KarmaFX Synth Modular is damned excellent (probably one of the lowest-cost modular VSTi's available). While I don't have a powerful machine (therefore have to suffer with high CPU usage), the sound this thing can give out is outstanding.
Highly flexible routing options to obtain the sound you want, and it's easy to understand. The full version comes with a detailed manual with picture examples and clearly shows what this synth can do, in language most can understand.
The oscillator generators are clean, raw, and can be quite deep. With a maximum of 8 generators allowed of any following combination: 1-osc, 2-osc, sampler (not multisamples), additive, stereo pad and audio-input, it makes it quite easy to obtain a sound one wants.
It's got a great selection of filters, effects and modulation effects (a HFO, never seen that before in another synth! Never thought it was possible without breaking things.) The reverb and delay are pretty good quality. Chorus is a bit touchy to work with. I particularly like the chipper effect which switches around parts of a wave cycle to a different period based on its amplitude level. The Unison effect is GREAT. :D And damn those filters are obese! :)
My gripes with KarmaFX synth, other than the high CPU usage, is sometimes adding certain modulation modules to certain things will cause the computer to slow down considerably. Also, things like high polyphony and Unison really eat up CPU, and can cause a hang if you're not careful despite the highest limit hardcoded on the synth. Unison has a couple bugs with different, unconventional routings though that may be my fault. FM module doesn't sound the best and is a bit hard to use to get a reasonable sound out of it. And finally, the Pad generator's delay loading time. (in comparison to the similar-looking Additive generator.)
All in all, for about 150% the price of a full refill on petrol, this synth is a keeper. :D
Reviewed By trip [read all by] on 5th December 2007 Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows. Last edited by trip on 5th December 2007.
Aah, i´m first (the women would say "ooh, you´re first;-)). After recieving the full version in the recent weeks, it´s time for a review now.
User Interface Karma comes with 3 skins. Personally i like the blue and syncro skin and the bouncy-wire-option:-). The whole modular-concept is very good thought-out and consumerfriendly illustrated (f.e. knob-movements or graphical-output). A great feature is the control-panel: you can minimize the whole synth (2x-click) to this display, where you can link knobs at freewill. This is very useful if you just want to play the synth and not program it. Maybe one small thing to beef is that only the input and not the output of the several modules can be displayed (right-click). This could be confusing in huge, unclear patches.
Sound The sound is absolut fat and really analog. In my eyes it´s definitely not a sound for the inconspicuous background of a mix, altough can you do nice pads and ambient-like patches (yes i know, it all comes down to your programming-skills;-)). The filters are absolutely great, the envs have good speed and you have many sound-options like rm, fm, sync as well as several noise and env-choices.
Features There are 45 modules which you can copy and rewire as much as you like. What else dou you need?! For me the most noticeable features are: the different filter-types, the modulator-options with f.e. hfo, free progammable envs/ stepsequencer and the pad/additive generator.
Documentation It´s a good and extensive structured manual with many pictures and other graphical explanations,-). It didn´t leave unanswered question for me.
Presets Alot and good quality. There´s an extra bank for effects only, which is nice for using karma as an fx-machine. Until now there are just a few banks from third parties, but i believe this changes quick;-).
Customer Support I didn´t used it that much, so i have no complains.
Value For Money As a prior donator i got it very low priced;-). But even for 80 euros it´s the ultimate bang for the buck. I don´t know any other synth in this pricerange (or in any other) which is as versatile and good-sounding like Karmafx.
Stability It´s almost bug-free except some small blemsishs, in my case there were a few window-freezes in fl.
Conclusion: As it´s my first "real" modular synth, it´s hard for me to compare it with others. My reaktor-session is maybe better for sample-mangling and has better fx, but reaktor has far more time in developing. Karma is just a great playground and a good tool for learning how synthesizers work. Furthermore it has an outstanding sound which is the main factor i think;-).