The Most Overrated and Underrated VST/AU (Effects And Instruments)

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
Echoes in the Attic
KVRAF
8442 posts since 12 May, 2008

Post Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:49 pm

Newsonicarts Freestyle, while not an instrument in itself, is an underrated utility. Amazingly useful.

For synths I'd say U-he Tyrell might be underrated because it's free. It's pretty excellent.

Rob Papen's synth sound quite similar with a fair bit of overlapping functions, but I think Blue 2 is a monster which maybe should get some more credit.

I think Poly-Ana and ANA2 are a couple underrated synths soundwise.

I don't agree that Sylenth1 is overrated. Very well made, smooth sound, excellent filters. Not sure about this talk of filter modulation not opening up. Sounds like user error most likely.

Overrated? Arturia might be by some people.
System: Windows 10, Dell XPS 2-in-1, Bitwig 3, Steinberg UR44.

ijiwaru
KVRist
83 posts since 25 Oct, 2019

Post Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:30 pm

underrated: Emagic/Logic ES2

FM, RM, wave sequencing, vector synthesis, flexible mod matrix. excels at complex, experimental digital synthesis timbres rather than the usual VA sounds. the UI is marmite and a lot of people actively dislike it; personally I love the futurist Y2K aesthetic and find it well organised and easily navigable

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
10409 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:40 pm

Does it sound any good? I'd have thought that was the most important thing.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Dell G7 (Core i7, 32GB RAM, RTX2060, Win10), UR44C | Studio One | Thorn, bx_oberhausen, Vacuum Pro, Equator, Arcsyn, Pigments, Phase Plant, Union, Substance, TRK-01 | Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova.

Arashi
KVRist
129 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:53 pm

ijiwaru wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:30 pm
underrated: Emagic/Logic ES2

FM, RM, wave sequencing, vector synthesis, flexible mod matrix. excels at complex, experimental digital synthesis timbres rather than the usual VA sounds. the UI is marmite and a lot of people actively dislike it; personally I love the futurist Y2K aesthetic and find it well organised and easily navigable
Totally agree. ES2 is excellent and gets almost no attention. The UI is dated and I never thought it was particularly attractive, but I don't care, because it sounds fantastic and it's super powerful. The vector morphing of oscillator mix and whatever X/Y parameters you want is very cool if you spend the time to dig into it, and I haven't seen anything else quite like it in any other synth. I also like the ability to use the filters either in parallel or sequence, plus the classic eMagic "fat" filter (also on the ES1…another good synth that no one noticed), which doesn't lose bottom end when you increase the resonance.

The only reason I don't use it much anymore is it's locked up in Logic and (after using Logic for almost 20 years) I've switched to Ableton Live (the workflow works better for me, and Push 2 sealed the deal).

But just for old times' sake, I just opened Logic and made a quick patch with ES2 to show the vector modulation.
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Stormchild

Ploki
KVRAF
2677 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:29 am

the prolbem with ES2 is that it looks like garbage and needs a gui refresh 5 years ago

Arashi
KVRist
129 posts since 9 Apr, 2005 from Japan

Post Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:47 pm

Ploki wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 2:29 am
the prolbem with ES2 is that it looks like garbage and needs a gui refresh 5 years ago
Yes, it needs an overhaul, but the way it works is dependent on several custom UI elements. Especially the oscillator mixer — a very unusual triangle that blends between three points — only makes sense if the oscillators are arranged in a triangle around it. You could just label the three points but then the user has to map them to the oscillators, which increases cognitive load and makes it less likely people will bother to learn how to use it. Then there’s the vector track, which I don’t think is a good UI for what it represents, even when you know how to use it.

I bet it’s been a hot debate topic on the Logic team for years whether it’s worth the effort to redesign the UI of ES2 for the small fraction of people willing to learn how it works. It doesn’t just need to be redrawn to look nicer and support scalable, high res graphics. They need to go back to the drawing board on a lot of it, which is then like designing a brand new instrument around a 20 year old engine that has to be backwards compatible with all the old presets.

