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VPS Avenger [read all reviews]
Reviewed By ZaBong69 [read all by] on 9th May 2017
Version reviewed: 1.1.2 on Windows.
Last edited by ZaBong69 on 9th May 2017.
10.00
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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They said "the last synth you will ever need".

And they have a point. If there is one word for the philosophy of this soft synth, it's MORE. It pretty much has everything you may want to see in one synth, overdelivering on many things - who actually needs 8 oscillators in one sound, and what do I want with hundreds of waveforms and 4 Gig of sample/wave content? Well, the answer is: I don't know yet, but I plan to find out.

There seems to be very little this synth can not do... audio rate modulation between oscillators or on filters is missing, and wavetable editing is not (yet?) part of the game, but other than that, a great many synthesis methods and FX are there already. There is a Zebra 2 like flexibility in routing sounds and building layers. The ergonomics are great, I had fun navigating the GUI.

How does it sound: Pretty much like anything you want. It can be digital, it can do analog, it even can do some physical modelling. Warm and fuzzy in some presets, icy cold in others. The filters are good, a wide variety is there. One of the highlights of this beast are the effects - the quality is very high, no need to use external effects. If you really must, you can program sounds that start a whole track with one key press, including a drum sequence.

VPS Avenger runs smoothly on my system, but that system is pretty high end. You are advised to test it on your computer, as some sounds can be demanding.

Highly recommended.

Zebra [read all reviews]
Reviewed By ZaBong69 [read all by] on 9th June 2016
Version reviewed: 2.7.2 on Windows
9.00
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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It took me a while to appreciate Zebra 2. While it's sound engine still is awesome - a remarkable feat for a synth that was first released in 2007 -, its user interface appears (in 2016) to be somewhat dated. However, using the Massive Modular skin (sold from an independent developer), the GUI instantly goes into Serum territory, with the serious advantage that Zebra's skins are fully scalable, while Serum's GUI is on the (too) smaller side for my taste. My review below refers essentially to this Zebra 2 with improved skin.

Zebra's sound engine is extremely flexible with its semi-modular design. You have access to 4 wavetable oscillators and 4 FM oscillators, as well as 2 comb filters, 4 standard filters and 4 cross modulation filters. As each filter can self oscillate and the comb filters come with three waveforms, you have access to 18 (!) OSCs - per sound! Oscillators, filters and auxilliary sound design modules (including, for instance, ring modulation, frequency shifters, distortion) can be arranged in three lanes and connected. Oh, and then comes an feature rich effect section with its own main path and two sends/returns. You can control all this with with standard envelopes (that not only have four stages, but can also init, delay and are loopable) or go with drawable envelopes. Did I mention that each wavetable oscillators can load your own single cycle waveforms and comes with an incredible set of wave mangler effects on its own? Add a very cool sequencer/arpeggiator, thousands of really cool presets and... well, I will stop here. I should add that Zebra is by no means a resource hog, if you want you can use 20 instance of it or more on a fast computer. I sometimes apply Zebra as a luxury drum synth in Ableton drum racks, with 8 instances just for the drums.

In conclusion, this thing is a sound designers wet dream, if you can not get the sound you want from this, you probably have not tried enough. I would wish that Zebra 3 (annoinced in 2013!) would come this year, but Zebra 2.7 still holds its ground rather well in 2016, more than 10 years after Zebra 1's introduction.

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