Bazille is a modular FM and Phase Distortion Synthesizer. Its modular engine allows for patching of any signal output into any signal input, regardless of signal type. This makes Bazille a sibling of ACE, but it caters for a digital synthesis paradigm rather than for subtractive (virtual analogue) synthesis.
4 digital oscillators with simultaneous FM (frequency modulation), PD (phase distortion) and FR (fractal resonance).
4 multimode analogue type filters with up to 6 parallel outputs each.
4 modelled effects: stereo delay, distortion, phaser, spring reverb.
2 LFOs with 3 parallel outputs each.
4 ADS (S)R type envelope generators.
signal processors: Inverter, rectifier, sample & hold, lag generators and quantizer.
2 mapping generators (waveshapers) with a variety of drawing tools and controls.
8 x 16-step morphing sequencer.
multiplex modules for signal mixing, RM (ring modulation), AM (amplitude modulation).
single-page alternative skin included.
microtuning support (.tun files).
multichannel MIDI support.
user interface zoom in 10% steps.
configuration menu to set preferences and assign MIDI controls.
It has 4 oscillators.
- I was searching for a synth with as many oscillators as possible but haven't found anything that sounds as good as this. So, now I'm loading two instances of Bazille at once. Which gives me 8 oscillators together.
4 different filters.
- you can process oscillators differently.
Effects are good enough. I'm missing a built in chorus tho, and a better phaser. Reverb and delay are fine in this one.
Yet, it works really good with soundtoys plugins.Read Review
I started with electronic music in the early 70's with modular synths, Arp 2600, Steiner-Parker and a few others.
I was using just hardware synths until recently and only started replacing the hardware with plugins when I discovered that they are far easier to deal with and in many ways more musical.
I was happily using many excellent plugins and only recently found out about Bazille. The fact that it is very modular and can run on Linux, which is my preferred OS, meant I had to try it.
It sounded like a dream come true to me.
I tried the demo and started patching it like I would a hardware modular synth and fell in love. I eventually purchased a license and have been using it as my preferred synth for a while now.
It very much feels like the older modular subtractive synths, but includes digital methods of making sound as well.
The sound can be very much like the 70's modulars, but goes way beyond that very easily.
Like the classics, it is very easy to get have bad results. Unlike most current synth plugins, you can step outside of the safety zone very easily and not understand what is going on. You can push the filters into oscillation, overload circuits, max out the cpu, get brittle digital artifacts, ....
But take the time to learn how to tame the beast and you have an extremely flexible synthesizer.
I have read other reviews and wanted to add my opinions.
1) People complain about it being too CPU intensive, .
Bazille has a lot going on and if you go crazy and try to pile everything on, you will max the cpu. Most synth plugins are far more limited and so your not so likely to go overboard as is possible with Bazille.
The more I use Bazille, the less CPU my patches require. I find many ways to optimize. I rarely need to pile everything on and don't need a ton of polyphony. It becomes too much anyway when things get that busy.
2) It sounds digital, .
It can sound digital, but it does a very good job of sounding analog if you limit yourself to sounding analog.
There is tendency to bring in some of the digital tools and then you end up with a digital sound. I have had very good luck creating patches that sound like the 70's, when I stick to subtractive synthesis rules. The delay can sound very much like classic Echoplex or Space Echo, the reverb sounds like a classic spring reverb and the distortion, which I almost always use at least a little, adds to the classic character by adding the traditional dynamic control the way the classic synths did.
3) It is limited to sounding like a classic modular synth, .
I suspect some people limit it to that, but it goes way beyond that. It can sound very contemporary and includes modern synthesis methods.
The flexible patching means it can produce sounds that you won't find with other plugins.
Anyway, I still use my other plugins from time to time, but Bazille gets used the most.
Why does the review box limit the OS selection to Windows and MacOS?
My system: Debian Linux, Bitwig, Zebra2, DicoveryPro and many others.Read Review
I am not a super experienced synthesist, so I will not try to give a techy review. I'll leave that to the people who know more and care more. This review is way more subjective and opinion-based.
