Product Reviews
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RockAmp [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Faydit [read all by] on 18th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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This is a very nice sounding guitar amp simulation.

Very good quality - not only - for a free plug-in. I know some commercial amp-sim plugins, which sound much less convincing.

The clean as well as the overdriven sounds are very convincing, without the often heard too sharp, too shrill or too digital sounding higher frequencies, the - compared to a lot of real amps - even luxurious pre- and post-tone shaping controls allow a good (fine-)adjustment. Just sounds right. The overtone reproduction and dynamic reaction also is very good, the general tone is very naturally sounding, doesn't over-colorize the original signal, plays and reacts very much like a good real tube amp.

The general sonic character for me is some very good, in a positively sense more vintage based tube amp tone, but - if wished - with much more gain, even decent high gain, so, depending on the tone controls you easily can adjust some nice, more American as well as more British sounding tones.

The modulation and delay section work fine, although I personally mostly prefer a pure amp tone, but nice to have these options already built in.

Works very well with different cabinet/speaker IR's.

Congratulations to the developer and thank you.

Wet Reverberator [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Faydit [read all by] on 17th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I always thought I had at least some quite good sounding reverbs. And then I heard this one and it really blew me away.

The Wet Reverberator sounds in some ways a little bit different than other room reverbs, which is something you will like or not, I personally think, this is the best, clearest, most precisely working and at the same time most naturally sounding reverb, I've ever heard. The natural, very musical sounding tone and the high quality still remain, even if you create very extreme, almost supernaturally sounding reverbs with it. No matter if you just give the sound some decent dimensionality or if you adjust incredibly dense, atmospheric reverb soundscapes, or anything in between, it always sounds good, without any too digital, harsh or sterile sounding higher frequencies or any other common problems, while the original signal even at higher mixing levels is much better retained than expected.

The controls allow a very wide range of different sounding reverbs, from subtle to extreme, a lot of excellent and useful tone shaping features and the frequency plot visualization enable precise individual adjustment.

sforzando [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Tagirijus [read all by] on 17th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1.961 on Windows
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1. Installs two additional programms (TableWarp and Aria or so) and will not deinstall those, if you deinstall sforzando.

2. Is not a SF2 Player, but needs to convert the SF2 to SFZ first.

3. Will not play / convert it correctly so that the patches are not playbale.

aardvarkkPhaser [read all reviews]
Reviewed By SmoothMountain [read all by] on 10th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1.05 on Linux
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I really like this plugin! I've been looking for a phaser/flanger that can be manually controlled for a long time, and here it is.

I set it to "manual", set the LFO depth to 0, and control the "Manual" knob through any number of different automation parameters. It's great for adding some zing to a scratch sample, especially when I control it from the amplitude of the sample (kind of like an envelope follower, but with flange instead of a filter).

I'm running Reaper 6.03 native Linux (Ubuntu 18.04). Great stuff, thanks for supporting Linux.

One caveat; I have to use version 1.05. Version 1.06 won't run. Reaper gives the following error:

swell: dlopen() failed: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libcurl.so.4: version 'CURL_OPENSSL_3' not found (required by /home/me/.vst/aardvarkkPhaser.so)swell: dlopen() failed: /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libcurl.so.4: version 'CURL_OPENSSL_3' not found (required by /home/songsmith/.vst/aardvarkkPhaser.so).

This is basically a libcurl V3/V4 issue. Ubuntu 18.04 uses libcurl V4. Odd that the newer plugin version (1.06) requires libcurl V3, while the older version (1.05) works with libcurl V4.

No worries on my part, I had already downloaded and tested the 1.05 version and had been loving it, so I bought it. When the 1.06 version wouldn't work, I just put the old 1.05 version back, opened it in Reaper, put my registration key in it, and am happy to support the developers of this fine plugin.

I gave it 5 stars even though I can't run the latest version (1.06) on Ubuntu 18.04 (the latest LTS release), because I'm having so much fun using 1.05.

A tip for Linux users: When testing plugins, start your DAW from the command line. That way, if it causes a crash, the command line will (usually but not always) give some useful feedback as to what the nature of the crash was. That's how I got the error message above.

My thoughts to devs about Linux support: It seems that devs are using Ubuntu 16.04 as the standard to build against. It is a Long Term Support (LTS) release.

looking at the Ubuntu release info, Ubuntu 16.04 was released in April 2016 (almost 4 years ago) and will reach the end of standard support in April 2021. 18.04 was released in April 2018 and will reach the end of standard support in April 2023.

