Without beating around the bush, Sphere Vol 1 for Photosynthesis (Kontakt) Engine, is a healthy selection of patches with a tightly integrated UI.
The patches are truly custom designed to add strange, other worldly, distant, slightly distorted, pad's, soundscapes & synth lead sounds, (A full break down of the patches can be found at Jeremiah's web site).
I'm not gong to get bogged down in the technical side, because I am in agreement with the designers own comments and obvious nod towards pricing, which I think is very good, considering the work that's it's taken to make the original sound sources and script his engine.
In short, Jeremiah has made a really interesting instrument full of character and warmth that you can't ignore, many of the patches reminded me of sounds found in music by the greats, specifically Peter Gabriel's 'Passion - Last Temptation of Christ' came to mind, but I'm in agreement with Jeremiahs other sources of inspiration that he lists on his web site.
My rating say's it all really, I totally recommend this library. for the first time in ages, would actually be interested to hear it in other artists work as there is plenty of space for everyone.
In short, Abuser from Audiomodern is a sound source from the 70's generation of analogue synthesizer patches that offer simply controls and a neat UI to do it with. That may not sound like much, but given that the library is based around shaping those sound sources into styles of your own with further effects from your DAW or Kontakt much the same as was done 40 years ago with tape machines and strange spring reverbs, it's appeal shines through quite quickly in just a short amount of time.
32 Patches is not much though and I do think that a few more unusual FX or Pad sounds could have been added to it's list of Basses, Synth and Lead sounds that it ships with. On balance this would add weight to it's (Usual) 29 Euro price tag.
However there is no knocking it's raw sound quality, that begs you to question if it's really a sample based shining through with some really dirty and retro analogue sounds. I for one love the Synth and Lead sounds, that with a simple adjustment here and there and with the addition of some large reverbs, really give you a great sense of the period these sounds seem to come from.
Abuser is going to feature in my next musical journeys one way or another. And Audiomodern is quickly becoming a developer to watch with a host of stylish and eclectic offerings to start them off.
If you want a quick and dirty addition to your tracks without searching far and wide, then this may very well all you need.
I tried Spectron when I first got into computer based music 6 or 7 years ago, at the time Spectron hadn't been out that long and because I was new to production with a DAW I focused mainly on the presets, but even at this early stage I could tell, that Spectron was unique.
It's been a while and Specton has been on my wish list for sometime as a luxury item that when I could afford it, I would pick it up.
I really wish I had picked it up sooner, as now I have got deeper into it's controls and capacity, I can see where It would have fit previous productions.
It's so good with a 50% mix, on everything from drums, vocals, synth pads to found sound sampling.
As a spectral effects processor, their is nothing to touch it, both in control and quality, thre gui can throw you to begin with, looking like a complicated mix of options, but when you get in to it, you will see how mucking with those controls, is to be encouraged as your not mixing with it, you using it to get strange an interesting effects.
Some people may have overlooked it's delay compensation capacity, as Izotope freely admit, that because the engine is heavey with different versions of delay and filter it can great huge latency's, I did find this an issue and it's something that may have put me off when trialing the demo, however I've found techniques to get latency right in my DAW (Ableton) which mean even the complex sounds stay in time with the source material, and as I wrote earlier, Spectron is a sound design tools, not a live effect processor, and frankly I like the notion towards that useage.
It's a great package, a little older now, but I still can't find anything like it anywhere else on the market, it's a device that would embrase an update as it still sounds fresh, when I put it on slected source material in my set's.
I give it 9/10 instead of a 10/10 simply because the gui isn't as clear or fresh as it could be, and an area of performace control would be nice to link sliders together and improve quick control.
Everyone has an opinion about the best tool for this kind of job, but before I get to deep into my findings regarding SE let me first describe the thoughts and feelings I got from first trying the demo.
'That's it, that's the sound I want. and most important, how the hell do they get it all to be such tightly tempo synced'
I'm still trying to work it out.
Anyway, Stutter Edit for those of you who don't know, is a key pressed, Live/Studio effect for choping, repeating, buffer glitching, delay bouncing edits, to your given material.
The thing that makes it different though, is the way in which it makes those components work together.
SE has a unique sound, sound quality and capacity to make things funky, that you won't have heared anywhere else. (well apart from in BT tracks of course)Erghh I mean in the studio, so to speak.
