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Latest reviews of Sonic Charge products

Microtonic (µTonic)
Reviewed By Tagirijus
December 12, 2020

Already there (aka "Pro"):

  • extremely CPU friendly and fast loading.
  • easy and fast to set up in general.
  • good sounding.
  • almost endless (?) patterns online in the Patternarium.
  • minimalistic yet powerful.
  • scriptable things.
  • preset format is "open". So it seems to be some kind of JSON format, which is nice for geeks like me (-;
  • many parameters can be linked to MIDI CC#s.
  • easy and minimalistic, but useful preset system.
  • after 10 years (if I read correctly) the development seems not dead yet, I guess ... at least that's my assumption, since the last update was in april 2020. Still waiting for the dev to "verify" (-;

Could be there (aka "Cons", or better: "Feature wishes"):

  • some more sound noise types.
  • filter envelopes.
  • linking velocity to more parameters than just the three ones.
  • polyphonic mode in the "Pitched MIDI mode".
  • adjusting the decaying curves (especially for the pitch mod).

Really looking forward to the future of this plugin. (=.

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Echobode RE
Reviewed By tommyzai
September 10, 2015

INTRO
Echobode by Sonic Charge is an enjoyable, inspiring, and unique delay effect that features a frequency shifter inside a feedback loop, which creates an array of inharmonic overtones and dreamlike timbres. There's something about the look, virtual feel, and sound that make this hybrid delay a joy to launch. As with all Sonic Charge plugins, Echobode is extremely versatile and capable of producing sounds that range from solid sounds to pure sonic insanity. As a result, this delay unit can be an everyday effect for chorus, delay, flange, gate, phase, tremolo, ring modulation, etc. This delay can also be used and abused for the occasional sprinkle of madness. I found this plugin useful for any and all tracks, but especially rhythms and atmospherics.

Under the hood revs an engine that goes way beyond a delay with a bit of freq shifting. The shifter, along with the delay, phase, and filter can all be modulated with a user selected LFO that is outputting through various waveforms and shapes, including: sine, saw, square, and random shaped. There is something called a Smear Control that displaces the phases of the signal spectrum through a series of all-pass delays with a range of 0 to 121 milliseconds. And most importantly, at least for EDM, it can all (globally or independently) be synced to tempo. The power of this little delay unit makes experimentation fun; yet, with great power comes great responsibility — I created some really cool effects, but also made a big mess. I highly advise using or tweaking presets until you master Echobode, unless of course you get your kicks living on the edge. ;-)

PROS
• Easy purchase, download, install, and authorize.
• Neat, clean, attracting, inspiring, one-window interfaces.
• Easy to use knobs and toggle switches.
• Excellent algorithms that yield an accurate delay and impressive sounds.
• Amazing presets (200+).
• Small footprint.
• CPU friendly (for most patches)
• Bargain price.
• Innovative, responsive developers.

CONS
• It doesn't shine shoes or take out the trash (sorry, I couldn't find any cons).

SUMMARY
I'm a big fan of Sonic Charge, and Echobode is a fine addition to their collection, which also includes: Bitspeek, Microtonic, Permut8, and Synplant. Like it's siblings, Echobode boast sonic capabilities that range from subtle to severe, making it an extremely versitile audio software offering. To quote another reviewer,"[Echobode] is a Swedish-Army Knife for Interesing Audio Effects." After a few week's of noodling and recording, it's hard to disagree with that statement. Therefore, I highly recommend this plugin to virtually anyone working with virtual audio. Tommy Zai gives Echobode two frequency-shifted thumbs up in perfect time. Thank you, Sonic Charge, for creating another exciting plugin and selling it at an affordable price.

For more info: https://soniccharge.com/echobode

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This plugin "saved" me from buying a vintage sampler and/or from buying 112dB's Morgana. It's a 1:1 copy of the original device with Typhoon OS (the gentlemen behind Sonic Charge developed "Typhoon", an alternative OS for Yamaha's TX16W sampler, back then), including all the chips inside the TX16W so the overall sound and artifacts from transposing are pretty much the same as if you had the device in front of you. Heavy aliasing when sampling on low sample rates is where Cyclone excels if that's your cup of tea.

