Falcon has an average user rating of 5.00 from 5 reviews
I'd been listening to the demo audio and itching to buy Falcon for a long time. It just sounded incredible to me: not too harsh and digital but not merely a faux analog sound either. And once I did purchase it... My brain felt numb just starting at the sheer number of features and possibilities this instrument put on my screen. It's incredible! It does have a fair learning curve for something this complex but the reward is more than worth it.Read more
Probably the most powerful hybrid synth/sampler on the market today rivaled only by the likes of Halion 6. While the sampler component lacks a little of the power in Halion 6... the sheer number of synth modules and FX as well as a way more friendly UI puts this at the top of the pack IMHO. There's very few things you can't do with this package. It has a steep learning curve although adding in some of their amazingly well produced add on packs such as Vintage Vault turns this into a very accessible instrument. For sound designers and explorers this is a dream come true. Lua scripting as in Halion is way more friendly than KSP Script... it's a shame this hasn't been adopted by more soundware companies as I feel it out performs Kontakt in almost every way. The new scripts and FX in the latest update are nothing short of incredible... hours of fun can be had with the new arpeggiator script with some insane control over repeats, randomization, polyrythmic elements and probabilities.Read more
Falcon is a sound design dream come true.
First, this is a combination of the best of both worlds, a sampler and synthesizer.
You have a choice of 16 different oscillators including different samplers, analog, FM, Wavetable and more. Falcon also includes 90+ effects, modulation sources, MIDI processors with scripting in an expansive semi-modular sound design environment.
What you need to know about Falcon is that you can build complex soundscapes, layers, sequences and more using different keygroups, layers and parts. This might be intimidating at first but when you get the idea a new world of sound will open up for you.
You can also combine different oscillators at the same level or in different levels which is totally flexible and creative. You can map different oscillators to different parts of your MIDI keyboard or other MIDI devices which is cool for live performance or other sound design ideas.
Here is a quick overview of Falcon structure: https://youtu.be/oTsotLgKFwoRead more
Oh wow, this thing has so little reviews here? No way! Ok, we need to fix this. Haven't written one in a while, but I'll give it my best. :).
UVI is a well known developer. What people might not be aware of, though, is what they did in the past. It cought me by a rather spectacular surprise that they have been one of the main forces behind MOTU's software division and also did some work on Spectrasonic's Omnisphere. There are big similarities between last version of Mach Five and Falcon. Falcon builds on that heritage in amazing manner, though. Also I'm mentioning Omnisphere intentionally. I know we shouldn't really make comparisons here, but I feel this one is vital. There is a lot of overlap, but there's also one key difference between the two. I'll get to that later.
Layout & usability:
It's a head scratcher for sure. ...and that's comming from a guy, who's favorite synth ever is Zebra. BUT! All you need is one or two tutorials and you'll start to get the layout. I would change a thing or two for sure, but it has it's logic and it's totally usable. Absolutely killer feature, though, is the tree view. Essentially Falcon's layout resembles a programmer's IDE environment more than a synth. If any of you is a coder by any chance, you'll get what I'm talking about. BUT! ...it's not as complex as Reaktor or Max. It's still a synth for making music, not for endless programming. ...and the layout brings amazing possibilities in terms of complexity of your patches.
Oh boy. Think about an OSC, think about ANY kind of synthesis that has appeared and been popular in last two decades, Falcon has it. Analog oscillators, stacking oscillators, Karplus-Strong based physical model, Razor-style additive OSC with some cool modal synthesis functions, Serum-style wavetable, a little but useful FM oscilator, drum synth, even an organ emulation. ...and I haven't even mentioned sampling yet. Regular samplers, stretching samplers, slicing samplers, granular samplers. Wow. I'm a sounddesign geek. I love to learn about all different kinds of synthesis. This is heaven.
To be clear though, I do think there is a room for improvement. FM oscilator is very basic. I need my algorithm matrix. Wavetable synth could use at least a tiny wavetable editor. Also the granular synth misses one or two tiny features that dedicated synths sometimes have. Bitmap editting/resynthesis would be nice addition too. ...but all that is just nitpicking.
...another oh boy moment. I won't even name the modules, there's just too many of them. From filters to amp sims, to convolutions, full featured graphic EQ with analyzer, amazing reverb, delays, all kinds of modulation effects. (I mean, that rotary speaker sim? Daaaamn it's good.) Too many. And the sweetest part? You can assign effects either on every note, on a single layer or on a whole patch. It takes a little while to get accustomed to the GUI layout, but when you do, you can even chain them, make paralel chains, make effect auxes. It even has it's own mix console. Come ooon. All in ONE synth? Incomprehensible.
