INTRO Tau Bassline Pro by Muon Software Ltd. is an excellent monophonic synth bass plugin.
TB-303 The Roland TB-303 was a "transistor bass" synth with a built-in sequencer. It was produced from 1982 to 1984. This synth is often credited for launching several EDM genres, i.e., house, acid, etc. It's interesting to note that the original launch of this product was a failure. It became famous and heavily sought after much later. The unit featured a single envelop gen, osc with only two waveforms — saw and square. Probably the most noteworthy feature was the lowpass filter, which was lively and wet. This, combined with the built-in sequencer (accented notes, portamento, etc.) made this a legendary synth workstation.
EMULATION Many online ads and reviews claim this plugin to be the ultimate acid bassline synth and/or excellent TB-303 emulation. Well, I rarely drop acid or do acid house, and I've never owned or used a TB-303, but I am a bass player, songwriter, producer, and educator. I know the difference between a good bass and a not so good bass — Tau Pro is a great bass plugin that is capable of all kinds of wet sounds as well as deep sub rumbles. It can also produce wonderful leads.
MORE MORE MORE This pro version features two alias-free oscillators with a choice of 11 waveforms (sine, sawtooth x5, and square x5). The waveforms can be pulse-width modulated to expand the basic timbre. This adds a great deal of versatility of previous versions and even the original Roland hardware unit. Tau Pro provides users with the capability to create an array of tones that range from comfy warm to edge-of-your-seat suspenseful.
EFFECTS This virtual unit includes overdrive, chorus, flange, and delay.
FEATURES I DIG • Straightforward GUI that doesn't get in the way • Easy to program • Surprisingly flexible (basslines, lead riffs, subs, textures) • Great sound • Juicy resonant filter • Alias-free • Stable (if running 32-bit) • CPU efficient • Responsive, supportive developer • Price.
THOUGHTS • Where are the presets? I heard there are 32 of them, but I can't locate them. • 64-bit is needed.
TEST OF TIME? Software, in general, comes and goes at a faster rate than hardware; yet, a rare few can withstand the test of time. Tau Pro could continue to thrive with a some upgrates, i.e., 64-bit, new presets, etc. While there are other emulations out that may be more true to the original, this plugin has proven to hold its own as a synth.
SUMMARY Tau Pro is a naughty little plugin that is more than capable of supplying users with an assortment of throbbing basses and unforgettable leads. It's more than a two-trick pony by virtue of the added waveforms and FX. I highly recommend this fine virtual instrument to any eMusician, songwriter, producer, DJ, etc., who wants to add a sweet acid or low boom to a track. I give Tau two subsonic thumbs up.
FINAL QUESTION Is this a timeless vintage soft synth or a legacy plugin? Only time will tell. ..
I bought this a few months ago, partly because I fancied it as a 303-ballpark synth, and partly because of the rare and to me, coveted, wavceform features. The 11 waveforms include sine wave, and 5 variations of sawtooth and square. All of these waves sound different from eachother and are PWM-able. I know some synths can do this, but it's a rarity and EVERY synth should be able to do it! Static oscillators are a crime. PWM is achieved on the other waveforms by pinching the wave at the beginning and end of it alternately, and it even brings the sine wave to colourful life.
Hard sync and ring modulation round out the tricks of the dual oscillator section, but without a way to sweep osc. 2's pitch, they're of limited value, providing only static timbral variation (though there's always automation ;). Overall the oscillators sound fantastic.
The filters are juicy and come in three flavours, all lowpass, but with different steepness and characteristics. You'd never guess this synth was made when it was, judging from the sound. Control is limited for the most part to the parameters available on the tb-303, but this is so good at doing what it does, I don't really care. If you really want to play pads on it, multitrack it. It was made to make mono lines (of the bass or lead variety) which cut thru the mix, and it does that beautifully.
The Tau Pro definately does what it's supposed to, and it does if very reliably. This is a good synth, but it doesn't justify its price in today's VST environment. For $35, you can get much, much more. Unfortunately it's not a very flexible general synthesizer. There are no envelopes, for example, making swelling-type sounds impossible to create. If you're looking for a 303 emulation, there is at least one VST available that is much more convincing. Search the forums for the latest if you're looking for a 303. If you a want general synth, you can get dozens of freebies that sound just as good, are much more flexible, better supported, and well, are free. This synth is also missing some convenience features that are assumed on typical VSTs nowadays: patch management, midi learn for CC control. The Tau was amazing in its day, but that time has passed and the developer has not continued improving it to keep up with the competition. One nice thing is that there are tons of presets available, a testament to the Tau's ease-of-use.
