Overall: 4272 3138 4085
30-Day: 4813; 7-Day: 3559; Yesterday: 5806
Many of the features from ABL are still there:
I'm giving this synth 10 out of 10. I'm doing this because it's perfect for the purpose it was created, and beyond! I try to rate synths in relation to the average review at KVR, for the sake of fairness. I also only tend to review synths I really like. I wish we could rate out of 15 or 20 because the standard of softsynths in general has sky-rocketed in recent times. I'd give this 19 out of 20.
ABL pro is advertised as a "303 on steroids" and is the stuff of dreams if you're looking for classic Roland-style monosynth sequences and mutant acid lines. Two oscillators with all of the analog waveshapes and an LFO which can go audio-rate and be patched in as a 3rd oscillator feed a lowpass filter that can squelch and scream. The main filter design is more in the vein of the MC-202 than the 303 (and really is a dead ringer! No pun intended ;), but a "legacy" filter is provided with a 18db/oct slope which squelches instead of self-resonating.
If you've wanted to make authentic acid-lines with PWM and sync or stacked oscillators, this is your ticket. The synth engine, combined with the built-in sequencer, just has that certain magic to it which gets my head nodding and my face grinning. Like the straight-up 303 emulation ABL 2, the sequencer speaks Acidese fluently, and is as vital a part of the sound as the actual filters and oscillators! Alternatively, you can switch off both the sequencer AND the mono mode, and use ABL Pro just like any other softsynth, though having a fairly modern computer might be a good idea if you want to really exploit that.
Really, it always comes back to the sound. It's evocative of the past, yet expands into new territory. Features such as a waveshaper (which brings in varying amounts of wave folding), filter and oscillator FM, ring modulation, control signal patching and the audio rate LFO and lizard-tongue quick envelopes make this my go-to synth for tricked out acid.
I don't much care for the 303-style sequencer programming, and would welcome with open arms a graphical editor or piano roll interface, but this is made up for by providing extensive controllable randomization which seriously always inspires me after a bit of clicking around. Again this takes the oldschool acid technique of having the 303's batteries die and the pattern memory being filled with random, chromatic weirdness, and pulls it squelching and pulsating into the modern DAW. The ability to choose the density of notes, ties, and accents, choose to leave certain aspects of the pattern alone, automatically create relevent variations, and lock the randomization to different scales and modes really makes this a winner in my opinion.
In the oscillator department, much care seems to have gone into getting that characteristic Roland sound, especially the squarewave with it's complex spectrum and meaty bass. There are no perfect digital waveshapes here, and the result is something organic that changes timbre with pitch like the original hardware did.
All in all, an oldschool techno masterpiece with mileage way into the future. The bottom line for me is that this is a synth which has provided the spark of inspiration which ended up with entire tracks built around it. You can't ask for more than that!Read Review