I wanted to like this synth, I really did, and it's got a lot going for it. It's just that, ultimately, I've never found any actual use for it. That's because whenever I put it into a mix, it doesn't quite live up to my expectations. I can't put my finger on what it is but, like a few other synths in the same price bracket, it feels like it's missing that last little bit of "oomph". It's not terrible by any stretch of the imagination but neither does it reach the dizzying heights you might expect from everything you read about it.
It comes with a gajillion presets, which are well handled by the best preset browser I have ever used. The browser is amazing. I spent a week or more going through everything and colour-coding any preset I heard that I thought we might be able to use. Then I started looking for opportunities to use it in some of our songs.
This is where I started to get a bit disappointed because even some of the best presets I'd found sounded kind of flat in our mixes. So I tried to see if I could give them a bit of a boost. At this point I discovered that despite mostly having everything on one page, Hive is not actually very quick or easy to work with. It feels too much like two separate synths slammed together, so you are forever flicking from one side of it's gigantic interface to the other, looking to see if the output from the right side oscillator is being fed into the right and/or left side filters and generally trying to work out how the patch has been set up, so you can tweak it. It wasn't too bad in v1.2 but the update to v2.0 somehow seemed to make it harder to work with (for me at least).
Hive comes loaded with a million features, most of which don't interest me in the slightest, and when you look at the list of features on the product page here at KVR, you'll notice that the most important things about any synth - it's oscillators and filter(s) - barely rate a mention. In fact, there is no mention at all of the filters. All of which got me thinking that maybe I'm just not the target market for this instrument.
If you want a synth with a really long list of features that comes with 2,000 factory presets, maybe Hive is for you. OTOH, if you just want a great sounding, versatile synth that isn't too difficult to work with, there are better options around and some of them are a fair bit cheaper.
Hive 2 is the most outstanding synth i've ever imagined for sound designing it just literally blew me away. The sound quality is so impressive, very clear and even no artifacts what so ever. Even loading my own custom wavetables I was so impressed of how they sound. I feel this is now my new primary soft synth i'm using along with my old hardware synth. I'm just barely scratching the surface of what this thing can do. It would be nice if they included a ring modulator or maybe a phase distortion to modulate Osc 1 and Osc 2 together for even more sonic possibilities. Overall I just feel Hive 2 belongs to an elite class of today's top software synths such as Omnisphere 2, Zebra 2, Padshop Pro, Dune 3, Electra 2, Diversion, Pigments, Synthmaster 2, Serum and other top ones. I should say this is a darn good synth in it's own ways of making music and manipulating sounds with lots of potential behind this software beast. The only limitation it has is your creative imagination. The sky's the limit of what you can do with hive 2. I would say this is a tough act to follow but sure wonder what Zebra 3 will turn out to be when it comes out.
This synth is absolutely amazing! It just sounds so good, I can dial in usable sounds in zero time, and they always seem to magically sit well in the mix. It's a lot more versatile than just a "trance machine" as some people say. This completely replaces (and blows away) my Virus B in every category. The interface is all on one page, the arpeggiator rocks, the effects are good, and the mod matrix has drag and drop. Many things are done to speed up making patches. In many ways it feels like a hardware synth.
Amazing vst. I found that every sound in the list has been professional produced. The layout of Hive is quality and easy on the eyes. The sounds are fantastic and not too rich and not too poor. Its perfect sounding of each sound element. I have come accross many good vst's. But the sounds are extremely too rich for my ears. With Hive all of the sounds are just perfect. I look forward to see the future with Hive updates and upgrades. Well worth the money. If anyone has not tried it, I urge you to try it. I give it 98% out of 100% if I was to rate it. Richie.....
One thing to bear in mind about Hive. It is designed by synthesizer specialists AND professional well-known sound-designers for use in productions, bearing Focus and Efficiency in mind. It is obvious after some dedicated use that careful planning went into all aspects. (with continued refinement/development in the form of a significant update -a new kind of OSC- coming in the very near future)
The immediate power lies in its straight-forward Focused interface and Efficient use of on-board computer CPU. It it invites simple non-obstructive creativie-flow type patching as well as more complex sound-design enjoyed by synthesizer enthusiasts. The interface does not overwhelm and each module is clearly identified so anyone with basic synth knowledge can jump right in and program.
