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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 2021

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

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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Hive 2
Reviewed By BONES
October 14th, 2021

I wanted to like this synth, I really did, and it's got a lot going for it. It's just that, ultimately, I've never found any actual use for it. That's because whenever I put it into a mix, it doesn't quite live up to my expectations. I can't put my finger on what it is but, like a few other synths in the same price bracket, it feels like it's missing that last little bit of "oomph". It's not terrible by any stretch of the imagination but neither does it reach the dizzying heights you might expect from everything you read about it.

It comes with a gajillion presets, which are well handled by the best preset browser I have ever used. The browser is amazing. I spent a week or more going through everything and colour-coding any preset I heard that I thought we might be able to use. Then I started looking for opportunities to use it in some of our songs.

This is where I started to get a bit disappointed because even some of the best presets I'd found sounded kind of flat in our mixes. So I tried to see if I could give them a bit of a boost. At this point I discovered that despite mostly having everything on one page, Hive is not actually very quick or easy to work with. It feels too much like two separate synths slammed together, so you are forever flicking from one side of it's gigantic interface to the other, looking to see if the output from the right side oscillator is being fed into the right and/or left side filters and generally trying to work out how the patch has been set up, so you can tweak it. It wasn't too bad in v1.2 but the update to v2.0 somehow seemed to make it harder to work with (for me at least).

Hive comes loaded with a million features, most of which don't interest me in the slightest, and when you look at the list of features on the product page here at KVR, you'll notice that the most important things about any synth - it's oscillators and filter(s) - barely rate a mention. In fact, there is no mention at all of the filters. All of which got me thinking that maybe I'm just not the target market for this instrument.

If you want a synth with a really long list of features that comes with 2,000 factory presets, maybe Hive is for you. OTOH, if you just want a great sounding, versatile synth that isn't too difficult to work with, there are better options around and some of them are a fair bit cheaper.

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Reviewed By YnJ
September 23rd, 2021

This is so good that I wont be buying the full version anytime soon, and only if it's on sale.

Seriously, this is a magware version of Bazille with 2 oscillators instead of four, one filter instead of four, one LFO and only one effect.

The sound is the same though, and you even get a few third party presets for Bazille. For a one year sub on beat.de, 30 something euro, you get this as well as several other magware synths and a ton of soundware. This synth is worth the 30 something euro alone.

Downvoted by a couple of butthurt old farts who can't tell one synth from another.

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Reviewed By Jonis0891
May 18th, 2021

Diva's virtual analog synthesizer is the best in the business.

I absolutely love the 5 different oscillator models, the 5 filter models, and the 3 ADS(S)R envelope models. They all help this monster to create amazingly beautiful sounds applicable across all genres. And if you're not feeling like designing your own sounds, their 1200+ factory presets will get your creative juices flowing.

I have Diva preloaded on tracks for everything from bass, pads, leads, keys and fx on my templates, and I can't imagine my life without it.

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Reviewed By dj_echo
May 15th, 2021

Diva is an analogue modelling synth that really captures the vibe of old analogue gear with some extra additions. It offers a flexible take when it comes to mixing and matching oscillators, envelopes and filters from a variety of classic machines. I personally found mixing FM into a Moog bass gives me some amazing EBM bass tones I can't get with anything else. It's sharp, snappy and full sounding. The sound quality is nigh on perfect...I'm not sure how you could really improve on this. We've reached the point where analog modelling is good enough to make it virtually indistinguishable from the real instruments. The UI is fabulous, it has a great preset system, it's possibly one of a very few synths that I think is in almost all senses, perfect. My only criticism would be that it's quite heavy on the CPU, so on an older system it struggled a bit running multiple instances but I've just upgraded to a Ryzen 3950X and it runs like a dream. I think it's just how things are going, you can have 'ok' and low CPU or you can have fantastic and higher CPU usage. This definitely goes down the later path, though you can enable eco CPU options (though you probably won't want to once you hear how it sounds). Sure, it's slightly pricey but you get a lot of swappable modules in terms of oscillators and filters so it carries a lot of flexibility with Moog, Juno and MS20 style options so sound wise you get a pretty broad palette. You can also dig under the hood on a per voice level and tweak the individual osc tuning which again, gives you a lot of scope to tune this to how perfect/wonky you want it to be. I like my synths a little wonky and characterful and it can absolutely do that.

All in, one of the best vst's you can buy, if not the best. It's been my go to bass synth since I got it. Absolutely great for anything needing a stand out bass sound, so great for techno or dance music or anything with classic analog character. The pads and leads are also great. Big selection of quality presets but being of the classic era, it's super easy to program your own from scratch, not to mention, actually a lot of fun. I think this will be right up there for most people as a 'go to' synth.

Really love this thing.

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Reviewed By gipitt@hotmail.com
November 1st, 2020

This is a seriously great synth! I love the sounds I get from it, and the arpegiator functionality is awesome! Best free synth I've come across! I'll be purchasing other things from this company if this is what they have for free. Beats many paid synths I've tried.

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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

Zebra 3 and Zebra Legacy
by joeyluck at 23 May 2022, 11:58
Creating U-He skins?
by Ploki at 23 May 2022, 08:57
Randomizer for Zebra, ZebraCM, MFM2...
by ojggaspar at 23 May 2022, 08:00
Random XY script for latest Zebra 2.9.3
by ojggaspar at 23 May 2022, 07:58
Is this Zebra3 at SuperBooth???
by PieBerger at 23 May 2022, 06:45
MFM2.5 preview, revision 12536
by Sascha Franck at 22 May 2022, 10:39
Skinning question (Parent panes)
by Urs at 21 May 2022, 22:32
Synergy for Repro 1 & 5 (370 new sounds)
by Aiynzahev at 20 May 2022, 14:23
osc amp mod depth from matrix twice as high
by Viktor [TUC] at 19 May 2022, 03:27
Diva: Reproducible crash when copying presets
by declassified at 18 May 2022, 22:41
superbooth - new u-he eurorack modules
by Bob Hemsby at 18 May 2022, 10:06
Music created with U-he synths
by aaron aardvark at 17 May 2022, 22:09
MSEG recording?!
by Kapellor at 12 May 2022, 00:20
Hive 2 Help
by Passante at 11 May 2022, 09:07