This is my first review, so I'll try to be as informative as possible, especially on a product that hasn't been reviewed yet. Sorry, but this will be long!!!
First and foremost, let's talk about why I purchased this. I have synths & samplers already. I'm no stranger to the power of using any of these synths to yield full productions. However... I am NOT a programmer. I don't want to program ALL of my own sounds for each song. I have an idea for a tune and want to get it out ASAP. Sometimes, I'm not able to get the exact sound I need. Sometimes, I need something that sounds a little more full, yet modern. I almost considered Nexus, but I don't have the money to keep buying libraries. I need something that is overall encompassing yet not too deep.
You have to understand that Pure Synth Platinum (PSP) is not a VST or a sample set... but like a hybrid sample set in which you have VST functions. This is similar to other UVI soundwares in which you can load presets but can't save them because this is a monolith (or a collection of pre-made templates with samples). This is by design of the UVI Workstation and is the format in which they use for all of their sample sets or for any 3rd party developers such as gospel Musicians. Also, as with other UVI libraries, you will need an ILok to register PSP. Personally, I don't feel ILok is an issue. I also have other UVI & ILok based products and on my system (Windows 8.1, 16GB RAM, I7) I don't have any issues with running this. When you download this from the Gospel Musicians site, it is relatively painless. They will send you a serial number to activate and then you return to their site to download the sample set. It's about 2.5 GBs in size and on a faster computer takes about 15 minutes to download through a cable connection. Easy.
Enter PSP If you can see from their videos which include their spokesman, Jamal Hartwell, it is quite an in depth instrument. Their goal was to include as much power as one could want. What you have basically is a 4 oscillator synth that includes some controls, 2 LFOS, 2 Filters, 10 Effects, Reverb, Arp/Gate and Master Effects all for each oscillator. The oscillators have up to 8 different types:
Analog (5 basic waveforms with PWM, Sync, Unison, Phase & Stereo Control).
FM (4 Sine osc's, with 11 routings, with Ratio & Level controls for each oscillator + main feedback).
Noise (11 different type of Noise waves with a bandwidth control for some of them).
Sample (12 categories of multisamples, each with their own subcategories and each subcategory has different sample presets. Bass, Bells, Brass..mostly synth brass, Digital, FX, Guitars, Instruments...mostly individual horns, Keys, Orchestral, Pads, Vox & Synths. Including Unison, Color & Sample Start).
Sub Oscillator (3 different wave types, with PWM & Octave controls).
Transient (The drum designer taken from MOTU's BPM with different categories of drums sounds).
Wavetable (A whole crap load of wavetables with PWM, Phase:which scans through the table, stereo & unison controls).
Superwave (8 Osc's with 5 basic wave forms, PWM, Phase, Gain, Pan, Pitch, & Polarity controls for each osc).
Filter 2 includes envelope, keyscale & velocity/aftertouch controls.
2 LFOs. 1 for Pitch & Cutoff. The 2nd can be used to modulate parameters in the analog, WT, FM & Superwave controls.
No mod matrix. Not a robust setup, but not too shabby either. Some synths have less control than this (and they sound great. Charlatan for example). Again, you have these controls for each of the oscillators.
Also, UVI effects have been included. if you are familiar with their effects, you will know what these are, so no need to go in depth, but they all sound outstanding. PSP also includes an Ensemble 505 chorus model. There are 10 effects total. These can't be modulated by any of the controls mentioned previously, but can be controlled by MIDI if you like... again for each oscillator.
They have also included Sparkverb for their reverbs. If you don't know about Sparkverb, you should check it out! It's very lush and usually costs about $200 separately. There are also convolution reverbs of the ASR-10, The Spring Reverb from their NeoSoul Keys sample package & VIP reverbs that are mostly effects. Sparkverb has more of the controls compared to the other three. You can control room size, shape, decay time, color, low & high decay, freq crossover, diffusion, freeze and other controls as well. Again, the controls can be handled by MIDI and are included on every osc.
The Arp/Gate section is nice as well. This can also be per oscillator. You have up to 32 steps, 26 modes, & other controls. The Gate can be chosen if you don't want the arp. You also have presets saved as well.
And last but not least, the mastering section. You have an 8 band graphic EQ, Comp/Gate & Multiband Compressor. Each of these have presets as well that you can use.
Feature wise this is a beast! If using one of these is too much on the CPU, than you can also use a different init preset that routes all 4 osc's to the same controls, filters, effects, reverb & mastering effects. You can copy settings from one oscillator to another. Usually most of the tweaks that you make can be heard instantly as much of the mod destinations are already determined. Going through the sounds leaves me in awe at how much they squeezed into this thing. They have a few other templates & about 500 presets as well. Most of the presets range for more urban style of music. Most of them don't really take full advantage of every feature, and they don't really have to. What caught my attention most were the arps, pads, synths & instrument sections, but they all have material that can be used for songs of any type.