It appears that Ubuntu releases a new LTS every 2 years. If you are using Ubuntu as the Linux "standard" (I chose Ubuntu because it's a popular and well-supported distribution), then move to the latest LTS release 1 year after it is released. That is nowhere near the bleeding edge of new releases, but not too far behind the Linux development curve, either.

Moving to the latest LTS version 1 year after it is released is not forcing us users or you devs to use a bleeding edge OS.

Just my 2 cents... and thanks again for supporting Linux.

Couture [read all reviews]
Reviewed By SmoothMountain [read all by] on 10th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1.4 on Linux
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Good plugin. I run Reaper 6.03 native Linux, and I have Couture embedded in a couple of drumset track templates. I've been exploring compression and saturation on drum tracks recently, and the ability to add saturation and shape transients in a single plugin is great, especially on cymbals.

I have a couple of drumset templates where I send the cymbals to a separate submix, and send that submix through Couture. The transient and saturation controls give me lots of flexibility while mixing.

I started with the free version, but wanted the saturation, so I bought it. I'm glad I did. I only use the Sin, Bass and Tube saturation settings, (the others are a bit too intense for me) but as I said, they work great on cymbals.

I specifically got it for drum tracks, and it does the job well...

Good stuff.

Wusik Station V9 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Ojaix [read all by] on 10th February 2020
Version reviewed: 9.2.8 on Windows.
Last edited by Ojaix on 10th February 2020.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Awesome synth. I've not been able to go through the endless list of presets but the engine is really powerful and the sounds are so so good. I would need a lot more time to fully explore the power of this beast but so far it stands toe to toe with some of my best go-to plugins, as far as the sound is concerned. It definitely deserves a lot more attention than it's getting right now.

NOVO Essentials [read all reviews]
Reviewed By BONES [read all by] on 5th February 2020
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
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This Kontakt instrument is an absolute cracker! It works in the free Kontakt player so anyone can use it and it offers an incredible feature set. There are three separate instruments in the product. One allows you to play strings like you would on any synth. The second one, String Designer, lets you shape the sampled strings into sounds that are more like a synth. The final instrument, Loop Designer, allows you to choose and play preset pattern loops, as played by the orchestra. They allow you to stack three layers - bass, cello and violin/viola - to create powerful string arrangements for your compositions.

You get 6GB of sample content and the quality is amazing. It includes multiple articulations - sustain, tremolo, pizzicato and staccato - and you can mix between the close and room mics to get the best sound. There are plenty of effects too, including a step sequencer in the String Designer that you can use to modulate certain parameters to create your own synth-like rhythms, It goes way beyond your average string sample set. The Loop Designer also has plenty of loops for you to work with. You can mix and match loops between layers for even greater variety.

The instrument is very deep, you can go crazy creating your own patches and it takes a lot of time and effort to fully explore everything on offer. I was really surprise dhow complex it all is. That said, it's presented in a clear way and I didn't find it daunting at all. Once you have your sounds, playing the instruments is even easier. You use your left hand to set the note you want to play, within a single octave, and then you use the three higher octaves to select your loops. e.g. I might want to play the bass loop that's mapped to the F in bass octave, the cello loop on the B key and the loop on E for the violin. I just have to press those three keys momentarily to select those loops. If I want them to play in the key of G, I press the G key with my left hand. If I go from G to A, it raises the pitch of each of the three loops by two semitones. So you play your melody with your left hand and you use your right hand to change any of the three rhythms (loops). It's dead easy and very addictive.

NOVO Essentials is one of those things that you probably have to experience to appreciate. The demo only includes a tiny proportion of the samples but it will give you a good idea of the potential of the package. If you want orchestral strings in your songs and you can't justify spending several hundred dollars on them, this thing will more than get you up and running. I envisage using it for years without having to worry about repeating myself or sounding like everyone else. Highly recommended.

Phrasebox [read all reviews]
Reviewed By SMAustinTexas [read all by] on 3rd February 2020
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Phrasebox from Venomode (https://venomode.com/phrasebox) is a fascinating and powerful MIDI utility designed to help you compose music more easily. As the name suggests, the focus of the tool is on building musical phrases, which is a much needed fresh perspective on traditional arpeggiator or chord progression tools. After all, musical phrases are how musicians think. As a composer, you often want to try out your musical ideas in different keys, different locations in the score, or with different arrangements. Phrasebox makes this exploration so much easier, especially for a very reasonable price. This review will hit some of the highlights I've found in my first week of using it.