This synth is supposed to be 303-like, but I find it to have nothing to do with that infamous silver box. Instead, this is an aggressive, uber-powerful monosynth made for but one purpose:
Nasty Aggressive Bass
Well, okay, it also makes nasty aggressive leads too. In fact, it reminds a lot of the Waldorf Pulse in that regard. It has one of the thickest, fattest sounds in a soft synth that I've ever heard. Power.
Is it a one-trick pony? You bet. You can't even control the envelope of the thing. But at that one trick, this synth is better than any other.
I got this a while ago at version 1.0 useful and often used one in my collection. Included presets are… well put another way there are some cracking good ones to download in the patch area here if you want to see this synth at its best.
Small tweaks big differences, nice big lofty full and rich bass, that’s its real strong point (as it should be) and cuts through the mix very well.
Lovely bit of Virtual Nostalgia that’s is going to be the Software classic of the future ;)
It’s good value for money and well worth the addition to any one wanting a really rich sounding bass line.
I've had this synth for a while (my first purchached one) and it's still my favorite. I use it at least twice in every "Techno" song I make. It's easy to program, looks nice, and sounds better than most synths that cost five times as much. If you make any type of dance/techno music this synth is the best value you can find, end of story.
At the risk of having torch-wielding villagers chase me into the woods, I am not overly enamored with the Roland TB303, and it's offspring. I don't DISLIKE it mind, but it just isn't a sound I've ever felt was versatile enough for my needs. However, I recently got the Electron synth from Muon, and the sound was so fantastic, I began to look at the Tau Pro. The more I looked, the more intrigued I became, and eventually decided that I might want to give it a go. The demo track on the site was the clincher, for while it DOES have the "traditional" 303 bass riffs, it also has a lot of other interesting sounds from Tau Pro. First thing I noticed when I opened it was the sheer variety of waveforms. There are a number of different types, but unlike some synths, these really SOUND different from each other. Just switching from one type of sawtooth wave to another has a drastic effect on the timbre generated. The other thing that is immediately apparent is that this synth has that elusive "punch" factor. No rhetoric here; Tau Pro makes a sound that punches you right in the middle of your chest. There are some unusual filter slections, and they help to give Tau Pro a unique and versatile sound. And that's the thing about this synth. While it's initial aim is to give you 303 sounds, to expect ONLY 303-style sounds from it would be a mistake. With a little tweaking, I have been able to generate patches that go far beyond the typical "analog" sound. So far, my favorite use for it is as a "PPG-like" bass synth, but with more presence than PPG. The interface is self-explanatory, and the documents are there, and complete, if you need them. Dave is a constant figure around this and other forums, offering guidance to those that need it. The onboard presets are good, but not to my taste (remember, I am not the intended audience for this sort of synth). For thirty bucks, you really can't go wrong. Tau Pro has achieved a semi-legendary status, and it is well-deserved.
This synth has grown on me over time. I liked it very much when i first purchased then i went for about 3 or 4 months without using it. Now i've come back to it, and it is indeed a very nice synth. I don't really use it for bass or for leads; I use it mostly for "incidental" sounds. I love tweaking this thing. The filter is great and all the fx are very good.
The presets are kind of hit and miss in my opinion. The one thing i wish it had was adsr functionality. I seem to fairly regularly wish this when I'm playing with it.
In the end, this synth fulfills it role in my case, and was a very good purchase for the money...
This is a surprisingly versatile (mono) synth, capable of quite a wide variety of sounds – not just acid-y basslines (although naturally it's great at those).
There's a good selection of oscillator waveforms available, and the Sync and Ring Mod modes can produce some unexpected variations on the basic sounds.
The onboard FX are excellent, and very usable.
The supplied pre-sets are good – but the Tau Pro is fun to program, and you'll soon have made a bank of your own sounds anyway.
On the one occasion I contacted Muon customer support, their reply was quick, courteous and helpful.
The Tau Pro has a couple of limitations to be aware of: there is no ADSR envelope generator, and pitch-bend via MIDI is not implemented. In practice (and in my opinion), these don't detract much from the value of the synth. However, if in doubt, download the demo, and see how it handles for yourself!
For the money, extremely useful for large leads and basses. Sounds I couldn't get elsewhere were achievable with Tau Pro. Also, GUI is easy to use and not overcomplicated, definitely a plus. Support has been great.
Once you've got this you will never want another bassline synth again...it doesn't get much better than this!!
[+] Lovely GUI [+] Great baselines [+] Great value at on $30 [+] Detailed user manual [+] No crashes to date [+] Circ or Lin knob movement options [+] Great sounding filters [+] Low on the CPU [+] Lovely FX included (delay, flang, chorus) [+] Loads of waveforms to choose
[-] Not many presets but,[+]loads of presets available at KVR-VST
My advice...buy it...you will not regret it! Read more
I use this for one thing and one thing only. I love the sub bass sounds it oozes out of its pores. As far 303 type sounds it is OK, but I would apt to use the a more lively velocity triggered filter sound like in the scorpion, or attack. But like I said for that smooth, ultra low bass this is the thing. I use it alot. I've never had to use there customer support, but I assume it is good.
