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Products by HERCs Music Systems

Latest reviews of HERCs Music Systems products

Abakos
Reviewed By Polybius
February 21st, 2008

I've been having so much fun with this synth for such a long time now, it's starting to hurt to see that this gem hasn't received a proper and deserved review yet. So here it goes:

USER INTERFACE:

Seeing as the GUI of this synth was touched by the magical hand of Artvera, who's work you may also recognise from synths such as "Golden Asset", i can only give this synth a 10/10.
Crisp, clean graphics, and an original "abacus" inspired theme give you the immediate impression that a lot of love has gone into the creation of the GUI. Everything is readable, clear and everything fits on screen.


SOUND:

I stumbled upon this synth while i was still in the early stages of discovering VST's. At this time, all i did was wander from one synth to the other, giving all the “freebies” a quick go. Most of time you go trough some presets and say to yourself “delete, bring on the next!” and never look at it again. While going from synth to synth, this is one of those synths that make you yell “Hold the line! We've got something here!”.
When rummaging trough the presets, i immediately recognized some sounds that could have come straight from the hands of “Boards of Canada”. I'm a sucker for VA's, and this synth has an analogue sound quality i'd like to describe as “sweet” and “creamy”. Sorry if it doesn't make any sense.
When you are working with a synth, you are generally using it for 4 common purposes: leads, pads, FX and bass. I tought i'd be a good idea to give you a quick run-trough of each of these purposes:

PADS & LEADS: This is where this synth really shines! This has become my go-to synth when i'm in the early stages of writing a song, and i'm looking for a “main theme”. Partly because it's so simple to operate, but mainly because it seems like no matter what knob i turn, there's always something to like about the sounds i'm producing. Sweet, endless sweeping pads, penetrating leads that cut right trough the mix, Moog/theremin -like whistles, just twist the knobs and let the oscillators give you their love!

FX: I used to go to VST's that are specialized in fx, but are mainly “one hit wonders”, because all they do is FX. Thanks to the feature-rich LFO section of this synth, you can easily create warbling, fluttering, spacy effects ranging from tweeting birds to spaceships landing on a storm-plagued planet.

BASS: You can get some really crunchy, moogy basses out of this synth, but you'll need some boosting/EQ'ing to really get an appreciative bass sound out of this synth. There's synths out there that get you a great Bass sound “out of the box”, but usually you'll have to fork out some cash. To conclude, this synth will get the job done on the bass department, but you'll have to put some boost on it.

There's also a noise generator feature i'd like to say something about. Most synths seem to feature a noise generator as a quickly thrown in addon. But there's something about the noise generator on this synth that makes it stand out from the rest. There's this sweet hissy sound that's actually usefull, something that gives the sounds that are produced a real analog feel. This is the first synth that didn't make me leave the noise button untouched.


FEATURES:

I suggest you look at the features on top of this page. I would call this a “bread & butter” type- synth, but the rich LFO -section, and other features such as key transpose, a usefull noise generator (not obvious on most synths), delay section, ringmod, digital/analog switch...make this synth rise above the “bread & butter” denominator.


DOCUMENTATION:

Another 10! The documentation that is included in a nicely laid-out PDF document explains the features in great dept, but it also goes a little further. There's a really nice beginner-friendly synthesis introduction, with examples on how to use this synth to create certain sounds such as sea waves, heartbeats, strings... A very nice addition to complete this package, and a sign of great generosity!


PRESETS:

10/10 without a doubt.
I didn't count them all, but there must be around 250 presets in this package, divided over 3 banks. When i first loaded up this synth, i must have spent an hour going trough the presets. I found most of them very usefull, and all of them are aptly labeled “FX” “PAD” KEYS” for further clarity.


CUSTOMER SUPPORT:

Seeing as this is a free synth, i was pleasantly surprised to receive a same-day reply about the problems i was having with saving presets with songs.


VALUE FOR MONEY:

It's free, nothing to see here, you owe it to yourself to download this synth now.


STABILITY:

Using Renoise as a host, i've experienced no crashes yet. Easy on the CPU, steady between the 1-10% mark on an AMD64 4000+ with 2 gigs of ram.


CONCLUSION:

This is truly one of those gems that suprise you it's free. You know, one of those synths that make people say “better than some commercial synths”.

So, what are you waiting for? Download this gem and put a smile on your face
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