I am not a fan of this product. I bought it because it claimed to have a comprehensive synth sample library. The acoustic sounds are quite okay, though not too real sounding for my ears (I know it's a matter of taste).
For the price it actually is a good entry into the "software-workstation" market. I covers all the basics and has much to work with.
But first things first:
The GUI is usable, but could be a lot easier to use, esp. for tweaking the sounds. Everything's too small for me, and switching between the synth parameters too unclear. Yes, usable, but much room for improvement.
The sound of the sampletank engine is basically good, the FX are indeed very good, and it's multitimbral, which I like.
But the sample content is only average to my ears, especially the praised synth patches. They sound weak, thin, and all sound largely similar to my ears. Too little variety, and what's there is too thin. Again, a matter of taste, but I don't use SS2 anymore since I bought "Ultra Focus" which has all the solidity and quality and richness I need.
The acoustic sounds, the keyboards and guitars, are quite good, and I use them often. Not the drums though, good hihats but the rest sounds like toy-drums.
Strings are okay, but the rest of the orchestral stuff isn't great.
Presets could be better and more varied (in the synth department), again the acoustic presets are okay.
I have tried customer support only once, but that was okay, even though it took almost 2 weeks to answer an email. But then they helped.
It did crash on me twice so far, but that's okay I guess.
Documentation is okay.
As you can see so far, a quite "okay" software, but I am not too thrilled about it. I replaced every sound category with better ROMplers, because overall, Sonik Synth 2 just sounds too artificial.
I bought it second-hand, and for that the overall value is okay, but I wouldn't buy it new. And I hardly used it anymore, so it's kind of disappointing to me.
Nearly all is said before, but I´m not as impressed by Sonic Synth as most other people because of the following reasons: The GUI is horrible and SS sometimes crashes the sequencer (I know, IK is not guilty for both because it´s the Sampletank engine).
But the worst for me is the VFM: Compared to the price of the Jeskola XS-1 SF2-Sampler (50 $) and the many many free soundfonts (and some of them are really excellent) the price for Sonic Synth is very high.
For any person making up a budget on how much it will cost to have a DAW up a working, they should include the $250/$300 for sonic synth. Before you buy anything, except for your sequencer of course, you should buy sonic synth.
Where to begin. Well, the strings are amazing. The first time I heard the tremolo strings I couldn't believe how good they sounded. There is so much expression and such realism that will you never hear in any free soundfonts.
All the pianos sound so good as well. I could just play with the grity rhodes and wurlitzers for hours.
I really can't say enough about almost all the sounds ranging from ethnic to huge variety of pads and synths. The only sounds that are somewhat lacking are the brass instruments. The saxes sound good, but some of the trumpets are kind of thin. Brass instruments are pretty hard to play with a keyboard and/or program, so that doesn't help the situation. This is the only "weakness" I can see, but you get soooo many quality playable instruments that it really doesn't matter in the end.
About everyone on KVR knows how great squids is and how quick he is to answer your questions.
I could really caretheless about sampletank being red. Its a darn good interface and player for being free with sonic synth. It has crashed on me a few times in fruityloops, but these have been few and far between.
No other vsti or rompler or sampler gives you this variety of instantly usuable sounds. I can't imagine what I did without it...
This is an excellent product. I am very satisfied with it and would highly recommend it.
The amount of sounds are incredible. It is one of the best values for soft synths or sounds that I have purchased. The quality ranges from superb to okay. Nothing is bad. I wish it contained some guitar strums, but overall, this product has made me a dedicated Sonic Reality customer. Also, they are really cool people to do business with (I bought it directly from them: http://www.esoundz.com).
If you can only afford one soft synth (although technically it's a combination of Sonic Synth sounds and SampleTank's sample player), I would make it this one.
*Reviewed including Bonus disc*
I was an early adopter of this product, an obvious replacement for a hardware workstation as I'd moved to software/vsti only (I sold a Triton and bought this and a pair of Mackie 624s). I was very pleased with the instrument both in quality and sheer quantity and breadth of sounds, I'd been really enjoying the acousic pianos, guitars, organs, and synth pads; but to be honest I'd had a few reservations about the orchestral/brass/wind instrument point of view. I received the bonus disc this morning which is another 600mb of sound content to complement the existing library. I can now wholeheartedly say I will never look back!! The expansion disc was *exactly* what was needed to round out the package - already very strong in the areas I mentioned, now there is a beautiful palette of string/brass/wind/layered orchestral sounds and pads added to the mix. The (few) gaps are now well and truly filled, and this multiplies the usefulness of the overall package.
Dave Kerzner has a big reputation on these pages and I can vouch that (for a guy who makes a lot of statements and promises!), he has kept *every one* that he made to me, and gone the extra mile on a few occasions aswell - sincere thanks. The whole prospect of ownership is enhanced by their forum and personal support, approachability, and company outlook with great upgrade/crossgrade/bonus deals.
Niggles? well the ST interface limitations have been mentioned before, it would be nice to have more preset/fx save options, the sound selection and search facilities need more work. I really cant criticise the sound content now, there will be *an awful lot* of useful sounds, no matter what you like to play.
I use it live every week; you need to be quite familiar with the library to do this as some of the instrument tunings dont sit perfectly with other sources. However the sounds all sit well in an overall mix - happy sound guy.
