Think of Cyclone as aspects of a groovebox, Ableton Live, Recycle and Acid all rolled up into one plugin.
You can easily add Acidized loops and one-time hits, and then manipulate the hell out of them -- re-ordering the beat slices, or mixing and matching them from different beats. Then you can trigger them from a MIDI device or the virtual pads.
All the pads are independent from each other, and can be set up to follow or ignore project pitch, project tempo, whether they should loop or be one-time hits, and whether or not they should stop playing when you let up on the pad/MIDI key (this feature is called latch).
Since it's a DXi2, it has multiple outs, so you can route each pad to its own track for unique FX and automation.
It sounds really good, especially the v1.1 update, which auto-fades the beginnings and ends of slices to prevent pops and clicks.
There are no presets, but that doesn't bother me much, because I would rather just use it with whatever loops are appropriate for the project I'm working on.
There's a graphic event editor, sort of like a step sequencer, where you can manipulate loop slices and move them from one pad to the other. Each pad's events can be set to have a different loop length.
Bad News: Cyclone is only available with SONAR2 Good News: It's free with the SONAR2 purchase
The VSC is a typical GM synth. Most of the sounds are OK, but you won't confuse it with a JV1080. The piano, strings, and other acoustic sounds are too thin and simple. As with most GM sounds, these will be fine hidden in a mix, but you wouldn't want to use them as the main sound in a tune.
Some of the drum and bass sounds are usable.
It's very stable, and comes with hundreds of sounds, so that's a good thing.
If you do MIDI karaoke, or anything else that requires a GM synth, the VSC is a good one to have.
And if you get SONAR, it's free, so what's not to like? Read more
At first the DreamStation seems like just another basic analog emulating synth.
But the interface is friendly, and the sounds it creates are very usable.
There are quite a few presets, with a lot of variety. They are good starting points for creating your own sounds.
The DreamStation lets you assign the Mod wheel to almost any parameter, and has portamento, distortion, and a lot of other features that add up to make it more than just your average analog synth.