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Products by mda

Latest reviews of mda products


Reviewed By cyrb [all]
June 15th, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows

mda's DX10 is a simple 2-operator FM synth (3-op if you use the special FL Studio version). It has no GUI, instead you are presented with 16 parameters in your host's default interface.

A lot of people seem to compare it to Yamaha's classic FM synths, but let me tell you: it's not comparable. It cannot even be compared to a Yamaha 2-op, such as the OPL sound chip. Where Yamaha-style FM is more warm and punchy, DX10 is more metallic and acid-like. Everything seems to sound like that UK "Donk" bass sound as you crank up the modulation amount. Also, its envelopes are rather limited. Instead of ADSR, it uses a sort of strange ADR/DSR envelope. In comparison, the OPL2/3 used ADSR, the DX21 used a ADDSR, where a secondary decay rate is applied to the sustain, and in the DX7, a freeform 5-point envelope is used.

Suffice to say, you cannot model 2-op Yamaha sounds accurately using DX10 (without losing your mind that is), you can however use it for its own merits. One of those merits include a waveform modulator, where you can modulate between a sine and "saw" approximation that contains additional harmonies added to the fundamental sine.

It can definitely sound interesting in its own right if you play to its strengths, but don't be fooled, it's not a Yamaha clone, and you will be hard pressed to make any decent brass sounds.

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Reviewed By geroyannis [all]
February 26th, 2008
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows

I had forgotten about this gem but came across it on my hard drive an hour ago and wow! I remembered what a really wonderful sounding instrument that is.

User Interface: OK, as all mda plugins it's not supposed to be pretty, just work. It uses your host's interface with clearly labeled sliders that give exactly the tone variety you need. I think that approach works well, also the looks of the instrument never go in and out of fashion, it's sort of classic.

Sound: That's the best part. I've played with many epiano emulations (commercial and freeware) and this one is a great competitor. To be fair I'm not sure which of the instruments I've played is the best at faithfully emulating a piano, but regarding pure beauty of sound I think this one is a winner.

Features: This is a one trick pony so don't expect many features. It produces one sound, that is of an electric piano and that's it. It offers some extras like pan/tremolo, detune and overdrive which are more than enough.

Documentation: None, who needs it? It's very simple to use and actually nearly impossible to produce a bad sound.

Presets: Same as "Documentation" section applies here.

Customer Support: I guess it's extinct but I don't need it either. I'm just grateful that the developer gave to the community such a fine instrument.

Value For Money: Are you kidding? It's free!! As unbelievable as that may sound...

Stability: As a rock. Hasn't crashed any of my hosts.

As a conclusion this is one of the best instruments out there. It doesn't do a lot of things but if you need an electric piano you should grab it. These days I own the much hyped MrRay73 Mark II which of course truly deserves it's hype but the mda epiano is a really strong competitor if you also take into account that it's free.
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Reviewed By Navij11 [all]
February 9th, 2008
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows

I'm going to start by saying that I really like this synth.

First off, the GUI. Its the default, which can be nice sometimes, because you don't need to browse the parameters to automate, but with larger synths like this, is gets a bit complicated. I did find my way around, with a bit of difficulty.

The sound is where this little VST excels. It does a great DX piano, and it just seems to worm itself into my mixes. Generally, whatever I do with it seems to work! Whether it is raising a few octaves to create a bell/chime effect, or making some percussive hit, this tiny synth does it, and does it well.

It doesn't have the most features for a synth, simple ASDR envelopes, and FM, but it does its job, and does it well! I don't see a need for other options, except maybe a way to pick a different base waveform to modulate.

I did not look for documentation, but it is pretty basic, and easy to pick up. You don't need to know what you're doing to get nice sounds out of this synth, so I'll give it points for this anyways.

The presets are so-so, they aren't anything groundshaking, but they give a good basis for your own experimentation. In other words, they work.