Most useful, most played, best value VSTi ever. :)
seriously the only "complaint" I have is, the red GUI.
this is all!.....the layout, is VERY easy to understand.
the patches alone sound as real as you could ever want/need, because of the way they were sampled FROM real instruments...but then you throw in all the effects you can change/add........oh mama!!!!
this plug-in, is the very first one I go to when I start a project.
You might find yourself just playing for hours live, and actually not completing any tracks...lol
for the money, the presets you get, and more importantly, instant realistic sounds.........its worth every penny.
Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said! This product is truly outstanding. It has transformed the way I write my music, adding instantly accesible and proffesional sounding patches into my mixes seamlessly. The sounds are exceptional in their quality and have added a new dimension to my tracks. However it is the quality combined with ease of use that really is the key with Sonic Synth. The Sampletank engine may have it's critics but it's functional, easy to use and has great DSP that can easily be tweaked. It's so easy just to decide that you want some strings, a pad or a rhodes etc. in your track - you just open up Sampletank click on the patch you want and play. The presets are so well done that any tweaking for the mix is usually minimal, if done at all. This accesibility to pro-quality sounds is worth every penny!
The selection of patches covers all bases, and with the E-Roms and forthcoming Sonic Capsules, each area can be expanded on if you want even more choice. Your musical imagination is the limit as you have a full palette of bread and butter sounds, plus the more interesting. My music was before mainly guitar, bass and drums but since adding SS to my collection I have been set free to use my MIDI keyboard to produce genres of music that are no longer tide to my earthly instruments!
As for customer support, this has to be some of the best in the business. Dave aka. Squids from Sonic Reality is a mainstay on the company board and is always happy to answer any questions you may have. I couldn't ask for anything more in this department. His passion for his job shines through in his products.
But, this product must have it's weaknesess right? Well, not really. A few of the patches aren't up to the standard of the rest but these are few in number (flute and some brass patches) and are being improved in the forthcoming update disc anyway. The interface is also due to be upgraded to v2 with increased functionality which can only be a bonus!
Despite the fact that many people have concerns about the GUI, especially the red colour - I find it pretty cool. It does provide what it is made for: It gives easy access to the sounds and effects.
The sounds are mindblowing!!! Specially the guitars and the strings are very, very realistic and provide a very broad dynamic range. I think the sounds can easily compete with hardware ROM-plers like the Roland XV 5050 or even better. The only difference is that you have to pay several fold more for the hardware unit than for SS.
Features: SS does what it is designed for: In conjunction with the Sampletank LE engine it provides a huge, high-quality sound library; The Sampletank-effects are good and they allow to tweak the sounds by the means of EQ, delay, reverb and others.
Unfortunatley you can not manipulate sounds on the sample-basis. But remember: This is a ROMPler - It is no sampler.
The documentation: is a little bit thin. I would appreciate a complete list of presets and a short description of each one.
Presets are excellent - no question.
Support - I think everything best that can be said about Squids and his Sonic reality suport have been said so far. I can only agree with that. At this point I have to also say that the KVR-Forum was very helpful for me.
Value for money: To date I think there is no concurrence for SS: Best bang for your bucks ratio ever seen so far.
Stability: This is a little problem: I needed 6 weeks to get SS run with Cakewalk Sonar. I tried everything: Diferent VST-DXi Wrappers, different operating systems, all possible combinations of mainboard / graphics card / sound card drivers and so on.. At last I got the right combination and now it is working. Once running I have not experienced any problems so far (But it is running just since 1 day;-).
One additional very positie point: Sampletank /SS comsumes much less CPU power than other samplers like VSampler or Halion or even LiveSynth Pro.
@Sonic Reality: THX
SonicSynth is really about the sounds and they are amazing. Unfortunately, my opinion is that it suffers from the limitations of the SampleTank engine and IK Multimedia. But, having said that it is a must have addition for any DAW user who using VSTs. The sounds are very well done. They are not perfect, but really good. The variety in this collection of sounds is incredible. Especially for the price. Support is very good from Sonic Reality. I did have a problem and Dave was good about resolving it. In addition, they have their own forum here on K-v-r and Dave/Squids (Sonic Reality) is very responsive to questions and issues. He frequents K-v-R and is very helpful in general, even outside the Sonic Reality forum. The user interface, features, documentation, presets, and stability are all greatly affected by and really fall under the SampleTank engine abilities, hence the lower than high marks in some of those categories. I say definitely get SonicSynth. It is great and you won't be dissapointed. There is plenty here for every kind of music maker. I don't know of a higher value for money VSTi if you don't count free ones. Get it as soon as possible.
For a wide selection of sounds from realistic acoustic instruments to electronic ones, don't look any further.
The Pianos and Organs are inspiring - B3s, Rhodes, Wurlys are all excellent. The Strings are very good. There is an amazing collection of Synth sounds. You may get more flexibility with other VSTi's when it comes to creating sounds, but you can drop these into a song and get on with actually writing and they sound fantastic.
That is probably the greatest thing about SS - with very few exceptions, you can find the sound you want and it fits in the mix perfectly with a minimum of hassle, a bit of EQ and reverb. I prefer the effects in Logic to their equivalents in Sampletank, but these are still of good quality.
There is a lot of variety in the drums and some great kits, including some I-Map kits. Unfortunately I have no idea what an I-Map kit is, and the manual doesn't help.
I wasn't quite so impressed with the Brass/Wind section - I didn't think these were up to the same standard as the sounds elsewhere, but there is still some great stuff here!
