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Reviewed By mayan [read all by] on 11th February 2006
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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I'm here today to testify regarding one of the great, unsung VSTi synths - the PS-1. Not scolding but I'm amazed, quite frankly that it's been left to me to sing the praises of this gem and I'm not worthy. I'm not a total synth head or sound-designer -just a humble musician- haven't gone deep under the hood with the PS-1 but in my excursions with this kit I'm REALLY impressed.

I'm sure there are people who have better ears, better synth knowledge or whatever but there is VERY little that this doesn't do - if anything. And does it incredibly well. My most major impression is that this is a synth that was designed by sound-designers and musicians and implemented/coded with love by DashSignature (one of my favs).

It's kinda like a Swiss-Army knife of synths. Great pads, effects, leads, basses...simple sounds, complex sound... you name it. It can be done and with wonderful quality. Look what it comes with...four oscillators (that can load one's own samples if ya wanna play that way), arpeggiator, trance gate, and mods that can just about modify everything. It also has great effects on board. (Ok...maybe it doesn't have 15 different filters to choose from but the filters that are there are "cherce" - as Spencer Tracy once described Katherine Hepburne).

This is where my lack of true synth knowledge comes in and why it's a shame that I'm doing the review - I can't precisely go into great depth regarding what it can't do because, simply, I haven't found what it can't do...maybe more intrepid/knowledgeable explorers can fill in the blanks. Likewise, I can't really talk about aliasing or filter-oscillator quality because I'm just a simple musician who loves playing in the sand-box of sound - and this gives me ample room to spend joyous hours there.

The PS-1 comes with, I think, approximately 1000 presets. Yes, it's true, there don't seem to be any independent banks but with 1000 presets and the synths inherent and intuitive tweakability, there's plenty to play with and it's clear that the designers -including Tim Conrady, Frank Neuman and Stewart Henderson- obviously created their banks with imagination, care and zeal.

GUI -for me- is simple and intuitive. Of course, I'm not a graphic designer but rather a function or form type of guy. Seems like most everything I want is accessible on the front panel. The only thing I haven't been able to find is the version number. Nor do I think it has a help page accessible from the panel - the only reason I mention it is I'm not sure what version I'm using. I don't even know if there are different version...therefore I put Version 1 in the "version" field.

Stability has been rock-solid. And the bang for the buck is a no-brainer. It's friggin' cheap compared to comparable stuff on the market. So...why is this first review being written so many months after its release? Why is there no 'buzz' about it? Beats me. Probably because the people behind it are too busy making sounds then spending top dollar doing glossy marketting.

If you are looking for a synth that will do much if not everything in the way of sound-design AND sound beautifully while doing it...do yourself a favor and scarf this one up. And enjoy. Bon appetit!

(And nope...I'm not employed nor on the take from Pro-Sounds, although I have found them delightful to deal with.)
Reviewed By mayan [read all by] on 19th December 2004
Version reviewed: 1.1c on Windows
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Alright! I'm in love. I'm in radical amazement. I'm slack-jawed knocked out by Kubik. Been lost the last few days in exploring it. I don't know whether it's a strange serendipity of synth and preset (and there are several sound-designers from KVR that contributed) but the sound-designers seem particularly inspired and so playing around with the sounds has been really delightful.

I'm not a heavy synth-tech guy nor am I a great under-the-hood, from-scratch tweaker but ever since I started fooling around with Kubik I find myself slipping deeper and deeper into different and varied aural universes. I don't think of it as being the type of synth that can emulate accoustic instruments - although maybe it can (and I did hear some nice el. piano kind of stuff) - but I do think of it as being incredibly musical. By that I mean, I can see it having real inspirational value in working up soundscapes etc. Long evolving pads, richly colored tapestries of sounds, spacial ascents, sublimely bizarre effects. I'm still exploring it after a few days and still have nowhere close to feeling like I know it's boundaries. That may also be one of the benefits of having banks from different developers...people seem to have a very different take of Kubik...giving alot of choice in type of preset.

I had a bit of an early tussle getting it installed and going but that could well have been my fault or the fault of my system. Jon, as per usual, was very gracious and quick with support. There's a MIDI learn function -which is great...and other aspects of the synth seem to be really well thought out and intuitive. I can take a preset and mangle it in moments. There are hundreds (maybe) of different waveforms and wavetables to continually mix and match so I think of Kubik as being relatively infinite in the choice available. I admit that I haven't finished the manual yet but it seems comprehensive and straight-forward.

Best of all, I've found, once I got it working right, that the exquisite, richness of the sounds is not choking my CPU -even when I play full chords or evolving pads with delays and other effects. This efficiency is of particular importance to me as some of my other favorites tend to smother my Athlon 2100+ CPU.

In sum, I love ConcreteFX synths for having unique character and a bit of attitude. With this synth, though, Jon has taken synthesis to a whole new level. I give it the highest recommendation. I will stop going on and on about it now so I can get back to playing with it.
Reviewed By mayan [read all by] on 23rd November 2004
Version reviewed: Not Sure on Windows
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Let me first say that, like the other reviewers, I am a beta-tester and have watched the ZeroVector grow from childhood through adolescence to maturity. It's an astounding soft-synth!

