I am currently working on a TV soundtrack album that specifically requires the recreation of the sound of an EMS Synthi 100, the 1970s monster mega-synth. Poly-Ana is the only VSTi I've heard that has come anywhere near reproducing the unique character of that classic synth. Although it was never intended to be an EMS clone, Poly-Ana is both flexible enough in its tonal textures, and deep enough in its signal routing potential to be a worthy 21st century digital successor to that analogue giant.
But Poly-Ana's emulations don't stop at EMS's door. Indeed, this VSTi can, should you choose to make it so, sound like a Minimoog. Not a Minimoog emulation, but a REAL Minimoog. Likewise, it could stand in for a Moog Modular because many of the routing options of that great synth are available through Poly-Ana's ingenious interface. Other users have compared Poly-Ana favourably to the Oberheim range of synths. That too is a mark of the synth's analogue flexibility. But if you want to make totally unique sounds then, of course, the potential is vast. Poly-Ana is her own girl when she wants to be and can create a huge array of lively, original analogue and, yes, digital FM sounds.
The synth's GUI is intuitive and surprisingly easy to negotiate once you get over the shock of the many controls and options available. Don't let the apparent complexity of the interface put you off. Getting to know Poly-Ana makes for a very rewarding relationship!
The look of any synth is part of the spell and psychology of making electronic music. Poly-Ana is skinable, and so, using the many beautiful skins now available, its original graceful design can be modified to suit the aesthetic instincts of its users. I use the "Parchment" skin at the moment because it puts me in an EMS frame of mind. That's important for the project I'm working on.
There are many useful additional options such as the "analogue drift" dial that recreates the tuning "problems" associated with real hardware synths. Here, it creates a wonderful variability that ensures you never quite hear the same musical phrase twice. It is, of course, optional and you may vary the amount of drift at will.
The synth's sample frequency rate is also selectable with lower sample rates allowing for much lower CPU usage. Although these lower rates compromise the sound a little, they can act as an additional texturing tool should you want a grittier sound. Higher sample rates produce a cleaner, more full-bodied sound but at a higher CPU expense. However, the CPU hit is still reasonable if you're running a modern decently spec'd PC.
The documentation is minimal at the moment, but I still give it high marks because the developer, Admiral Quality, is helpful and directly responsive to technical questions.
The presets provided are excellent and are growing all the time thanks to user donations. However, Poly-Ana's sound potential is unlocked when you start twiddling the knobs and pushing the buttons for yourself.
Stability is superb for me. It has never crashed. It was stable even when I had the Beta demo. It remains rock-solid today. It runs smoothly with multiple instances too (I've used up to five instances on my Quad Core without a hiccup. Perhaps more are possible, but it depends entirely on the user's PC power).
Value for money? Well, it's the best analogue emulation currently on the market in my opinion. You're getting a lot of bang for your buck and it's worth every cent. Try the demo, judge for yourselves.
Yes, I like this synth. I like the developer's passion for his project too, his uncompromising attitude and persistence of vision. We all benefit when a developer gets the bit between their teeth and runs with it. Right now, Admiral Quality is on to a winner and is running like the wind. Great!
I don't usually give a 10/10 rating to anything, but I am giving one now. I can't honestly find anything wrong with Poly-Ana. Anything at all. It suits my needs completely, and that, as they say, is that.
If you still don't have a large monitor, it's time: buy one already. Then make Poly-Ana your next purchase. I honestly didn't think I'd buy another VA, and I certainly wasn't in the market for one, but I checked out Poly-Ana during the 1.1 public beta and never looked back. It inspired me to write a song based off a couple of presets, and I just had to buy it.
Sound: It's as simple as this: Poly-Ana is one of, if not the best VA's currently on the market. Try the (fully-functioning, timed) demo and experience it yourself. I did knock off a single point for the amount of alaising in the osc's even when using oversampling. At the highest oversampling level it's pretty much inaudible, but this can be a CPU killer. Freeze often.
GUI: Granted it's big, but everything's where it should be, and it's quite classy looking. The ability to create your own background .png has really added a nice level of customization. 2 points subtracted from the UI because of the size though.
Features: This is where Poly-Ana shines. What more could one want in a VA? Well, maybe an arpeggiator (feature request :) )...Even without the arp (my host should just have a good one), Poly-Ana still gets a 10 in this category. Between the 3 osc's, envelope options, LFO choices, multiple filters, multiple filter types, multiple legato types, etc., Poly-Ana has you covered on all fronts.
