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Razor [read all reviews]
Reviewed By willum070 [read all by] on 28th March 2011
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by willum070 on 28th March 2011.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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Native Instruments Razor is a breath of fresh air! It's completely unique, sounds great and looks cool too. Browsing through the available oscillators, filters, and effects, you'll see a few things you may not have seen before on other synths. When you tweak the parameters, you're actually using one single giant oscillator with 320 additive partials. Even the effects aren't true "effects", but act directly on the additive model. Modulation routing is quick and intuitive. The sound quality for this thing is phenomenal, and the CPU usage is manageable (I got up to around 50% on my dual-core laptop, never came close to pegging the CPU). And of course because it's made in Reaktor, you can dig into the structure to see how it works and save your own copy to modify (that is if you have a full license for Reaktor). At this stage I think I'll be happy just to gain a better understanding of how the powerful and versatile Sine Bank module is employed. If you don't have a full license for Reaktor you can still use it in the Reaktor Player. So no excuses!
To address the "but isn't this synth really just made for those dubstep and wobble sounds" argument: yes it can generate those sounds quite nicely. But it can step way beyond them quite quickly. I found myself making some really beautiful bell type pads, which could in turn transmute into some really nasty high harmonics with the twist of a knob. You can create some analog-ish sounding patches, but why do that when you can make swooping galactic clouds, intelligent plasma flux, or sinister evolving nanoscale robot geometrics. If you like programming percussion sounds then you're in for a treat, because Razor can do a wide range of those (sub-bass anyone?). It's very versatile, and can create a very broad range of sounds. I'll reiterate again, that despite the sophisticated concept it is actually quite easy to use. And the graphic display is neat to watch! Well worth the asking price, and one of the coolest things I've downloaded for quite some time (and I am addicted to this stuff).
Mr. Alias Pro [read all reviews]
Reviewed By willum070 [read all by] on 7th September 2009
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by willum070 on 7th September 2009.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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Mr. Alias Pro is a fantastic weird scientific noise factory. It specializes in everything from pulsating static ambience fields through atonal distorted sounds, on to weird nuclear plucked sounds, and desiccated formant pads that sound like they were recorded in a vacant lot on a moon of Saturn. Although it can be used to create more traditional sounds, its utility obviously lies in dialing in that crazy Nyquistian madness. It sits nicely alongside other synths in a mix. The aliasing serves to provide a unique form of playability, whereby various key combinations do not always produce chords but can interact in harmonically interesting ways. There are several "effects" that make it possible to get the most from each patch. Mr. Alias Pro comes with a generous allowance of presets, but I think the most fun is using the random patch generation feature. These patches are really fun to jam with, and the filter's formant mode is quite effective. The UI is resizeable as well, you can drag the corner to make it really really teeny or ridiculously huge. All of the UI elements scale accordingly. An interesting approach to resizing. Detailed documentation is also included. It loaded and ran without a hitch in Ableton Live 8.0.1, and nothing bad happened in the first few hours of noodling around. Using it in a couple slots in a current track. Yummy crispy radiation soundtracks from the dark side of the solar system.
Automaton [read all reviews]
Reviewed By willum070 [read all by] on 15th September 2008
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by willum070 on 15th September 2008.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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Automaton is definitely one of the most original plugins to come around in a long time. It's an effects sequencer that is based on "cellular automata", the idea of patterns evolving in the style of life forms. Basically you choose a set of "rules" by which the patterns generate, and populate the grid with triggers that can each set off one of four effects (bit crush, modulate, replicate, and stutter). It's perfect for adding variations to percussive loops, melodic pieces, and pretty much anything that you want to enhance with textural glitch modification. In fact it reminds me of the wonderful Illformed Glitch plug-in, although it is much more conceptually expansive in terms of the random variations that can be created. And it's loads of fun!! Stable in Ableton Live 7.0.10, although I had a minor issue when initially loading it. Re-building the plugins file solved the problem. Their support is excellent, I got a prompt response to my support request (the same day no less). Sound quality is very good, a source sound goes in one end and some very interesting versions of that sound come out of the other. Overall I highly recommend this plug, it is a superb implementation of a fascinating concept and a great value for the money.
BDM (Broken Drum Machine) [read all reviews]
Reviewed By willum070 [read all by] on 1st February 2008
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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Okay, this is the funnest plug I've had the pleasure of playing in a while. I've circuit-bent a few instruments in my time, so I really appreciate the "broken" aesthetic. This instrument is F-U-N!!! It's oozing with glitchy variances, ranging from mild to completely wrecked. It's basically a combination of PCM using a set of drum samples, and VCO (you can mix between the two for each pad. Right off the bat it's a cool "vintage" drum sound, and you can take it into realms of blissful insanity by adjusting the chaos upward or downward. You can swap out the samples with your own if you like, and the interface can easily be re-skinned. The excellent documentation has instructions for creating "modkits", which are combinations of skins and samples. It comes with a good assortment of presets and one additional modkit right out of the box. The variation you can get with the basic sample set is just SICK. The sound quality is great, as with all NUSofting products (well, as great as intentional malfunctions can sound which to my ears sounds wonderful). Another cool feature of this instrument is the ability to alter the pitch of drum pads using the keyboard. Rather than being melodic, the pitch change really affects the quality of broken-ness, lending an even finer palette to the array of glitchitude that can be achieved. This goes far beyond simply distorting, I don't know what they did in there but it sounds like transistors are frying and ICs are being eviscerated. The nicest part is that you'll never smell a whiff of smoke, followed by an abrupt and permanent silence (rest in peace my beloved Casio). BDM is pure glitcherosity and deconstructive buzzification, tons of fun, and a great value.