I bought it in the very early days. But honestly I didn't use it much till recently, as my previous host didn't support drag'n drop.
I used to have some problems with it, but bitshift had provided good and responsive replies during our correspondence. My personal experience with tech support is pleasant.
Even today, with several competitiors available, it's still pretty good at what it does. Simply slice and go, and some crazy mangling is right at the fingertip. Drag and drop the MIDI or sliced audio into the sequencer(as long as your host supports dragn' drop) and you're all set.
Updates are rather slow but they do keep coming. Even though it's sad there's no plan for further development for the Windows version beyond v1.2, it still stands as a good loop slicer as it is.
Some implied features never got implemented, such as time-stretch function(bitshift mentioned it a long time ago). But I see it as a possible bonus, so I'm not that disappointed.
Pros: straightforward and ease of use. Can save slice points in the wave files. Great MIDI drag'n drop feature.
Cons: the file broswer is less than convenient(addressed with 'favorite folders' in 1.1, but still not perfect). No visible plan for further development on the Windows Platform beyond v1.2.
This is simply the best pluck type VSTi in the market. It beats all other competitors in both accoustic/metal emulation, and it doesn't count on abusing effects that much as others do. Since it's more advanced than all other competing plugs, it demands the users to understand how its innovative features work. It's not just yet another lifeless "plug and play" simple synth. You have to dial up the sound you want.
I'm a beta-tester, but this review is by no means a sales pitch. I'm very excited and happy with it since I have been very disappointed in pretty much all other similar plugs out there that can actually be replaced with cheap soundfonts. The Abstract Guitar is in another league from that.
The Board Ring and velocity-controlled Oscillator-switch/decay/envelope together bring more life into this synth. This innovative concept has made the Abstract Guitar musically expressive and above the usually dull pluck plugs.
The included manual is quite useful and solid. Though a bit more tuturial-oriented content may be necessary for the new user.
A hint for whoever needs it: Play with different octaves. Play with Board Ring and velocity-switch. Play with the chording features. You'll see you won't be able to achieve the sound in any other pluck-type plugs.
This thing really grows on me. It has actually become one of my favorite plugins. I can hardly believe it myself.
As a betatester, I've been tamed by the dash guys. I used to like synths that make sound pierces through the eardrums and cuts the mix like a knife. I still do, but now I'm also deeply fond of the milder sound these dash VSTis make. All dash VSTis so far have one thing in common: the sound that makes me feel cozy and warm, be it daAlfa2k, Combosister, or this daHornet.
IMO, daHornet has the similar sound charachter to Oddity, as they both are modelled after vintage synths around the same period. daHornet is very very capable of making some "crappy" crazy noises that no other VSTi can do easily. That's my first impression of it.
I LOVE that kind of noise.
The presets are good. The patch generator is good too, but I find tweaking the knobs is much much more fun.
CPU usage is minimal on my PIII 800 (one instance only takes around 7%-9% CPU).
I LOVE the look of it.
Seeing a WASP sitting in my host is amazingly enjoyable.
The implementation of three sound-types of random patch generation is very cool. Very clever. Expect to see more developers adopting this route.
As for the sound...It's very different from most of the VSTis' out there. The sound is cozy and warm instead of knife-like sharp. When being used in a mix, it blends in. I think this characteristic empowers daAlfa2k a different yet very wide range of fitness for many kind of music genre.
Stability: Very stable within all my hosts.
V2.0 upgrade: A big leap forward with the ability to use custom wav, and also bundled with a selection of wav files to start with. This is a tasty new feature that vastly enriches the sound pallette of the synth.
Edited due to recent debate regarding the review policy and the new manual. As a beta-tester, at first I wasn't really impressed by the sound, but it grows on me as I dig in and put daAlfa2k into actual use. I've put quite some commercially purchased plugs aside, whilst daAlfa2k has become one of the few most favorate plugins of mine in the mean time.
A specialty plug that's very well-done. Good positioning, too.
The implementation of the envelope window is one of the best I've seen among VSTis. Extremely usable.
Agree with some other reviews here, I tend to remove the bottom of the tone too. Sometimes I also disable the onboard reverb and replace it with my own, and that also can give the sound an interesting twist.
Fruity comes with a bunch of samples and some good native generators/FXs (granular/TS404/3xOSC and some other interesting ones). Some other goodies have to be purchased separately, like Soundfont Player- which is one of the best on the market - and beatslicer/Simsynth/drumsynth live. The new chopper/quantization feature breathes new excitement to programming in Fruity, too. With the new 4.x version, IL has introduced more interesting features, just as all the past upgrades. One major addition is the ability to do real-time ASIO recording. With the lifetime free update policy, which has been proven over the years, investing in Fruity can be very worthwhile. Its ever growing features have always been advancing with each revision. With Fruity becoming a VSTi, one can use Fruity as a scratch-pad and bring it into your host of choice later easily.
That said, however, if you know exactly what you want, chances are Fruity may not be what you're after. If you want a great softsynth, you should look elsewhere(Pentagon/DeltaIII etc). If you need a great slicer, you should also take a look at other products(pHATmatik Pro). Jeskola plays Soundfont just as good as Fruity soundfont player.
What Fruity really stands up (seeing from the existing VSTi category) is when be seen as a drum-machine. However, one should also check up other dedicated drum-machine plugs (DR-008/Battery/RMIII) in the mean time. In short, most of the generators & functions can be replaced with other plugs and your host program's own function.
One of the other edge of FL is its ability to do automation and modulation on literally all parameters through its Formula Controller and Peak Controller. These two features add to the flexibility enormously.
Conclusion: The bottom-line, as always, depends on the needs. It's beyond the existing mindset for categorizing VSTis.
If you don't have any major vsti yet and want something that "has them all", Fruity may be a good choice and then some. Even if you already have some specialty plugs, adding fruity to your arsenal could still be useful. Also, Fruity has always been a great drum-machine in its own way which should be regarded highly.
For me, experiencing Fruityloops as a plugin is no doubt interesting and enjoyable.
I'll always be waiting for more pleasing surprises from Imageline. [updated review: Lowered the Stability and UI rating due to the 4.1 release.]
It's really a nice piece of product. Easily adds up an arsenal for anyone, ready to be used even without tweaking. That's amazing.
Pads/Piano/Organ/Sfx/Guitars/Strings are simply brilliant.
Agree with some reviews here, the horns could use some replenishment. I really don't find trumpet/sax patches are favorable compared to some good free soundfonts. That said, you'll definitely find your own cream & butter on other parts of the library even a few of the package are not for you. I know I did. [update: with v1.2, a lot of patches have been re-polished carefully. And now the brass section which was a little letdown in its first incarnation has been revised with better sounds. Even the String section, which was already rather good, has been updated. Now the Cello is a lot more expressive.]
Support: Dave is the synonym of good support. No doubt here.
Stability: Albeit the sound content from SR is great, the Sampletank LE Engine is one of the few most troublesome VSTi I've used. It's the one of the only two VSTis I'm aware of of that leak system resources under WIN98. It's a constant pain to use it in Fruity/Tracktion, but granted it's also possible that it's related to the crappy Audiophile driver support.
Conclusion: I'm very happy to be a lucky user who has the chance to see Sonic Synth's evolution from 1.0-1.2. From what Sonic Reality has put into the update, one must appreciate the passion and hardwork behind the scene. Well done, Sonic Reality.
[edited to reflect my opinion regarding stability]