Note: This is going to be a revised and condensed version of the review I posted on the forums here: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=391435&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=107
Purity has recently been reduced to $49 USD, with prices adjusted for UK and EU residents. With this new, enticing price point, is Purity worth another look? In short: Absolutely.
Ease of Use
Purity has a GUI that is just shy of 750x600 pixels, with its editing pages taking up the lion's share of screen real estate. The result is a tall GUI with almost all of its editing parameters on a single page. To put this into perspective, the Korg M1's GUI is roughly 795x455 pixels - about 100 pixels shorter - with the majority of its editing features spread over 3 pages, squished to one side, and sandwiched between a keyboard and mode select switches, making for an even more cramped user interface than its pixel width and height suggest. This makes Purity comparatively easier to use, along with the fact that it doesn't use the Korg-specific jargon of the M1 such as "EG Time", "EG Int" and "Time Polarity" - which, as an old Roland guy, prompted me to look at the manual more than once - and rather sticks to calling things by simpler, more universal names.
It's hard to describe Purity's sound in less than 10,000 characters. It's clean, well-equalized, and production-ready. The acoustic instruments sound like a high quality 90's sound module, and can rival the likes of my Roland XP-30, while the synth leads, basses and pads are on par with any software VA available.
Purity features a Korg-like "Combi" mode, where up to 16 layers (or 32 total waveforms) can be linked together to create enormously detailed sounds. When combined with its extremely low CPU footprint, its arpeggiator, and even an onboard sequencer that gives you up to 4 measures to work with, it is a deceptively powerful synthesizer that is capable of producing some incredibly complex pads, phrases and rhythms (or even all three at once in a single Combi!)
The sample quality itself is stellar, with very little in the way of errors or artifacts. It's obvious why they called this synth "Purity" - because everything has been polished to a pristine and very usable shine. If, like me, you are frustrated by modern samples, sample tuning and offset issues, you will be happy to know that Purity has almost none of that (barring the GM sitar, which has a small problem with sample timing in the lower ranges).
For fifty dollars, you get a synth that feels like a genuine workstation, with sounds covering all musical genres, and an arpeggiator and sequencer that would make any virtual analog enthusiast weep. I've resisted the urge to make P-puns long enough; now I leave you with this: Purity is nearly Purrfect.
So, I just got my hands on the brand spanking new Purity. Purity is in many ways an extension and improvement of Luxonix previous synth Ravity and they share many of the same pros and cons.
Like Ravity, purity atempts to emulate a hardware rompler very closely and does so with some success. If you like the way you work with a roland or korg rompler, you should definitely check Purity out.
Where Ravity only emulated the patch layer of a rompler, Purity takes it a step further by adding an over arching combi structure. This means you can have several patches loaded at the same time, arrange them in key and velocity zones and have them respond to different midi channels. Or, you can have several patches playing together as layers.
It's a very versatile setup, that should work whether you prefer multitimbral synths, or (the standard VST) one-synth-per-track style which would give you 16 patch layers.
The second largest difference with respect to Ravity, (and most romplers) is the built in sequencer. Again the word is versatile. It can serve as a regular sequencer for melodies and drum loops, but also as sort of pattern arpeggiator that plays the incoming notes.And given that each patch has its own sequencer you can use it to build casio style auto accompaniments.
It's not 100% obvious how the sequencer works at first, but that's to be expected given it's capabilities. Once you get it, it adds a whole new dimension of fun and inspiration.
Filters, effects, presets and the over all structure of the synth all look/sound good and self explanatory to me. But given that I have spent so much time with Ravity, I may not be the best judge. There are a lot of controls on screen, all clearly labeled, but I suppose a newcomer to the realm may find it bewildering at first.
Moving on. At the heart of any rompler is the sample rom, which is Purity's weakness. About half of the sounds come directly from Ravity, and the other half are base samples for GM sounds. The quality varies. I like the Ravity sample set very much, so I have nothing against it returning here.
I am a little disappointed over the new additions though. I hoped that Luxonix would take the opportunity to add some kick ass samples of acoustic instruments, which was Ravity's big weakness.
The GM samples are OK, but nothing more. They work in a mix, but most of them won't do for anything more critical. Again, it's the acoustic type sounds that are not really up to today's standards.
The quality of the rom samples obviously carries over to the patches, so if you are looking for some top notch GM sets, look elsewhere. Atleast for the time being. The sample rom can be updated so it's possible that addtional sample sets will be released. Time will tell.
Having said all that, I still _love_ the sound of Purity. I have no need of emulating 'real' instruments. What I want is a tool for crafting new sounds that are inspiring and unique. The kind of sounds that can carry a whole track, and Purity delivers that.
So, if you are looking for a GM player or the best piano ever, Purity will disappoint you.
If you want a creative tool with both character and charisma, Purity will make you happy.