*Disclaimer: I'm a songwriter, producer, and educator. My writing style may read like a billboard ad, but my user review is sincere and authentic. I only appraise a product I consider extraordinary, hence the high rating. I don't work for the developer. In fact, I rarely work at all. :-) I hope you find my review useful. — Tommy Zai.
ReDominator by AudioRealism is a super fat sounding virtual synth, which is modeled after the classic Alpha Juno 1/2 (JU-1/2). I actually had the JU-1/2 in the late 80s, and I can say without hesitation that this fine emulation brings me back and still inspires me. Actually, I remember foolishly selling my hardware model, opting for the newfangled digital offerings of the day. ReDominator has eased the pain of letting that synth go.
ReDominator delivers the unmistakable Hoover Sound* that was made famous by early Roland and Korg synths. However, it was the top 10 hit track "Dominator" by Dutch techno pioneers Human Resource that resurrected the sound. "I'm bigger and bolder and rougher and tougher, in other words sucker there is no other — I'm the one and only dominator. Wanna kiss myself!" It's no wonder this synth is called REDOMINATOR! And, what is the default patch called? LOL I have created tracks for the 90s techno-rave scene featuring this sound, and I have also used that vacuum tone on countless other tracks. This synth will deliver Mr. Hoover to you and much, much more — I quickly discovered a full-featured and powerful polyphonic synth that is capable of sweet basses, leads, pads, and all kinds of sweeping atmospheric soundscapes.
*There are several thick swirling carpet cleaning presets, and it's not difficult to create your own:
1. Choose the sawtooth waveform.
2. Evenly space oscillators by an octave.
3. Apply PWM.
4. Crank up the chorus effect.
• Vintage Interface.
• Fun to program.
• More fun to play.
• Love the sliders and knobs — tight and responsive.
• 200+ patches. .. a few duds, but countless good ones.
• Complex envelope generator.
• Sawtooth variations.
• Low aliasing waveforms.
• Moderate CPU hit.
• Innovative, responsive developers (responded to my inquiry within an hour)
• What will AudioRealism bring back to life next? Psss, I miss the pads on my Juno-106 and the lushness of my Oberheim synths and rackmounts.
• AudioRealism satisfies our audio obsessions, i.e., the wet, filter TB-303 bass, TR drum machines, and now the Hoover Sound a la Alpha Juno.
ReDominator looks analog, sounds analog, and with the right controller — feels analog – a very specific, wonderful classic analog synth, which can deliver a wide range of sonic timbres from thin bite to fat punch to swirl. I'm not saying this is the last synth you'll ever need or that it's the ultimate "go to" instrument. There are more appropriate Swiss army knife soft synths out there. However, what I am saying is this — for the price, ReDominator is unbeatable for what it is and how it sounds! I highly recommend this synth to any eMusician, producer, film/video scorer, DJ, sound designer, and any other kind of audio tracker, who is looking for "that sound" and a whole lot more. Tommy Zai gives ReDominator two big, fat thumbs up. Thank you, AudioRealism, for resurrecting a classic synth that never should have died! Viva la ReDominator.Read Review
The best 303 for Mac AU with an authentic sound, with lot of presets and great usability.
GUi & Usability
Simple and very easy to understand GUI. And you can swap to another darker skin. Most of it is very self-explanatory. 303-user will know what to do. New user to 303, will have to learn the sequencer, but it's not big thing. That's why the 303 is (among other things) so sought after. It's just very easy to get groovey sequences out of it in an instant.
The contender Phosycon from D16 has worse usability. It was confusing to me, so I wasn't able to start a sequence within one minute. But that's probably jus me ;)
Load the ABL 303 and start right away by hitting a note on your keyboard. Hit another note and listen to the next sequence.
It even supports 303-audio-file-import and recognizes and implements that pattern. I have to admit I've never tested that feature, so I can't really say how good it works.
The sound is as you expect it from a 303. Pretty authentic, but surely not like the real deal, because a real 303 hooked up to some fine high end analog gear will still punch better.
Then there is also Phosycon, which I think has a slight better sound, but the ABL has just a better usability for me. I believe the slight sound differences won't matter in songs, that don't build upon the 303 as a main instrument (like Acid).
ABL also has two types of distortion built in to pimp the sound. They're good, but meanwhile there are better external ones.
ABL delivers a huge amount of presets. It's so much, that I still haven't covered one percent of it. You must know, that every preset can have multiple sequences triggered by a note. There are presets for all kinds of styles. Straight bangin acid lines, funky crazy grooves, driving bass lines... you won't be bored.
Never had any issue. Runs and runs and runs.
There is one little issue. If you want to create a custom MIDI map, you have to reload it everytime you open the session. It is NOT saved, nor with the ABL presets, nor with the DAW presets. At least it is like this with my system: Logic 8 & OS X 10.6.8.
Everytime I want a 303, I go for ABL.
I'm giving this synth 10 out of 10. I'm doing this because it's perfect for the purpose it was created, and beyond! I try to rate synths in relation to the average review at KVR, for the sake of fairness. I also only tend to review synths I really like. I wish we could rate out of 15 or 20 because the standard of softsynths in general has sky-rocketed in recent times. I'd give this 19 out of 20.
ABL pro is advertised as a "303 on steroids" and is the stuff of dreams if you're looking for classic Roland-style monosynth sequences and mutant acid lines. Two oscillators with all of the analog waveshapes and an LFO which can go audio-rate and be patched in as a 3rd oscillator feed a lowpass filter that can squelch and scream. The main filter design is more in the vein of the MC-202 than the 303 (and really is a dead ringer! No pun intended ;), but a "legacy" filter is provided with a 18db/oct slope which squelches instead of self-resonating.
If you've wanted to make authentic acid-lines with PWM and sync or stacked oscillators, this is your ticket. The synth engine, combined with the built-in sequencer, just has that certain magic to it which gets my head nodding and my face grinning. Like the straight-up 303 emulation ABL 2, the sequencer speaks Acidese fluently, and is as vital a part of the sound as the actual filters and oscillators! Alternatively, you can switch off both the sequencer AND the mono mode, and use ABL Pro just like any other softsynth, though having a fairly modern computer might be a good idea if you want to really exploit that.
Really, it always comes back to the sound. It's evocative of the past, yet expands into new territory. Features such as a waveshaper (which brings in varying amounts of wave folding), filter and oscillator FM, ring modulation, control signal patching and the audio rate LFO and lizard-tongue quick envelopes make this my go-to synth for tricked out acid.
I don't much care for the 303-style sequencer programming, and would welcome with open arms a graphical editor or piano roll interface, but this is made up for by providing extensive controllable randomization which seriously always inspires me after a bit of clicking around. Again this takes the oldschool acid technique of having the 303's batteries die and the pattern memory being filled with random, chromatic weirdness, and pulls it squelching and pulsating into the modern DAW. The ability to choose the density of notes, ties, and accents, choose to leave certain aspects of the pattern alone, automatically create relevent variations, and lock the randomization to different scales and modes really makes this a winner in my opinion.
In the oscillator department, much care seems to have gone into getting that characteristic Roland sound, especially the squarewave with it's complex spectrum and meaty bass. There are no perfect digital waveshapes here, and the result is something organic that changes timbre with pitch like the original hardware did.
All in all, an oldschool techno masterpiece with mileage way into the future. The bottom line for me is that this is a synth which has provided the spark of inspiration which ended up with entire tracks built around it. You can't ask for more than that!Read Review