While I personally won't use them so often, there are some great sounds in the Chromatic and Ethnic sections. Guitars and Basses are fine, although being a guitarist myself, I won't be using them (to be perfectly honest, I've never found guitar sounds I'm 100% happy with in any product).
It is quick and easy to get up and running (so long as the registration process goes smoothly), but I would have liked some description of the sounds in the manual to make finding the right one that bit quicker - some of the names are pretty cryptic and there is so much on offer.
I would also like an upgrade path to get the extra MIDI inputs, AKAI import and outputs - as it is, you have to buy the whole Sampletank XL or L packages complete with sounds.
The customer service is some of the best I've ever experienced, not that I've had any problems.
To sum up, the best value, most inspiring VSTi I've found.
I think Sonic Synth is an amazing set of "tweaked" samples that uses the current SampleTank engine very effectively. I own Sonic Reality sample disks from a time when I had hardware samplers and those samples are great. However, SR has taken the time to tweak those and other samples so they jump out of the speakers yet sit in the mix nicely. The acoustic guitar patches are awesome and the B3 patches are great. Even after three months I have barely scratched the surface of this masssive set of sounds. The EROM disks add even more sounds to your palette. For bread and butter sounds and for more exotic ones, SS seems to have all the bases covered.
Customer support on the SR forum is almost immediate and there is a real community growing at the forum.
The only downside is the ST red interface, which is troublesome for me due to an red-green vision problem. However, that will go away with version 2 of ST.
I have ST L and run it in Sonar 2.0 using the FXpansion adapter 4.0. I get multiple audio outputs now, which makes it a breeze to assign instruments to their own tracks for mixing. ST is stable in Sonar and does not crash.
I had let ST L gather dust for almost a year because I didn't feel inspired by the packaged sounds. I was at first skeptical that SR could really pull off what it claimed but I am now a confirmed believer. These sounds work for me better than those in my Roland XV-88 and have made it fun to compose and arrange again. And for the skeptics on the Cubase VST Forum, I am not Italian and I don't work for SR.
I also own Halion, Battery and Kontakt, so I am not saying SS satisfies all my needs; yet I find myself loading SS more and more when I start working. With new sounds on the horizon from SR I suspect SS will become an even larger part of my studio in a box.
This is a staggering instrument. The pianos alone justify the money (and I've got the Gigapiano for comparison). The guitars are great fun, and the ethnic section has some surprising treasures. I jammed for hours and I've only heard 20% of the sounds so far. I guess this product marks the end of the hardware rompler. The only criticism I have is with Sampletank itself and not Sonic Synth, namely, that I would like keyboard shortcuts (like using the arrow keys) to choose sounds, rather than having to double click etc. Oh, and perhaps a sheet in the box listing the sounds would have been useful....
I am very happy with Sonic Synth. I have used it on several commercial productions and everyone has been happy. The grand pianos are very usable and sit well in a recorded track. I like them better than my hardware modules and samplers. The electric pianos can be run externally and processed to where there is no sound difference in a track. The electric basses are also very usable. The strings are lush and suitable for most pop-rock commercial productions. GUI is not important to me so the Sampletank Red screen is functional enough and I usually minimize it after I have set-up the instruments. Even though I have access to some of the original instruments, I will use Sonic Synth more in the future for the flexibility and ease of use. For the money this is the best sample playback system I have used. The support is top-notch. Squids is very responsive to the needs of his customers. Thanks for a great job.
Thanks to Sonic Reality for this product. All the sounds are greats, various and subtil, pads & strings are fantastics with many variations, really a great product for me.
Same quality for Symphony Strings & Omni Synth.
And a particular thank to Dave (Sonic Reality) for his help and constant presence to solve a posting problem.
Sonic Reality have great products and GREAT support.
UPDATE, Sonik Synth 2
Fixed are the interface issues, in fact, the new interface is stunning and tremendously functional. Sonik Synth 2 is not a simple upgrade, it is a comprehensive exploration of areas, especially synthesis, which was not the focus of SS1.
While there are some overlapping sections, the samples are new and improved, the sound quality is astonishingly good for a product at this price point.
Sonik Synth 2 is a no-brainer for any user, from home setups to major studios. Products like Sonik Synth 2 are developed to find sounds to use that are ready to go, and the programming of sounds are excellent. Need a Moog sound? It's there, need an Arp, Oberhiem, PPG Wave, you name it, it's there. But so are wonderful pianos, strings, basses and a large distribution of drums.
Furthermore, the interface based on the SampleTank 2 engine, absolutely the best upgrade of a product I've seen ...period. And now, you have control over multiple envelopes from amplitude to filters, modulation and effects. This is a synth now, not a very good sample playback unit it used to be. Featured are, MULTI patches that demonstrate the capabilities of Sonik Synth 2 and the vast sound design engine, challenging top quality samplers with a 8 gigabyte library of high quality that challenge more targeted synths like Atmosphere for the number of samples that enable the user to not only develop pads aplenty, and they are plenty to be sure, but because of the new engine, synthesis capabilities, even better effects than the already impressive SampleTank 1, which are still dynamic and wonderful sounding, you now have a living, breathing synthesizer in Sonik Synth 2. If you can't find a patch, particularly in the synth side of the arena, you aren't looking hard, nor using the available functions for locating sounds.
I am and probably will always be a pad freak and SS2 does not let down. Nor does it let down in synth lead, bass or "real" instruments with a huge showing of the Sonic Reality library of bread and butter sounds. Consider that Sonic Synth 1 had a plethora of sounds, mostly in the meat and potatos range.