While I am not a sound-engineer in terms of pre-set design -nor am I a terribly technical person- I am a musician...and this is simply one of the most versatile, "musical" synths that I have had the pleasure to play. In my musical world, it has sat quite splendidly in a mixex and has been the crown-jewel in a couple of creations.

There is a rich sound to this VA-type synth which can result in pure aural ear-candy. The sound is clear, warm and profound. Probably one of the best soft-synths I have ever had the privilege to get my hands on. The availability of the Vector-Pad and XY-pad also give a lot of programmable depth and variance to a pre-set. (Actually, the Vector-Pad is programmable and automated whereas, I don't believe the XY-Pad is automated -though I wish it were - still in all, it's great). There are several different wave-forms to use in three different oscillators.

There are alot of pre-sets by several different parties, including the creator. They are wonderfully varied and also make excellent leaping-off points for those who want to take the sounds further. This synth can do alot and even I have found programming to be quite intuitive. I haven't quite mastered the envelope formatting - which is a bit different than other synths- but similar to other White Noise creations. This is my fault, not the synth's and can be attributed to late-night lazainess. I also don't believe that there's a MIDI-learn function, which I would love. This does not detract, however, from an incredibly useful product. I have immediately assigned it a place in my soft-synth pantheon.

In sum, I'm still getting to know this instrument but I know it well-enough to find it immensely useable and musical. It is definately a must-try.
Reviewed By mayan [read all by] on 14th June 2004
Version reviewed: 3.03 on Windows.
Last edited by mayan on 14th June 2004.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Wow! I don't know how perfection can become more perfect but with the addition of several new modules, what was already an extraordinary synth experience just went a notch higher and the VazMod just keeps getting better. I don't know Vaz's creator, Martin Fay, but I picture this peripatetic figure scurrying around a work room trying to implement all the new ideas that spring from his fevered brow as new ones erupt. I VERY seldom review but after spending 30 minutes with the new version, I gotta rhapsodize.

The Vaz Mod can -simply- do about anything and do it incredibly well. The filters are non-pareil - and at this point, there are several different filters to choose from. To my ears, Vaz can convincingly whisper molten silk or rend space with dirty,rasping screams that give famed hardware components a run for their money.

There are several oscillators, including sine(FM), stock, granular, wavetable (that can load samples), and the newest, curiously morphing Cosmo oscillators - don't know quite what they do yet. Modules include waveshapers. inverters. scalers. Several different LFO shapes, etc. etc. Just about everything can patch and modulate everything else and create either amazing emulations or -as in my case- sounds that have not been heard by Earthlings before. One can also have as many modules as your CPU will allow. I'm not even covering the sequencer and arp possibilities.

Don't be afraid! Although I've owned Vaz products for most of my synthesis career, I finally decided to make a stand and start learning modular synthesis in an effort to stop being quite so dependent upon the kindness of strange sound designers. What Vaz offers is a fall through the rabbit-hole of almost complete freedom. I was totally intimidated (for years) but after making the decision to learn, I can't go back. I now realize that -once the system is grasped (and -to my surprise after procrastinating in fear for so long- it really did not cause me to break much of a sweat), Vaz modular methodology is really quite simple and common-sensical. And a blast. What makes it hard and fascinating is that the choices are infinite.

I would love to see a completed tutorial - although I'm more than happy for Martin to continue bringing new modules to life rather than write the final chapters. I would also love to see more presets by sound designers that utilize the new modules. OTOH, Vaz can open patches from old versions and from the Vaz2010...so there are many many patches to get one up and going and creating masterpieces.

It's the road less taken, y'all. I truly love and can rhapsodize about the other synths I have (including the Reaktor Sessions and Tera) but for me, Vaz is a truly amazing and accessible journey deep into the world of the modular and it does not cost thousands of dollars and expansive knowledge of voltage and ohms to get me there. If you can't tell, I HIGHLY recommend it if you are serious about synthesis.
Reviewed By mayan [read all by] on 23rd January 2004
Version reviewed: 1.00 on Windows
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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First review here. I've lurked...I've read, but I've never spoken out. I'm not very conversant in the language of synths so I don't know if I can add to the technical stuff already ably supplied by ew and Spe3D. Whatever they said, I agree with!

As a musician, I'm in love. I have a number of different synths and they are each excellent in their own way. Let's put it like this, I'm just beginning to learn to program many of these wonderful synths but with the White Noise Additive, I'm able to stumble around in an intuitive way and make usable sounds really quickly. And these sounds are not hackneyed cliched thangs, either. While all synthesizers make music, this is somehow for me a very musical synthesizer...we just sort of bonded and hit the deck running. Alright, I admit to really enjoy playing in the sandbox of sound and with the Whitenoise Additive it feels like a vast expanse. The sounds cover the gamut from usable bells and pads to the lullabye sung somewhere down the wormhole that's to the right of alpha centurae. The .bmp files also help to make it incredibly flexible.

Because it's additive, I think it has a unique sound and while I don't know additive well enough to know all the differences between White Noise, Cameleon, Vertigo and Adder, I do know that they all seem to have their own je ne sais qua...the Additive though is something that I have been going to alot because it seems so intuitive to work something up from scratch. I'm not too particularly taken by the manual. It's a flash help file. It's an interesting approach and not unhelpful but I'm still 20th century enough to want to hold text in my hand. It has been relatively stable. So far so good.

And besides, I really like the pretty spectrums. Yeah!
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