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Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 13th January 2003
Version reviewed: 1.6 on Windows
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Crazy Diamonds is another one of those very small specialized softsynths that only attempt to do one thing, in this case it's capture the sound and vibe of a Solina String Ensemble. It's not alone in this respect, as Big Tick's Cheese Machine attempts the same thing, and I must say that both of these synths though specialized, do what they do very well, while still sounding unique. Crazy Diamonds sounds a little more vintage than Cheese Machine, and seems better at quickly reproducing those classic String Ensemble sounds as it has the organ-esque sound of the Solina's. Crazy Diamonds also allows for more control over the sound than Cheese Machine which is nice, but doesn't take away from the quality of the latter. If you're looking for some cool simple vintage string/pad sounds, then you owe it to yourself to download both, but don't expect either to do much more than that. Also experiment with layering these sounds with different string sounds, either from other synths, or samples for even more fun. I love simple, and specialized VSTi's, as long as they do that task well, and Crazy Diamonds fits the bill. Of all the freeware that has come and gone from my VST Plug-ins folder Crazy Diamonds has been a constant.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 12th January 2003
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I'm surprised I'd never gotten around to reviewing this as I've had it for so long. This is truly a must have freebie, a one trick pony, that does that trick rather well. Do you want chessey 70s style string/pads, with little fuss? This is one of the two VSTi's that will do the job, easily and very well. The other is Crazy Diamonds, and frankly everyone should own both, they're very similar, but still sound very different. The idea with this seems to have been to provide VST users with something along the lines of a Solina String Ensemble, i.e. easy analog string sounds. The sounds sit in a mix very well, and sound even better when layered with either more complex synth string sounds, or string samples. Download this for the one thing it does very well and you'll love it.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 3rd January 2003
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I got the DR-008 with Sonar XL a while back, and really hardly used it, not that it wasn't good, but it was just easier to go on using my hardware drum machine whose kits and program eccentricities I was used to.One day I came across a huge zip file of several classic drum machines, and mapped them out to the DR-008 and found the process to be extremely intuitive, "nice" I thought, but again would only use the DR-008 when I needed one of those kits. So then I discover a very large drum kit on the net with multiple velocities which needs to be mapped out. Now I'm thinking this is going to be a pain as opposed to the single velocity analog style drum machine sounds I had mapped in the past, but this thought couldn't have been more wrong. The DR-008 made mapping out this huge (200+MB) kit a breeze, and extremely intuitive. Having access to all the pads in one screen, then the method of assigning/editing modules (anything from a sampler to a drum synth) to those pads was not only easy in a relative perspective, but so easy that never having done anything like this before, I only needed to consult the manual (extremely well written BTW) to find out which of the four sampler modules was the one I wanted to use. From then on in I was home free. Angus has a forum here, and has always been extremely helpful anytime I've ever had a problem with any FXpansion product. The GUI is a bit intimidating at first, but insanely easy to come to grips with, it's just not as sexy as it probably could be, but extremely functional. As far as I'm concerned this is THE drum sampler to own.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 19th December 2002
Version reviewed: 1.2 on Windows.