Big modular synths, especially the new ones, tend to suffer from having a lot of effects that are low in features or qualitty. Some of them even force you to buy them as "mini-plugins". (I'm looking at you! You know, who you are!) None of it is thankfully present here. Falcon might sound like a relatively new synth, but especially on the effect section, you can see the heritage. You can see there's UVI's whole coding history (15+ years) packed into it. It's strong. Really strong.
Ok, here goes my biggest gripe with the GUI. It's not always clear what modulation are you editting. There's lot of "d'oh!" moments. But apart from that, it's as epic as everything else in this monster. Every kind of LFO and envelope you can dream of, macros, mappers, random generators (nicely named "drunk" :))), step sequencers. It's a bit overkill, but if you feel really nerdy, there's a whole Lua script language interpretter.
Now ... DAW automation. Plugins report finite number of controllable parameters to DAW, so big modular synths tend to have their limits in terms of module counts. UVI solved this beautifully. They just added 128 "host automation" sources that'll appear in your daw once you assign them to a knob in Falcon. Easy, clear and neat. You can assign this for example to a macro knob and use that macro to controll any amount of any parameter inside any layer of your patch.
Qualitty of sound:
It's awesome. Clinical at times, but that's something every big modular synth has to deal with. It's not an emulation of anything. It sound as warm and analog as you make it. You can do that, but it very well gives you an option to not to.
Possibilities & Summary
Ever wondered how an analog saw, a sound of your dog barking, arpeggiated FM bells and a bass growl would sound like mixed together and sent through an ampsim, a rotary speaker and a convolution processor with a sample of your kitchen sink loaded in as IR, all drowned in a cozy reverb at the end? Well Falcon let's you do that. Relatively quickly and with no other synths, effects or patching systems needed. I've always cringed when any plugin developer advertised "limitless possibilities" in their promo videos. Falcon is a first synth about which I think that claim might be accurate.
Yes, for every module in Falcon, you can find a plugin on the market, that does that particular task better. Serum is a better wavetable synthesizer, Dune and Hive are better unisono synths, FM8 is miles better FM synth, Zebra is a quicker and more colorful semi-modular. But I think with Falcon, it's a first time ever somebody tried to put it all into one synth and ended up with something actually useful.
Ok, back to the comparison with the behemoth that is Omnisphere. They are both the "do it all" synths. But they differ in philosophy. Omnisphere is more "rompler-like". You can transform, edit and make patches, but the main use-case is to load a patch from it's amazing library and then edit it if needed. Falcon is quite the opposite actually. It opens with it's humble empty sinewave patch and asks you "What crazy thing you have on your mind today, sir?" ... and then it supplies you with every tool imaginable for you to make that idea come true. I do understand the appeal of pre-made patches and I absolutely respect Spectrasonics as a company, they're awesome ... but to me, to that sounddesign nerd inside, this is much more exciting.
And if you have it the same, if you, as me, think the whole appeal of electronic music is to make your own signature sounds to play with later, then you will love this plugin. :).Read more
It's a powerful synth and sampler rolled into one! You might think this makes it not as good synth, or not as good a sampler, but it really holds its own against the top of the line in both respects. The engine has a really good sound. I'd say it has a clean, tight, focused sound, but can get dirty if you want it to. The sound pallet, as you might expect, is extremely broad, and the modulation options make it potentially very expressive.
Love how you can stack as many filters and as you want! You aren't limited at 1 or 2 like many synths are. It's great how you can use many of the effects as filters on a per voice basis, and stack them. Especially love the variety of Xpander filters, with the overdrive options.
The modulation options are fabulously endless! The number of envelopes and filters is not limited like it is on many synths. Only thing lacking in this department would be the ability to use one of the oscillators as a modulator.
The scripting capability might fall under this category, and I don't know of any other synths that offer scripting capability. For samplers, Kontakt does, but there are no built in synth oscillators like there are in Falcon. By the way, if you're into acoustic instruments you can get some really impressive samples from AcousticSamples.net which are all compatible with Falcon.
The fact that there are 15 different oscillator types is great! The wavetables are top notch, and the ability to generate wavetables based on images is very nice! The various phase distortion algorithms are very good, though there not quite as many as Serum (but then Serum is missing a LOT of the functionality that Falcon has). By the way, I hear you can import wavetables from other synths, such as Serum.
