instead I use Alchemy, Zeta2, and SynthmasterCM :)

28 October 2013 at 1:40pmUser3333

Great news. Appears that November 2013 versions and the controller links to desktop via USB v2 and audio interface the same enables the knobs & pitch bend (no midi). We could be in a place of quality-increasing VST synths where the traditionals are now questioning why pay top-dollar for an Access music Virus when instead buy Alchemy?

28 October 2013 at 6:07pmprupert

Well, I have a quad core i7 3740 laptop with 16 GB RAM, running Razor in Ableton 9 Suite I can run four instances together, with each of the first four presets and I get CPU usage of around 45%. Just an FYI.

29 October 2013 at 5:18amUser3333

You'd estimate an i7 280 purchased in 2011 which is 60% the speed of i7 3740 should allow at least 2 instances at 50% CPU meter - my RAM is only 4gig but the experts say the processor is more important.

3 December 2013 at 2:34pmUser3333

Razor v1.5... Hi I have a suspicion the developers increase the CPU level not so much as it is physically demanding but more an illusion that wow something is going on that it must be good. Its a bit like when MS introduced Flight Simulator quite a while ago from 2013 and on the highest setting the environ got bogged. But when the hardware eventually caught up, running smoothly on ultra did not give you that much of a better flight. I must admit though I've listened to a lot of software and hardware synths lately and aside from the level it is magical.

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Razor

Average user rating of 4.00 from 6 reviews

Native Instruments
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