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u-he, Heckmann Audio GmbH, , Wilmersdorfer Str. 98/99, 10629 Berlin, D-GERMANY
Favorite Developer - Best Audio and MIDI Software - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2022

Founded in 2001 by industrial designer and synthesizer fan Urs Heckmann as a one-man show, the Berlin-based audio software company u-he has since evolved into a tightly knit team of employees, active associates and 3rd-party contractors – with ambitious plans.

Known primarily for Zebra2 and Diva, u-he has released several other successful products over the years, and has contributed freeware plug-ins to popular music technology magazines. Despite their underlying complexity, u-he synths and effects are widely acclaimed for their ease of use.

The u-he team has been exploring new technologies for vastly improved analogue synth and delay emulation, as well as various "physical modelling" approaches to acoustic instruments and effects. All valuable groundwork for the Zebra3 project and other spin-off products - watch this space!
Especially well known for the Zebra2 and Diva software synthesizers, u-he has developed several other successful products over the last decade, and regularly contributes freeware to popular magazines (available as download or on cover discs).

Despite their underlying complexity, u-he synths and effects are widely acclaimed for their ease of use. This is often attributed to Urs Heckmann's background as industrial designer. Heckmann sees the seemingly unconventional decision to start an audio software company as a direct result of his equal love for industrial design and for synthesizers.

Most recently, u-he has been exploring concepts for analogue synthesizers, and the first results can be heard in the software synths ACE / Bazille (audio-rate modulation paths) as well as Diva, Presswerk and Satin (accurate simulation of electronic circuitry). Hive is u-he's first foray into the world of low CPU dance-oriented synths.

u-he now supports Apple Silicon.

Products by u-he

Latest reviews of u-he products

ACE (Any Cable Everywhere)
Reviewed By lyuboserafimov
February 28th, 2023

This is one of the most underrated softsynths. Everything about it screams analog. Soundwise I would compare it to Bazille, but I like ACE more, because it's semi-modular, thus easier to control. It's still extremely flexible and most importantly - inspirational. I never know what I'll end up creating.

The only thing I didn't like was the GUI - that's why I made my own. Yes - that's how much I adore this thing :).

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Reviewed By viraven8
February 2nd, 2023

This is the only plugin I ever bought JUST from hearing the init patch saw wave. I agree with everyone else, that Diva is the best analog emulation plugin to date. A must-have for electronic producers.

Since this plugin is praised so much, I will mostly be listing the cons. I honestly thought I would consider this plugin to be rated as 4/5 stars, but the sound is just too amazing and fat for such a rating.

Biggest problem with Diva, (not cpu!) is that it isn't really semi-modular. You can slap an LFO/EG to filter/FM/amp/tune/pwm, but most subtractive plugins already do that. You have a lot of ways to manipulating LFO's/Envelopes using the "add/multiply/etc" features, but doing so is FAR more tedious than modulation in most other VSTs such as Serum/Pigments/Massive/etc. The modulation is only really useful for engineering analog chaos. Real analog instruments may have the advantage of having infinite sample rate, but the real analog sound comes from the imperfections of circuits and how heat effects transistors. Diva has already engineered almost all of these analog features to the point that you don't need to reinvent the wheel. If you want to add some more analog chaos, then perhaps you can make use of some of the semi-modular features.

Additionally, you will find some knobs that you want to modulate, but you can't. The modulation is messy and very limited. U-he even made a separate tab for working with the modulators, but since modulation is so limited, I feel like it's just a waste of space/a tab.

Last issue is more personal, but I didn't find the effects very useful or good sounding. The only effects I liked were Chorus/Rotary. I'd suggest using external FX for reverb/ phaser/ delay.

CPU isn't much of a problem if you use high hardware buffer and a good soundcard. However, this plugin definitely uses the MOST CPU out of any plugin. If you do not have the hardware, then you must bounce everything to rendered samples, which is reasonably too much work for some people.

Now for why I love this plugin: The generators and filters are beautifully engineered to emulate the REAL analog circuits. There are 5 generators and filters that each sound like their own VST plugin. I'd almost consider Diva to be 5 fat sounding VST plugins in one, but without much useful modulation. I bought this purely for the sound, and many others will too.

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Hive 2
Reviewed By zisser
December 25th, 2022

Five star synth.

This synth sounds good even with the init preset :)
The filters are amazing, the wavetable selection is great and modulation is easy to manage.

Once you get to know Hive you can get some beautiful sounds with just few moves.

Here is my beginners guide and demo.