You would expect there would be a load time, and usually for most presets there is about a 8-10 second load time. PSP is coded very tightly considering what is stuffed in. Another cool thing is since this is based off of the UVI structure, you can layer multiple instances in the same MIDI channel or even keyswitch between them as well. Plus, you get all of the same effects that are already in the synth (excluding the reverbs) and they are all MIDI controllable. Everything works like a regular UVI library should.
Now... for the sound. If you are familiar how a good virtual synth or sampler sounds, PSP sounds different. It's almost, dare I say, a lot thicker. The Sparkverb really does a lot of glue and help things to merge together. For the amount of different oscillators there really isn't a lot of overlap, but with this instrument having so many varieties of samples, some of these sounds may start to sound alike. It's really easy to get some crazy sounds happening really quickly. As with some of the demos, you can get a whole sequence with drums, keys & bass going with just 1 finger. I have made 4 songs since I purchased in the middle of July using only PSP. I also layer this with other instruments, and while it can be the thickest sound in the mix, tweaking is easy & getting PSP to blend with other synths or samplers is not a problem at all. If you own any other UVI products or MachFive, you'll be very familiar with the sound of this instrument.
I'd say the biggest disappointment within this product is mostly due to the UVI sampler being not able to make presets. I feel that with something of this nature is begging for that functionality. There is a workaround, as you can save a multi which saves the state of the entire sampler workstation. I also think being able to modulate the effects would be a great addition as well. On the video, Jamal explains that adding more modulations would increase the CPU when using this, however, I would like to have a version in which I could modulate the effects parameters and go nuts. This could be easily done on Gospel Musician's end by making an empty preset within the monolith, but it's not a deal breaker. Less is more sometimes. I think a more in depth manual regarding the names of sounds that are listed would help. With a large instrument such as this, knowing exactly what you have available could speed things up.
As of version 1.1, Gospel Musicians have also included Pure Sine, another sample set for UVI that is based on sine ones. As boring as this sounds, the presets are quite useful for urban music that needs a solid bass or keys. It's not as in depth as PSP but comes in handy when you need it. The original price for PSP was about $200. Previously they had a half price sale and I bought this for $100. I think the product is priced correctly considering the versatility that you have with these sets of waveforms.
PSP is a good fit for me because I was looking for something all encompassing. I waited a year to get this thing and it has been so worth the wait. The versatility of this product is amazing and if you're like me and just wanted to have good tools to compose with and not spend all day figuring out how to come up with sounds, than this is perfect for you.
The deep sampling on this library is unbeatable. 12 velocity layers?! Some may think it's overdoing it, but I think it's just enough. I've been using this for only a few months, and it's definitely my go-to EP/Rhodes. I've been able to use it on non-jazz/RnB/chillout songs too.
Fantastic. The graphic design is suitable, top-notch, and memorable.
Stunning. The included presets are really interesting, and really demonstrates the flexibility of customization for this library.
The customizability is phenomenal. The velocity curve is a good addition for accurate emulations. Then there are all those options! Bark, Tine, Key sounds, Pedal sounds, etc. A nice set of effects are included too---Phaser, Flanger, Delay, Distortion, Chorus, and Spring Reverb. The Treble/Bass adjustment sliders actually make a useful difference, thank goodness (I've seen some plugins/libraries that have that and it didn't help them much).
The layout is highly intuitive, and the priority menus are most dominant. Chorus and Spring Reverb, EQ, Vibrato, Amp Sims, and various Tone knobs/flippers take center stage, while miscellaneous FX have submenus. The keys graphic at the bottom made me think they would animate when I played, but they don't. That's not a big deal, just something I noticed. Oh, and I think the Neo-Soul Wurli preview graphic on KVR is missing a few things on it, like some flipper and slider graphics. Odd.
Usable size, typically expected RAM consumption for something of this nice quality. It comes as 8 GB of samples, so go grab Kontakt and compress those files! ;) Note that it works only for Kontakt 4.2.3+, if I remember correctly. Might have been 4.2.4+. I highly recommend grabbing a semi-weighted MIDI keyboard if you want to "play around with it" to make some really realistic stuff! Of course, its velocity curve helps simplify the realism with velocities if you just have a cheap simple MIDI keyboard like mine. :)
QUALITY FOR PRICE:
Price probably marginally exceeds quality, but that's only because I rarely ever buy something virtual over $100. That's only at first. After you actually try it, with time you'll feel like you should have paid 50% more. ;)
Would I get it if I were any random person with the money to spare? Yes, definitely. I highly recommend this to anyone who strives for high quality organic songs.