NeoRetro DX is a synthesizer designed to create sound reminiscent of SID or 8-Bit Nintendo music, combined with features designed to enhance these traditional sounds beyond the hardware limitations of their era.
User Interface - Pretty cool, arcade 80's looking, buzzsaw knobs, really easy to find your way around and a decent color scheme. No complaints, pretty well packed really, almost wish more synths were as efficiently planned out. (Rez 2 is maybe the pinnacle of compact efficiency in my mind, but it only has 1 osc, compared to this one having 3.) I'm giving it a 9, for efficiency, and cause I think it matches the sounds a bit eh.
Sound - All the bleeps and bloops you could want, it's an old skool videogame system sound effect/soundtrack buffet. This synth is about 3/4 or so geared toward classic arcade and home videogame system sounds and sound effects. You can get some cool lowfi elektro basses out of it, and some creepy untunable radio static pads, as well as some glitchy arps and whatnot. Bottom line though, it's what you want if you like Nintendo and arcade game sounds and soundtracks, if you do, get it, or at least check out the demo. I'm going with a 9 rating here, because I'm grading it on doing what it says it does and how well it does in that genre, not compared to other kinds of synths.
Features - 3 oscillators each with an arp, and various effects. 3 types of LP & HP filters. Tons of weird modulations. Yeah, it's got some features, and still maintains a nice compact Gui by making good use of drop down menus. Did I mention the modulations ? They are many, and some are quite odd. You can, and probably will, make some incidental music with this syth once you start tweaking the presest a bit. And whether you decide to record it or not, making weird videogame sounds, is actually fairly amusing ha-ha. Another 8 here, for both features, and because the cpu rarely jumped about 12% or so on the presets, and usually hovered around 7%-9%.
Documentation - There is a .doc file included. No fancy pictures, but something tells me that wouldn't help much, this one's a bit wild, you just have to experiment some. Eh, I like manuals with pictures, and this synth is kind complex, so it loses points here. There is a manual, but I didn't like it, so it gets a 5.
Presets - About 100 or so. Range ? Yes. More than just videogame bleeps ? Yes. Everyday workhorse ? Well, no, but it does more than just videogame sounds eh, and not all of them are copycat sounds, there's some cool take-offs on old favorites here. A healthy amount, and a bit of variety to boot, you won't be disappointed, assuming you read this review, and/or know what this synth is about. :) Again, an 8, based on what kind of synth this is, compared to what it's "supposed" to sound like for that genre ya know. (I almost forgot, there's 2 presets that have a very *vocal* quality to them, those alone are worth mention, in addition to all the layered presets that sound like mini-soundtracks, or pads/arps with basslines.)
Customer Support - Jack's around, and if you have a question, he'll usually answer publicly on the forums, or you can email him and he'll get back to you. Jack's kinda salty sometimes, but he does care about his customers, I'd say 7.5, but we'll round it up, since most of his insults get hurled at Mac users, and people like me who want synched delays and hate SE waveshapers ha-ha :P
Value For Money - At $20, it's cheaper than a used Nintendo eh :P I'd have to say it's a more than fair deal, I'm sure there's a few other videogame sounding synths out there, but this is the new version of one of the older best ones anyways, and it can do a bit more than just videogame emulation sounds. It's kind of boutique and not for everyone, but for the people who dig these sounds, I would have to assume $20 will be considered a bargain really. A 9 here, it really is a great videogame sounding synth, and it's only $20 man.
Stability - This is a pc only plug, and it seems to run fine in FL, on a P4 system. The cpu usage is pretty low too really, and the only thing I've noticed, is an occasional spike when changing presets mid-note, which tons of synths do. I'm going with a 9, it seems rock solid, especially for an SE plug.
Final Notes - I belive this is a free update to all previous customers of NeoRetro, so that's a nice bonus for some folks. And yes, this synth is pretty much what you think it is, but, I bet it's at least 25%-50% *more* and better, than you think it is. I give this review an 8. I didn't hardly crack any good Galaga jokes, and I couldn't really describe all the features that well ha-ha.Read Review