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User Reviews by KVR Members for Vacuum Pro

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Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 12th February 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0.7 on Windows.
Last edited by Sycopation on 12th February 2019.
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I picked this up for $1 during the Plugin Boutique sale back in November 2018. Hey, why not for a measly dollar, right? Since the price was so low I didn't really delve into it all that much at first, just perused some patches. My thinking was "I already have Diva and Repro, so is it even worth investing any time in?"

But after exploring it some more, this thing is actually really nice. It has such a dark, mean, edgy sound! If I were to make a Blade Runner-style soundtrack, this and Repro would get used a lot. The CPU performance is also pretty decent, especially compared to a lot of other VA synths, and especially when you put it in eco mode (I can't hear much of a difference on most patches). I really like that you can have a Part A and Part B in the same instance and then blend them how you like. You can even modulate the balance between the two using automation in your DAW, which offers a lot of creative possibilities, especially when you combine patches with quite different ADSR parameters. One thing that seems to be missing is the ability to differentially pan parts A and B (if it's there I haven't figured out how to do it yet). It would be really nice to be able to adjust both the stereo width and the pan position of both parts separately. Oh well, I can always do that with bounces and plugins if I really want to.

It's true that it has a "Super-wide... sound" but that sometimes comes with a cost - a lot of the patches have pretty bad phase coherence (read this if you don't understand what that means - https://www.waves.com/tips-for-fixing-phase-problems-in-your-mix). But what I figured out is that can be improved SIGNIFICANTLY by 1) turning off the chorus / phaser and 2) decreasing the stereo width, either by using the on-board Master Width knob (bottom right corner) or by using a separate dual panner / stereo imaging plugin.

The "8 Smart Knobs for macro control over parameters" is also a super nice touch. Another of Air's products, Loom, has similar functionality, and it is super handy for shaping the sound quickly, as well as modulating the sound using automation in your DAW. One single knob is controlling multiple knobs behind the scenes. It's a really easy and effective way to add some life and variety to parts.

The arpeggiator on this thing is suuuuper simple (the four options are up, down, up & down, and random), but I actually don't view that as a bad thing. I have numerous synths that have really sophisticated arpeggiators and step sequencers that are light years more sophisticated than this thing, but I actually like that it's really simple, and offers very few options. It allows me to very quickly decide if I want to use it or not on a particular part, whereas in a synth with a bajillion options I might spend 20 minutes or more just fiddling with the arp. Simplicity is good sometimes. It's especially fun to play with on atonal / percussive material, because you can just keep adding more notes, which will affect the feel / rhythm, but you don't have to worry about sour notes, weird melodic figures etc. I'm getting some really cool results by exporting these parts and then messing with sample chopping / manipulation techniques. Fun stuff.

If this thing goes on sale again, it's absolutely worth picking up. At $150... ehhh... I'll let you make that call.

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Discussion

Discussion

Discussion: Active
PUSHA
PUSHA
16 May 2013 at 2:50am

No Trial Version??? No way Im paying 200 dollars.

planetearth
planetearth
16 May 2013 at 6:17am

Must take a lot to get all those tubes installed. Too much work for a "trial".

The hardware requirements are pretty steep, too. I'd like to see some reviews on this thing.

Sendy
Sendy
3 September 2013 at 8:03pm

Indeed, at that price point, a demo is a must.

JX3D
JX3D
2 December 2017 at 10:08pm

Just tried the presets from Karl Wenninger. Sorry, but they don't work on the Pro version of Vacuum.

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Vacuum Pro

Average user rating of 4.67 from 3 reviews

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