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Reviewed By sbmongoose [read all by] on 29th July 2021
Version reviewed: 3.4 on Windows.
Last edited by sbmongoose on 29th July 2021.
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Bought Fathom Synth a couple of years ago when it was on sale without knowing much about it at the time. In terms of sound quality that has paid dividends. It's potentially fairly user friendly for beginners if just starting with oscilators and filters etc. but it's real strength is when some of the sound designers can go really deep with modulation and complexity, and this is currently beyond my own limits. But that's fine, there are a number of great sounding presets, and more available to purchase from sound designers too. The developer is very involved and open with the community on KVR here, and while he has a definite vision for Fathom, he also takes customer/user feedback on board too.

My only real request would be if there were more beginner tutorials explaining what some of the more advanced modues do, but with examples of sounds, not just the manuals description in words. I expect that will come, but I don't think Fathom has a large team working on development, marketing etc. so Everett has been focusing on improving the synth itself first. Quality over marketing b.s.

Many of the included presets have a very clean, pure sound. I hope future updates can add a bit more variety, grunge and snarl to the range of presets to show off Fathoms full range even more.

Everetts videos (Mountain Climber in particular for me) show just how amazing Fathom can sound, but a few more tutorial videos might help to open it up to new users better too.

Reviewed By cyrb [read all by] on 29th July 2021
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows.
Last edited by cyrb on 29th July 2021.
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I'm giving it four stars only because it's been exactly 6 years since it was updated, and it desperately needs quality of life and bug fixes. Otherwise I'd give it a 5.

At first glance, Charlatan presents as a very simple and limited virtual analog synth, but what sets it apart is its quality analog oscillators and filter. It's oscillators and filters sound excellent and lively, made better by the subtle (almost unnoticeable) analog 'drift' effect employed under the hood, which is uncommon in free plugins. Also, it's kind to your CPU meter, so don't be afraid to use more than one instance.

In essence, Charlatan is somewhat comparable to Roland's Juno-60 or Korg Polysix in terms of capabilities and philosophy. But it actually has more features, such as a proper second oscillator, oscillator sync and ringmod. It could also be considered a stripped down Jupiter-8 or Prophet-5, but in general, it's its own take on the 80s poly synth.

Because of its limitations and wanting to keep things simple, you likely will not stray too far from typical 80s sounds like basses, pads and poly sounds. It's just not as versatile as your typical semi-modular hybrid soft synth. Though I'm sure it can be useful for House, Techno, and other surprising areas. Charlatan is particularly great for basses; some of the best 80s style basses I've heard in a free plugin! It holds up even for synth brass and stabs. It can do string machines, transistor organs, and all sorts of other keyboard sounds as well. With its noise oscillator, it makes surprisingly useful filler FX. Some have even managed to squeeze out dissonant drones and usable drum sounds.

So in essence, it's dead simple and limited, but that's not a bad thing. Limitations breed creativity as they say. It sounds good enough to easily fill the 80s polysynth role, but is versatile enough that you can still find new and interesting timbres by experimenting. Also, don't neglect on the Unison and Stereo modes. Older versions of Charlatan did not have this, but they can really add a lot to the sound.

That said, it's not perfect. Osc 2 can only be detuned up to 6 semitones, which means... no 7th chords. Does the creator have a vendetta against 7th chords, to stop at exactly 6?! There are also bugs. Sometimes I found patches don't load properly, glitches out, or don't sound right, particularly if in POLY mode. And it doesn't seem to honor initial pitch bend messages for fine tuning, though this may not be exclusive to Charlatan. An additional way to alter the drift amount would also have been huge in a free plugin. But these are not deal breakers.

Using it with a chorus is a necessity: The free TAL Chorus LX is a great load-once-and-forget chorus, but any decent BBD or multi-voice chorus will do, but that's a whole other topic. Also you'll want a good reverb. TAL's free reverb plugins are well-suited for the job (I personally like the older TAL-Reverb-2 for its tone) Then there's also Supermassive (free), which can be warm and spacey.

Reviewed By dunstan [read all by] on 28th July 2021
Version reviewed: OD3603 on Windows.
Last edited by dunstan on 28th July 2021.
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The plugin is fine, but damn! KVR sure doesn't make it easy to authorize. I had to go back and forth about 5 times with tech support, sending copious amounts of screenshots along the way, to finally resolve the issue. You'd think they could make it a little more seamless, as in, 1) install 2) click this link to authorize. Just a thought.

Reviewed By grymmjack [read all by] on 28th July 2021
Version reviewed: v1.0.7 on Windows
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Fantastic synth. Sounds as good as it looks. Straight forward, ergonomic and well worth checking out.

