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Hive [read all reviews]
Reviewed By ViktorNova [read all by] on 18th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.2-8115 on Mac
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This synth is absolutely amazing! It just sounds so good, I can dial in usable sounds in zero time, and they always seem to magically sit well in the mix. It's a lot more versatile than just a "trance machine" as some people say. The interface is all on one page, the arpeggiator rocks, the effects are good, and the mod matrix has drag and drop. Many things are done to speed up making patches. In many ways it feels like a hardware synth.

It doesn't have super advanced features like you'll find in some other synths (no MSEG for example) and waveforms are limited to the standard analog shapes + noise, so that's why it gets 4 stars.

This review is for the Linux and Mac versions.

ModulAir [read all reviews]
Reviewed By exponent1 [read all by] on 17th January 2019
Version reviewed: 0.8.0 on Windows.
Last edited by exponent1 on 17th January 2019.
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One of THE best modular synths in the market. Setting up patches is very intuitive and very light CPU usage. Extremely capable and wonderful sounding engine.

Used this synth for my first ever One Synth Challenge (#117) and was not overwhelmed by the sheer functionality on offer. It's very approachable and a must-have for any synth-enthusiast.

TPA-1 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By klinge [read all by] on 15th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Windows.
Last edited by klinge on 15th January 2019.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Overall:

This is an absolute gem of a plugin! I've never owned a separate guitar poweramp but I image this must be a really good approximation of how it would sound. My normal use for this is with a ampsim plugin that don't have a built in poweramp, Ignites own The Anvil and Mercuriall SS-12 are examples of this. It's also great to use on ampsims where you can bypass the built-in poweramp simulation.

Note that this one is not supposed to be used on it's own but in a signal chain after the preamp but before the speaker cabinet emulation. A typical scenario would be something like this:

Guitar input --> (Pre-FX) --> Preamp --> TPA-1 (poweramp) --> Cabinet simulation (IR loader) --> (Post-FX).

Features:

On the front panel you have controls for volume, depth and presence. Increasing the volume gives you that nice poweramp saturation that to my ears sound really pleasing. Depth controls low-frequencies and presence (as usual) high frequencies.

Looking at the back of the plugin you find controls for:

  • tube bias voltage.
  • amount of sag.
  • feedback level (the amount of signal that goes from the output back to the input).
  • choice between different models of power amp tubes (EL34/6L6/KT88).
  • oversampling.
  • feedback (a model of the interaction between poweramp and speakers) and.
  • overall output level.

Tweaking the bias, sag and feedback controls allows you to have very detailed control of the poweramp characteristics and also how it feels to play.

Feedback control settings are dependent on what type of IRs you use - your really should read the manual for best results here :).

Verdict

This is a great sounding power amp simulation with an outstanding level of tweakability. As far as I know there are no other dedicated VST powerampsims, so there is really no competition to compare it to. Hopefully someday someone will model a MESA 2:Ninety or something similar. But the lack in choice is not a problem when the only choice you have is as good as the TPA-1. Big thanks to Ignite for giving this away for free.

Ignite Amps updated a number of plugin to a new major version in 2018 at the same time incorporating newer modelling technology - I'm very much hoping that this plugin receives the same treatment.

Iris 2 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By ubailey [read all by] on 14th January 2019
Version reviewed: 2.02 on Windows
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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The sounds that come out of this are outstanding. The best sounding synth i have. It taxes you on the CPU resources, u just have to learn to bounce tracks more to work with it. I would have gave it a 4 because of this, but again the sound is so amazing its a 5. I can't believe izotope no longer updates this.

LoopRecorder [read all reviews]
Reviewed By bobfob [read all by] on 13th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.4.7 on Windows
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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LoopRecorder is hands down my favorite VST looper after trying out about 10 vsts. It has a simple and natural flow when recording. I use it with my Reaper DAW, and just press play on Reaper and LoopRecorder starts recording as soon as I play the first note on my MIDI keyboard. When I am through with my loop, I can just use the mouse and Drag and Drop into a track in Reaper. It's that easy, Record - Drag and Drop - Rinse and Repeat.

I can't name anything that I don't like about this vst, it works like a looping charm.

Here is what I like about the software and why I purchased:

1. Simple to install.

2. Syncs up wonderfully with Reaper daw and I am sure others also.

3. Drag and Drop of loop into Daw when done recording. (This feature saves a ton of time not having to export and import the finished loop!)
Plus you can also save / export the loop.

4. Has MIDI Learn feature so that you can control many functions like -Clear - Undo - Redo by pressing a key on your MIDI controller or a button on your MIDI controller.

5. I found a bug where stereo loops would switch to mono every other measure and then back to stereo, I sent an email to the dev and the dev found and fixed the bug the same day. You can't get better product support than that!!.

