I won this VSTi from one of KvR's monthly competitions - and so first of VFM was excellent! :)
I'm a bit of a synthesis dunce, and impatient too, so I was plesantly surprised how easy this was to figure out how to use, and how to modulate for some pretty crazy sounds. So hence the 9/10 for GUI.
Sound - i found that this synth doesnt do everything. I'm sure it was not the intention either, but for pads, weird FX, ambient tweaks and lots of lovely staccato/pizzicato/clav type sounds - this has it all. Its now permanently residing in my audiological arsenal.
Features - some excellent and innovative features. The Pitch/Filter/Envelope editor is clear, easy and impressively versatile to use. Also the LFO sliders was a good touch. The soundbanks random name giver also was a nice touch - showing that this VST has really been given some thought.
Documentation - I didnt use any, so I'm saying 7, as I know its there. Just shows you how easy to use it is!
Presets - there are no built in preset banks but Liqih does provide two and there are now more user presets for d/l. However, the randomiser is a good tool.
Customer Support - Liqih is one click away!
Stability - rock solid and super low CPU. MattC
GUI: The User Interface is compact and clear in its layout and slick looking; clicking on the "screws" on the side allows choosing four different colour patterns.
SOUND: While Mothership is structurally an substractive synth, the term "analog" doesn't really fit; its basic sound is brilliant and warm but with a certain special colour which is hard to put in words and has no comparisons to other synths i know. 2 Oscillators with three waveforms and variable symmetry, a suboscillator and a noise generator with varying bandwith, three filtermodels, a very flexible LFO section with various modulation targets, three envelopes for Volume, Pitch and Filter, switchable aliasing and a very good chorus and a unique filtered delay section allow for a very broad range of sounds, from convincing analogish bass and leads to Percussion to unique effect sounds. For me, the main strenghths of Mothership are, however, in moving, spacy pads, unique and beautiful, harpish or epiano-like percussive sounds or not-too aggressive leads. All these sounds work very well in a mix and layering some instances allows very big soundscapes without muddying; since the CPU and RAM usage is extremly low due to optimized coding (i suppose), using several Motherships can be done without worrying looks on the CPU usage pointer in the host.
FEATURES: As described, Mothership is quite a complex beast. Apart from a small wish for an attack curve on the LFO, there is nothing left to wish.
DOCUMENTATION. Very good, an HTML manual with many graphical explanations.
PRESETS. I think there are around 280 presets now, two complete Banks provided and another very good one created by Criminal. Additionally, Mothership has a clever built-in preset generator which generates whole banks of sounds which are always usable and sometimes amazingly good, so there is nothing to complain.
SUPPORT. Extremly good.
VFM. I got this together with some other Nusofting synths at an amazingly good bundle price, but even if you buy this alone it is very reasonable priced. For a very small sidegrade fee, you can additional order its "nasty brother", Fat Machine, which shares the basic architecture, but features a different filter, a distortion unit and legato options which make it predestined for more abrasive sounds and bass and leads.
STABILITY. This is clearly the product of much expertise on synth design and this also shows in the stability - it never crashed me or made any problems.
EPILOGUE. I had the demo of Mothership for quite a while on my harddisk and while i liked it at the first try, i never got around to actually buy it, but came back to play with it often. Now that i purchased it and integrate it in my music, i wonder why i didn't buy it on the first sounds i heard - and concluded: it has to be used in a song for really appreciating what an beautiful and original instrument this is. If you do any sort of beautiful and/or athmospheric music, do yourself a favour and try this out !
Interface: Beautiful (and neat and compact!), and one of the things that drew me to this VST in the first place. You can select from four different color schemes, which is a nice touch, too.
Sound: For great sweeping pads, organs, or just about anything else you want to whoosh (which includes ethereal leads) this is #1 in its price range. There's some amazing delays and filter work (and filtered delays and delayed filters) going on here. And it's soooo light on the CPU. Amazing.
Features: While primarily designed with pads and other ethereal sounds in mind, I was impressed with the range of Astrobelt's sound. A good way to try this is to download the demo and shift-click the randomize button to get a bank of 128 randomized presets (note: I *LOVE* that each preset is given its own unique name... that is a WONDERFUL nice touch). With minimal tweaking ANY of the randomized presets can be turned into to something unique. And it's light on the CPU.
Documentation: The provided HTML documentation has good information on all of Astrobelt's features. You'll still benefit most, of course, from tinkering -- which is easy to do on this synth (start with a randomly-generated patch and develop it from there -- this is a perfect synth for beginners as well as for advanced users who want to develop new sounds very quickly).
Presets: Not amazing presets, but when you factor in that the randomize bank feature gives you unlimited unique presets, this gets a 10.
Customer Support: Haven't had anything go wrong, but when I ordered, I had the full version within a few hours. Can't beat that.
Value For Money: There are no other VSTi like this one out there (aside from free) which offers the value for money of this instrument (I paid full price). Did I mention it's VERY light on the CPU?
Stability: No crashes in FLStudio or SONAR 2.0 VST-Wrapper yet. Again, it's light on the CPU: I could hold a three or four-note chord (with all of Astrobelt's bells and whistles) in FLStudio on my 2.5Ghz P4 and only peak at around 4 or 5%.
Astrobelt is an absolute joy to use with an extremely high bang for the buck factor and a sound to match. I actually go out of my way to include Astrobelt in my music now because I love working with it and the way it sounds so much.
This one's a winner!A revision of Fat Machine,the Mothership is a VA with a couple tricks up its sleeve.Variable pulse and triangle waves give nice animation to the sound(there's also a sawtooth option,as well as a suboscillator).The two pole multimode filter makes for easy shaping of the harmonic spectrum.The envelopes are a real joy-there's three of them(pitch,filter and amp),and each can have their rates as well as their levels modulated by velocity-cool stuff!There's also a random velocity parameter that gives a random velocity modulation to the envelopes-great for humanizing sequences. There's only one LFO,but you have separate depth controls for freerunning,MW controlled and AT controlled for each destination,so it's still flexible.There's also a chorus and a tempo syncable delay(with separate multimode filter). A random patch generator allows you to make either single random patches or full 128 patch banks.Great for when the creativity's at a low. The differences between Fat Machine and Mothership?Fat Machine has a four pole lowpass filter,a mono mode and distortion,while Mothership has the multimode filter,the chorus and the delay. I've found Fat Machine to be better for leads and basses and Mothership better for pads,but they're both great.Try them both.
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