Unison is very good, and can be done on an oscillator level (up to 8), and on a layer level (up to 256, and multiply that by 8, and you've got a lot of oscillators!). The fact that you can stay as many layers of different types of oscillators to combine synthesis types gives this synth synth a potentially huge sound.
I used to wish there was a way to modulate one oscillator with another, for FM or AM (it has an FM oscillator, but that can't modulate or be modulated by other oscillator types), but now with 1.5 they have added FM capability in the Wavetable oscillator! Excellent update. Only thing I wish about this now is that it had the capability to choose the type of oscillator it's being modulated with. It seems it currently always uses a sine wave.
The pluck oscillator is rather unique, and can make some interesting sounds. Among other things it can use samples as an impulse.
All the various granular oscillators are quite nice! Some of them can get quite CPU intensive at times, but some of them are very high quality! The Stretch oscillator reminds me of the graintable synthesis of Malstrom (which I quite like), in that you can scan back and forth across the wave and change it's speed, but it's even higher quality (and more CPU) and you can do it with your own samples.
The effects are great! Especially love the lush reverb. It's especially powerful to be able to stack as many as you want, and control them via modulation sources.
The patches for this give a nice demonstration of what it can do, but there could be more of them, and there is lots more to be explored. It's good that there are UVI libraries available for sample material. It seems to be compatible with all the 3rd party UVI libraries too. I'm sure sound designers will be releasing lots of patches for this synth in the future, because it has massive potential.
The sampler capability is probably on par with Kontakt, and even has scripting like Kontakt does (though the language is different), but Kontakt doesn't have the synth options that Falcon does, and thus probably why I hear Kontakt is a little more efficient on the CPU. You might compare it to Omnisphere, though the Falcon library is not quite as big but it has more synth options, and I'd say a better UI that allows you to see more things at once. You might compare the Wavetable capabilities of Falcon with Serum, and I think the quality is about on par with Serum. I think it most compares with MOTU MachFive (in fact I think under the hood it seems basically like an upgraded version of the MachFive engine), but has more oscillator, effects types, and some other things, and doesn't import as many sampler patch types.
Overall it's a very deep instrument. I don't think there is another synth that combines as many different synthesis types, and does it as well! The sheer breadth of the sound palate makes it a workstation you might never have to leave. Great for sound designers! I plan on making some patch sets for this, and releasing them in the future.Read more
Latest 5 reviews from a total of 5
I've always found UVI an extremely easy company to work with. Given their responsiveness and obvious commitment to production quality, I'm happy to see them take full hold of the reigns of a familiar product.
THIS POST HAS BEEN REMOVED
If you purchase Falcon, don't order it from an American retailer, at least not on Friday afternoon. I purchased Falcon yesterday, 28 Apr, from Sweetwater at about 13:30 EDST. It is now 29 Apr, 15:50 and I still haven't received my download materials. I called Sweetwater yesterday at about 17:00 EDST and two times again today 11:00 and 15:30 EDST, and each time I was told that Sweetwater is still awaiting fulfillment from UVI. Unlike most developers, UVI uses some arcane manual fulfillment system that requires a human employee to email the materials to Sweetwater. During my second call to Sweetwater today, I was told that UVI reserves the right for up to one business day to fulfill orders. Now I realize that since yesterday was a Friday and my purchase wasn't made until after the business day in Europe had expired, I won't see Falcon until Monday, at the earliest. I have purchased software on Fridays before from other European developers e.g., uhe, Aurturia, xils, NI and Sonokinetic from Sweetwater, because of Sweetwater's automatic 6-mo financing when using their store card, and in each other instance fulfillment was in minutes, or at most, hours. I was planning on using the weekend to get into Falcon, so I am quite disappointed by this. So, although I anticipate that I will love the sound sculpting possibilities Falcon affords, if I had to do this again I would purchased directly from UVI and forego the 6-mo financing. However, this is a pretty dumb way for a high-end developer to fulfill purchases of its products.
Update. It is Monday night at 23:00 EDST and Sweetwater is still unable to supply my UVI products, although I did have success with UVI in arranging a temporary solution for my situation. Kudos to UVI and their wonderful support staff. It's that kind of support that builds customer loyalty.
New Falcon Expansion released! Free demo presets available to download at https://newloops.com/products/alive-falcon-expansion
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