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pg-8x [read all reviews]
Reviewed By pestomusic [read all by] on 21st August 2016
Version reviewed: 1.0.0 on Mac
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I'll keep this one short because the main points have already been mentioned by my fellow KVR reviewers below.

In short: yes, this does sound like a Roland synth - actually, it's the very first to do so in the virtual world besides Roland's very own products. No, I haven't used a JX synth in the past but a couple of other analogue Roland synths and the PG-8X shares the same rubbery, lush and fat character inherent to Roland synths. Similar to TAL's synths, this one is worth it for the chorus alone.

I acknowledge that presets are crucial for many, so the PG-8X being sysex patch compatible with the real thing opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Aside from the original factory banks that Martin supplies, you can find hundreds of patches on the internet. As I am more of a roll-your-own guy when it comes to synth sounds, I found the surface nicely laid out and inviting for tweakers. Making a vibrant pad is a matter of seconds, making massive bass patches is so, too. And the thing is: it instantly sounds like Roland. Right there in your DAW. For free. That's simply amazing - especially if it doesn't set you back 150€ if you purchase from other devs with a similar claim.

I'm a Mac-Head as well (AU only at that) so I'm using an older beta with all its quirks. But since I could not believe that you'd get such a quality plugin for free, I donated to Martin in order to support further development. I suggest you do the same if you're after a Mac AU version as well. On top of that, Martin is a very responsive developer (just read the dedicated forums) and seems to be a very nice guy - so there are even more reasons to support indie devs like him rather than the big corps. If he comes up with a virtual MKS-70 or models another Roland synth of yesteryear, I'll be the first in line to buy it without a prior demo run.

Cyclone - Vintage Sampler Emulator [read all reviews]
Reviewed By pestomusic [read all by] on 10th May 2014
Version reviewed: 10.9.2 on Mac
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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This plugin "saved" me from buying a vintage sampler and/or from buying 112dB's Morgana. It's a 1:1 copy of the original device with Typhoon OS (the gentlemen behind Sonic Charge developed "Typhoon", an alternative OS for Yamaha's TX16W sampler, back then), including all the chips inside the TX16W so the overall sound and artifacts from transposing are pretty much the same as if you had the device in front of you. Heavy aliasing when sampling on low sample rates is where Cyclone excels if that's your cup of tea.

If you are looking for that gritty vintage sampler sound and have tried the numerous bitcrushers - look no further, this is the one you should be getting unless you're after the sound of an MPC60, an SP1200 or any other specific vintage sampler sound (for the Ensoniq Mirage, get the aforementioned Morgana). This one does the 12bits Yamaha thing and it does it very well.

Cyclone can sample via sidechain inputs which makes it easy to set up in Logic. Sampling will turn into the thing it used to be with happy accidents by pressing "Go" too late or too early. Alternative trigger procedures are available though I haven't tested them.

Editing is far from today's standards, of course, but I find the method with using digits and your ears way more intuitive for special tasks such as sampling old records. This is not a replacement for the EXS24 or Kontakt, it's rather a digital time machine that takes you back straight to the late 1980ies/early 1990ies, although setting up keymaps/multisamples is possible (but a pain in the arse to be honest).

I am using Cyclone for sampling old records, drum hits, vocal snips and chord stabs or percussion loops to add that ringing aliasing patina to a few samples.

The plugin is actually free but I would have paid 90€ for something like this. I haven't used Sonic Charge's support but from reading in their forums, I'd assume that these swedish guys are quite nice and helpful should you run into any trouble.