But for me, an even bigger problem than the UI is the fact that it’s locked up in Logic, which I’ve mostly moved away from (for a variety of reasons I won’t get into now, but mostly because Ableton Live just suits my workflow better).
Stormchild

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RexBanner
KVRist
37 posts since 11 Feb, 2020

Post Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:55 pm

I find most of Arturia's emulations a bit overrated but I do love Pigments 2.

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Halonmusic
KVRAF
4415 posts since 13 Nov, 2015 from Norway

Post Sun Jul 12, 2020 5:59 pm

Underrated: Cableguys Curve.
EnergyXT3 - Reaper | Roland SH201 - Waldorf Rocket || SoundCloud

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Yorrrrrr
KVRian
1150 posts since 25 Sep, 2011 from Colombia

Post Sun Jul 12, 2020 6:45 pm

Underrated: everything Beepstreet.

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zvenx
KVRAF
8654 posts since 16 Feb, 2005 from Kingston, Jamaica

Post Sat Aug 08, 2020 9:51 pm

Most Underrated Instrument: DS Thorn.

I have a most overrated one too, but I am basing this only on demos and youtube videos as I have never played it as there is no demo, so probably not fair to name it: (That Bird).

rsp
sound sculptist

GusGranite
KVRist
119 posts since 18 Feb, 2019

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:02 am

Most underrated utility: Blue Cat Gain. Free. Put it before and after any plugin (especially compressors/limiters/saturation), reverse link the before input and after output and unity gain any plugin that doesn’t have automatic gain compensation.

Ploki
KVRAF
2677 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:10 am

GusGranite wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:02 am
Most underrated utility: Blue Cat Gain. Free. Put it before and after any plugin (especially compressors/limiters/saturation), reverse link the before input and after output and unity gain any plugin that doesn’t have automatic gain compensation.
Its like melda MAGC but melda does it automatically

jeremycsf
KVRer
24 posts since 25 May, 2020

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:36 am

I have to show some love for Synthmaster One, which doesn't seem to get talked about too much. I was looking for a simple wavetable synth recently and I stumbled upon this gem, bought it just a few hours after trying out the demo. It has its quirks (occasionally buggy, inconsistent output levels when switching presets) but it sounds fantastic, very rich and warm. Some great pad presets as well. Looking forward to diving deeper into it.

GusGranite
KVRist
119 posts since 18 Feb, 2019

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:33 am

Ploki wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:10 am
GusGranite wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:02 am
Most underrated utility: Blue Cat Gain. Free. Put it before and after any plugin (especially compressors/limiters/saturation), reverse link the before input and after output and unity gain any plugin that doesn’t have automatic gain compensation.
Its like melda MAGC but melda does it automatically
Thank you. Melda rocks. Am I weird in preferring this not to be dynamic, sometimes? Like when it’s not automatic gain compensation you’re looking for but rather manual compensation of the input/output, if that makes sense. That way I’m not dynamically messing with the transients. But I am hearing what driving the input does to a plugin without pushing the volume through the roof.

Ploki
KVRAF
2677 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:51 am

GusGranite wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:33 am
Ploki wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:10 am
GusGranite wrote:
Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:02 am
Most underrated utility: Blue Cat Gain. Free. Put it before and after any plugin (especially compressors/limiters/saturation), reverse link the before input and after output and unity gain any plugin that doesn’t have automatic gain compensation.
Its like melda MAGC but melda does it automatically
Thank you. Melda rocks. Am I weird in preferring this not to be dynamic, sometimes? Like when it’s not automatic gain compensation you’re looking for but rather manual compensation of the input/output, if that makes sense. That way I’m not dynamically messing with the transients. But I am hearing what driving the input does to a plugin without pushing the volume through the roof.
no it's absolutely better that its manual imo :wink:
i haven't tried MAGC but generally i'd like it to match the level (auto-match) then leave it at fixed gain

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