User interface 8/10 -------------- It may not be the most sophisticated looking synth ever, but it's clearly laid out and very easy to use in practice.
Sound 10/10 ------------ If you're looking for a synth for dance or electronic music, this is THE ONE. It's fat, it's huge, it's powerful, and it sounds contemporary. It's not just a trance synth either, it's equally at home for electro, breaks, drum'n'bass, and even outside of electronic genres if you're prepared to tweak.
The sound quality is great (you can even adjust the quality to save CPU, and turn 'high' quality on when bouncing).
Another plus is the Harmonic Content Morphing and the Modifiers. The Modifiers allow you to alter the waveform harmonics, for example by stacking one wave on top of itself but an octave higher for a richer sound. There are many modifiers, and it pays to experiment with them because it can pull your sound in new directions you may not have thought of. And Harmonic Content Morphing - this is my favourite part of the synth - most of the waveforms are actually like wavetables, and you can adjust the speed and way that Firebird plays back these wavetables (we call them Morphtables in the manual). The Morphtables can be played back slow or fast, and it really gives character and movement to your oscillators. It's like have an LFO altering the sound of each oscillator over time, and it can make it sound *really* big and juicy! One of my favourite tricks is to use a slow loopspeed (eg BPM/8) on lead or pad sounds to turn them into fat juice. This combined with the "Fat" knob (kind of like a unison) can create some monster sounds
Feaatures 8/10 ---------
The sheer range of sounds available from this simple synth is staggering. It looks very simple, and is very simple to use, but there's just the right amount of features to make it a very powerful synth indeed. Just look at the number of waves available - plenty of different waves for almost every occasion. It may not have a multipage modulation matrix, but it can certainly achieve alot of different sounds. I wouldn't mind another dedicated LFO though, that's why I didn't give Features a 10
Documentation 8/10 -------------- I wrote the manual so I can't comment on this one (I wish I could put N/A). I've put down 8/10 though because I know it's not extremely detailed, but I wanted it to be straight to the point as a reference guide.
Presets 9/10 -------- The presets are very dance/electronic orientated, but they're very good (and there are three factory banks which come with it). I'm not normally a preset junkie but I've found alot of the presets useable with little, if any, tweaking.
Customer Support 8/10 ---------------- Markus seems to have good customer support, attending to all enquiries/bug reports eventually. It's pretty good support for a one man show, as he doesn't have a dedicated support person (he does it himself)
Value for Money 10/10 ---------------- I didn't pay for this synth - I was given a not for resale licence from Tone2 because I wrote the user manual.
Quite clearly 10/10 for value for money though - I would gladly pay twice the asking price for Firebird. It's really really affordable, and you get alot of power for your money.
Stability 8/10 -------- It did crash a few times when I first got it, when I was trying to insert it into a complex project I had going, but it hasn't happened for a long while. I think it might be something to do with my host/computer, because now that I've started projects from scratch there have been no crashes. I'm not sure if Firebird can be blamed, even though Windows said it was Firebird that was crashing... very strange. I haven't heard any else have this problem though