If you are looking for that gritty vintage sampler sound and have tried the numerous bitcrushers - look no further, this is the one you should be getting unless you're after the sound of an MPC60, an SP1200 or any other specific vintage sampler sound (for the Ensoniq Mirage, get the aforementioned Morgana). This one does the 12bits Yamaha thing and it does it very well.

Cyclone can sample via sidechain inputs which makes it easy to set up in Logic. Sampling will turn into the thing it used to be with happy accidents by pressing "Go" too late or too early. Alternative trigger procedures are available though I haven't tested them.

Editing is far from today's standards, of course, but I find the method with using digits and your ears way more intuitive for special tasks such as sampling old records. This is not a replacement for the EXS24 or Kontakt, it's rather a digital time machine that takes you back straight to the late 1980ies/early 1990ies, although setting up keymaps/multisamples is possible (but a pain in the arse to be honest).

I am using Cyclone for sampling old records, drum hits, vocal snips and chord stabs or percussion loops to add that ringing aliasing patina to a few samples.

The plugin is actually free but I would have paid 90€ for something like this. I haven't used Sonic Charge's support but from reading in their forums, I'd assume that these swedish guys are quite nice and helpful should you run into any trouble.

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Is it worth to go through the trouble of learning how to use this vintage emulation? I'd say yes if you want to aquire some perfect sounding vintage synth sounds which you probabely have heart a 1000 times in popular songs.

Since the whole emulation is really like the original machine it's a time consuming undertaking to load and evaluate the sounds. But the nice thing is (which I have'nt done yet), you can save your selections as .fxb so you can get fast access to your favorite sounds.

There are a lot of TX16W sounds on the net. they need to be converted to image files. This can be done with a online app Sonic Charge has on their website.

Great work Magnus Lidström.

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Synplant
Reviewed By PeterL
November 13, 2008

Through the years I've tried many great synthesizers with great sound and many features, but this is the first one I think it's worth to write a review. First day of the demo periode I made the mistake that I didn't read the short manual since I'm mainly a so called preset junkey in synthesizer things. I tried the presets as usual and thought that it is OK but nothing special in sound because I have licenses of a few good sounding big boys.
Second day I read the manual and was very surprised when trying this thing in depth again.
I was mostly impressed by the nice FX and fine pads it can produce (although it does many more from basses,drums,leads.....).
Maybe it´s not an ultra-fat analog instrument with trance gate and arppegiator, but you can do full arranged compositions just with this thing, in short said: very inspiring.
So I ended up in buying an official license, although my parents told me not to spend so much money on toys when I was younger:)

My positive impressions:
1) Most innovative synth/GUI I´ve ever seen - yes it´s a synth that lives
2) Very low CPU and stability for its quite good sound
3) You can automate almost every parameter (all in the DNA string) the same time without any problem
4) It´s very easy to create new good sounding presets just on the main GUI. A few synths also offer a random button for presets, but here it is really clever made so almost every CTRL-click on the seed gives a good fresh new sound.
5) Preset management is very good and what I really like is the possibility in previewing an external preset without loading it (just select it and play the keys to try it).
6) Different sound on different keys
7) Switching presets/patches while playing gives no dropouts and makes this synth an ideal instrument for playing live
8) Manual is well written, short but informative (you need to read it only once).

My negative impressions:
1) none so far (what should I say on such a well-thought instrument)

Tips:
- In any case read the short but very informative manual as suggested
- Move the Mod-Wheel on your keyboard while playing
- Rotate the rotation control (maybe via Midi-Controller) while playing
- Turn on the Help=? in the DNA window to see functionality of every slider
- Don´t judge the presets (although it comes with many of them) and make new sounds for yourself (every child could do it)
- Listen to the demo song on the SonicCharge homepage to get an impression
- Try to blow on a full-grown plant while playing some keys :)
- Don´t add water to the plant (your monitor will thank you)
- Now stop playing and make music !

In summary my formular: Price/(Quality + Stability + Fun^10) = Steal :)Read Review

Microtonic (µTonic)
Reviewed By beatz
March 26, 2006

Sounds very, very good.

Easy and intuitive to program. Initially the 'chained' patterns are not easy to handle, but it doesn't take long to master. It's actually a very powerful feature, and allows for complex sequencing.