Since I've never tried MDA customer support, I will base this off of what this synth has become, IL DX10. Image-Line has great support, and I've never had a problem with them. All questions I've asked have been handled quickly and professionally in their support forum. Full marks there.

VFM is quite possibly one of the best out there, considering its a free plugin, that with a custom UI, would normally cost 30 dollars. Can't deduct here!

The stability seems fine. I've had some issues with its sister, the JX10, but never with the DX10. It also is very cpu efficient, making it a nice synth to compose basic melodies and progressions on!

Overall, this is an excellent synth! Definitely worth the bandwidth! It seems to fit just right into my mixes, either as a main or a supporting element! I'd recommend this synth to anyone looking to explore the power of FM Synthesis!
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Reviewed By wikter [all]
June 30th, 2006
Version reviewed: Final on Windows

About this Synth there's a lot of things to be said.
It seems much more based on SH series from Roland but as long as I've not searched along the Roland Keys history I can't say that for sure.

The oscillator section is based on two Pulse (width modulable) oscillators, but the only controls are 2nd Osc detune, 2nd Osc Coarse and Mix. It's a bit limited in comparison with some ones, but in fact, it does the job.
The filter section is a selfoscilating resonant LowPass filter modulated by a very fast envelope with bipolar modulation (positive and negative).
The Amp envelope is also very fast (try short attack and decay time), altough pads can also be achieved by pushing the fader up to the end.
Finally, an LFO that modulates the filter and the oscillator PWM or Pitch. It's a shame that you only have the possibility to modulate one parameter of the escillator, but the fact is that this lack of controls allows this synth to be very easy to understand.

The envelopes are very fast and it's easy to adjust them to fast rates without getting artifacts.
The resonance starts selfoscillation very early when the fader is moved and its sound doesn't matches for Pads os Basses easily.

Altough it do the job with Basses, Pads, Drones, stabs... its sound and play modes (wow, it's polyphonic) gives good classic Leads, arps and glissandos.

And rating the KVR values...

User Interface:
No Gui... Ok, I'm so used to work with no Gui that I can't imagine it out of the Logic faders.

As long as it has no effects, it sounds dry and the presets doesn't help, but adding a flanger+Xdelay gives a more exciting machine. The ease of control also lets you focus on the music, forgetting to adjust tones of controls.

Altough it's feature limited and lack a bunch of parameters, it is fast to understand and tweak, and very low on CPU usage. Also, the voice modes helps when searching classic sounds.

Forget about it. Not needed

Useful when you need to create a new sound, but not specially inspiring.

Customer support:
Unknown and unneeded.

Value for money:
Freeware. It costs a download.

On Logic, I've found two kind of problems, it can clip Equalizer bands inserted after it and sometimes it stops sounding... in fact, it stops sound when an eQ after it is clipped. Well it only happens tweaking it while it's played, but it's a shame that it happens (altough it happens rarely)
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Reviewed By tetsuneko [all]
June 18th, 2006
Version reviewed: on Windows

While there are many reasons why i consider this to be among the very best subtractive FOOS VSTi's out there, the biggest one is the sound of the thing itself. I highly recommend jx10 for a subtractive synth in your arsenal.

I could have written how the internal architechture of the jx10 works, but this becomes obvious once you have used it for a while.

mda JX10 is supposedly similar to a Roland JX10 in its features? I have never used a real JX10 myself, so I wouldn't know. There are two oscillators, square and saw. You get two envelopes, one for filter and one for amp. Filter section might seem modest to contemporary alternatives, only a single LPF. Also, in the modulator section, there is only one LFO. Doesn't sound like much? I disagree!

First of all, the plugin itself is a single .dll, so no need to install or worry about bloating your DAW's registry with redundant garbage. Some people don't seem to mind this, but I'm very picky about this myself.

Another feature that I admire in JX10 is it's GUI-less interface. I know this turns a lot of people off, having used to all kinds of nice looking GUI's with 3D rendered knobs and such. I usually find GUI's to be quite distracting, so for me this is actually a plus instead of a minus. And surely if a GUI is needed, someone with the urge can make a skin and post it to mda?