With a healthy 3 plus gigabyte library in Sonic Synth 1 people raved about it's usefulness, myself included (see below). But this time out, the samples have more 'oomph' and are open to more articulations which allow for realistic playing.
Another excellent feature about the new all-purpose sample set, leaning heavily, but far from exclusively, on synths this time out, still has everything you need for modern recordings. It isn't a complete Orchestra, but MIROSLAV PHILHARMONIK should fill that bill and SampleTank 2 has another 8 gigabytes of data focusing more on the "real" instruments, but still hitting on all product points with a truly beautiful thing, two completely different libraries that have minimal splill-over, and in sections with similar timbres, there are very different, yet pleasing timbres in these similar areas.
A fantastic buy and must have synth!
Like almost everyone else there is little to fault in Sonic Synth. The engine, Sampletank LE has a difficult color scheme of black print on red which is hard to see at times. Because it is the LE version there is a single stereo output and four voice multitimbrality. Since Sonic Synth is so light on processor resources it's easy to open many instances for multiple audio outs.
The sounds can be manipulated using four controls programmed by Sonic Synth. The type of controls vary between patches so one patch might have filter frequency, resonance, pitch and touch settings while another might have attack, decay, filter cutoff and pitch. There are four programmable effects slots that can be used with one of 28 different effects ranging from reverb, delay and chorus to Lo-fi, many BPM effects and even AM and FM filtering.
Sonic Synth comes with 2 gigabytes of samples in over 500 patches. When using other's sample based timbres I am happy when 30% of the patches sound good. Here almost everything sounds great although for my tastes I might not use 10-15%. For me this is outstanding value for money. Sound programming and quality are excellent.
I come from a create your own sounds way of thinking and initially was skeptical of all the favorable reviews. Recently I decided to go all software and needed something with good overall sounds. Sonic Synth filled the bill. In fact it went far beyond my expectations.
As a Kontakt and VSampler user I do not lack for the capacity to create my own instruments but I can say without hesitation that Sonic Synth has so many useful sounds and of great quality, that I can not imagine a majority of users not finding this excellent collection useful. Having a large variety of useful timbres that are substantially editable is of tremendous value to me not to mention cost effective.
Customer support is incredible, not just for problems but keeping users informed. Huge bang for the buck and a real time saver. In a word, brilliant!
Dammit, it looks amateurish to rate solid 10/10 on a product, but there's no way around this. Sonic Synth is a magnificent VSTi. In fact, the only gripe I can come up with is the color of the SampleTank interface, but this is a Sonic Synth review, not a SampleTank review. Retina burn aside (it's REALLY bright), the GUI is easy to get around, and I never even needed to peek at the documentation. I was making music a few minutes after getting Sonic Synth out of the box.
The sound of this thing is just stunning. I trolled through patch after patch, and found nary a clinker. Favorites include the "Brain Damage" and "Lindsay Steelingham" guitar patches, as well as the breathtaking acoustic basses. Are they perfect sounds? Well, no, but neither are the sounds made by real players with real instruments. It's apparent that these sounds are designed by people who PLAY their instruments. Every patch I called up resulted in much extended jamming. That's the highest compliment, in my book. The attention to detail is staggering. The Mellotron voices have surface noise (on purpose) and you can FEEL the bow scraping the violin strings on the string patches.
There is a thorough manual to help you get the most out of the SampleTank engine, surpringly weighing in at 40 pages. That's pretty good for such a dead simple GUI.
Customer support? You're joking, right? I mean, Squids has displayed his dedication to his customers daily since I first visited KVR. Not to mention, he tells great stories an can play Genesis' "Rapids"!
Haven't seen an issue with stability. It's been rock-solid from the moment it was installed.
Is it worth the price? There's no question. I mean, it's got more content than a handful of hardware workstations, but costs a fraction of any one of them. The sound quality makes the most expensive hardware device seem shoddy by comparison, and puts most sample libraries to shame. Know anyone who has any use for my old soundfont discs?
I have no reservation about giving this amazing kit 10's across the board, with or without KVR's inflated rankings. My only regret about this synth/sample-rom is that I did not purchase it earlier. If you are limited in any way on money or time, forget samplers like Halion, Kontakt, or any other flavor of the month. These samples are amazing, and so easy to play & use.
I originally had reservations about the sampletank engine. I will admit I don't like how it adds FX when you load it. Now I can say I love the sampletank engine (I only wish I had XL or L so I could have all Midi channels). The interface is beautifully simplistic, and the ability to scroll through custom made sample folders is a breeze. You can actually make music, instead of struggle with programs!
The VFM on this is through the roof. Literally. I don't expect to get such an amazing deal/package for $249 ever again in my life - It's just to good to be true. As others have said, if you can only buy one VSTi - this is it. If you are just starting out, get this before any other, you won't regret it.
Revised 25th July 2002
I can't say enough good things about SonicSynth. I have spent the better part of my time since I got it experimenting with the soundcontent and the ideas it could give me. Bottom Line: I would buy it again just for the Pianos and organs. The different acoustic and epianos (that tremolo rhodes is mouth watering) not only sound great but sit just perfectly in a mix. The organs go from shimmering chorus organ (one of my faves) to the Jon Lord screaming B3 sound. The strings have a lot of "feel" to them, especially the ensembles. As I use Sonic Synth more and more I keep finding new patches to use that simply amaze me. The SFX patches are an example of that. Very atmospheric and brilliantly done. The pads, synth leads, basses and msic synth banks are probably among the more heavily used banks for me when I sit down to work at ideas, as they inspire me a lot. The Wright Lead is very quickly becoming one my favorite Sonic Synth patches, and anyone familiar with my posts in the Cafe is already aware of the heavy use of Sonic Synth pads in anything I do.