I personally love the graphics, and the various colours make it very easy to see what is going on.

There is just one feature i would like to see: to be able to copy a single instrument's pattern sequence and copy it to another pattern. Not indespensable, but could be handy.

EDIT. The feature i thought was missing, is already there! You just need to option click when copy pasting patterns to edit a single drum voices pattern.
This drum machine is truly powerful, and the more i use it, the more i love it. The new Sonic Recharge bank of patches is brilliant.

It can be used in many different ways: as a sound generator, synth, drum machine, drum synth, etc...
The midi controller implementation is fully featured, as is host automation. Every possible parameter can be automated, and you can even use a computer keyboard to record automation takes. This is one of the instrument's strong points: total control.

The many supplied presets are excellent inspirational starting points.

Stability is rock solid.

Overall an awesome beat box which is worth a lot more than it costs !!!Read Review

Microtonic (µTonic)
Reviewed By 11011011
October 31, 2005

> link buttons which tell 'Tonic what to play after (or as a shortcut, what comes before) the current pattern. Pretty simple.

You can also cut & paste patterns all over the place, so simple.

You can drag to set arbitrary beats from 1 to 16. If you want 12 beats per, it's easy.

Also, there are nice sliders at the bottom for roll time (to go from 'da-da-da' to "bzzzzzzzzzt!'), swing, and tempo match.

It's pretty easy to dial up a new drum sound, but my guess is you won't need to (often). There is an army of included presets that suit most music where you'd find a beat box.

User Interface: I was at first put-off by the "Aqua" look, but it's actually very easy to use.

Sound: @#$%^&-ing brilliant. Exactly what you'd want in an electronic drum machine, and then some. One thing to note is that it also supports "tuned" patches, so you can go nuts with the sounds.

Features: The only thing I feel lacking in the step sequencer is the ability to set more velocity levels. However, since I can easily cut & paste any pattern or set of patterns back into my sequencer, it's super easy to do final tweaks there. The "random" button is also excellent for industrial or ambient tracks. Just press "play" and hit the button till you get something odd or nasty. Nice! It supports either a 4-out (2 stereo pairs) which you can easily choose A/B for each part, or a separate out for each patch you have dialed up.

Documentation: very good, though I haven't needed it.

Customer Support: haven't needed it yet, but I got a prompt response on a new feature request.

Value for Money: It's more than I wanted to spend for a beat box in general, by about $20. But I'm cheap, and it was worth it anyway.

Stability: Rock solid.Read Review

Microtonic (µTonic)
Reviewed By LarsErik
August 20, 2004

The sound that comes out of this VSTi is great. Filters run smoothly and the bass drums, snares and claps are better then most I've ever heard. The range of all the drum and percussive sounds is, since the editing is so easy, nothing but marvelous.

I'm a preset guy myself, so I actually got really surprised how much I like to tweak this machine. All the controls that I need is up front and there's no science to editing presets (or patterns). Out of the box you get a bunch of programs (patterns) and presets (drum and percussive sounds) that work great as a start. (Cliche but nevertheless true.)

The step sequencer is easy and straight forward. Programming patterns are made in a 808/909 fashion and two or more patterns can be linked to make up larger pattern chains. Copy, paste and other expected sequencer features are all there. Other reviews here on kvr say that the sequencer is the weak part of this VSTi but I must say that I can't agree. I like it, I like it a lot. I mean, beside ease of use it's got MIDI out, something that is really useful for me.

With the latest update (version 2.0) the two main features that I was missing, eight separate outputs and midi CC learn, are included. Among the new features the direct preview when browsing programs and presets (in sync) and the pitched MIDI mode stands out from the rest.

So what's the downside? Well, when loading a program you're not only loading a set of presets (drum sounds) but also the patterns. The option to load "only" presets and not the patterns of a program would give a more "standard" feeling of loading/saving drum kits. This would be good for trying out different drum sounds to an already perfected set of patterns.

The UI works great from an usability point of view, the looks of the UI however is not what it could be. Icing on the cake would, IMHO, be a more photo realistic (3d) look that breathes more of a vintage-analog-VCO controlled-feel to it. (Something like Tassman4 to be more exact..)Read Review

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