What can I say... This little beast sounds great, has a character of its own. Its more than a 303 clone. Its a phat monophonic synth designed specifically for bass and lead type synths. Sound quality is outstanding, and CPU usage is minimal.
Only complaint would be a small number of presets (I'm not much of a synth programmer), but the presets that do come with it rock. Read more
The thing that impresses me the most about this VSTi is how crisp and professional it sounds. So much so, that it makes some of my other VSTi's sound feeble in comparison.
The portamento is well implemented and the transition between notes is very smooth with no noticable artifacts. (Even on my Roland UA100 !)
An added bonus is the provision of built-in effects. These range from simple delays to chorus to flangers and can really add an extra dimension to the sound. They don't add much to the CPU usage either.
For the money, you really can't go wrong. There a few real bargains in the world, but Tau Pro is one of them.
As an aside, I can't help but disagree with the comments about Muon. When I ordered Tau Pro, I accidently got sent Atom Pro by mistake. This situation was remedied the same day and Dave even said he was happy for me to keep Atom Pro for the inconveniance caused.
I've got to say that I too was disappointed by the lack of pitchbend - and I too saw the post saying that pitchbend functionality would be added soon. I both believed that muon would do it and was looking forward to it.
I think the instrument sounds fantastic - it is great.
This has really disappointed me. I thought Muon made great sounding instruments and that I could trust what they say. Now I know they just make great sounding instruments. I won't buy something from them without a demo version again.
[Edited by Ben@KvR because] This is an instrument review not a soapbox! [/Edit]
I bought Tau Pro but was very disappointed when I found it doesnt support pitch bend at all, despite the web site saying full midi.
Seems like a waste of time to implement midi if you are going to leave out huge parts of the spec like pitch bend.
I was assured that pitch bend was easy to add and would be added quickly.
That was about 3 months ago.
After complaining about it here I was suprised to get mail saying that a refund had been issued and i was to destroy all copies I had. Would've been nice to get an initial mail asking me if thats really what i want to do first..
...and yet after all that i'll probably buy it again once pitchbend is added, the tone of it is that good!
The Tau Pro sounds impressive, certainly for a bassline. It is clear that no other bassline can produce the wide array of sounds that the Tau Pro is capable of. You can use the Tau Pro for more than only basses and the excellent set of presets that comes with it shows what it can do as a lead synth too. However, I don't see it producing wide pads or such but that is no point, as the Tau Pro is advertised as a bassline synth. And from that perspective it sounds unbelievable phat and versatile.
Read the full review on Orion-central: http://www.orion-central.com/reviewtaupro.shtml
Pro: + great sounds, fat basses and more + easy handling user interface + MIDI controllable + good value-for-money rate + support
Con: - No ADSR envelope - No pitchbend
Insipired by the legendary TB-303 (but being much much more than 'just' a clone), you can use this VSTi to produce several kinds of those 'typical' 303-like techno/acid/trance bass sounds with filter and distortion treatments. Beyond that, with additional features like 11 waveforms per OSC and onboard FX, it's capable to create rich fat leads as well as other sounds.
You could miss ADSR envelope and pitchbend for bass slides. The original 303 didn't have those features, but I think they should be 'standard' in current highclass VSTi's.
Anyway, this is just a minor restriction. I use this VSTi a lot, it's my prefered bassline synth, and the easy handable interface makes it just fun to play around and modify the sound.
This is a synth mainly, but not only for syn.bass lines.
What's cool: The combination synth + buildtIn fx makes this thing a killer. The sound of both, osc and fx is great. The user interface is very well laid out and the 303 sequencer-pad emulation (incl the LEDs) is cool. I also like little details like [CTRL]click resets the knob to its def.state or the ability to switch from circular to linear mode (within the synth) for controlling knobs with the mouse. Pretty much everything responds to midi CC (fixed). Also a bonus: A well written manual in pdf format. Very good value for money.
What's not so cool: Knobs don't respond to mousewheel
Whishlist: I'd like to have some default presets loaded, or, even better to have a def.bank which is autoloaded with the plug on start. Also I'd like to be able to "bind" certain midiCC# to certain knobs to my likings.
it looks great, sounds great and is an absolute bargain. Most of the cheaper vstis about in my experience have been a case of get what you pay for but this IMHO is truely priced below what its worth. My one big moan is the tiny amount of presets you get with it, but well if thats the biggest thing wrong with it......