I primarily use presets (with some tweaking to taste), and this synth does not disappoint with the presets. I've spent 3+ hours going through favoriting all the ones I like and I'm still not even halfway through. But that's what we call one of those good problems. Tastes vary, and these things are very subjective, but I like a higher percentage of presets in Bazille than in any other synth.
Simply put, I just love the sound of this synth. It probably has just about the most unique sound of any synth I've used, and I've tried 50+. It just has a "je ne sais quoi" (to use a douchey French word) that I've not heard anywhere else. Just playing it and listening to it makes me feel... I don't know... nostalgic... or maybe pensive is the right word. I have an affinity for sounds that are vaguely retro-ish and analogue, especially patches that sound like e-pianos. Or anything that sounds vaguely like bells, tuned percussion, or any other sound where it's hard to say for sure if it's natural or synth. This synth does all those very convincingly. To me it's more "organic" and analogue than even Diva. Which is really important to me, because I really dislike the extremely digital-sounding synths you hear in a lot of EDM and electronica these days. I definitely like a more retro sound, and Bazille really hit the spot for me. It just sounds nice in a way different from most other synths I've used, including the other u-he synths. At first I was afraid that Bazille would be redundant since I already have ACE, Diva and Zebra, but it most definitely has its own character and unique strengths. In the course of a week or two it shot to the top of my list, above ACE, Diva, Absynth, Zebra, everything. I'll still use those other bad boys lots (I still can't find anything that beats Diva for fat analogue bass), but this is the first thing I'll try for most things, especially chords and leads.
As I said, I don't do much patching myself, but the more I learn about patching, the more I appreciate the visual, modular nature of Bazille (as well as ACE). Much more than any other softsynth I've used, these two synths make it very easy to follow the signal flow, because the patch cords create a visual map. Either of these would be a fine choice for someone that was trying to learn synthesis from the ground up. I will definitely concentrate on these two as I continue to learn more about synthesis.
I really only have two "sort of" complaints about this synth. As with almost all u-he products (especially Diva and ACE), Bazille will do cruel things to your CPU. Bad, unkind things. Just don't even mess with any of them if you don't have a computer less than three years old with a minimum of an i5. And even if your rig can handle it, you still will probably want to render or freeze most instances. It's that bad. One single instance can spike your CPU, and 2-3 will almost for sure take too big of a bite even on a big rig. The other complaint also applies to all u-he products. I really wish they would switch to a preset browser like you see in Massive, Absynth or Synthmaster. This would be especially helpful in a synth with 1,700 presets! But they stuck with the same format for their newest synth, Hive, so I'm not holding my breath that this will change.
Overall, great synth. Try it for yourself. I DLed the demo pretty much out of boredom, not having any real intention of buying it. Then two weeks later I just had to do it. It won me over.Read Review
Hi There, I've been programming, recording, building, and messing with patchable synths for over 40 years now, so I was probably doing this before a lot of you DJ dudes were born. So I was really excited to try out a VST synthesizer that was designed to be patched from the ground up--it's not that common I think, at least not in a lot of plug ins I've seen, which either have no patch cords at all (like 99.9% of them) or are "hard wired" with internal architecture that can be overridden by patch cords, like Arturia's 2600V. Or maybe I'm not trying out enough VSTs?
First thing I think anyone has to consider in any synth VST is the sound. Doh! I guess it's not a given that a modular VST should sound analog, but, since patching is analog and very old school, I think it needs to. You might disagree? Anyway, based on that, Bazille sounds analog to me, but not the killer "fat analog sound" of say Electra2 or AAS Ultra Analog. I want a 2600/Moog modular sound for the VCO's and VCF's but I didn't quite get that!! It's the sound you hear Tomita or ELP or Edgar Winter recordings use. That what I want here. So forget all the F/X for a minute. OK for that I give Baz about a 5 out of 10. especially in light of how much CPU it uses I want more fat! But if you're not into emulating old gear, maybe that doesn't matter to you? Anyway, for me that's always the top consideration; we're making sounds after all right?
