Tassman by Applied Acoustics Systems is an amazing virtual analog synthesizer. This thing is a monster! I don't think there are any other physically modeled modular synths out there like this one. It's truly unique in look and sound. How can this plugin not make the top 10 VSTi list? The interface is simple, user-friendly, and fun. It's color coded to keep things neat and clean. There are lots and lots of great presets that are easy to tweak, but it's also fast and fun to construct your own instruments. The best part about Tassman is the sound — truly amazing, responsive, and as another reviewer called it. .. "MUSICAL." I highly recommend this plugin for designers, players, and producers of any genre!
This synth often pass under the radar, but I really don't understand it. It is truly amazing, the sound is very expressive.
In fact I just rediscovered this synth because of the latest upgrade they made.(today in fact)
So Overall, the GUI is not that fancy, it's not an imitation of a hardware synth, but it sounds so much better than some other VSTs that look like hardware synths, that I don't really get it when people are complaining about the GUI. It maybe not a synth that is easy to mastered for programming, but it doesn't make it a bad GUI either. Everything is right there in your face.
The preset sounds are awesome. If you are the kind of person looking for inspiring sounds right out of the box, this is the synth for you.
The VST sounds are very usable in a working situation. I do lots of soundtracks, and this synth with it's expressiveness is able to fulfill a lot of my needs. It's really very fun to compose with these sounds. There is a depth that is obvious, and some overtones qualities that are not common in many Synth today.
I didn't had the chance to read a lot the documentation, but it is quite complete from what I saw. If you have more questions just send them an email, they have a very very good support. I have written to them often and they always respond within a day or 2.(mostly within 2-3 hours). They are also very polite and know how to serve you well.(not the case with all companies)
I bought the synth with the complete bundle, so for me it was a very affordable expense. Totally worth!
I had stability problems before the new updates on Cubase 5.1, but since the last 2 updates, it is really stable, no more problems.
This synth should be in the top 10 VSTs in the reviews, very hard to compete with when it comes to sound, and for someone like me who depends a lot on the sound quality I can get to please my clients, this is the kind of VST that does the job, every time!
I hope that AAS continue to do some other great synth like Tassman, for me it is a big 2 thumbs up !
UI I'm not supposed to use this word, but Tassman's UI sucks --- especially the builder is really, really bad. It is such a pain to connect modules and work with (sub)patches. Why not use bigger icons for modules/subpatches and write a label on the in-/outlets. Changing the number of inlets or outlets of subpatches is not immediately reflected in other (subpatches) and...well, so many other annoying issues. Work hard on the builder, AAS, and you will end up with a wicked product, but for now it is just...so poor. Also, the tree browser is not a suitable interface for accessing both instruments, presets, performances, modules and subpatches. Please rethink this --- load instruments as files, access modules and subpatches in toolboxes (as in e.g. Visual Studio), etc. The keyboard shortcuts are too few --- and do not cover what you really need (e.g. show/hide browser). The look and feel of the modules in the player is actually quite good, although not visually perfect --- and too big. It should be possible to select other colors and styles for the modules.
Sound The sound is IMO the best analogue/physical emulation around...only rivalled by Arturia's VST instruments. I love this sound --- combined with good live modulations (wheel, breath) this instrument makes me want to play and play. Arturia's Minimoog in the only other VSTi that feels as expressive as some of the Tassman instruments.
Features I think Tassman has almost all the modules you need to create exiting synths. I does need a better sample player, though.
Documentation Given the non-intuitive UI, the documentation is insufficient. Not misleading or badly written, just insufficient, especially on the builder and the modules.
Presets Some awesome synths among the intruments, some of them with a good deal of presets...some presets are even really good. BUT --- not enough. To show of the capabilities of Tassman, more synths and more presets with each synth should be provided. Also, they sould be better organized and described.
Customer support I have not personally used AAS suppport, but I have been following their activity/repsonses on KVR and elsewhere. Also, I have to say that the slow evolution of the product indicates a lack of user responsiveness...combined with the upgrade policies so far, it drags down on this rating.
Value for money I got Tassman 3 for $130, with free upgrade to version 4. That was OK, but the full retail price is absurd given the current state of the product.
Stability Rock solid as standalone, but it has crashed in Cubase SX 2 a few times --- therefore I would be very reluctant to use it in a project, despite its very good sound.
All in all... The sound is just wonderful, but the UI and the (in)stability in Cubase SX turns me off. I am happy to have this VST in my collection, as I think I will play with it often, but I doubt that I will use it in a project until after a few updates. I'll stay on the upgrade path, though.