Check out the full walkthrough video I created here:

VST Spotlight - Phuturetone GR-8 - YouTube

Reviewed By Chipi [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: 1.0.2 on Windows.
Last edited by Chipi on 29th July 2021.
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The MEMORYMOOG from 1982 was the first polyphonic and storable synthesizer from MOOG MUSIC. Although the POLYMOOG, which had already been published in 1975, had polyphony, it used an octave divider circuit and all voices had to be content with a single filter. In addition, he had no memory slots for his own sound creations. The MEMORYMOOG, on the other hand, had six independent voices, each with its own oscillator trio, filters, envelopes, VCA, etc. And the sounds created with it could be saved and called up again.

At the time, the MEMORYMODE was often regarded as a six-fold MINIMOOG, this may be true to a certain extent, but the matter is not completely true, despite some existing similarities (three oscillators, cascade filter circuitry), there are also a few differences in the sound architecture. For example, the oscillator circuit was realized using the CURTIS CEM3340 chips, which are also used by the competition, while the MINIMOOG still had a discrete design. The MEMORYMOOG also had a separate LFO and the possibility of oscillator synchronization. Two complete ADSR versions are used as envelopes, which are also based on CURTIS chips.

As always, the synth is only available for 64-bit systems, with WINDOWS it must be at least version 7 and with macOS it starts from version 10.9. A standalone version that does not require a host is available as well as plugins in the formats VST2, VST3, AAX and AU. In my test, I only limited myself to the VST variants under WINDOWS 7 and 10, because there is neither an apple computer around here, nor do I use the AAX plugins intended only for PRO TOOLS. My setup consists of a stationary studio computer (CPU i7-4790K with 4 x 4.0 GHz, 16 MB RAM) with WINDOWS 7 and a laptop (CPU i5-4200m with 2 x 2.50 GHz, 4 GB RAM) with WINDOWS 10. On both computers, the MEMORYMODE ran smoothly even with several instances at the same time, without making the respective system sweat.

Let's now turn to the sound architecture of memoryMODE and start with the centrally positioned oscillator department. As with the model, we find here three oscillators, each of which can generate the waveforms pulse (with manually adjustable and modulable pulse width), ascending sawtooth and triangle. The foot position can be 16', 8', 4' or 2'. Oscillators 2 and 3 can be detuned to oscillator 1, the second oscillator can also be synchronized to the first. The third oscillator, on the other hand, can – as was once the case with the MINIMOOG – be moved to the sub-audio range and decoupled from the pitch control by the keyboard in order to use it for modulation purposes.

To the right of the oscillators is the mixer section. Each of the three oscillators can be adjusted separately in its volume, in addition, a white noise can be infinitely add.

This signal mixture then passes first through the filter and then the amplifier. The filter is a replica of the famous MOOG transistor cascade (what else...). In contrast to the original, the slope can be switched between 12 dB and 24 dB per octave. Adjustable parameters include the cut-off frequency(CUTOFF), the resonance (EMPHASIS, extends to self-oscillation), the depth of modulation of the envelope (CONTOURED AMOUNT) and the influence of the played pitch (KB TRACK).

Filter and amplifier envelopes correspond to the classic ADSR variant, the influence of the velocity can be defined in both by virtual rotary knob. For the two envelopes together, there are four switches with the functions RETURN TO ZERO (in the case of notes struck directly one after the other, the attack phase of the last played note is reset to the beginning), UNCONDITIONAL CONTOUR (this is not a hair care product, but causes the envelope to jump to the release phase immediately after the attack phase, even with held notes, which corresponds to an AR envelope), KEYBOARD FOLLOW (the higher the played note, the shorter the course of the attack, decay and release phases) and RELEASE (deactivates the release phase completely, thus obtaining an envelope in the style of the MINIMOOG).

No, I have never fumbled, let alone owned, a real MEMORYMOOG. However, the typical MOOG sound is still generally quite familiar to me, be it through recordings in which it was used, be it through other emulations and above all through hardware devices that I had either borrowed earlier (MOOG PRODIGY) or owned myself (BEHRINGER MODEL D).

The MOOG character is undoubtedly present in the MEMORYMODE (it should be if possible...), massive basses, fat winds and creamy leads are no problem at all. In addition, all kinds of sounds beyond the usual MOOG stereotypes are possible with the MEMORYMODE, such as soft pads, wiry sounds and oblique effects.

Although the basic sound is very convincing overall, I still have to get rid of a small criticism at this point: In the very high keyboard positions, I was able to perceive slight artifacts in some sounds, a kind of metallic-sounding coloring with a cyclic chirping. The phenomenon occurred with all waveforms, but with the pulse wave this was the most intense, and the more oscillators were switched on, the stronger it was audible. I guess this has its cause in an aliasing of the oscillators (?). With the other plugins of CHERRY AUDIO I had not noticed this so far, but I had not particularly focused my ear notice on these.

