I had the luck and joy to be another betatester of this synth, and while i know and own many great commercials and free synths, Zero Vector is definetly a gem for me, something special, it really pushes the limits of VSTI synths further. So while the following text may sound like an ad of the synth, it is the true opinion of the writer; luck has it that there is a demo version available which allows judging the synth without having to trust another raving betatester :-).
Why this rave ? First and most important of all, the basic sound. Due to good basic waveforms and very good filters, Zero Vector sounds extremly smooth and "creamy", very hardware-like, with an added misty and dark quality. The sound fits extremly well into any mix and works, surprsingly, very good with all synths i own, be it the digital or VA kind. If possible, i honestly would give it a 11 in the present rating system, the +1 for setting the standarts higher. However, the quality possible can have a price: rather high CPU usage. Especially with Clone and Unison and the Arpegiator, some patches CAN eat much CPU; however, turning down these features before the final mix, freeze and ever-faster computers allow to circumvent the CPU demands - and, of course, many presets use only moderate CPU.
Then there are the features. Many basic waveforms, various filter models with diverse options of filter drive and configuration, including very cool smooth-sounding vowel filters, Clone, Sync, FM and Unison options, the easy to use Vector Pad and the flexible Modulation matrix - with roughly 20 destinations and sources on each side -, the three additional LFOs/ Envelopes, the arpeggiator and a compact good effect section allow for an extremly broad range of sounds. Very good organs and Epianos, lush strings and choirs, hard basses or synced leads, beautiful plucked sounds, cool moving arpeggiators, strange ambiental voice sounds, oriental leads, f....-up brachial noise, dancy hoovers - the list what this synth makes great and with style goes on and on, just check out the presets for some of its possibilities.
Speaking of the presets - there are at the moment over 500 with growing tendency, and quite simply they are really great - i could do entire albums with them without missing much save drums (which ZV does also well, btw.)
The reason there are so many great presets is simple and another point why Zero Vector is a gem for me: It is easy to program. The GUI is laid out clear, the signal flow is easy to apprehend, and the mod matrix, drawable envelopes, the uncomplicated FX section and the vector pad allow a playful attitude in sounddesign instead of sincere programming.
The manual follows this intuitive approach; while rather short, it guides the newbee towards an understanding of the synth in a tutorial vein without missing detailed explanations.
Other points ? The customer support of Dave is very good, the synth is stable, and personally i like the (skinnable) GUI alot, especially the second white skin. Zero Vector isn't cheap, but considering the league it is playing in, the immense universality and its sheer quality, it is very reasonable priced.