Is this what Mary Shelly was writing about in her book 'Frankenstein'? Well words like: modular, physical modelling and builder show a certain affinity to this gothic melodrama. But where Frankenstein was only meant to imitate life, Tassman is capable of a whole lot more. It's able to generate sounds never known to the human ear (okay this may apply to Frankenstein, too). Most VST-musicians may know this way of working from NI's Reaktor, but again Tassman takes a slightly different approach. The interface isn't created from scratch - Tassman falls back on readymade modules which can be connected in various ways in the instrument's builder. Sadly it isn't possible to audition any sounds in the builder, and it's necessary to switch back to the player modus every time.
The 'physical modelling' engine is very interesting and responsible for its organic and realistic nature-like sounds. A modelled flute e.g. which was created in Tassman, sounds more real than most static bread & butter flute samples. Just because physical modelling doesn't describe the sound itself, but the physical circumstances of its emergence. So if you're playing the same note over and anon, it isn't starting from 'zero' again but evolves from where the sound is - at this exact moment.
And even though it's really no big deal to build a new instrument, the over 1000 presets are enough to please even the laziest musician. Instruments like: flutes, congas, marimbas, organs or synth like Moog or the ARP Odyssey are only a few of the available patches and they all sound pretty real. But when you compare the Odyssey preset to the Oddity you'll find a difference in note priority - still the sound comes really close.
So all in all, this is a great tool for sound designers and synth freaks. But $ 449 isn't what I call very cheap, still its versatility and great sounding modules are worth much of it. And for users of Reaktor or Reason, times are really good, since AAS has a very nice crossgrade-offer. There are downloadable versions (Mac/PC) of Tassman on their website for only - and now be prepared to get your wallet out - $ 199, while there's no need to send in your Reaktor CD, dongle or anything else. By the way, the AU upgrade for Tassman (and Lounge Lizzard 2) is free for registered users and can be downloaded from their website, too.
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Tassman since it was included in my purchase of Sonar XL. The Origional DXi version was full of problems. I eventually paid for the upgrade to the full version and the VSTi Tassman was a bit more stable. I now have version 3.02. It is more stable than earlier versions. The only other problem I’ve had with Tassman was the Pace protection they used. Customer service is also pretty bad. I get better response from posting on KvR than I do posting on the official web site. But, lets move on to the sound.
There is not real competition for Tassman that I am aware of. It does physical modeling, and does it well. Some hardware manufacturers do physical modeling but it is limited and expensive. Once Nord Modular G2 is released this may change. The Tassman sound is pretty good and it is much easier to construct instruments in Tassman than in Reaktor or Vaz. I will say that both Reaktor and Vaz seem to have more routing and modulation options. The available instruments are good but you will not find an ep that can compete with LoungeLizzard. If you have a collection of VA’s modulars, FM and additive synths, then physical modeling will give you some variety. Tassman can do the VA bit, but not as well as Reaktor or Vaz. The effects are just ok and the GUI takes a bit more space than necessary.
One problem to note, many included instruments have the polyphony limit set way too low. Especially the ep’s. There is also a repeatable bug that I encounter when using sustain pedal on ep’s. It seems to affect the filter. I have reported multiple couple of times but never received a response.
Pros: Sound It does physical modeling Ease of constructing instruments
Cons: Customer support Challenge response copy protection CPU usage is a bit heavy but getting better with updates Occasional bugs
Here are my initial impressions after installing and playing around with Tassman 3.0. The first thing that pops out is that the interface now houses both player and builder. There is a prominent "explorer" tree-style navigation pane to the left. The explorer contains all of the instruments, presets, modules, sub-patches, and everything. All you have to do is double-click to launch an instrument, or drag and drop to select a module, and Tassman switches to the correct mode. It's 10 times better than the old version, in which I was never sure exactly what I was doing.
CPU-wise, Applied-Acoustics has really done a great job. On my AMD 2400+ with 512mb of 266, the DXi hovered between 10-15% for nearly all of the pre-made instruments and settings. I haven't put it to the hard core test yet, but 3.0 appears to be very greatly improved over the previous version in this regard. At this point I realize that I'll probably be using it far more than I did the last version because it's more intuitive.
Now for the part where Tassman really shines: the sound quality is simply amazing. It's expressive, and feels truly musical. The analog synth instruments sound thick and real, but the physical modeling is where the rubber meets the road. The organ and e-piano instruments are the highlight, they're totally convincing. The tube and mallet style instruments are also fantastic. The step and cv sequencers are tons of fun, and seem to suggest some very strange solutions.
Now for the parts I didn't like. First, sub-patches are not very well identified. When you encounter one in an instrument, it's like "what's this thing and where did it come from?" Also, I couldn't figure out how to close unwanted instances of things, so each time I ended my session I got like 5 dialog boxes asking if I want to save changes to whatever stuff was open. Not very intuitive, but hopefully the solution is there.
I would agree with most people on here that the sound you get from Tassman is second to none and I rate it very highly, but the major problem with it is that, up til now anyway, it is not compatible to be automated within Ableton Live.
I'm actually hoping someone gets back to me to tell me this has been addressed, I would gratefully stand corrected.