I bought this synth quite a while ago and I have spent a lot of time being intimidated by it. For more experienced people, it may be simple, but for a... well... bass player like me, anything more than a power switch can hurt my brain.
I'll start with the only criticism I have: The random-preset generator generates REALLY quiet patches. It may very well be for safety's sake, though, since some big, nasty sounds can come crashing out of your speakers if your tweaking goes awry. Still, a non-distorted gain knob wouldn't hurt.
I'll leave out the press-release descriptions of all the features and just comment on the one thing that makes this synth stand out: the three levels of ADSR! Most synths give you the ability to change the ADSR of the amplitude, but this one has independent control of the pitch and the filter, as well! So, for example, during the inital attack phase, the pitch can descend from a higher note or ascend from a lower note or even start to ascend/descend from the root note. Or the decay phase can change the pitch. Or the sustain. Even the release, so after release, the pitch shifts.
And there are more than just the usual controls for these. You can set how much velocity has an effect on, say, the attack. So soft notes can have fast attack and hard notes slow - or the opposite.
Even without these nifty features, Fat Machine is a great sounding synth. With the great sound AND some amazing features all for is a crazy-good deal. The potential for sounds you've never heard before is huge.
EDIT: I had lost the documentation (my own stupid fault) and forgot I ever had it. Now that I've found it again, I had to remove all my criticisms of the docs and now I'm bumping the review up even more!
Reviewed By ew [read all by] on 24th January 2003 Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows. Last edited by ew on 24th January 2003.
I was lucky when I was playing around with the demo-I hit random and got a glimpse of what this could do before the 3 minute limit hit.Now that I've owned it for a while; It has two oscillators,switchable between pulse,variable triangle and sawtooth.The first oscillator has a suboscillator,and there's a noise source. The filter's a 24dB/octave,with resonance and key tracking.There's three envelopes;pitch,filter and amp. Each envelope is 4 level/3 rate,so there's a lot of control.One of the coolest things about Fat Machine is the way velocity can modulate attack time,attack level and decay level. You can set up different velocity response for each of those parameters for each envelope.Wonderful stuff!There's also a random control that sets a different attack level for each note. Very organic sounding. There's only one LFO,but with a bunch of good modulation options. You have separate mod pages for uncontrolled LFO,LFO controlled by the mod wheel.and LFO controlled by aftertouch.There's 5 destinations.Both rate and delay are syncable. It has a glide section with the option to set constant time or constant speed.The instrument is switchable between poly,mono and legato modes. The drive control is at the heart of the Fat Machine's sound. A lot of the presets that weren't quite to my liking became more alive by tweaking the drive.By the way,there's a bank of 108 presets that comes with Fat Machine. It has a random patch generator,and by Shift-clicking the randomize button,it will randomize a whole bank.Cool...there's also compare and recall functions. I'd like to see oscillator sync also,as well as being able to assign the pitch envelope to just one oscillator. So,how does it sound?With the drive turned up,FAT!I could clone my sadly departed Pro-One's sound easily, as well as get a close to Mini sound(I never owned a Mini,but I've played them often enough...).Using one oscillator,I could get all those early Roland bass sounds easily.For $29, a STEAL!