Last edited by Funkybot on 16th June 2003.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I've been waiting and waiting for a combo organ VSTi that didn't cost 300 bucks [B4], and suddenly Combosister appeared. This instrument really does a great job of nailing all those classic Vox, Farfisa, etc combo organ tones, while covering all the areas in between them, and sounds going beyond any of them as well. The GUI is fairly nice, it's the nice redish/orange continental color, and does everything it's supposed to but it could be a bit more sexy (black/white key scheme or just a bit more organ looking). But that's really just me nitpicking. The presets are fairly marginal, but I expect some new ones will be on the way covering more vintage combo organ terrain. The manual could also probably use a bit of beefing up, but if your fairly familiar with how drawbars work you'll be able to play this one by ear fairly well. I'm using this in Sonar and have yet to have any trouble with the plug and Dash's costumer support is just great as well. If you like organ sounds this is an absolute must have plug-in, you can't nail those cheesey 60s pop/rock/surf sounds without this, and even if that's not your thing this can go way beyond all that. The price is right, it sounds great, check this out and be prepared to spend some time with this and love it.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 9th December 2002
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I got this one in the ST contest that IK ran a while back, thinking I'd take this to cover some of the ground I was missing in the brass department. The sounds aren't too bad, but not fantastic or mind blowing by any means. For the most part they are just passible, and even with clever programming probably wouldn't fool too many people into thinking you had a live brass section in with you. To be fair though, brass is probably the hardest instrument group to make sound real via sampling. As far as the samples go, you are limited to trumpet and alto sax as far as single instruments, and a few variations on the mixes. Neither one of these sound particularly great, but in a mix with some live instruments the solo instruments may sound real enough if you were just looking to just add a simple horn melody to a track, but I wouldn't expect much more from this library. The mixed sections are fairly mediocre, though having a few variations on the falls is certainly nice. If you're looking for a great brass library, I simply think you'd have to go for one of the more expensive libraries into your favorite sampler, as right now there is nothing else on the market like this. Considering the price of a good AKAI brass library though, I think this kind of falls in line with "well you get what you pay for" and may work well enough for those not looking for or who can't afford the expensive libraries.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 25th November 2002
Version reviewed: 1.05 on Windows.
Last edited by Funkybot on 26th November 2002.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Ok I've really tried to love this synth but something about it just won't let me. The sound of this just doesn't get me excited the way some other softsynths do. There's nothing about the oscs or the filters that really has me jumping up for joy, but again I can't nail what it is I don't really like about them, they just seem a bit to nonspectacular to me. Even as a freebie I think FreeAlpha and the CM101 sound better, but Synth1 does have a few things up on the others. For instance the arpegiator, why don't all softsynths have one? It's just so much fun to play with and really brings some life to what I consider to be a less than spectacular synth. Also there's DXi version. Big ups to the developer for doing this, again I hope other devs take note of this. Let's not forget the inclusion of a mono/legato mode, some devs have been known to overlook this at times. The last super cool thing about this (aside from it being free of course) is the CPU useage. Wow does this thing hardly take up any CPU! I'm convinced I could run 15 instances of this before I'd get near spiking the CPU. The GUI needs some work, it's not bad, but some nice textures would really help out. All in all this is staying on my hard drive if only for it's strong points, but I'm not otherwise overly impressed by this.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 4th September 2002
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Not yet owning a sampler, but meaning to get around to buying one, the news of the DS404 coming free with CM50 just had my psyched (hey now I just had to buy a magazine not a soft-sampler). Upon getting it, I thought "wow this thing looks scary, I'm not going to be able to figure this out," but after all of half an hour going through the tutorials in CM50 I had gotten down most of the basic features. Within a day with the DS404 I was pretty sure I had it all down. The interface is a bit confusing with all the different function keys, but you can quickly get the gist of them and even memorize what goes where. My main complaint is the lack of keyboard shortcuts, as well as mouse selections. There's no portamento, or sustain pedal response as well, the inclusion of which would have put this sampler over the top, but what do you expect for a freebie. Another complaint of mine is how picky the DS404 can be in regards to opening wavs. It seems if you go through a .wav editor you should be fine, but exporting a .wav out of Sonar and into the DS404 is just not happening until I go through another program to resave the .wav file. I really wish DS404 was a little less picky about .wav files as it would save me one extra step in the sample making process, but since most folks use wave editors anyway it probably won't be a problem for too many people, and even if it is putting them in Winamp and exporting the .wavs from there will do the trick. The samples included aren't amazing, but are certainly usable, take the Rhodes patches for instance, both are nice and would sit well in a mix, and the samples you don't like could easily be mangled into something else that you may. All in all DS404 had me creating my own multisamples within a day, having never done it before. It's well worth the price of the mag, and should be a welcome addition to any VST setup as well as a great way to intro yourself to the world of sampling. I'm looking forward to what Muon does with it.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 29th May 2002
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows.