Frankly, if someone asked me which VSTi they should buy if they could afford only one, my answer would be SonicSynth (unless the person is a sound-mangler of course). SonicSynth makes me want to run out of the door and buy a more expressive controller than I have right now.
I don't think I can really add to the reviews that have already been written. SonicSynth is worth the hype, and Squids and Co's great support is already well known around here.
This is an excellent product developed by an amazing company. The sound quality is simply superb and the number of instruments is constantly expanding as a result of SR's continuing development.
I cannot recommend this product enough. My only complaint is about the Sampletank format and not with the Sonic Reality itself.
Well worth the money and definitely deserving of positive comment.
I'm a total VSTi Junkie, and I have sold off all of my external synths, this after 20 years of doing electronic music. The Real PPG replaced with PPG 2.V... the Chroma replaced with Pro52, the TX816 replaced by FM7 and FMHeaven... The S5000 replaced by EXS24. The last thing to go was my JV1080 with 4 expansion cards. It was hard to say goodbye to a workhorse.
But since buying SonicSynth, I realize I'll never miss the old Roland. SonicSynth is MORE than an excellent replacement for a JV1010, 1080, etc, and I'd say to ANYONE considering hardware to give some thought to a CPU upgrade and SonicSynth.
The samples are excellent, and the patch programming really brings it all to life. I can't stop playing these sounds! SampleTank loads very quickly on my G4. Sure, i may replace some sounds in the final mix, but for composition, it can't be beat.
Add in Dave's excellent support and character, and it's an unbeatable product. Excellent!
This review is more about customer service+good product than solely a good product. Here's my tale:
Because I use a lot of GM type of sounds, I went looking for a "SoundCanvas killer," and OmniSynth seemed a good choice. I talked with SR and they helped me decide what format, etc., etc., but we met with some unfortunate delays. I subsequently talked with Dave and he personally straightened it all out, upgraded me to SonicSynth+OmniSynth, got it out to me ASAP, and then followed up with a phone call! The moral of the story: The product is great and SR really cares about getting things right for their customers.
It's really a nice piece of product. Easily adds up an arsenal for anyone, ready to be used even without tweaking. That's amazing.
Pads/Piano/Organ/Sfx/Guitars/Strings are simply brilliant.
Agree with some reviews here, the horns could use some replenishment. I really don't find trumpet/sax patches are favorable compared to some good free soundfonts. That said, you'll definitely find your own cream & butter on other parts of the library even a few of the package are not for you. I know I did. [update: with v1.2, a lot of patches have been re-polished carefully. And now the brass section which was a little letdown in its first incarnation has been revised with better sounds. Even the String section, which was already rather good, has been updated. Now the Cello is a lot more expressive.]
Support: Dave is the synonym of good support. No doubt here.
Stability: Albeit the sound content from SR is great, the Sampletank LE Engine is one of the few most troublesome VSTi I've used. It's the one of the only two VSTis I'm aware of of that leak system resources under WIN98. It's a constant pain to use it in Fruity/Tracktion, but granted it's also possible that it's related to the crappy Audiophile driver support.
Conclusion: I'm very happy to be a lucky user who has the chance to see Sonic Synth's evolution from 1.0-1.2. From what Sonic Reality has put into the update, one must appreciate the passion and hardwork behind the scene. Well done, Sonic Reality.
[edited to reflect my opinion regarding stability]
My reason for owning Sonic Synth is that it gives me access to affordable high quality acoustic instruments,
and in this respect it fills a big gap in my VST setup.
There is also a nice selection of electric instruments
e.g guitars, bass guitars, organs as well as an abundance of synth sounds , with a big fat folder full
of rich atmospheric pads.
On top of the large library of sounds that comes with
Sonic Synth there is the option of toping it up and
tailoring it to your own needs from the growing range
of affordable expansion ROM's.
The Sampletank engine that comes with Sonic Synth is very easy to use and does not really need any documentation as it is so intuative, but there is
an informative PDF included.
Onboard the Sampletank engine is its own rack of 27
effects ranging from reverb to slicer BPM and even
Lo-Fi and a Phonograph effect that gives the effect
of old worn vinal.
Each sound can have up to 4 effects applied but bear
in mind that effects will increase the CPU load
although Sonic Synth running free from effects is supprisingly light on CPU.
A lot of sounds in Sonic Synth have reverb applied to
them which can eat up CPU a fair bit if you are using a number of sounds but it is easy to just switch the reverb
off and add it later or export the track to audio, so this is no problem.
Customer support from Sonic Reality is first class
and they care passionatly about the sevice they provide
and are always swift to respond, they also have their
own popular forum here at KvR.
Excellent value for money
Go for it you will not be dissapointed ;-)
Let me make this perfectly clear. Sonic Synth is the best all around VST or stand-alone tone generator I’ve ever used, PERIOD! The variety of sounds and quality are astounding. It truly feels as if it is a REAL instrument or rather instruments. Usually, I shy away from composing on my Mac, I end up with two hours of riffs and no real substance. But Sonic Synth has changed my mind in this regard. When you play the piano, bass, pads, strings, drums, guitar, ethnic stuff or whatever: it feels like you are playing something with soul, not just a sample playback. It could be because most of the samples are fairly large, or expertly created: Whatever the reason it is a living beast and I love it. (Can you tell?)