I find the 2 Dual Stereo OSC design makes for a quick effective production-centric tool. Here is the first point of efficiency. It keeps me focused for production. Right in front of me I clearly see OSC1 and its hardwired (configurable) routing on the Left and then an exact copy of this for OSC2 on the Right. For example, without tabbing back 'n' forth to different screens, one can effectively patch a sound with two-layers in about a minute for quick 'n' dirty use then refine it later. Hive's (currently) 9 switchable waveforms are more than sufficient for patching many creative and popular sounds used in modern and yesteryear's music.
Note: Hive is an excellent synth to begin one's journey to learn substractive synthesis. The concise yet enjoyable user guide (authored by Howard Scarr, a well-known synthesist himself) is an easy read and is interspersed with Tips 'n' Tricks for the curious who wish to take patching one step further. Getting familiar with Hive's general routing architecture and controls is a super-quick process Even Without the manual, but when one feels the need to dig deeper you can quickly access it from a menu.
Other things I personally appreciate about Hive are found below in the form of brief points off the top of my head. Note all these are not necessarily Exclusive to Hive, BUT it is U-he's Implementation of the feature that I find special in some of these cases. Buckle-up, it's a beefy list.
– 3 switchable (on-the-fly) "Synth Engines", each providing a purposeful character/behaviour for certain modules, incl FILT and ENV. (explained in the u.guide) These are "Lockable" when changing presets and available to host for automation. In fact, most controls on the interface are able to be locked – an Excellent feature. Try this in the mod matrix for some Randomisation-like behavior on other presets besides the current patch.
– Nearly All controls available to host for automation. Incredibly useful these days.
– Ability to Save MODULE presets for each of the main synth modules, incl. Arp/Seq and the Effects module.
– Beautiful-sounding Effects units, with an amazing Reverb capable of smooth infinite times and a warm crisp Saturation/Wave-shaping unit to get body or add harmonics. The routing of the Fx chain can rearranged via dragging 'n' dropping fx in the desired order. Super-quick. Also the parameters of each module are accessible as Modulation Targets in the MM.
– 2 beautifully designed resonant multi-mode filters (incl. peaking filter and band-reject modes), drive-able pre- and post- (in fact, All on-board gain stages seem to affect the signal depending on the Engine setting). Makes it feel like the audio is being affected by live components. Also appreciate the way switchable 2-way bipolar modulation depths are setup here, super-quick and to-the-point. (the switch b/t 1and2 mod sources on ea. filter is host-automate-able)
– The OSC's have a "Flow" phase behavior control. In my experience I notice this sounds 'more natural' on Arps/Seq or any fast patterns/motifs. It's one of those things that the ave ear won't hear...but maybe 'feel'. I definitely do.
– Sub-OSC on ea. Master is tunable down Or up, based on the Master setting. (3 oct) And if slaved to the Master, the "sub" can be phase modulated as well.
– A separate "solo" switch can be found on each Master- and Sub- OSC module. AS WELL as each Filter. (and Yes, these are available to the host for automation)
– "LINK" switch which when activated enables all parameter adjustments on side 2 of the interface to be adjusted in relation to side 1's current position. Great for fast patching or performance.
– The LFO's and ENV's have multiple triggering options which greatly increase potential behavior of a patch, esp useful when used in conjunction with Arp/Seq or a host Seq. They also have a not-so common Unipolar switch for forcing the LFO to output only positive values. Very useful in certain instances.
– HIGHLY-CONFIGURABLE Arp/Seq module with a killer ability to link them, yet run them at Different tempos relative to one another. SERIOUS potential to be uncovered here for a variety of uses (and abuses). One can Record his seq data via MIDI input for Hive's Seq AND Hive's Seq can record back in its own Arp-triggered MIDI notes. This module enables some fancy grooves. In fact, Hive is unofficially a beastly groove machine in the hands of a patient programmer. Listen to some of those rhythmic presets to get a basic idea of how it can groove. Presets CAN be saved for this module
– A Super Versatile 12-bay 2-source 2-destination DRAG 'n' DROP style Modulation Matrix (Love This) which IS CAPABLE of several times Recursive modulation + Mod Targets can often be modulated OVER their original parameter value constraints.. Serious weirdness (and practicality) is available here. The Mod Matrix Source menu offers hidden control Sources "ControlA and ControlB. These are assignable to any MIDI CC, incl the usual MW, PW, Expression...blah blah. This opens up a world of practical use like patch mod control via MIDI from the host or Other Control surfaces. Mod Targets have Modifiers available to 'shape' any applied modulations. There are also Mod Target Modifiers used to affect the modulation of a target in increments or various other ways (Nice to have this for 'tuning' modulations to a specific purpose). Presets can be saved for EACH MM bay (BIG time-saver!)
