OK, everybody knows this is a 303-knockoff. Yes, it's a one trick pony. Yes, it has only limited programmability. Yes, the 303 sound has been abused ad nauseum.
This little gem, however, just plain sounds GOOD. I have to say there are very few synths out there that can make as tight a bass sound as this masterpiece by Muon. The fact that Muon gave the synth away just floors me. Put simply, it just sounds fantastic. Forget the squelchy acid sound the 303 is so (in)famous for; instead, use this beauty to make sub basses, punchy smooth basses, even the occasional harsh bass. I love it.
I own Tau Pro, and I still keep Tau in my arsenel. Why? It's just the most well-focused little soft synth I've ever seen. A classic.
I've been using this synth since I first started reading CM magazine abaout 6 months ago (it comes on the cover CD). In fact, it was one of the first VSTi's I used when I first started using Logic. Since then I've become a VSTi junkie (as so many have), and have used just about every one out there. But I probably used this one more often than any others in my songs and most likely still would had I not purchased the Tau Pro. NO, IT DOSEN'T SOUND JUST LIKE A 303! But I don't ever recall the 303 being given away for free. And with a little bit of properly applied effects it can do a heck of a lot. That pretty much covers the pros as far as cons the only real one is the lack of presets. Not that big of a deal, especialy since it's so darn easy to use.
Tau + distortion + Stereo delay = monophonic heaven. Glide is a very useful feature that I use a lot. I recommend the Tau as a substitute for any monphonic string lead, although use a chopper effect with it, or convert to staccato 16th notes...
OK, even if this is becoming somewhat ridiculous, I have to place another review here. I don't think bashing something like Tau makes much sense at all - I mean, it's free, does what it's supposed to do and it's as stable as it could be. CPU usage is more than moderate, the sound becomes even more flexible with the Mdrive plugin insterted and the basses surely sound fat. Personally I even think it's a good idea that it doesn't exactly reproduce a TB303 - I mean, do we have enough of 303 sounds in all sorts of productions or what? Finally, for a freebie it's almost as good as possible, and guess what? Dave Waugh (Muon mastermind) even responded in a very nice way to some mail regarding some of my Tau wishes - incredible for a freebie!
Meanwhile I sampled Tau and do now use it in some EXS patch (www.saschafranck.de/exs if you want it), now I can use it polyphonic and along with pitchbend, but that's still giving it a good use.
I also have to review this, after reading a not so favourable review. I disagree, but I respect that person's opinion... Personally, i think that it looks lovely. Now, for the sound, I dont know how a REAL TB-303 normally sounds, but i use this one very frequently because of its very pleasing(to me) sound. Also, i wouldnt describe it as a one-trick pony, because I used it for leads and not only for basses. The included mdrive effect is also very nice... Yeah, it has not presets, but so what, its not like its the most complex synth in the world!
And it never, even once, crashed on me...
Difficult one to review really, as it actually produces a decent warm sound, no audible glitches or zipper noise. It is quite useable as a very basic monosynth for warm basses, and it doesn't have any pretentions of being a complicated highly editable synth. I guess it is released as a taster to interested customers for the pro versions of their synths - but to be honest it hasn't made me too interested in trying them out.
The reason why - it says it has an 18dB/Oct resonant filter, and the layout and design is obviously meant to convey the impression it's some sort of 303 clone.
Well it ain't, and the filter isn't very resonant. Personally it sounds like a 24dB/Oct filter to me (and not a very good one either). I use a Juno 106 (which has a pretty weak filter), an Alpha-Juno (which doesn't even have a self-oscillating filter), and an MC202 (which is the dogs b******s if you can't afford a 303 for proper acid lines) - and the Tau won't sound anywhere NEAR any of these synths. It is in no way anything like a 303 - if you want one then shell out for Rebirth. If you want Roland 80s style synth sounds there are numerous freebies out there that do a far better job, and some that you pay very little for that are good synths. You could even pick up a JenSX or similar for next-to-nothing that will sound better than the Tau.
However, it's free, so I shouldn't knock it - but it irritates me to think that some might shell out for the pro versions thinking they're going to get something capable of 303 sounds. Uh-uh! The GUI (to me) speaks of false marketing and I don't like it (just one of my personal pet-hates). Muon have lost any custom they might have had from me.
However, if you want a free very basic synth (that actually DOES sound analogue and smooth) then d/l it for a try, but it is not a Roland silver box and never wil be.
It's free and it's great. This is a beautiful piece of software if you're nostalgic for the days of squidgy bass lines. It seems to be aimed at basslines, but I've used it for bass, huge leads and even a couple of sweeping pads. Easy to use, stable and fun, it's the sort of soft synth that keeps you twisting those knobs until you go blind. Please, Muon, let me go to sleep now. So tired....
Pro: + good solid acid bass sounds + easy to survey user interface + unbeatable value-for-money rate + great support
Con: - some features are missing... But hey! It's free!
One of the best freeware VSTis around... Great 303-like acid bass sounds. I'm missing some things like MIDI control, but you really can't complain, since it's free and if you need more features (like I do :-) you can 'upgrade' to it's big commercial brother Tau Pro.