When I first saw this synth the name conjured up images of those big box 'no creativity or talent required' bloatware MP3 apps that they sell at PC World. But what we have here is great VSTi.
I can't say enough good things about eJ. As soon as I fired up the demo version I fell in love with it. I'll keep this review short as I don't to overdo it.
To surmise, I've always had this feeling that high-end FM synthesis isn't accessible by everyone due to the high price tags of FM7, Sytrus and their ilk. At $59 they're practically giving this away. Way to go Maxx Claster, if more developers made plug-ins of this quality in this price range, the audio software world would be a better place...
EDIT: Sorry Maxx, but after upgrading to Toxic I still prefer eJ. Maybe it's just the wealth of useable presets, but I still love this thing.
User Interface I had no issues with the v1.2 GUI, now it has that nice 'brushed aluminium' look. I like how each operator is displayed in a little TV screen. Nicely laid out, pretty, class.
Sound I love FM synths, but this one fits the style of music I produce perfectly. Less of the toy town 'dwang' and 'ping' noises and more professional sounds that you can actually use. For $59 I expected it to sound like a Sega Megadrive, but eJ gives FM7 a run for its money. It has taken centre stage in my latest production, enough said.
Features Chorus, flanger, delay, EQ, tons of presets. eJ is especially good for leads but can do a pretty good job of the rest.
Documentation Nice Windows help file included with the download, updated for version 2.0 as well.
Presets I have never seen a VSTi come with so many presets, or so many good ones. It gives me that 'kid in a candy shop' feeling. Still can't decide which sounds to use on my latest production.
Customer Support The download link came through minutes after the order. Had a minor problem but received a work-around within hours of my E-mail.
Value For Money This is where this synth shines. $59 is a giveaway for a synth of this quality. Compared to the cost of FM7 or Sytrus this is a steal.
Stability Slight problem with FL Studio 5 but this was fixed by the developer and an update released within days.Read more
It is not that oftern that I get into programming sounds - but I must say that like Maxx's other vsti (the 3 osc Bazzoid bass synth) this vst is very approachable and being a hybrid waveshape/FM synth it can range from easy tweaking to pretty complex depending on how far you want to go.
I have found the developer (Maxx) to be very approachable and he listerns to feedback - as with the Bazzoid vst - I made a few suggestions and they became implemented - bearing in mind that he considered them worthwhile enhancements.
eJ comes with a pretty large library of sounds (almost 500) which give you a good idea of what the synth is capable of.
Documentation is a weak point although I don't see too much problems in working out most aspects of how the synth works.
I really appreciate having a selection of synths amongst which I like to have stuff that is very much hands on and not likely to blow my mind - I think eJ achieves this - on both counts.
The price is a very reasonable $49; and what you need to bear in mind is that you are buying into a synth that will almost certainly be expanded and refined - not that I think it lacks any major features.
I would also add that the sound quality is very rich and being able to bypass the FM synthesis completely means you really can come up with a mass of different sounds - quickly.
I have run this in Orion, Logic 5.5 and Ableton v3/4 where it is very stable.
I have been told an update to ver 1.1 is immenent, which will include more pre-set banks and tweaks - with a more substantial update a little further on, which will probably include the much talked about velocity to fm operator response-on the 1 Aug 2004 all the above have been implemented in ver 1.1!
Further Edit 18 November 2004 - Ver2 is now out with an enhanced GUI, new on-line help/manual and many tweaks!
PS, this synth was released in early july 2004.Read more