– SEQ can operate in MOD mode... Extra configurable 16-point LFO?
– Graphical KEYS with latching and velocity; great assistance for building sounds
– Ability to set a Default Mod Matrix setup for MM page 1 And 2 separately.
– Very cool options for MIDI CC setup with a separate highly-configurable MIDI control table available in the Prefs. Endless MIDI control potential.
– Poly-Pressure MIDI control (each voice gets unique value). Very nice.
That's not all the goods by a long shot, but in closing, there's lot's of potential to be uncovered in this instrument, and a lot of what is not available in Hive's synthesis engine is either not available due to keeping CPU resource use at minimum (to jive with one of Hive's overall missions) Or because inclusion of such functionality would entail cluttering the well- laidout interface. I find this a super-efficient production tool. Hope you will as well. Happy patching.
Hive is the greatest sounds of every synth ever made (2500+ presets!!) in a single screen UI.
In spite of the huge and expensive collection of other soft synths I have at my disposal, I always turn to Hive first and 9 times out of 10 it gives me what I am looking for.
I don't know how it was possible to create such a versatile but simple synthesizer, I can only imagine that Urs has such a deep knowledge of synthesis that he knows exactly what is needed and what is not to create every sound possible.
I love this synth hands down. So easy to get a new sound. the ability to run the arpegiator and sequencer separately, is just one feature I of many features I love. The shape sequencers, and function generators, in addition to all other features of this synth, make sound design possibilities unlimited. The wavetables are very good.This is probably my favorite synth along with Dune 3 over all other synths. Hive has definitely passed up and left Sylenth1 in the dust.
I'm a Trance producer and i was searching for a All in one-VST that fits all my needs. And with Hive i've found it.
A versatile instrument with awesome sounding oscillators. They can process up to 16 multi-voices per osca good condition or bright and fat trance sounds like supersaws, etc. A good idea was the implementing of a vibrato control directly into each of the several oscillators. This makes it easy to create vibratos without the need of special mod matrix routings.
The filters are geat, they can sound very clean, but also very agressive and dirty.
The envelopes are very fast and crisp, which is important for most trance sounds like fast plucks, fast filter envelopes or percussive sounds.
The LFO's are very useful for a big palette of modulations.
I like the mod matrix and it's routing capabillities with the possibillity of "drag and drop"-routing.
The Arpeggiator is very good, the step sequencer is awesome.
The effects section sounds very good. With a great distortion fx for agressive and dirty sounds, a nice sounding chorus, awesome sounding reverb and delay, EQ section, a usefl compressor and a nice phaser effect.
The 3 sound engines (clean, normal and dirty) are a great idea. So Hive can aound very clean, but also very warm, dirty or even lo-fi.
And the most important thing is the CPU load. You can create very complex sounds with very low CPU load.
For me Hive is the best VST on the market to create sounds for trance or other similar electronic music. Even way better sounding than Sylenth1. For me Hive is THE Sylenth killer par excellence.
I bought Hive about a week ago and it is one of the best decisions I ever made. Now I use Hive all the time. Easy to work with with an amazing sound. Nice GUI. It is not the most expensive out there. So all is positive.
Really hard to get in touch with Hive people, my serial wasn't accepted by the sofware and I will purchase again and see if i can use it then, my account wasn't debited and it may have something to do with it.
How can we make getting in touch any easier? Other than, say, a support section on our website, a link from within the software, a forum on KVR, an email address and links in the registration email, links and email address in the user manual as well as installer, Readme and so on. We also have 5 people answering to such emails all day, sometimes even on weekends. If there are other ways to get in touch with a software manufacturer, please let us know and we'll try to implement them for even easier access.
Anytime I have contacted u-he they have gotten back to me right away, within minutes to a few hours at most. They make a point to be very accessible to their customers, and are always friendly and helpful.