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.
oh. i think the user guide (if anyone recalls what those are) puts it best, "Three LFO-wobbled oscillators into a filter or two, with envelopes modulating the cutoffs isn't really pushing Bazille into new territory..." ... perhaps if that's all one wishes to achieve with sound DESIGN then it is over-priced. everyone else have a diamond in their toolbox.