Twin 2 is really interesting VA. It is VA, but it's absolutely ignoring every atempts of recreating sound of something. Which is good. It has it's own character. If that's good... I'll get to that later.
Beautiful. Really love the looks. So "fluid". It's pleasure to look at. It's also well thought and laid. Especially modulations. This gets me to features...
Interesting how features can be thing synth can sine at and fail at at one time. What's amazing is modulations. Really well tought layout with modules "hangign" at the bottom of the page.
The bad thing about features is oscilators and envelopes. Can someone tell me, why it has phase retrigger when there's no phase modulation possibility? Invert button would be also nice.
Envelopes are cool, nicely tought but with one major drawback. Minimum decay is 30 ms and that's toooo long. Absolutely kills any chance of snappynes. And when PWM and Hardsync modulations are only ways how to shape OSC's sound before filters, some snappynes to make sound a bit interestng could be really handy.
It's warm. Really really warm. Simply most smooth and warm filters period. And that's what wows you at the first place. Amazing for basses. But after some time you realize, that it could be handy to be able to make Twin a bit less warm, bit more bread and butterish. And there it set's you another pointless limit. Warmness is probably achieved by some saturation. I gues there is ton of waveshapers under a bonnet. Especially in filter stage. No metter which filter type you set, this warmness doesn't get away.
Value for money 9/10
It is good. Really is. But it has really "windowed" sonic range. Not limited smo much, but "windowed". You can do leads, plucks, basses, pads, bequences, rythmical stuff... It just always will be warm and not snappy, so no "synth for whole song" type of thing. It's more like spice of certain kind at this stage.
We're a fickle bunch, we synth users. We're seduced by acres of wood, and anything with a row of bakelite knobs and switches warrants more than a second glance, even if it has no musical relevance whatsoever. And so it goes that for a few decades, we've purchased oddities and esoterica; some excellent, some wanting. Nice but ordinary analog monosynths fetch eyewatering prices on the web..
So, what should we look for in a synth? Or more importantly, what should we look for in a virtual synth? Well, to coin the early synth pioneers, it all starts and ends with the filter. As owners of, say, a sherman filterbank will tell you, with a decent filter, you could run anything at the input and make magic. Fabfilter have a deserved reputation for one of the most characterful filters in the business. It didn't take much to realise that by sticking an oscillator onto the input, you'd have a recipe for a very good little synth. And so it goes, but of course, we're a fickle bunch - we wanted Ring Mod, we wanted FX, we wanted another oscillator...
Fabfilter listened. And, in the process, they came up with not only one of the best VST VA's around, they came up with one of the prettiest. So let's start with the GUI. It's a semi-modular synth - fully configurable, deep-as-you-like, easy on the eye. There are two rows to work with. The top half of the screen is the signal path. Three OSC's feed to two Filters, and the signal can then output dry, or via a twin set of delays [which can run Series or Parallel]. The knobs that you can see are large and move with a satisfying 'virtual inertia', and clicking on them opens up an animated 'submenu' whereby you can adjust the finer details of the knob. It's a clever way of ridding the screen of unwanted controls without having to cycle through pages. Plus, the whole display is geared to mousework - clicking any control and moving does something to the sound, so you don't have to dig through menus if you don't want to. The osc's include the standard waveforms, a couple of noise sources, and sound good even when the filter isn't doing much.
The lower half of the screen is the modular modulation magic. You can add pretty much anything, in any order, and assign it wherever you like. XY controls? Envelope generators? LFO's [random, configurable multistep, cycling, even a piano roll for pitch mod], master controllers - all here, infinite possibilities; all you do is select a modulator, drag to a destination, and you're done. Anything can be selected via a drop-down menu aswell. Inbetween the two screens is an 'overview bar' which you can use to run from left to right, should you have a huge number of modulators. Both top and bottom screens have a 'sweep mouse view' function, too, so that you can navigate to the left and right of both signal path and mods. It sounds comlpex, but in practise is actually very easy.
Anyway, to the meat of the synth - the filter. It's Fabfilter, so don't worry. Not only do you have the wonderful Fabfilter One filter, there are 10 others to choose from, with helpful character descriptions like 'smooth, 'raw', 'hard', 'hollow' etc. Two filters, and the filter section GUI can be dragged anywhere to go instantly from a dual lowpass to swept bandpass, and adjust the resonance of one or both together on the fly. This filter really sings! The resonance is as cutting as you'd like it to be - overall the character of the synth is 'mature', with a nice balanced feel to the sound.
It sounds great. Really great. Maybe up against the sample-input, granular-experimento-extravaganza monsters it appears too simple - but this synth is just designed to be VA, and do it very well. This, Omnisphere and Zebra are my three examples of how software now outsounds hardware beauties in almost every way. And the GUI is probably the simplest way to run a modular synth this side of a wall of cables. It doesn't have FX except its delays - so reverb and Phasers need to be added later in your signal chain. No matter - if you will, it approaches VA in the same way that Nord do; simple, uncluttered, and without compromises at what it does.
If you're in the market for VA, download the demo and try it. Once you 'see' the workflow, you'll throw out a load of older synths...
Keep my original review of Twin 1 intact, but removing the "cons". This new version is rapidly taking over my projects. The ability to go even deeper into "wiring" things up like you want is just amazing, and the UI to make that happen is very unique and very easy to use. I cannot emphasize enough the overall quality of the sound engine, the amazing capabilities and the utterly simple interior of this synth. Even the presets have been overhauled, and some truly amazing new sounds have been added to the factory palette. Just amazing. I've upped every thing from 8-10 in my Twin 1 review to 10/10 in Twin 2.
The LFO capabilities are the major new star for version 2. Not only can you keep adding and adding them (I'm sure there's a limit, I haven't hit it yet), and wire them up any way you want, but you have the ability to create your own LFO "waveforms", with glide setting. You can use them as a sequencer (there is even a key-map mode for each LFO). Goodbye "square/sine/trangle/random", hello "HOLY @#@#$!".
I really liked being able to hook up a patch pretty much any way I wanted. There's a semi-modular type feel to it, and the UI for routing is really nice. It has the intuitive feel of wiring things together, and the convenience of, well, not having wires cluttering up the knobs.
The sound, especially the filters, is very very good. Definitely download and play with the demo to hear for yourself, but I was very impressed with the sound quality. It depends on the patch, of course, but I can get amazingly clear bass sounds, sweet twinkling leads and everything in between with relative ease.
Sound quality and infinite programming variety make this a valuable synth, and worth looking at even if you already have a few subtractive synth plugins (and who doesn't?) If you're serious about sound quality and like to fiddle with the knobs, I highly recommend the Twin 2.
A really superior plug-in, and UB compatible to boot.
I had tried the download, but decided to buy it after the last revision, which added the ability to change presets via midi, very important to me.
You might ask yourself why another substractive synth at this point -- here's why:
1.) the sheer quality of the filters. Very impressive,
and very smooth.
2.) Your controller knobs and wheels will
respond as if they're hooked up to a real analog synth. I don't think any other manufacturer has come this close to getting it right.
3.) Modulation -- this is the easiest interface ever to
get in and experiment. While other synths may have more complex oscillators, very few have anything like FF's
modulation setup, so you can experiment very easily with how you PLAY the sound, not just how you make it.
-- Drawbacks -- I want a third oscillator! :)
This is really a great synth and kudos to FabFilter for making such a standout in a crowded market.