Docs are great, VFM is great, support is amazing, and I haven't had any stability issues with Poly-Ana. Anyway, you don't have to believe the hype, but give the demo a go. If I could only have one VA, it would be Poly-Ana.
I got this synth for half price during the beta period, but honestly, it's well worth the full asking price! If you're looking for virtual analog, this is THE soft synth. Growling, wobbling, screaming, soaring, crisp, warm, fat, creamy, fuzzy, smooth and all the other buzzwords surrounding positive sound characteristics probably apply to what's drifting out of this thing.
The gui has been debated since the release, with its fairly large size and angled viewpoint. Of course, if you're still running on 1024x768 or lower it takes up your screen, and some might have difficulties with reading what's on the mod knobs. But the good admiral has provided the option of drop-downs instead of the mod knobs and made it skinnable, and some of the skins are gorgeous!
To obtain the lovely sound, it consumes a bit of cpu, but nothing dramatic. On my fairly basic dual core laptop I can run a fair amount of instances in normal quality before going into red alert.
The number of presets are growing in the Poly-Ana patch exchange (and some of them are awesome) but whipping up your own is also easy and fun!
Also worth mentioning is that I'm running most of my music software in linux through Wine, and Poly-Ana gives me no problem here, unlike some other synths. It has never crashed, and when I needed a new serial for the latest version, AQ replied with a new one within a very short time.
In my opinion, one of the greatest products of last years! It is a awesome simulation of an analog synth. Real analog!!
GUI: Intuitive, nice looking and easy to learn. If you don't like big modulation knobs, you can choose drop-down list to modulate. Nice background colors. Sound: Great sound, warm, powerful and fat. Poly-Ana has it's own signature sound. In terms of quality Poly-Ana sounds as good as any hardware synth.The programming is not very hard.
Features: It comes without effects, but effects is not very necessary for Poly-Ana. Unique modulation routing scheme, waveform morphing, very nice voice engine.Waiting for 1.1 version:)
Documentation: better docs are coming soon. Hope, they will be useful. Presets: original bank with 128 patches and patch-exchange with user's patches. Support: Customer support is very quick and excellent. Thank you:)) VFM: Poly-Ana is the best soft synth....
Stability: It never crashed on me, very stable.
I got my Poly-ana in beta version and I do not regret, that i bought it. It's a awesome machine!
I got PolyAna before it was officially release and I am glad to have bought it, the sound is rich and crisp like you would expect from a good analog synth. I haven't seen a manual so far, but it is pretty straight forward to use, sometimes a slight bit fiddly to spot on high resolution screens, but it works fine and the controls are straight forward like you would have on a analog synth(moog as example). I just can recommend this synth if you look for an analog synth addition for your virtual rack, you won't be disappointed. The constantly growing library of sounds adds just onto the tip as well as the skin ablity of PolyAna just a sweet extra to suit polyana to you personal preference. Working on a sound is a sweet dream, I mapped the Knobs to a setup on my BFC 2000 and can edit the sound in realtime over it, this is espacially useful in a liveperformance or with sweeping sounds which change the settings over time. The automation of every feature of the Polyana works very well within Cubase SX 3.2 and it never crashed on me or left me with a hanging sound or noise like I had with some other comercial vst's.
This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is one of the top analog-sounding synthesizer plugins on the market (as of april '07).
It's very mid-70s analog, different from the likes of e.g. "Sylenth 1", a quite modern analog sound. In terms of organic warmth and overall vintage feel I would put it right next to the GMedia stuff like the Oddity and the Imposcar. I tried most of the plugin demos out there, and this is one of the handful that I actually bought. Flabbergasting :-) Also very nice stereo sound options, very fat and broad sound. Please try the demo!!!
The GUI takes a little getting used to because it's quite 'crowded', but the good thing is there are no extra pages of knobs hidden elsewhere. It's all right there in front of you.
Now with version 1.1 you can get many excellent patch banks from the developer's site, and the one's supplied with the synth are great (check out the banks from The Coktor, Construkx and Cosmus). There's also not much documentation, but whoever knows how synthesizers work shouldn't have the slightest problem. Plus, Customer support is excellent, as the guy from Admiral Quality answers everything and quickly.
It also never crashed on me, though sometimes I get clicks when I play with it and at the same time move the mouse over GUI. But it's a fresh product, and there will probably be quick updates in the next weeks.
It's heavy on the CPU I have to say, but what a sweet sound it produces, made my neck hair stand up. This plugin produces an excellent anaolg sound, albeit with some aliasing in the higher registers, but I rarely go there. I urge you to check magazine reviews in the coming months to see that I'm right.
And then, start believing. And spread the word!
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