This plugin is excellent for when you need that quick jolt of inspiration or energy in your productions, or if you just wanna use some randomized sounds and make a beat around it. Due to its simplicity, it's very good for a lot of genres from Trap to Drum and Bass.
All the sounds will vary so after a while you won't just get little variations on one preset which is very helpful if you like the random chance style plugins get this.
You can also save the patches which are hella neat.
Ironhead Spawn features numerous softsynths in a single product. The package focuses on percussive sounds, with an emphasis upon percussion that can be sequenced melodically. These synths are quite easy to use--even their names are intuitive things like "bash" and "ding". Each comes with an impressive array of pre-sets, which are logical extensions of the instruments using a range of parameters, rather than the "hey this is weird" detritus that sometimes affects softsynth pre-sets.
I've been playing with these synths since soon after I bought them, and I pronounce them "effective and easy". I use them in the simple [Bram Bos] Tunafish sequencer, in which they operate efficiently and generate a good sound. I found that when I apply my sequencer's flanges, gates and delays to these synths, I get very pleasing electronica sounds.
The GUI on these synthesizers is simple and clean. My only minor problem is that the synth GUI tends to "pop up" once in a blue moon after I have set it and minimized it, but I am not sure at all if this is a "synth issue" or a "user error" issue. Also, sometimes I have had to focus on making sure I am getting enough volume from the synthesizer called "ding".
I make ambient music most of the time, and these synths will be great for adding percussive elements in unorthodox ways to dark ambient pieces. Today, though, I completed a more conventional electronica piece, which I reference for those who'd like to hear the synths in action (interfacing with Creative Commons samples--they're the percussion in the main melodic sections]:
This collection of synths is an excellent buy--well thought out, and targeted for the creator who'd like a dependable set of instruments without the calculations and complications of Buchla-like programming. An artist could use this as a one-stop synth which, with a sequencer, would be virtually all one needed to easily create original music. That's because unlike some percussion synths, Ironhead: Spawn is intended to permit one not only to bash, crash, and thud, but also to do melodic thins like ding. It's a solid ping/bop experience.Read Review
This is my favourite freebie VST, and being a man of few synths this means a lot in my book. I spent a lot of time downloading demos and tweaking synths to know exactly what I want, and my veredict is that ReZ could easily be your workhorse synth. The usefulness of Rez comes from the fact that it's very easy to get good sounds without it getting on the way of your creativity. It's a fantastic synth for composing and prototyping.
Being a monophonic single-oscillator synthesizer doesn't limit it as you would think: quite the contrary, you can get a good variety of sounds without difficult. The sound is very good and is showcased by the presets.
Soundwise it's very good too. The effects are the big secret here, just like old synth string machines. The sole oscillator offer enough variety and tweakabilty and the filter is really outstanding for a free product (actually that's where Rez got its name from). My favourite thing about it is the Drive function used to fatten up the sound, something I miss on some commercial synths. The arpegiattor is very easy to use and fun too, and the graphical envelopes are the icing of the cake.
I am giving a 10/10 on all categories simply because it just works perfectly and does everything it promisses (and more).Read Review
I want to find this man, and buy him dinner. Good wine and all. Seriously, i've been a fan of String theory for a while, and have had Rez along with Motion and Texture in my plugin folder for some time as well, but not until recently i started browsing the presets and it seriously makes me feel kind of bad for all the money i've spent in fancy vsti's here and there. This plug in is a thing of beauty. The arpeggiator is so good, the filter is sick, and the envelopes are great to play with and to look at. I haven't read the manual (but i will), because the list of presets is so lovely that i probably won't need to tweak much parameters for a while. This thing has a heart of techno, and the body of a vast blue soundscape.
I haven't needed any help with Rez, but i know Ugo is around in case i did.
I shouldn't be spending any more money on my music making geekware, but i will go get Ugo's Metalurgy as soon as possible because this man deserves the support.
User Interface - It looks like something from a Skinny Puppy video, or from Saw IV - "Jigsaw In Space". If "retro cool" is a meaningful combination of words to describe something, then Rez 2.0 is "future cool" looking. Ugo has reinvented simplicity and workflow, not to mention is helping bring back *sliders* as controllers with this update. A lot of features packed efficiently into a small space, this is how it should be done eh.
