iDrum is now out for Windows. For what it does, which is quick beat sketching, it's a solid product with good VFM.
The GUI is friendly and easy to work with. Beats can be "drawn" in with easy velocity shading. A selector at the top of the interface lets you pick from one 16th pattern bar, 2 32nd bars, and three 64th bars - be aware these bars are layered, which is not obvious out of the gate.
There are plenty of sounds available in the demo, and once the free content is downloaded (from your iZotope account after purchase), the number of sounds available increases dramatically. I have yet to hear a clunker in any kit so far.
The number of features available are too numerous to list here, and good, but there are noticeable gaps. While a pattern can be exported to MIDI via simple drag and drop, pattern import is impossible. Forget your MIDI grooves - they ain't happenin here. :(
Documentation is clearly geared towards the original Mac version, and although a node has been given to the new Windows release, there are errors, such as the location to place alternative skins (and I still haven't found the proper location for them). The builtin help file also shows Mac menus, not Windows, and some Mac menu options aren't present in the Windows menu version.
Presets are really there to illustrate the various kits. While they are good, there are not a lot of them.
Customer support is limited to the help file mentioned previously and an online FAQ at iZotope's site, plus email support. I have had no crashes in the standalone or VST, but I'm lumping this in with documentation in my rating. Given the price point, I can't complain more than I already have.
If you want to sketch out a drum part manually in a lightweight app, iDrum will do the job just fine.
The M42 Nebula from Algomusic is the brightest star in my softsynth arsenal. From rich strings to deep, evoloving pads, it's all here. Dr. Ambient's programming and Tim Conrardy's sound design have combined to make one of those rare "it doesn't get any better than this" moments.
The GUI is large by intent, making all of the settings available in one workspace. The flow is logical, left-to-right.
The sound of the M42 is astounding for a product at its price point. It is comprised of two independent synths - a virtual analog synth and a SoundFont playback synth that uses a pre-made SoundFont bank as its base. Each synth has its own DCF, DCA, MOD EG, LFO (with Arpeggiator), "Pulsar" (rhythm generator w/Sample & Hold) and Modulation matrix controls. The Arpeggiator and Pulsar sync to host BPM. The virtual analog synth can be tuned independently of the SoundFont synth. Each synth has a mono-mode with legato and portamento available. A Global section contains settings common to both synths such as channel, bend, vibrato, and split ranges, however, each synth again can be set independently of the other. Output effects include stereo chorus and delay, a panner, and a mixer. The final effect is an X-Y controller called "Warp", which activates a distortion/filter effect. The Warp X-Y values can be controlled via MIDI CC 12(X) and 13(Y). That is not to say these are the only CC's recognized - the well-written documentation also includes a CC Map that covers access parameters to all important settings in each synth bank.
The independence of each synth allows one to be used while the other is muted. Each is certainly capable of producing good sounds - but the fun really begins when the two are played together. Throw in tempo-synched arpeggiation if you want it and/or the Pulsar and soundscapes can evolve from very simple beginnings to rich and beautiful complexities. The factory patch bank supplied by Tim Conrardy plumbs the full range of the M42's sonic capability, but by no means exhausts what is possible.
Customer support is good - both developers regularly post on the K-v-R forums and as I mentioned previously, the user manual is well-written and easy to understand. Truth is, M42 has never crashed on me in any host I have used it in, so outside of new feature suggestions, you are quite likely not to need support at all.
In terms of value for money, well let's just say the VFM meter pegs hard right.
The M42 Nebula is a bravura debut by Algomusic. Try the demo. You won't be disappointed.