Thanks a ton for a Superior Product.

Sincerely, .

Jeff M.

Engine [read all reviews]
Reviewed By JohJoh [read all by] on 11th January 2019
Version reviewed: 2.5.x on Mac
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Although there are some very (!) interesting libraries - I own several of them - using this sampling engine, I can't wait for them to move to eg Kontakt.

Not that the engine by itself is doing a bad job (actually, it even might include too many features), it's just that the (g)UI is a nightmare.

Looks a lot like a program written by a programmer for his/her own use, rather than one with a client (non-programmer, musician) in mind.

There is a manual (don't google it, click on the question mark right to the 5 big "tab"buttons just below the top of the window), but it's not the kind of manual that will get you up and running quickly. (as a side remark : I like to add notations / yellow mark / etc a manual while using it, you can't do that with this one since it's buried deep down in the application's package, so you better create an editable duplicate of it).

And - always a bad sign - if you look for information or tutorials either as text or as video, there is very little to be found on the internet.

Sure you can load in a library or some of it's instruments easily, but it's the steps beyond that.

Just the mixer section can provide for many hours of fruitless efforts to get it right (eg explain me why - when there is no "layer 7" in the list of layers/loaded instruments, the mixer persists in showing a layer 7 channel ...) .

Compare it to driving a car : an automatic shift car is great for most circumstances, still, I don't mind driving a manual shift car when necessary ... but I do mind having to know how to put together a gear-box myself - and not having some training material on how to do this .

PS : this is not even close to a full review - but currently prefer to spend time trying to actually make music.

PS 2 : turn of the (Engine) reverb on all your instruments - it just eats your cpu.

SoftAmp FM25 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Gwugluud77 [read all by] on 8th January 2019
Version reviewed: unknown on Windows.
Last edited by Gwugluud77 on 8th January 2019.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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I gave away my Fender 15-watt ss amp to some kid who was learning guitar, and later, I started to miss it. How crazy, that someone would model THAT amp, that's funny. This is a great-sounding plugin, and I sometimes use it even though I own the full suite of Amplitube. And this has a mode which turns the transistors into tubes! SoftAmp are some radical, forward-looking geniuses, no sarc.

Since VST amp speakers aren't real, you can feel free to "abuse" guitar rigs by running bass thru them. This sounds great with bass. And the tube version, I guess turns it into something in between a Champ and a Princeton. Sounds great on guitar, both modes. If this were my only amp sim, I'd actually be fine. But I like the idea of having access (via Amplitube) to amps I've never even seen in person before, such as Hiwatts and Oranges. ..I'm from a small remote west Texas town, lmao. Kudos to SoftAmp for this unique plugin, and for their generosity in offering it for free.

Ceil [read all reviews]
Reviewed By mvillemaire [read all by] on 8th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by mvillemaire on 8th January 2019.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Awesome souding channel strip (general, not surgical). Smooth controls. Gentle sounding curves. Beautiful interface. Free, as in no money (until 14-02-2019). Get it now. You will not regret it.

ISOL8 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By RobertSchulz [read all by] on 8th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by RobertSchulz on 8th January 2019.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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This one is curious, and i like curious things. Maybe you don't need this plugin at every session you have, but it is a really good metering plugin if you want to listen/analyze to specific frequency areas and (for what i think which is even more cool) you can listen to specific frequency bands at each of both stereo channels (L+R) as well as at the Mid or Side Signal alone.

F.e. if i would want to listen to the low end at the side or the mids or the left side, its very fast to made with Isol8.

You can use it also as an EQ/Filter, but its behaviour on the signal is very harsh as there is no gain or resonance function for the frequency bands, but if you like such rough filtering this is a good option too.

You also can put another Filter after if you want to make a little boost or cut of those frequency areas.

Towards this you can also filter certain frequency areas out to treat them after separately from the other.

Isol8 can work as an spatial effect as well. You can make certain frequency areas to summed mono or mono by copying the left or right side to the opposite side with the Monitor Center function by clicking on the "Monitor" text.

The Dim-Option for me is a little bit uneven. There is a little attack time until it drops the audio down the entered value in dB. Here i would wish that there is a switch as like the Bypass Filter switch, on where we can toggle between gliding volume drop and direct volume drop. But it is good as well.

The Filter Bypass-switch is a very good idea too.

I really like the 3D-like GUI. Thanks to Crimson Merry.

Icarus [read all reviews]
Reviewed By mdstudio [read all by] on 8th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.6 on Mac
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Excellent resynthesis (importing samples and creating wavetables). Low CPU usage. This is my favorite wavetable synth (with Serum being close second).