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Rhino is a Hybrid FM Synthesizer.
- 6 oscillators per voice.
- Hundreds of built-in waveforms.
- Custom waveforms using samples (sfz) or additive generator.
- Modulatable, variable waveshapers.
- 2 filters with flexible routing options.
- 20 different modes (including our incredibly warm analog emulations).
- Waveshaping and cross-filter feedback for crazy distortion effects.
- Stellar, dual effects section.
- Tempo-syncable delays, choruses, flangers and phasers.
- Unusual effects like the Granulator, Crazycomb or Oktaverb.
- More than 1000 presets, neatly classified in a searchable database.
- Thousands of third-party presets available.
- Slick graphical multipoint envelopes with curvature controls.
- Fully dynamic routing matrix visible at all times.
- Step sequencer with random mode.
- 6 editable performance controllers.
- User-defined MIDI assignment of most controls.
- Microtuning support.
- Available for Windows PC (VST) and Intel Mac (VST/AU).
Reviewed By mikusan
October 27, 2005
GUI - cool colour scheme, very 'pro'-looking. GUI is functional and clear, and logically laid out for such a versatile (or complex, depending on your POV) instrument. The tabbed, multi-screen approach isn't for everyone, but I personally think it's far more tidy than having 'menus-within-menus' or multiple windows.
SOUNDS - well, name your poison...Rhino can do punchy, nasty (in a good way) analogue, or convincing acoustic instrument emulations, or cold, metallic timbres, or infinitely evolving soundscapes and atmospheres. It really has to be heard to be believed - try the demo or listen to the demo tunes on Big Tick's website. I'll mention presets later in more detail, but you should also listen to the demos on Daniel Maurer's site. The only downside to some of the fuller, more intricate soundscapes, is the danger of swamping the mix in the context of a full song - but the same can be said for many instruments, it really depends on how and where you place the sounds.
FEATURES - you get six oscillators, two filters (with a variety of flavours), multistage envelopes (for oscillators, filters and a shedload of modulation options - envelopes can be cut & pasted, saved & loaded, and there's a stock of useful preset envelope shapes to get you started), waveshaping, additive synthesis, FM synthesis, sample playback, a quirky but nonetheless useful arpeggiator, microtuning, and two FX slots. The FX vary from the bread'n'butter (Chorus fattens up the sounds nicely, QuadPhaser is very tasty) through barking mad (CrazyComb filter or OktaVerb - bonkers but still useful) to the kind of quality that you want to use on other instruments (8-tap Reverb is excellent). (A standalone effects unit is being considered for the next version, by the way). Each effect has a number of editable (and modulatable) parameters, and many of the parameters can be tempo-mapped too. As far as modulation goes: just about anything you'd like to modulate can be modulated by just about anything else. A particularly useful feature is the bank of six user-definable sliders which can be programmed (via MIDI-learn, which is well implemented) for real-time modulation of any number of parameters - there's no limit to the number of parameters per slider, either.
DOCS - the PDF manual is well-written and covers every aspect of operation comprehensively, without being overly technical. Which is a neat trick, when you consider how powerful this instrument is. There are even a few tutorials on the website, and the developer himself is a nice guy who always makes the time to answer queries.
PRESETS - this is an outstanding aspect of Rhino: there is now a massive library of presets, covering a huge spectrum of sounds. Preset management can be handled conventionally, or a more innovative feature is the database. Users can construct a database for their presets, sorting them into (user-definable) categories. So no matter how many banks you own, you can keep all your pads, lead sounds, etc together. Constructing the database is dead easy - just drag and drop the patch name into the chosen category. Daniel Maurer's presets deserve a special mention - they've extended Rhino's palette by an incredible amount, they're cheap as chips (he also offers several bundle deals), and they're a masterclass in Rhino programming. Instant inspiration!
SUPPORT - can't be faulted. Big Tick is very responsive to user requests and suggestions, which is one of the reasons why Rhino is so feature-packed. The odd couple of tech problems I've had with Tick products were dealt with within a few hours (even though they were down to me, not the product...)
VFM - well, this can be very subjective...but in my opinion, Rhino is a steal for 100euros. Sonically, it covers a vast area so it can do the job of three or four more limited synths. Rhino is by now a relatively mature instrument, but it continues to engage thanks to the occasional upgrades (free) which increase the functionality even more, and Daniel Maurer's consistently amazing preset banks.
STABILITY - rock solid, in my experience. Depending on your processor, you may be limited in terms of simultaneous instances (although it's nowhere near as CPU-hungry as it's earlier incarnations), but I've never known it to crash or cause a crash.Read more
Reviewed By Jeremy_NSL
July 22, 2004
Put simply, it sounds great. And contrary to earlier versions, the CPU usage is very reasonable compared to other similar synths.