Sonic Synth resides in Sample Tank, which I am really pleased about. It is easy to get around and amazingly quick to use. I really don’t understand how it loads sounds so quickly. I have HALion and it takes much longer to load the same size sample and HALion is only playing the first 2 seconds of the sample and streams the rest, go figure. (In fact most of the Sonic Sounds load almost instantly.)
I have PPG, HALion, M-Tron, Pro-52, Battery, Electron, Tau Pro, Attack, Atom Pro, and few other things. They all take a back seat to Sonic Synth! I only wish I had bought Sonic Synth first, then decided which of the others I needed. For now I’ll be collecting the Sonic Reality eRoms.
Should you buy Sonic Synth yourself? Can’t say, but I don’t really think you can go wrong with it.
As I play SS more and more I have one reoccurring question in my mind, “Why doesn't this thing cost more?”
Having finally had the chance to go through this huge library of sounds and find out if they are as good as everyone else says they are, I can quite honestly say 'YES!!!!'.
I have never owned a Pro set of sounds before, so I have been quite honestly blown away by the quality coming out of my quite mediocre PC setup. I only have a pair of bog standard powered PC speakers but boy, do they sound good now. Every instrument is ten times better than any Soundfont or sample I have layed my hands on. The fact that I have no other Pro sets to compare them with possibly sways my judgement but I now feel I don't need to go for other manufacturers CD sets. Sonic Synth has filled a huge gap and I'll be happily buying thier e-Roms from now on.
The Sampletank interface is easy to use and functional, maybe it doesn't win any design awards but can you get the job done... yes!
Support... with Squids about there is nothing lacking there at all.
Stability... no crashes so far in Fruityloops 3.3 or Homestudio 2002 using fXpansions Vst Wrapper standard 3.4.
Documentation. Tells you what you need to know clearly. Install was sweet and you can place your SS samples wherever you want.
Presets... have a laugh.. theres hundreds of 'em and they are all fine by me - even the Harpsichord :-). Brass seems good too although others say they are a little week. Piano's - wow, eveything else - wow.. Generally wow to be honest.
Features. Sample Tank LE has a nice bunch of 22(?) built in effects of which you can assign upto four to each patch. Only 4 midi channels but then again you can open up another instance (some patches can eat processor power so some careful bouncing may be needed)
Value for money.. If I'd paid double I'd still be a very happy Sonic Synth user. 'Nuff said.
I'm one of the guys that upgraded from OmniSynth to Sonic Synth, and have got to say WOW was that totally worth it. Let me start with the Pianos which are just great, I also own the Piano ROM (which could not be any better), and these compliment that package so well. Gorgeous pianos that actually sound like they were mic'd and sit amazingly well in a mix with no effort. The Bonus disc's harpsichord is also fantastic as well. The organs are also very nice, I find myself occasionally using MDA's leslie instead of Sampletanks but that doesn't take away from the quality here. Combo organs have also been included since the 1.2 rev and they sound great, though they make a chirping noise when sustaining a few notes at once. The Synths in Sonic Synth can certainly save you a lot of programming time as you've got a bunch of great out of the box sounds. Next up is the strings, a nice diverse collection of strings, that were just better than I was expecting they truly are one of the highlights in this collection of sounds. Since getting the 1.2 rev and the Bonus disc the horns/winds now range from useable to fantastic, a nice cross section of each. Another highlight for me was the tuned chromatic percussion stuff, I've always wanted some nice Vibes samples (these are great), and you never know when you need a nice glockenspiel, clestia, or Cymbalon (best kept secret of the SS patchlist). The I-Map drums sound great once you get a hang of the map, and the Bonus Discs orchestral section is just too sweet for words. Anyone who's ever had to deal with Sonic Reality knows that thier customer support is probably the best anywhere. In closing you're not going to find a better set of sounds for the cash. The overall quality/quantity is just amazing, and enough to keep you busy for months. This package very much filled every gap in my musical arsenal.
Well, I've not had a great deal of time to appraise this synth - but what I've heard I LOVE.
I already have many "analogue" VSTi's, such as the Pentagon (untouchable), JX Synth, Tau Pro etc. along with modulars (Reaktor, SynC). What I really wanted was good, "instant" sounds (especially acoustic) which didn't require too much arsing around with.
The pads are an obvious standout - those lovely "twinkling, shimmering" sounds which I'd previously heard only on hardware workstations.
Other highlights include the pianos and Symphony Strings (separate disc) - really nice.
My only criticism would be that some of the velocity layering seems abit meagre e.g. some sound like they only have a couple of layers.
Also some sounds have bugs (like extreme panning) but this will be fixed in rev 2.
Tech support is beyond reproach.
Docs are minimal but entirely adequate.
Sampletank interface is, ahem, functional. With the high quality and sensible effects I don't really miss all the tweaking of "real" samplers.
All in all real quality which sounds like it comes from people who really care about, er, sounds.
Everything has changed since I first reviewed this synth...i actually wanted to delete my review altogether but I wasn't allowed to..but my horror experiences over the last year with the sampletank engine have totally changed my thoughts, and here I am going to say the honest truth....
