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Retrologue houses two oscillators, each with a maximum of eight widely detunable voices, one sub and one noise oscillator, alongside a dozen high-quality filter types as well as 300 presets. Also on board are two LFOs and two ADSR envelopes. With the ten-stage Modulation Matrix, users can assign modulation sources to vary the targets' values, also supporting modulation assignments from Note Expression, Steinberg's way of editing controller data.
Features at a glance:
- Classic virtual analog synthesizer with more than 300 high-quality presets dedicated to classic leads and analog synth sounds.
- Intuitive user interface for effective usability and direct accessibility.
- Two oscillators with up to eight detunable voices each plus a sub and noise oscillator.
- 12 different high-quality filter types.
- 2 LFOs and ADSR for filters and amp envelopes.
- 10-stage Modulation Matrix with Note Expression support for unlimited flexibility.
- Mono and Poly Modes with Legato and Glide.
- FX Section with high-class modulation and delay effects.
- NEW: VST 3, VST 2 and AU compatible host application support.
Reviewed By fluffy_little_something
April 15, 2013
For some reason Retrologue is never really mentioned when people on KVR are talking about the best sounding VA-style synths. It is always Diva this, Diva that...
Still, I bought Retrologue instead and am utterly impressed by its sound. Although it has a more or less standard architecture including 2 oscillators, 1 filter, 2 LFOs, 2 envelopes etc., some details such as the ability to stack and detune voices, the suboscillator with three waveform options and the noise generator with four noise options in combination with the excellent chorus and delay enable it to produce sounds that can make anyone drool that loves the sound of vintage hardware. Of course that comes at a price, CPU usage can quickly rise tremendously as you approach the 8-voice stack maximum. But that is an issue typical of all excellent softsynths, so not really a Retrologue con. When you stack, make sure to increase the voice limit in the polyphony section accordingly, it allows up to 128 voices for a reason :D I found that stacking up to 4 voices and detuning them appropriately already allows for a very intense sound (including supersaw if that is what you want, I don't). Going beyond 4 voices only seems to consume much more CPU power without really adding much more to the sound. But that is just my view...
Although there is just one filter (a separate HP filter in the amp section would not hurt), it sounds extremely good (no idea if it is zero-delay feedback filter or not) and comes with a dozen or so filter types, nothing exotic, but the standard types in various flavors, including rare ones such as 1-pole LP.
I also like the ten modulation slots, they offers all kinds of sources and targets, for instance the individual envelope phases or the shape controls of the oscillators. This makes it possible to create very realistic emulations of real instruments whose sound changes a lot with velocity etc.
The user interface is also very appealing, not too small, not too big, controls and labels look good. The layout is 'asymmetrical' with controls of different sizes and types, that makes it easy to memorize controls so that after just a few hours of usage you don't have to look for controls anymore. The whole interface looks authentic and gives you the hardware feeling.
The only thing I am not so happy about is the eLincenser system, but at least it seems to work without any problems. If I am not mistaken that bloated piece of software is already included in the synth file, accounting for roughly half the file size. They should offer both separately as many people already have eLicenser on their computer. Generally speaking, I don't like the way Steinberg prevents the user from picking for instance custom folders during installation. This means I cannot use Retrologue within Mulab stored on my pen drive. I told Steinberg the couple of things I don't like about Retrologue, but according to their reply they don't seem to care - Germans... not the most flexible and friendly people on earth ^^ But at least they are good at what matters, in this case the sound :) And that is excellent. I programmed a pad that sounds so lush that like a junkie I played chords just like that for a quarter of an hour, simply to hear the sound of the oscillators and filters at work :D You can hear immediately that this is professional sound quality good enough for studios. And that at the price of just 50 Euros. Nothing against U-he, but if you are short on money and still don't want to compromise on sound quality, give Retrologue a try.Read more