Lounge Lizard by Applied Acoustic Systems is a wonderful electric piano plugin based on physical modeling, not samples! It doesn't use much CPU and the sound is splendid. You can probably find exactly what you need from the list of presets, but if not. .. it's easy to tweek and create unique EP sounds. I have read a lot of debates about what is the best Rhodes VST. IMO, Lounge Lizard sounds better and is easier to work with than the original and the many sample library emulations. I used to be a sample guru, but after checking out this AAS plugin I can see the many advantages of a Physical Modeling electric piano — no loop points, no out-of-tune samples, no key-mapping, etc. It's also nice to free up space on the hard drive. But most of all — it sounds great and sits wonderfully in the mix. Lounge Lizard is dynamic and inspirational set of virtual EP keys!
This is a purchase that I put off for a long time because I hate the challenge-response method of copy protection. Once I finally gave in I wish I had bought Lounge Lizard earlier. At least registration process immediately sends you the registration key. As for sounds there is nothing for the PC that comes close when you need a variety of ep’s. It handles Rhodes and Whurly equally well. Some may complain about the Lounge Lizard sounding darker or duller than the Emagic product, but Lounge Lizard sounds like a real Rhodes or Whurly. If you want that bright, clean, clear and heavily processed sound then you only need to follow it with some effects, just as you would the real hardware. The phaser, tremolo, and other effects sections can be programmed for the sound you want, and turned on and off at will. This doe not work well when you are pulling up a sequence. It is a bit CPU heavy, but so is most good VSTi's. You can always cut back the polyphony when sequencing, then mute other VSTi's and up the polyphony when you want to record Lounge Lizard to HD.
Positive: True Rhodes and Whurly sound. Authentic effects like we used on the originals. Easy to dial up sounds. No irritating key mapping or velocity sample changes. It does not use samples.
The Lounge Lizard is no e-piano emulation, it can easily sound like any e-piano you have ever dreamed of, but it can be much more. you want organ-like sounds? no problem. bells? no problem. synthie sounds? no problem. percussive sounds? no problem (you can make a bassdrum if you want!) you can create clicky sounds, effect sounds, noisy stuff, pads...
there are some examples for exotic sounds within the presets.
don't get me wrong, lounge lizard is not a "real synthie", all sounds will sound like a "keyboard", but it's physical modelling is extremely flexible. and of course its strength are e-pianos of all kinds, vintage, mutated, modern ...everything is possible.
it has some vintage effects onboard as well, simple but effective. i'd still like some kind of distortion unit, but you can add that of course.
lounge lizard is also fun to play, it simply feels like "something real", it's organic, metallic, woody...
soundquality is great.
gui is nice.
polyphony seems limited, just 32 voices.
it eats quite some cpu, be prepared.
lounge lizard never crashed for me.
i love this instrument and i use it in almost every project.
When I started to record songs on my computer I got myself a version of Emagic's 'Logic Audio'. And with the 5th incarnation of this sequencer, they introduced me into the world of VST Instruments. One of the first VSTi's I got my hands on was the 'EVP73'. This simple and plain copy of a Fender Rhodes E-Piano didn't sound bad but was far away from being a true Rhodes. I even tried the 30 day demo version of its bigger brother the 'EVP88', and liked that even more but still some dirt was missing.
But why am I talking about these VSTi's when the article is about another one ? The answer is pretty simple: if the EVP88 is the EVP73's older brother, then Applied Acoustics Systems' 'Lounge Lizard 2' has to be their father (for it can sound so older & dirtier), their little sister (because it can screech & scratch) and even the lake in front of their house (when sounding crystal clear) at the same time. By the way there is now a crossgrade offer for EVP88 & EVP73 users for $139 - so be shure to check this out.
The sound of the 'Lounge Lizard' is way more than a simple emulation of e-pianos like 'Fender Rhodes' and 'Wurlitzer'. It's possible to make this metallic looking beauty sound like - well - like a soulman's wet dream. And even FX sounds are no problem. Preset names like "a mouse in my head" & "turtle bells" might give you a hint.
The GUI is divided in an e-piano (mallet, fork, pick up & release) and an effect section (wah, phaser, tremolo & delay). The first let's you choose the basic sound you'd like to start from (though with extreme settings you might not need any effects) and the second; the effect section gives you the power to mangle your sound beyond recognition. But as I said, even without the effects the sound is unbelievably good. You can achieve sounds from "mm? I don't see no Rhodes. So where does this sound come from?" to "Which instrument is that?"
One thing though - I would've liked to have this beautiful fx (wah, phaser etc.) as independent plugs. Just like old times where you could use your guitar stomp box with your Rhodes and vice versa. But anyway if you're looking for this true Rhodes / Wurlitzer sound or just want a new toy which inspires you - take a look at this - you'll be amazed. Unfortunately there's no demo version of Lounge Lizard EP-2 on their website, but the mp3 demos should give you a good idea of what this VSTi is capable of.
I would like to generally concur with the reviews above--this thing is a great electric piano emulator. I am not concerned about the quality of the overdrive, since it generally sounds OK to me, and have an array of saturation/distortion plugs I like to choose from for different effects. The GUI is beautiful but a little daunting, but that largely has to do with the complexity and novelty of the physical modelling algorithm--it simply has nothing to do with the familiar subtractive synthesis format, although it is easier to get your brain around than FM, at least. The points I would like to raise about this instrument are:
-Even more than your usual synth, LL benefits from the use of a MIDI controller, for some reason. Having a controller (my recently acquired UC-16) REALLY increased my enjoyment of editing the patches.
-Although it is excellent at doing electric pianos, it also EXCELS at doing percussive timbres that are out of the ordinary, like "mutant xylophone/vibes from hell"--the kind of patches you generally turn to FM to do, but much easier to accomplish/edit in LL. Run these patches through the phase/tremolo/pan options, and you can get some really weird, beautiful, and cool shiznit going on.
The update includes enhancement of the release function, tempo sync, and much better patch organization, but costs a little too much IMHO. I actually like having an instrument I can't sync--increases the random quotient of my tunes. Anyway, a very classy instrument overall.
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