Sound - Considering it's a mono synth, unbelievable in a word. This is a slice of modern electronica, from dance to industrial, there is truly sounds here for everyone. It just sounds great, I could go on and on, but you just have to grab a copy and fire it up. If this were payware, it would cost $39.95+.
Features - Not a ton of features, but the ones it does have sure make it sing and dance. It's a mono synth, so that leaves just one oscillator and filter for the main body of the sound. It's got an LFO of course, and some overdrive, a rather complete phaser, and a stereo delay effect that all add up to more than a 2nd oscillator to my ears. Did I mention the arpeggiator ? Yep, it's got one, and while it's pretty basic, it's got a few features itself and works just fine.
Documentation - A small .pdf manual is included. While the manual is a bit small, it tells you what each control does, and come on, it's a freakin' mono synth people, even I can sorta program this one ha-ha.
Presets - 2 full .fxb banks, so that's what, 256 presets ? You simply can't go wrong here if you do electronic music at all.
Customer Support - Ugo is a pro/payware dev also, so he's got his customer support act together. He's a K-v-R reg, and he has his own website http://www.ugoaudio.com/ where you can reach him with questions, and/or grab demos of his payware plug-ins.
Value For Money - Is there an 11 score here ? Seriously, this is the one I nicknamed "Zebra Jr.", it would be at least $39.95 if not closer to twice that if it had 2 oscillators and was hyped to death.
Stability - I've never had a problem with it, low on cpu usage, fast to open. It is an SE creation, but like I've said in past reviews, if you're still having probs with SE stuff, it's most likely your computer at this point in time, cause the rest of us aren't having those probs anymore these days.
Final Notes - If every freeware synth was this good, there'd be almost no market for payware synths. If you didn't grab this V2.0 update, then you have officially missed the boat in 2006, go get it now, and thank Ugo in 2007.Read Review
This is definitely one of those FX that just “works”- the demo presets are great (and the real thing is even better) and you should follow Ugo’s advice and try any effect on any instrument. (Very nice with drums, particularly). Despite the name (and the GUI) it is capable of subtle effects as well as extreme ones (burnished, lustrous, reflective, anodised, annealed?).
Doesn’t seem to use much CPU- I’ve had many instances of it running (along with other things) at once with no stability problems.
In the documentation Ugo mentions a problem with a couple of hosts (including Live) where momentary stutters appear if muting/ soloing- I find this happens with many plugins in Live so it probably isn’t a Metallurgy specific issue. The documentation is helpful rather than just descriptive- plenty of hints on how to experiment. Camel manuals are good like this too, but not many others…
The GUI is very clever, but I think I’d like an alternative “cleaner” one- I’ll get used to it though.
I can’t comment on support as I haven’t needed any (yet) but it is obvious what to do if there is a problem and Ugo answers emails promptly. VFM is obvious- it costs what one would normally donate as a matter of course for something this good.Read Review
Metallurgy is the bomb. It makes even jaded musicians/producers sit up and take notice. It combines grind with grit with very cool delay and wraps it all in a package that has one of the spikiest gui's I've seen this year. It's easy to edit too - and be ready to save presets that you pass by on the way to your destination.
I've used it on everything I've done in the past three weeks and have yet to find a track that it can't spice up in some large or small way. I've even gone back to past tracks just for the purpose of seeing what Metallurgy can do for them.
The real beauty of it is that it can be truly vicious or nice and subtle. It's great when used full force on drums, but can give a bass line that little extra something when used gently through an effect send - like a pastel watercolor wash.
The $20 asking price is a steal. I would pay 5 times that for an effect of this quality. With the synths that Ugo has given us for free (Motion and String Theory are two that get constant use around here) you'd be foolish not to spend a double sawbuck on this.
I'd like to give it a 20 score in the categories 'Features', 'Presets' and 'Value for Money' but I'm not allowed. That's a shame really because this is the first plugin I've felt strongly enough about to actually take time out to review.