Last edited by Funkybot on 11th October 2002.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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DaOrgan is a nice option for those of us who still can't afford the B4, but don't expect a straight out B3 clone with DaOrgan. This bad boy has a more modern edge than the B4, and just sounds fantastic. The great thing about the sound of this is that it can pull of some very nice B3-esque sounds, in fact version 2 seems to have gotten even closer to the B3 with the improved leslie and tonewheels. What is also nice is that by simply turning off the leslie and spending some time with the drawbars you can get pretty convincing combo organ tones out of it as well (especially once in a mix). The version 2 Leslie sounds great, and it now has fast/slow switching and syncable leslie speeds/acceleration which is quite the nice touch. I'd also love to use this Leslie as an effect, as it really does sound sweet so put that on my wishlist. The vibrato depth has also been increased in version 2, so you can get a very nice deep combo like vibrato now. The docs could use a couple of paragraphs explaining what drawbars are, and how they work as people unfamiliar with them may be quite daunted at first, but aside from that they go on to explain all of the other features/functions very well. One thing I would like to see is easier preset selection, as right now you have to go to a whole other screen just to load each preset or go through the up/down arrows, whereas a pop-up box would be much easier. Peter from Linplug also has a forum here, and is just great with customer support. I've never ever had a problem with this in Sonar via Fxpansions adapter, so stability is really a non-issue (as it should be). All in all this is one of my most used plug-ins, and for the cash it's an amazing bargain, if you need an organ plug-in you owe it to yourself to check this bad boy out before you shell out a lot more money for another.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 8th April 2002
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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Not a bad synth, but dissapointing nonetheless. I was reluctant to download it at first as I've already got plenty of VSTi's but some of the reviews here convinced me to try it out. Well this thing certainly sounds digital which is kind of nice, but I just could not get into this thing at all. The envolope presets rather than controls was a good idea by the developer, but that was about there wasn't too much else I liked about this, it's just not my thing. With some work this could really go somewhere but as of right now it's not going to be getting any use from me.
Reviewed By Funkybot [read all by] on 7th April 2002
Version reviewed: 1.01 on Windows.
Last edited by Funkybot on 8th April 2002.
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I think I'm alone on this one but I actually like Triangle 1 better than T2, I don't know why maybe it's the less options but T1 definately had that certain something that I just don't get as strongly from T2. I'm also not too big on the new GUI, if I could have a blend between the original Triangle GUI with the functionality of the new one I'd be a happy camper, as the blue/grey isn't doing much for me. The presets are also a bit lackluster but there's also a few gems in there. As far as the sound goes it's your classic RGC sound which is great, the addition of effects was nice (but I doubt how much I'll be using the decimator), and the option to use different filters was just fantastic as was the sub osc. The best thing about this has got to be the microhost, this just makes it so easy to do some major patch tweaking while I'm doing other things without having to worry about having a sequencer open. I was more impressed with this after spending some time tweaking and coming up with my own patches, but aside from the sub osc, filter types, and the chorus I wasn't really using anything that wasn't in T1. Anyway I'm just so used to the old version, the sentimental geek that I am, but this truly is a top notch synth. It's not too far at all from being the mono Pentagon 1, and is capable of some great and diverse lead/bass sounds. If your on a PC it'd be silly not to get this. Oh and did I mention the midi learn features? It's so easy to assign CCs with this thing. The one request I made to Rene regarding this was that I think you should be able to have more than one midi input, that way my knob box on my SBs Midi Port, and my keyboard on my Midisport could be used at once, and Rene said he'd try to get it in. In closing this is another top notch RGC synth. Did I mention that this also the first freeware DXi that I can think of, glad to see some smaller devolpers supporting the format.