Phrasebox works within your DAW. (This reviewer uses Cubase). In Cubase, it seems to work best when using one instance of Phrasebox to play one instrument, and you can of course add as many instances as you need for your tracks. The basic concept is that you will feed into Phrasebox chord progressions either by playing on your keyboard live or by routing a MIDI track with chord notes on it - and those notes will be transformed by Phrasebox into the musical idea you've laid out in the grid. Ostinatos, driving bass lines, wild arpeggios are all possible. Want to build a four-part fugue? Go right ahead. This tool ensures your melodies, harmonies, and counterpoints are all right on key. Phrasebox could be used powerfully with a wide variety of VST instruments - piano, guitar, synths, orchestral instruments, and sound design instruments. Setting up Phrasebox is relatively straightforward, somewhere between easy to intermediate in complexity. It's not going to read your mind, yet with just a bit of practice you're going to be doing some great creative work a lot faster than you did before and having a lot more fun doing it. After just a week's use, I can see I'll be using this for most if not nearly all my composition projects from here on out.

Phrasebox also succeeds by not trying to do too much. You couldn't, for example, sequence the entire first movement of Beethoven's Fifth with it, but you definitely could create some great variations on that opening. Feeling a little Zimmerish? Build those lower string ostinatos on one track and layer some high string and brass melodies on top of it. Those tracks will all blend beautifully, even when you switch from D minor to G major or later change your mind to hear it in B-flat lydian. Because the tracks are following your chord progression, you don't have to make substantial changes to a bunch of MIDI just to experiment with different keys or scales. You can also constrain your patterns to a specific scale mode in each key - you get twelve modes per key from which to choose (major, harmonic minor, natural minor, dorian, phrygian, lydian, lydian flat 7, mixolydian, locrian, jazz melodic minor, pentatonic major, and pentatonic minor).

Many of the features are what you'd expect in this kind of tool, but a few features really stand out. First, each instance can include up to seven different CC automation lane assignments of your choice, in addition to velocity, transpose, octave, chance, and pitch bend. This means if you want to add some increasing vibrato to your phrase (for example), and your instrument supports vibrato through a CC channel (e.g. CC 11), you can include that expression as part of the phrase. Use CC 64 to apply the sustain pedal to all or part of your phrase. If your instrument uses a CC value to switch articulations, you can accommodate that too (although, from what I can tell, keyswitches are not supported directly). Overall, you can be as precise as you need to be to fit your target instrument or more generic to suite a wider variety of VST instruments. Phrases can be copied and pasted as you'd expect, and an entire Phrasebox setup can be saved as a user preset. What all these features ultimately give you is the ability to compose freely and still get the playback quality you want, to the degree of preciseness you want.

Then to make your phrases a permanent part of your project, you would record the MIDI output from Phrasebox in you DAW, and the output includes your CC and automation data too.

Another hugely important capability is being able to make fine adjustments to the length of notes whether for more realistic performances or to trigger legato transitions that require overlapping notes.

(Cubase users, if you've ever tried to use the Cubase Chord Track to modify individual MIDI tracks based on scale or chord, you'll find that Phrasebox makes that process so much simpler and in many ways better because you get more predictable results.).

For future versions, I'd like to see a keyswitch lane added to the grid similar to the "Fixed" note lane with different fixed notes per step. For longer compositions, I could also use more than twelve phrases per instance and at least twice as many steps per phrase (you get 32 right now, which is a lot already). Lastly, more scale modes like exotic scales, or perhaps user-defined scales, would be really fun. I'd love to see a future version where you could record a phrase live from keyboard or import MIDI from the DAW into Phrasebox for that nth degree of humanization.

That said, this is a very well designed and user-friendly compositional aid that has been made with a composer's perspective front and center. For version 1, it's incredibly deep and powerful. I would pick this utility over any of the other scale, chord, and pattern MIDI tools that I've purchased in the last couple of years.

Rating: indispensable.

Limited-Z [read all reviews]
Reviewed By DeraZilla [read all by] on 2nd February 2020
Version reviewed: 10 on Windows.
Last edited by DeraZilla on 2nd February 2020.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Great features with a small paid.

One of the most usable limiter that I have ever used.

Bug fixes are also frequently implemented.

It is strongest if input is strengthened in the future.

ModulAir [read all reviews]
Reviewed By severak [read all by] on 30th January 2020
Version reviewed: 1.1.0 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I was wondering if there was a freeware modular synth. I discovered this gem and was surprised that it even has a polyphony.

It's very well-advised concept and it has very good balance between simplicity and flexibility. Once you get idea about difference of master modules and voice modules (and common section), you are able to create simple polyphonic patches. And there is a lot of patches to steal ideas from.

Definitely recommended, only thing you can loose is your time playing with it.