I recently downloaded the free Triangle 1 from RGC Audio, and liked it so much that I use it as my examples for synth-programming tutorials on my own site. I didn't quite have the money for Pentagon 1 yet, but since I was impressed by the sound of RGC's synth engine, I decided to buy the Square 1 until I could afford it's bigger sibling. I was quite pleasantly suprised. I expected a polyphonic Triangle, but the Square is much, much more. There is a deeper level to the synth thanks to knobs that can have two functions. For example, an aftertouch knob might double as a breath-controller knob. A nice touch, sort of reminding me of the old Oberheim synths. Unfortunately, this can make the interface a little confusing at first, but I'll soon become used to it. The sound this thing generates is certainly huge! Three oscillators and individual LFOs make for some mostrous, swirling pads. A happy suprise was the "Random Patch Generator", accessed by clicking on the "Square 1" logo. This had me creating "Dr. Who" sounds all night! The downloadable manual is complete and essential, as the Square is a complex synthesizer. It does a good job expaining all of the functions. The presets are good, and there are a lot of them. They remind me a lot of the presets in the synths from the late seventies/eighties, particularly those from the Prophets. And the customer service is the best I've ever seen. There was a problem with Share It accessing my E-mail, and though it wasn't even his fault, Rene had it fixed within the day! The price for Square has recently been lowered to $35, so that makes it hard to pass up! I've certainly bought some VSTis in boxes that sounded nowhere near this good for four times as much. As for stability, there has never, ever been even the tiniest problem with an RGC Audio product in my system, and the Square 1 is no exception. You have $35? Go get this synth.
Almost a year ago exactly, I went out looking for an ARP OMNI 2. I'd been missing that gooey, swirling wash that you hear on Tangerine Dream, JMJ, and even "Closer" by Joy Division. I came home with a battered hulk of a thing that may have once been an OMNI 2 (it was) for $200. I've used it on just about everything until now. Bick Tick's Cheeze Machine will have the OMNI's chair in this year's ensemble. The lush, artificial pads, the phased "Equinoxe" sweeps, it does it all, and without the noise floor of the OMNI 2. It sounds marvellous, and the GUI is gorgeous! Okay, it doesn't have any rust-colored leather panels like the OMNI (YUCK), but the wood grain and brushed aluminum panel makes one look for the "Univox" nameplate. I'm giving it high marks for features, 'cause it has a built in reverb, and hey, this is 1977, right? That's a bonus! Never bothered to look for documentation, as it says all I need right on the front-panel. There are a smattering of good presets (twice as many as my ARP!), and I've already used one or two in songs with little tweaking. It does seem to sit nicely into any track, more than some modern string pads. It's stable as heck, never a glitch (though I can't figure out how to set my Prophet on top of it!). And it's from Big Tick, so the support, if needed, would be great. As for value, see the above figure to understand what I would pay for this sound. Thanks, Tick!
Holy cow! How many superlatives am I allowed to describe this absolute stunner of a synth? This thing fulfills the promise made by so many other analog emulators. Quite frankly, I had grown bored with that particular trend, but the Triangle 1 has shaken me out of my ennui. After plonking down HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of dollars on merely "good" sounding analog plug-ins, here is a freebie that'll get a lot more use than any of 'em. I'm an aging analog synth hack, and I've owned most of the names you'd recognise, and a lot you wouldn't. I still have a room full of the wood and metal beasties, but they, too, will be used less often than Triangle 1. It sounds AMAZING! As good as my NORD. A lot of people don't like the interface, it seems, but I think it's marvellous. Everything is where it oughta be, and follows a logical path from the oscillators straight through to the much-appreciated DDL. Speaking of which, the delay is a nice touch, and gives an "instant-Klaus-Schulze" gratification, without depriving the synth of it's presence. Three LFOs!!! Okay, so it's monphonic, but that doesn't deflate the price of a used Minimoog. The presets are superb and inspiring. Documentation? It's an ANALOG SYNTH, you fool! You don't need documentation! As for customer support, they give a free synth, fer criminysake! I call that support. Stable? So far, and that's through DirectiXer, so pretty good, there. Oh, and it'd be a value at a hundred bucks. I'm definately ordering up the Pentagon when I have the dough!
Wow! A PPG Wave for under two-hundred smackers! The original PPG Wave was a unique machine, and certainly an aqquired taste (largely aqquired by those with bulging wallets). I first heard the convoluted, sometimes harsh sound of PPG's brand of digital wavetable synthesis on "Stuntman" by Tangerine Dream frontman Edgar Froese. Quite refreshing after a decade of nothin' but analog! Well, here we go again! After a seeming endless stream of analog rehashes, Waldorf bucks the trend with a PPG plug-in. If you like the sound of the original, you're gonna love this software version. It's dead-on in it's recreation, down to the aliasing noise and the wonky LFO (you can switch these imperfections off if you like). Just like the Old Boy himself, the PPG 2.V comes with thirty-two wavetables that provide an immense resource for sound-creation. You can play any given section of a wavetable, or you can use aftertouch, the LFO, or an envelope to rip through a wavetable in real-rime for that classic PPG sound. The recreation of the analog filter from the original is flawlessly flawed, and this synth is no slouch in the bass department. You can get those gritty, punchy bass sounds heard on Gary Numan's "The Fury" or Frankie's "Relax" with little effort. It's got a nifty arpeggiator that syncs to your song's tempo (as can the LFO), and the graphic envelope display is a breeze to use. The manual is a bit thin, but you only get to the guts of this thing through experimentation, anyhow. It's never hiccupped or crashed during use, which is a fair miracle, as I use it in SONAR as a DXi (with the aid of FXPansion's VST Adapter). Guess it thrives in alien territory! The presets include most, if not all, of the original factory sounds, which means they either sound dated or timeless, depending on your take of that era. Is it worth $149? Heck, it was worth $8000 to a lot of people smarter than you and I twenty years ago. Read more