Console is a decent modular environment, but for the same price you can get a whole lot more features & support from energyXT or Bidule. I bought Console because it claimed "sync to external midi clock", eXT lacks this, and I had some stability problems with Bidule. Unfortunately, I've not been able to get Console to work as well as I'd like and a number of bugs have cropped up. Support is poor, so I don't have much hope of seeing fixes anytime soon. I thought about selling my license (if that's possible?), but I'd rather not see anyone else have to deal with this. Console is pretty hard to get used to and can be laborious to use. For example, every stereo connection requires you to drag two times. Ugh. Small problem but very painful. The preset management is quirky and difficult to understand. The CPU usage applet is very neat. Shows the individual usage of each plugin separately. In summary, I've spent a lot of time trying to make this application work for me and at the end of several months of effort, I'm deleting it from my hardrive.
Wow what a useful tool. I've seen VST-DX adapters before, but not DX-VST adapters! Plus, this thing can seamlessly turn a DXi into a VSTe, a VSTi into a VSTe, or any combination. It does so in an eminently flexible and transparent manner. It can even wrapper troublesome plugins in AudioMulch, so that the preset is actually stored in the AMH file (SIR is an example of one such plugin).
I was really surprised by the capabilities of this tool. At the price point it is a steal.
The only significant criticism I have about the product is the poor documentation and the occasional Japanese message box that appears! :-) Wouldn't be a complaint if I spoke Japanese, I guess, but it would be nice if the English version was all English.
The UI is very lovely and solid, although there are a few things that take some getting used to. It's a bit like FruityLoops in that certain Windows-ish conventions are thrown out the window and replaced with custom widgets and the like. It's not bad, just different, and requires a little learning curve.
All in all this is a great tool - and one I'm glad I own. I look forward to a bright future for the product.
I tried Console at the beginning of the year, following a link on the site of the CMX844 mixer. I was instantly impressed at it's versatility and focus.
At it's most basic level, it is a very easy to use modular Plugin host. It has no pretensions to fully competing with the likes of Buzz, SynthEdit or Psycle - it offers no onboard sampler or internal synth. It just loads and links VST/i's and DX/i's.
I like the simplicity of this! The GUI is simple - drag'n'drop the relevant plugs onto the work area and join the in's and out's as required, from an initial MIDI/Audio in unit, through your patch, to a final MIDI/Audio unit. The work area is clear and uncluttered, the plugs being displayed as fairly uniform boxes. The Plug-Editors can be brought up with a click as required, and either hidden again or 'minimized' Mac Style (just Title bar).
Functioning as a standalone app, a complex setup can be designed, then used as an instrument in itself, working well for live performance, both for MIDI and for Audio.
It also offers itself as any of VST, VSTi, DX or DXi plugins, which is a real gem. It means that in a rack in your normal host, you can hide a complex beast in just one slot! For instance, you can route all your MIDI to a single Console VSTi, then separate each channel within a Console Patch to run through a separate synth/fx chain, then mix them all together and supply a single stereo out. Chances are you wouldn't want to be that single minded, but the option is there!
I have found the program to be very stable, both as a stand alone and a plug, and that's running on a mid spec laptop with a nasty soundcard!
The big thing I would promote is the ergonomic simplicity..I couldn't go on about it enough - there is nothing hidden, and it does exactly what it says on the box. My rating shows a poor performance on presets.. this is due to it not having any! You are supplyed with a collection of mixers and a Stepsequencer plug, which are useful.
The only thing that seems lacking, really, is the documentation, which is a small collection of HTML files. To be honest, tho', I have not had to resort to them at all, since every thing works quite intuitively.
I realise that there is growing competition from the likes of Chainer and EnergyXT, and each has it's pro. For me Console is the better, for clarity, simplicity and overall design.
..blimey, rereading thah all seems like a lot of waffle!! All i can say is - at least try it. It is well worth the cash once the 30 day trial is up!
Reviewed By bdzld [read all by] on 24th April 2003 Version reviewed: 1.07 on Windows
Console is something of a breakthrough for people who enjoy using modular setups. Using it as an insert in your favourite sequencer adds modular routing capabilities to traditional channels. Automation is also handled progresively, through discrete midi connections (control and audio are treated seperately in console) so you can avoid static setups. Using it as an instrument, you can stack effects on top of multiple instruments with ease, and change to hearts content. Its pretty amazing for doing this kind of unison work.
Its also 100% stable, working with everything I've tried, supporting VST/i, DX, DXi's.. and some special plugins developed for these kind of hosts (like, bidule, audiomulch etc) like mixers, but within the VST context.
Its dirt cheap - people who shelled out for TC Spark and similar (Chainer and other stacks) should check it out before trying other solutions, as its dead cheap, and the developers could do with the encouragement for making such a top quality product.
Its a standalone, VST/i and DX/i program, so whatever your choice of sequencer, you can use it with no hassle. You can even use it as a "compatiblity layer" for hosts that have no native support for one of the formats it supports (eg. VSTs in Sonar, Direct-X in Psycle etc).
Downsides are.. its a japanese program, and while the english translation is spot on, some quirks remain. I find them to be fun, instead of irritating, but others may not agree. Also, the nature of modular setups mean that some complex arrangements are eye-stretching, but with care you can get round that.
NickedStole review follows:
This plugin is great for creating completely new effects, using standard vst/dx plugins like 'modules', kindof like in reaktor, but using plugins instead of custom units. it allows you to have feedback loops without a problem, so you can make really nasty tones, or keep it subtle by including a compressor in the feedback loop.
you can see a list of all the automatable plugin parameters, and assign any of these to a midi cc input. you can choose which midi channel to take your parameters from by only connecting this midi 'cable', and there are included plugins for filtering midi. .there is a handy randomize feature for all the automatable parameters too.
you can roll up several fx/instrument editor windows to a thin bar, which will float over your main sequencer while the main console routing window is closed, so you can quickly get to a particular plugins editor.
there is also an independent version of console which acts as a vst host. by using the included midi pianoroll vst plugin, you can have many sequences playing at once, and switch between sequences with external midi inputs. you can effectively process midi in a modular way too, using vst effects that process midi, such as http://www.smartelectronix.com/~dunk/ . of course you can do the midi stuff under the vst/dx plugin versions too.