I'm not going to repeat what I'm reading in some of the other reviews, since that would be redundant. Instead, I'll just offer my short-list of likes and dislikes:
- Nice UI - Very intuitive design - Lots of presets available - Relatively flexible synth engine - XY pad is cool and unique - Dual multimode filters
- Sound is decent, but nothing to write home about - Oscillator waveforms are hardcoded - WTF? - Knobs are too small
I'd like to say I reach for Electron first every time I need a VA sound, but unfortunately I don't. There are just too many other VA synths with similar capabilities and superior sound. Electron's a nice enough product, and I love Muon as a company, but it's not the strongest product in Muon's line.
I think this synth has a cool interface with the X,Y axis function. but the sound to me was OK-ish...so the sound was not it strong point. The included presets did not give it a good sound set to work with either. ...a little pricey compared to some freebee VSTi's out there that have more of an analogue sound...
In reading the review TenneseeVic posted, I realised that I had never reviewed Electron. This is a gross oversight on my part, as I use the thing almost daily. Sure, I have lots of other VAs, but Electron has a few things going for it that make it one of my first call synths. First and foremost, there is the sound. The oscillators and the dual filter sound excellent, and while it may have fixed oscillator waveshapes, they are chosen well and do a good job creating most of the "clasic" analog sounds one might need. The interface is self-explanatory, and the synth is easy to get around. The addition of the X-Y pad adds a lot of power to the synth, allowing you to create sweeping ProphetVS style pads. With so many virtual analogs available, many with more features, why do I keep returning to this one for so many duties? probably the same reason I still reach for my little Moog Rogue or my Alpha Juno 1: It's fast, powerful and easy to program a sound I want quickly and without interupting my workflow or killing my inspiration. I've never had the thing crash, and even if I did, Muon is responsive to any customer needs. I rarely use presets, but there are lots available for Electron and they seem useful and well-thought out. They always make a good starting point for creating your own. Documentation is good if you need it, though I never have. The interface tells it pretty much how it is. Once upon a time Electron sat alone in this price-point, but these days there are multitudes of synths available for cheaper or free, yet they rarely can compete with the sound quality that hides under Electron's polished silver hood. In my book, Electron is still a winner, maybe even more so than it used to be. Now, it's ease-of-use, ability to produce superb results, and clean and uncluttered look give it an edge over synths with proliferation of knobs and sliders when I need that sound and I need it fast.
Electron was the first serious synth I bought, so it's what I learned programming analog synthesis on. (Hardware? What's that?) For this purpose it's an excellent beast. Clearly laid out controls, and the manual explains the not-immeidately-obvious aspects very well. (Ok, I wish it explained more clearly what the difference between the transpose and detune controls are when oscillators are sync'ed.)
There are some things that I can't judge: Muon is very proud of their alias-free oscillators. I guess so. There are other synths on the market that don't remark on this that sound fine to me too.
Having played with other soft synths I see as the main limitation of Electron that the oscillators have fixed waveforms. The sawtooth and square wave sound "sweet", and it is hard to get Electron to produce the aggressive tones you get from a triangle wave.
That said, there are lots of routing / modulation possibilities, and the oscilators and filters sound good at what they do. I have no problem getting useful sounds out of this synth.
I have a few other niggles with the user interface, but nothing major. Actually, there is strange bug in the slider for the cross-fade between the filters. Once you know that, you simple grab it at the corner instead of the middle of the slider.
The presets are not great, but there are several good bank for download right here on kvr.
Pro: + great multipurpose sounds + innovative X-Y controller + flexible filter combination + MIDI controllable + support
Con: - no sync to host for LFO - fixed waveforms for each OSC
Being a fan of other Muon synths (Atom/Pro, Tau/Pro) I also bought this when it came out in July 2000. At the time of release this was one of the strongest VSTi available. With 3 OSCs, 2 LFOs, 2 ENVs, flexible filter combination and the innovative X-Y controller for a fair price it was a milestone in VSTi development and is still playing in current top league. The original presets haven't been much impressive, but with the newer ones (see kevvvvv's review) you can hear the strong capabilities and power of this beauty.
However, you can miss some things that are 'standard' in newer highclass synths, like you can't change OSC waveform or can't sync the LFOs to host tempo.
But I'm still loving it for creating atmospheric sweeping pads, powerfull basses and leads. As far as I know Muon is currently working on a new version, I'm curious to get...