UI: It LOOKS nice, the effects are all easy to control and you know what's going on..it's laid out logically..the major problem is, you can't flick through presets with the arrow keys, it takes a mouse movement and a double click for every sound, and over time becomes really tired..
Also, the red is a bit strong, it would be nice to be able to alter the colour scheme, although this is scheduled in ST2
SOUND: pretty good overall...there is quite a variety of sounds and nothing stands out as actually being really "bad"..but there are some sounds that just don't grab me too much, i was particularly uninspired by the pads, funnily enough, as that was my main reason to purchase this...but the qulaity of the sampling is also good, everything is clean and doesn't sound tinny or too digital
FEATURES: well besides a lack of vst automation, the fact that there are cool on board effects that really allow you to shape the presets in a variety of ways, the score is above average here...much easier to work with than a hardware rompler for example!
I don't bother with the import options, as i am unimpressed with the results
Documentation..To be perfectly honest, I still haven't read it, so i am giving an above average score to be fair, as i cant really comment if it's bad..
Presets: relates directly to the "sound" section above
Customer Support: Well this IS a joint IK and SR product and IK have the worst customer support(IMO) in the business...
Since my problems have been technical and SR aren't responsible for that area (IK is), I have to way the percentage of the score IK's way...I would give "1" if it wasn't for squids attempts at helping me out sales wise, which earns the extra 3 points
Stability: where I use it, in Traction and Logic 5.51 in Win2k, I have NEVER had a vsti crash my host as many times as this one does. It is so unpredictable and unreliable, I feel sweaty and nervous just inserting it into a project...so i don't anymore!
VFM: the lowest score, ,since it is to me, never been used in a project, i bought it over a year ago when the aussie dollar was very weak, and it has been sitting on the shelf for 6 months totally unused..so there IS no value for money, it's like money in the wind....
What makes the score even lower here is how much of MY time I have wasted chasing up support requests with IK...it's worked out to far more than the time I have actually used the product
I've had Sonic Synth for about two months now and I think I come to appreciate it a little more every time I use it. I wasn't overly impressed with it when I first got it, and I still have to admit it's not my "dream module", but it has become one of my most used VSTi's.
I agree with pretty much everything that's been said in the previous reviews. You get a bit of everything here. It's like the swiss army knife of VSTi's. If you can't find a lot of sounds that are usable to you then I don't know what you're playing, but it probably isn't very musical or it's loop based.
Even if you already have a VST sampler like EXS-24 or HALion you probably don't have any where near as comprehensive a collection of sounds as you get with Sonic Synth (definitely not with EXS!). I use SS along with EXS. This way I get a big selection of general and regularly used sounds like pianos and drums, and then I can have EXS for the more specific or esoteric sounds that I'm after that SS doesn't cover, or doesn't cover as well as a sample cd dedicated to one instrument or type of instruments would.
As for the Sample Tank engine, imo it's kinda ugly and utilitarian, but it's simple and effective, no manula needed. Selectable skins, a less tedious authorization process and a few things like portamento, assignable ADSR, and some basic editing features would be greatly welcome. The built in effects are very good though and let you manipulate the presets quite a bit. I change the effects on nearly preset to my taste, particulary the eq.
For those that question the expense of Sonic Synth consider this. Probably the cheapest hardware "romplers" you can buy today is the roland JV-1010. that costs about $400 and comes with 16 megs of sample ROM. Sonic Synth on the other hand is $250 and has the equivalent of over 2 Gigs of sample ROM. If you could buy 2 Gig's of sample ROM for a JV-1010 you'd have to buy 250 expansion boards at $225 a pop, that's $56,250! You be the judge.
I wanted a VSTi that would complement my current crop of analog emulation VSTi's and also to replace my XP50 inside the PC. Sonic Synth does exactly this in a no fuss way. It's the first thing I use when starting a new project and sometimes all I'll need. If I want to sound a little more organic and synthesised then I'll add Pentagon, Junglist, Chronox etc.
Sonic Reality had nothing to do with the design. However it's simple, functional and ...red.
Unlike many, I bought SS instead of ST because my personal taste leans towards 'synth' rather than 'real'. However, I do find the 'real' sounds to be more than adequate and are in the main on par with my XP50 with some sounds being far better! As for the pads these are pure lush! There are some lovely glassy and choral tones in there that are so obviously NOT 'analog' emulations.
Effects are good too with many being syncable to hosts tempo.
It's a ROMpler designed for load-n-play use with a bit of tweaking allowed. So don't expect a zillion parameters. What you do get are up to 4 sensibly assigned automatable parameters per patch and up to 4 effects each with up to 5 parameters to play with.
You get a 'video' and a PDF but it's doubtful you'll need more than a once over as SS is real easy to use.
Quantity, quality and well arranged, and if you need a particular category of sound it's probably on the way in the shape of an expansion ROM.
Feedback indicates IK support to be intermediate in some respects, however the support you'll get from Sonic Reality on their side of things is second to none.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 10/10
The price is a pittance when you realise how much work went into this hugely varied sound set. Good value for money when compared to similar hardware/ CDRom offerings.
I use SS in both OrionPro 2.75 and Cubase 5.1 with no probs at all even when playing while loading.
Here is my review again.
The user interface is dull, but to the point. It is extremely functunial. It won't win any "skin" awards, but that is no big deal to me.
excellent sounds if you want some realistic instruments.