For all this, however, the MEMORYMODE can do absolutely all. And after I had approached it further in the course of the review, I had to realize that I like the part quite well. It is very fast and easy to use, more flexible in sound than it may seem at first glance, and the basic sound is also right on the whole (with only minor compromises in the very highest, usually hardly used keyboard layers).

CHERRY AUDIO offers the MEMORYMODE on its own website, but it is also available through various online shops. The introductory price this time is 39, - US dollars (currently about 33, - Euro), which is a tenth above the past introductory offers, but is still to be regarded as cheap. The regular selling price should be 59, - US dollars (so around 50, - Euro) (will it ever come...?). If you do not want to buy the cat in a poke, you should make use of the offered demo version, the 30 days should probably be enough to form your own opinion.

Reviewed By BONES [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: 2.0.3 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Concept 2 is a great synth. The first one was decent enough, but quite expensive in a crowded market. Version 2 builds on the inherent strengths of the original Concept with a new granular oscillator, backed up with really good content. It comes with loads of presets and has to be one of the easiest synths you will ever use.

The brilliance of Concept lies in its unique take on modulation. Instead of cramming the GUI with 5 envelopes and 5 LFOs and 5 MSEGs, Concept has 5 modulation sources that can be any of these. Each is colour coded and you can see at a glance where modulation has been applied. Clicking in the coloured window expands it to reveal controls and a modulation list. I think it is just about as close to perfect as it gets and it makes the GUI so much less cluttered, which leads to the best results in the least time.

As well as the new granular osc, the original V/A style osc is still available and it's actually pretty good. Each osc has two waveforms you can mix together and there are FM ratio and depth controls. The Granular osc takes things to another level. As I said, there is lots of good sample content to throw into it and there are three panels of controls to play around with, including more FM. I don't find it as easy to get good results from as Pigments but you can do plenty with it. The content covers a lot of territory, from a range of sampled synths through to cockatoo and parrot sounds.

The filter doesn't try to model any classic analogue sound, it's a very straight interpretation of what a resonant filter should be. But it is definitely quite useful, with LP, HP and BP modes at 12 or 24dB/octave, as well as a formant mode. There is a pre-filter drive to fatten up the sound, too.

There are 3 effects slots and a choice of 10 different effects. They all do a pretty good job and the reverb is a convolution jobbie and you can drag'n'drop any sample file into it for some pretty interesting/weird effects. The filter effect is exactly the same as the synth filter and all the effects parameters can be modulated, so there is a lot of sound shaping power here.

Overall, this is a terrific synth that is really easy to get great results from with a minimum of effort. The presets are great and plentiful and even after a few weeks I haven't gone through them all because I keep getting distracted by great patches. CPU usage isn't too bad and the resizable GUI is mostly great, although some switches are a bit small. If you're looking at Pigments, you should also check this out. It's not as full featured but I reckon it covers a lot of sonic territory and I think it sounds better.

Reviewed By psyfin [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: Main on Windows
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It's good for what it does. Also uselful in an effect chain along with a multieffect processor like tantra.

Reviewed By Faydit [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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Good, very natural sound. I only would have liked a slightly better adjustable, faster attack, maybe as option. Nevertheless great tones.

Reviewed By MarulaMusic [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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Another great release from Cherry Audio. I have all of their previous stand alone synths and this is my favorite by a long shot. It's far more flexible than the Juno and yet still super simple and fun to program without having to get into patching things manually like the ARP and MS20 models they've done. I've always been surprised that the Memory Moog hasn't been modeled in software more seeing as it's counterparts, all the legendary poly synths from the early eighties such as the Jupiter 8, Sequential Prophet 5 and Oberheim OBXa, have had numerous iterations released in software form from various developers over the years.

They've added some additions not available in the original hardware which are much appreciated in the form of additional fx. The GUI is clean and intuitive, it's fairly lightweight in the resources department and it sounds fantastic. This feels very much like U-He's Repro to me (the design of the Moog and Prophet are not far off, though the Moog does have the extra oscillator available), which is big compliment from me seeing as it is one of my favorite VST's of all time. I'm not sure it's quite as polished in certain respects like the FX, but like with most of Cherry Audio's synths, at $49, Memorymode is an absolute steal. I'd highly recommend picking this up.

Reviewed By elviecho [read all by] on 27th July 2021
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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Very nice violin! It sounds natural and expressive. I like that dry sound, not "pimped" with a big reverb, so you can do your own thing from scratch. Great job, Sample Science.