The knock on Rhino has always been: its hard to program. And it is. The interface is functional, but it takes a long-time to create sounds with it - especially as a beginner. Alot of the difficulty has to do with Rhino's reliance on flexible multistage envelopes: you can do anything with these envelopes, but if you just want to program a simple patch, they are overkill. If you just want a simple lfo instead of an envelope you can use an unused oscillator for it - but it takes just as much cpu as if the osc was not an lfo! I'd like to see a more modular approach, maybe the ability to swap out certain envelopes for simple LFOs or ADSR envs, like Kontakt.
Fortunately there is a great manual to help you understand Rhino, and a huge amount of free and commercial presets around made by people that LOVE multistage envs.
Rhino is a steal at the price, even if you only use it as a type of synth rompler - using pre-made presets. But if you can learn to deal with all the features it presents, I honestly can't think of a synth that offers greater possibilities, at any price.Read more
Reviewed By bezza
June 23, 2004
The sound of Rhino is the killer. Not analog, not digital as such. just a rich Rhino combination of everything.
Evolving sounds, hard sounds, metallic, crystaline, morphing, even emulative real world sounds.
A CPU hog - yes, but invest in Freeze and enjoy. So many great presets available and first class support - probably the best support out there.
** Since I wrote the above Rhino has found many more uses in my music. The sheer variety of sounds available and presets means it is really a very capable all rounder (especially if you invest in some of Daniel's excellent banks). Rhino can cover most bases very well -and I know that if I feel brave enough to tackle programming some of my own patches, I can go as deep and complex as I want!**Read more
Reviewed By pummel
November 19, 2003
i challenge anyone in the market for a synth in this price range -- compare rhino's presets to those of any other. in my book, the presets mean a lot; if the synth developer and his right hand man cannot enthrall me with presets, what are the odds i will be able to do any better?
after spending about six months with top ranked synth demos, this is the one i choose. it certainly was not the first synth that came to mind, as i was a bit put off by the plain-jane interface. but during my evaluation, this is the one i kept coming back to.
what sets this synth apart is the wide range of high quality of sounds that anyone can easily produce. in fact, you have to work fairly hard to create a bad sounding preset on this synth.
the interface is different than most, but in a good way. rather than focusing primarily on knobs for adjustment, most of the adjustments are presented graphically. for example, the osc amp envelops are done this way, where you reach into the plot, drag points, and shape curves. to me, this is much more intuitive than twiddling ASDR knobs. more importantly, it provides infinite control; rather than limiting you to just a few slopes.
the typical analog-like controls are conveniently presented at the top level; and you can create a ton of great sounds there. in "analog" mode as i like to call it, using none of rhinos esoteric features, just two additive osc with conventional wave shapes, envelops, filters and effects, the sound tops most others *designed* to do only that. however, rhino goes far beyond the basics, and provides the most complete (almost overwelming) feature set of any synth in its price range. from that standpoint, it is almost like getting an AB... and an FM... in one package. the six osc FM mod matrix is a real winner; with its DX7 sysex import (sort of; it loads them and they sound good, but as of this writing they do not sound the same).
as for osc wave shape options, you've got it all -- about 100 built in osc wave shapes / loops, an additive wave tool to roll your own shapes, a wav file reader, and a wave shaper to modify them. like most features, the wave shaper has its own graphic envelop.
if there is a downside to this synth, it is cpu usage. rhino can bring the fastest of todays cpus to its knees; but i believe that is because rhino has so many features which can be simultaneously used. in my personal back-to-back comparison with other synth demos, using *the same number of features*, rhino was typically equal or better in cpu usage.
perhaps cpu's will get faster as time goes on.Read more
Reviewed By SyntheticAurality
November 16, 2003
The UI takes a bit of getting used to, but once you spend some quality time with it puttering around with Rhino becomes easier - the learning curve on programming it is significant, because it's one powerful tool.
Presets a-plenty on the Big Tick Website, all the banks I've played with so far are very musical and useful. If you run out of presets, you're probably hopeless (lol).
CPU usage varies radically between patches, some taking very little of my 2.53GHz. Pentium 4, some taking close to 40% or more for complex, evolving sounds. At first I was concerned, but the high-CPU sounds don't require a fistful of notes to work well so it's not as big a deal as it could have been.
It's very stable, more so than I am (lol) in my two hosts, Orion Platinum and Tracktion.
The last thing I'll say is about how it sounds TO ME, a very subjective thing: I used to own an UltraProteus that I had to get rid of, along with a TG33, a TG55, and a U-220. No soft-synth I've bought ever had the breathy, airy evolving sound of some of the patches on my now-departed hardware.. UNTIL RHINO CAME ALONG. I can finally honestly say I don't miss my rackmount gear any longer.Read more