At first you think your just getting a rompler, but this thing has nice FX and a few that I can't find anywhere else that are as usable. I would say that this thing does more than even I expected.
Documentation is fine, comes with a .pdf. I didn't have to look at it for more than 5 minutes.
If you like presets, then this thing is the preset KING. If there was a 11 I could have easily given it that.
Customer support....hmmmmm The support I recieve from Sonic Reality is very good. I give them a 10.
IMHO this thing gets a 10 for value. A killer deal, it your into the sounds that it offers. There is nothing out there that really comes close at the moment.
Stability. works fine with cubase. I could never advise anybody to get this thing if they intend to use it with Orion Pro 2.75. Could be just my system, because there are reports of it working fine with others. I have however heard from a few peeps with the same problems.
In short – SonicSynth is a virtual sample playback module that exceeds any hardware in quality and value. When I open a new project in Sonar, SonicSynth is the first virtual instrument I open. Everything else works around it.
The long version - All of my hardware workstations have been fitted with expansion ROMs. I love ROM’s. For a little money I can turn a bland sample playback workstation into a hip hop machine or a virtual orchestra. I can add keyboard sounds form the 60’s and 70’s, or go all out for a single 64 meg piano sample. When I heard about SonicSynth I began to research the “virtual” workstation with great interest. For the price of a single expansion ROM I could buy a workstation for my computer.
Sound Quality – I can say that the combination of the Sonic Reality samples and SampleTankLE come across full and clear. The overall sound quality exceeds any of my hardware synthesizers.
Stability – No problems so far. I use Sonar with DirectXer and run SonicSynth without incident.
The bad – There are a few sounds I don’t like. This happens on any synth you buy. CPU usage varies with the program.
The good – The synth pads alone are worth the price of the package. As with top of the line hardware workstations you can produce an entire song using only SonicSynth as your sound source. There is something here for everyone. When you want something new, add a ROM. Value is outstanding.
In use – As with any workstation I can compose a song using SonicSynth as my single sound source. Every composer needs a collection of sounds readily available to inspire you while you quickly record that moment of musical enlightenment. It is important that you can pull these sounds up and start recording before you loose inspiration.
Support – Support from Sonic Reality is great. The developers frequent the forum and new ROM’s are in development.
Overall I rate this program a definite buy.
Sonic Synth is a fairly comprehensive pro sample set that's almost half the price of SampleTank XL.
And it's open ended. Additional sample cds can be bought for a low price, increasing SS's scope with time.
The only small awkwardness is 4 midi channels per VST mixer channel. But bouncing tracks isn't necessary.
I had 13 tracks running simultaneously, grouped to feed 4 Sonic Synths into 4 VST mixer channels, and with loads of reverbs. No problem.
It sounded great. Hear it here http://www.rossiterandco.com/files/Sonique%20Reality.mp3
Realistic nylon and electric guitars playing over big string orchestras and choirs at the touch of a few buttons. No manual required. It's all obvious and immediate.
This is what VSTIs have needed for a long time. Play-and-go real sounds at sensible prices.
Update 2002: The e-rom cd packages have proved to be a real bonus, extending Sonic's (and my) scope.
Installing Sonic Synth is easy, although you have to move files manually. An Installer would've been nice. I don't like SampleTank's authorisation process, but if you enter the email adress correctly (unlike me) I guess it isn't too uncomfortable.
Simple and effective. Once you figured out how to set your sample dir ur ready to go.
This VSTi is quite amazing... Someone mentioned that some accoustic instruments aren't the best they could be, but seeing that this VSTi is so comprehensive on other sections compansates for that. Also, keep in mind that there is no single VSTi that covers as many instruments (i think). The guitars are amazing, The pianos are good, and at last a VSTi that has some excellent pads. The keyboards are great, but you'll really start to see how great they are if u play with the controllers.
The collection of drums isn't too comprehensive, but I doubt many people would expect a full drum sampler when they're buying sonic synth.
Many instruments have controllable effects inplemented and you can tweak envelopes in sampletank. Would be great to be able to get to more Parameters though... but i guess that's why they call it a ROMpler.
There's a LONG instructional video on the CD, and if I ever needed to ask something that isn't covered, I know Dave would reply faster than I could look it up anyway.
A lot of them and well sorted.
I've bugged Dave about 20 times probably (my adress changed after ordering etc) and he's always replied within hours and a day at most.
250$ for 2GB of good sounds. what can you say.
Changing sounds while Logic is playing will slow down loading. But no single crash or instability so far.
Sonic Synth is a well programmed collection of good useable sounds for a good price. The sounds load fast and using the sampletank engine is uncomplicated and quick. I can't wait for my Expansion Packs. :o)
Let me begin by saying that this was everything I expected and a little more. Once Sampletank LE was installed I proceeded to copy the Sonic Synth discs to my hardrive. It really is fantastic, the organs pump out at you, the clavinet with a wah is incredibly funky, the electric pianos are luscious, the basses are nice, the strings sound REAL, etc. The highlights were definitely in the synth section - some spacey pads and ripping leads. The only bad thing was you cannot load patches while it's playing or else it distorts for a few seconds and can freeze. Just remember to hit stop before you scan for another sound, and only 4 per instance, but this doesn't really matter cause once you have 4 sounds going you'll have to bounce soon anyways. Bouncing tracks is key here. Oh and I recommend a midi controller with a good range if you want to really play this synth- when playing an organ sound I'd hit the bass notes while playing higher chords- can't do that with two octaves.
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