A few months ago I didn’t even know what a VSTi was, and now I’ve amassed a pretty big collection of em’. Thought it was about time to share some viewpoints on some of my faves, and having taking a liking to EVM Synths offerings, I figured their Isis synth was a good candidate for my first review.
User Interface: Beautiful – all that blue anodised, brushed aluminium, red LEDs and yellow knobs give this synth some real class. If anyone builds a hardware synth that looks like this then I’ll buy it.
Sounds and Features: In the centre you get 2 banks of 64 waves with various mix and depth control. This section also includes the controls for changing the wave used depending on which key you're playing - not sure if this feature is used in many other synths, but I've not seen it before. Certainly useful for adding some tonal-dynamics! I found this worked best when used subtly - too much and the whole sound gets a bit out of control, whereas a little provides for a genuinely interesting change in timbre across the keyboard. This feature worked especially well on sequences.
To the left you get a single envelope generator along with the usual tuning options, and to the right, an FX section. This provides what I think is some kind of chorus/phaser effect. Numerous routing and control options are available to give the overall output some flavour without actually colouring the basic sound.
Like many good synths, its quite a subtle instrument - some time spent tweaking resulted in some very rewarding sounds. Despite my initial impressions of it being a pad synth (the presets reinforce this notion a bit), it was still very capable of a good range of full sounds. Some very nice warm, rounded basses were forthcoming after a little effort. A synth which rewards exploration is always a winner in my book. Of course, Isis also does some great pad sounds - very digital and harsh where required. All sounds were crisp and clear and of high quality.
Documentation: Though there was none provided, I don’t think this is a negative as it’s a fairly straightforward synth to figure out.
Presets: Comes with 16 presets which tend towards pad sounds, but there is a lot more to be extracted from Isis than what these presets may suggest.
Customer Support: Never had to use it, but did make a couple of enquiries with EVM Synths and they always got back to me quickly, so I reckon they’d provide good customer support in case of any problems with their stuff.
Value for Money: Being as this is just one synth out of a bundle of 14 (at the time of writing) for 35euros (even less if you’ve bought stuff from them before), then I’d say its excellent value for money – these are an absolute bargain.
Stability: Never crashed or got out of control, so no worries there.
Overall impressions: I was really impressed with Isis - it produced a surprisingly broad range of sounds and impressed with its subtlety and the ability to trigger different waves depending on the notes played. And what a beautiful GUI….