Second thing onto the ability to make F/X sounds, which I think is what most folks would use this plug in for. For that it's damn good, I give it maybe an 8 out of 10. There are plenty of modules to work with, and a really cool "patch programmable" mult section that would make Don Buchla smile. I have a few gripes though. The biggest one is a lack of a way to go "directly out" of something like a VCO to the audio I/O of your PC. As far as I can tell, you have to go through the "output" module, which seems to function as a dual VCA. OK, fine, but here's the big problem: the VCA output can only be modulated by the ADSR's or a gate.
So I found myself sticking matchsticks into my keyboard to make the F/X "continually fire". How about the ability to plug CV directly into the output module, turning the VCA on all the time? That was the biggest omission I could see to this plug in, and unless I am missing something big here, it's a really big omission. It forces the programmer to think too "conventionally". At least that's my take.
Third how it's laid out. There are two skins here: I liked the default one a lot better. High marks here. It can get very hard to keep things straight when you are up to your knees in patch cords, but I think Bazille does a good job of keeping things sane. Kudos to the deveolopers for that, I figured they worked very hard on the UX for this VST and it shows.
OK some other minor gripes: Modules need to have more modulation inputs (you can mix things of course, and use one output to feed multiple inputs, but I didn't think there were enough mults or mixers either). The VCO's frequency (setting the pitch of the VCO, commonly 1V/octave in the analog world) only has one CV in; the Arp 2600 has more than this and since we want to make complex sounds, more inputs for everything is always better, especially critical things like VCO frequency or VCF cutoff. OK, you don't want to clutter up the modules, fine; so give me a lot more mults and a lot more pots for simple tweaks to the CV.
And, for a big synth that takes a lot of CPU, I would have liked to see more filter options, such as vocal formants, and more effects like a vocoder. How about the ability to patch the effects into a chain vs. only having them at output?
But really the main thing is, fix the output, or at least make it easier to have your sound "always on". But if you check out the preprogrammed sounds, there is some really interesting stuff, and if you screw around with the demo for a couple of hours, you can make killer analog sounding F/X with this synth (again stick a match stick in your keyboard or loop a MIDI whole note on your sequencer, as a workaround). But overall I still think this is a really good plug in. If the VCA section alone was improved I'd give this VST an 8. For now, I give it a 7, and hope the developers keep trying to improve this synth. It's ambitious and it's a whole lot of fun, except for the matchstick thing.Read Review
I have been playing with the Beta for about a month, and version 1.0 has just landed. It claims to be a monster from the deep, and it is. It just sounds great. It does two main types of synthesis (classic subtractive and Phase Modulation [FM]). It does not do Hard Sync, but does a similar sounding, and more versatile thing called "Fractal Synthesis". It does PWM but you need to learn how to patch a modular to do it - it is not hard wired. Ring and AM are also possible as is limited wavesequencing and waveshaping, but you'll need to read the manual to figure out how.
While it does not have "unlimited" modules, it has enough to make you smile and bring your CPU to its knees. The most fun are the 8x16 step sequencers and the Mapping Generators that can be used to generate custom modulations or oscillator shapes. All the important MIDI/Controller functions and a few wierd ones can be routed to any module.
The inbuilt effects are a mixed bag. The Delay sounds great with independent Mid/Side controls. The distortion has some interesting flavours but may not do everything you want in the tone mangling department. The Pre and post distortion slope controls and the Low and High shelving mean the Distortion unit actually functions as a quite powerful tone control at low levels. The spring reverb is springy, sometimes useful but more flavours would be nice. However, don't whinge, be a hero and use an external reverb if you need it. That's why I rated it 9, rather than 10.
You can argue about whether it sounds analog or digital, but to me, it just sounds great. It has 1700 presets included as well as extras through the website and forums. But the real fun is dragging those cables yourself and making your own sounds.
While it is CPU intensive, it is not as bad as it could be. It runs OK on an i5 provided you use all the tricks (limited voices, HQ off and multicore on or off according to your computer). Unison (stacked) voices with big chords and long releases will crush your CPU - be ready to bounce/freeze.
Bazille has made sound design fun again. Here's a short sample of some ambient sound effect stuff: https://soundcloud.com/marv_from_dapto/bazilledemo.Read Review