What about cc's then? I think that when shaping sounds on stage, less is more. While there are only a modest amount of parameters on the jx10, I found I can easily map almost all of the parameters to my PCR-50 (which has ~32 controllers). Shaping the sounds becomes a snap once you have most controls assigned, and I actually remembered again just how fun those old analog synths used to be! Many other VSTi's have huge amounts of parameters, and the only way to gain tactile control of them is by buying the biggest knob-box in the world.. hardly convenient?

As I mentioned in the beginning of my review, jx10 sounds great. The filter, although only a single LPF, gives you instant gratification by sounding very smooth and warm. Oscillators are very nice as well, no sign of syntheditesque thinness or homogenicity here. I guess I should have analyzed some tests and include the results here, but I am a lazy bitch you know ;) It is enough to say that I'd go toe-to-toe with jx10 against anything else than xhip any day! (I hate to base arguments on personal experience, but I have tried many, many VSTi's - both FOOS and commercial - and I should have a pretty good idea about what sounds good and what doesn't..)

I don't know if there is a manual for jx10, but it's so simple that one hardly needs it anyway.

To wrap it up, mda jx10 is a synth that grows on you. Once you get over the fact that it's not meant to be used for every sound in your next hot track and use it in the context of where it's strenghts lie, good results are bound to happen. It's no wonder that mda is working for Digidesign nowadays.
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Reviewed By peejunk [all]
June 19th, 2004
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows

I usually don't review anything, but since there were no reviews I'm going to do a quickie now. It's the MDA freebie that I use the most. Soft distortion is great (not to say hard dist isn't cool too) and some amp sims have great sound aswell. It's not a full blown amp sim nor it's supposed to be, I see it as a great overdrive/harder exciter. For that job it's great.

I rated the UI 8 despite it's got no GUI, because with small number of parameters it has it's no problem using it in any host. Also, it is pretty featureless compared to big commercial plugins BUT it can be used for a lot of things (stereo to mono, excitation, amp sim, distortion and combinations) and with a lot of sounds. Due to this it's very fast to work with once you know where and how to use it.

Docs are short but decent for all MDA plugs, but combo is so simple it'd be ok if it didn't have any. It doesen't have built in presets but with a simple and application specific plugin like this there is no use for presets.
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Reviewed By Tea [all]
June 16th, 2004
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows

I first used this piano about 18 months ago when I was starting out with Cubasis. I knew nothing about samplers, romplers or humplers so used it in my first composition because it was all I could lay my hands on. At the time I thought it sounded like crap - shallow, tinny, no facility for expression - and I don't think it actually sounds anything like as rich as the subsequent VST pianos I've tried.

However... I have come to love this little plugin. Partly because I nurture a silly romantic astonishment that a piece of software that you could fit on a floppy disc can contain all the notes right across the length of my keyboard, and partly because it just somehow seems to have a goshdarn character all of its own.

As long as you're not intending to make a feature of it, mda piano can work in even the most sophisticated of mixes, and its numerous editable features only enhance its usefulness.

Of all the free pianos I've tried this is definately a favourite. 4Front is the weirdest, EVM Grand Piano is the most lifeless, but mda piano is a firm fave.

Don't think of it as a rich palette, for making broad-brush authentic creations, but as a cheap retractable pencil for making sketches and maybe filling in some detail.

Interface: idiosyncratic.
Features: plenty
Documentation: none available, none needed
Presets: useful
Support: unescessary
Value for money: definately!
Stability: complete

As Orange Juice once sang: 'You'll always have a place in my heart...'
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Reviewed By PugFace [all]
March 12th, 2004
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows

Very roland sounding. This was i think first VSTi taht i downloaded from the WEB. I was real scared at first because i was worried about viruses. But this has a nice Juno 106 sound. It is no good for anything other than analog sounding stuff as the filter seems to be too clean. I still have fond use of it but i hardly ever go back in to Cubase Folders for it.
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