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Kling Klong
Reviewed By glokraw
November 8th, 2022

After previewing similar Hive factory sounds, this was a no-brainer purchase. Being able to easily create rhythm tracks while modifying synth percussion sounds on the fly, is great fun. Like having a drummer that listens to and obeys the boss. Hive's wavetable capabilities might be contributing to the sounds selection, and the sequencer is put to good use moving the sounds along.

I've set up a Logitech gamepad as MIDI controller in Reaper daw, which has scriptable joystick support, and an 'add joystick support' button, with three example scripts to choose from. I'm using the 'guitar-hero' script, and eight parameters are shared between the dual spring-loaded joysticks, seen with dials active in the Hive presets view. I mounted the device for easy left-hand control, run the sounds with a latched arpeggiator plugin, and start recording when I find something special. I'll be getting a gamepad where the joysticks are not spring-loaded, as a supplement, so choice settings can be maintained with both hands on the keys.

The gamepad buttons also trigger notes from an eight or ten note chromatic scale, which come into play with melodic content. There is much more here than meets the eye, and a wide array of sounds and modulations to meet the ear, so experiments and multiple Hive instances are worthy of the effort. As well as applying ColorCopy and Uhbik, as whispered by the Muse. Those good with a modwheel, midi-learn, and more standard knob-and-slider controls will find the most important parameters up front without needing to root around much. Very happy with this, and all other U-he purchases! I'll give it 5 stars for ease of getting results, and Hive's wavetable import extending the sound collection possibilities. I'm using U-he products in linux, both the native versions, and the windows version via wine, in the AVLinux turnkey audio OS.


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Reviewed By Megawattt
June 2nd, 2022

A few years ago in my quest for some heavy bassline i bought U-he's Diva after reading all the positive reviews, when i fired it up in my DAW and played some of the presets i thought wow! the sounds are trying to jump out of my speakers, this is one mad moogy! i was well hyped up! so i programmed a sub bass then selected a dream synth patch and a lead for a tune i was working on, my poor pc didn't know what hit it! instant 100% CPU useage and the DAW grinds to a halt, i have upgraded my pc since that time but somehow still struggle to comfortably get more than 3 instances of Diva running in my tunes (Unless the sounds are very simple) i really like Diva, there are plenty of flavours to be tasted with it's module swapping ability (Love that feature!) Diva is definitely a top draw VST no doubt and i fully understand Urs stance on keeping it real with no compromise on sparing the CPU cycles to deliver good quality sonics, i haven't made a tune with Diva since i bought it but i want to now, i think the only way i can wing it is to stream out the tracks as WAV files, the bottom line is Diva is a beefy synth! i give Diva 9 and a half out of 5 stars (With less CPU useage it would be 10 stars).

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Tyrell Nexus 6
Reviewed By Pasreg
May 18th, 2022

Sounds really great ! but just one question ! does is work in standalone mode or only as VST please ? thanks .

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Reviewed By CruftyMcCrufterson
January 17th, 2022

Now with the new preset system update its definitely more useful, and I've always liked some of the sounds.

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Reviewed By vinx98
October 23rd, 2021

Repro5 is the best for fat analog bass and lead sounds.

Repro5 youtube demo

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Timeline of Latest Product Changes [view all]

Latest News from u-he

Latest Videos from u-he

Latest Forum Posts in the u-he forum @ KVR

Music created with U-he synths
by glokraw at 30 May 2023, 21:33
u-he preset library
by waltercruz at 28 May 2023, 07:32
U-he Zebra 2 x/y midi controller options?
by glokraw at 27 May 2023, 22:04
DIVA Skin question- what am I doing wrong?
by Howard at 26 May 2023, 22:29
Install Diva Themes on Mac?
by nedrob at 24 May 2023, 21:44
Uhbik 2.0 public alpha 02, rev. 9629 (Catalina ready)
by tasmaniandevil at 24 May 2023, 20:31
u-he at Superbooth 23
by DRMR at 23 May 2023, 21:51
MIDI Program change on u-he
by EvilDragon at 22 May 2023, 00:43
Repro-5 Envelope attack/release in unison mode
by Mogular at 21 May 2023, 13:20
Zebra 3 and Zebra Legacy
by Hanz Meyzer at 20 May 2023, 22:53
About CLAP
by Urs at 19 May 2023, 08:44
Bazille -- adjust gate time in sequencer
by pdxindy at 17 May 2023, 17:33
Tyrell N6 & Triple Cheese not responding to midi.
by tasmaniandevil at 16 May 2023, 22:28