Now that's quite a statement, but I do feel that way. If you make any serious comparision to buffer based, or loop choper plugins like this, you will quickly hear that the code that's been used for them, seem's to have migrated to a lot of designers both ameture and profesional and allthough there can be some qwerks in gui and sequencing here and there really the sound quality and quantisation tends to be about the same.
So what I say, I really mean, SE has a good solid sound quality to it, crossed with an excellent quantisation and tempo sync capacity.
Next up on my list of observations, is the gui is fresh and funky, it could be more or less like one of Izotopes previous machines, but they no doubt sat around a table with BT and decided they wanted soemthing to stand out, so the way it looks is the way it looks and it handles is fine.
I'm not going to get deep into the gui and controls in SE because your much better off trying the demo, and experimenting with it to enjoy that part, but for me, I was making preset's within 15 minutes of playing around. so not much wrong there. the presets that ship are good, but I feel over time, you will want to make you own signature sounds, and it isn't hard.
Value for money is going to be the biggest draw back of this plugin, to date I don't know of any on the market, of this nature that require a payment quite a steep, I have to admit, I've just been lucky with a purchase, and it's my guess, that it will be the same for a lot of people, especially here in the UK where things are expensive right now.
They aren't wining awards for value and this can be a bit frustrating, year in year out. So I do take back some Izotope credit for this angle.
However, if SE is the sound you want, and this is it's biggest point. Then you might want consider a purchase against buying any other loop chopper key pressed buffer delay effect. and never buy another one, if you don't, then you could possibly justify the price, also Izotopes re sale policy is pretty fair, and this could swing it.
All in all, I love it, it's fun, it's quick, it's cheezy, but your mates are going to be impressed.
I've had Alloy in my folder, for a good year now at least, It's set up on a send chanel as template set every time I load Ableton.
Everything you need is set up just like Ozone (Izotopes mastering plugin)so I have no problems navigating around, experimenting and tweeking it's control.
The plugin come's with some neat features, most noticeable for me are the mid side and multiband options in the compressor, de-esser and transient designer.
Less is more with Alloy, I try not to overdo any hard settings with the use of macro's and presets, it's quite easy with drums to add more processing than is needeed, but Alloy does a stirling job of quickening my work flow, with all the tools at close hand and options that make you think about what your doing.
I'm guessing Alloy works well with vocal's, samples and synths, just more recently I'm trying to use it for control over synths and samplers, as I feel it's has a good set of eq, and spacial control in components such as the exciter, to add spank and air to the sound stage.
That being said, sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking that components such as the exciter aren't really doing much, but with Alloy the idea seems to be a dynamic of at least 2 or more of the modules turned on, so you compencate by not overdoing the sound wet level in any particular chanel.
But on the whole more punchy material is where Alloy stands out, multiband compression and transient shaping really helping in this area.
Latency is low, very low considering the sum of it's parts, I feel quite happy to work with Alloy as just an Eq or shaper on a audio chanel in Ableton with out any big consideriation about it's impact on the set I'm building.
Cost will be the biggest problem I think for the ameture musician like me it's current price is a bit steep, however, even though that's not a plus point for your pocket, the tools in it won't be expected to be outgrown by your ability any time soon, and for me I'm still learning about some of it's more prominent features, let alone it's deeper processing capacity.
All in all, Izotope has a good demo policy set up, so you should really give it a go, if your need's are moving from fun to functional in a plugin.
I would make this a serious contender, as Eq, Compressor, Exciter, Limiter, transient shaper and De-esser plugins as quality individual plugins, don't come in cheap from any software designers, so it's worth a quick calculation.
Alloy is a keeper, and one of the most important tools in my box.
If your looking at this vst and review, then you've probably got neighbours.
That's a very rough usumption but I can also guess that your giving every thought of an option for room correction to plugins at both end of the budget hoping that quality may not be a factor just based on what you may have to spend.
Well, I have to say I think Jeroen Breebaart has put those issues and more into 'Isone Pro' very well and come up with a product worthy of the title, 'Value Product Of The Year'
Ive been looking for a solution of room correction on my DAW when using headphones, but have been put off by price; waiting for an affordable solution, Isone I have to say is great. The controls are simple, once you've read the manual, and provide enough options, infact; better options than other more expensive plugins.
After looking through my monitors manual I was able to find speakers emulations with the same frequency response as the ones I own. you can set many factors in the plugin that you would expect and realised to have them missing from other room correction plugins is a bit of an oversite to sat the least. factors like the hight of you monitors and even the size of your head. all contribute to the sense that it's a quality product and Jeroen provides sound information and further links for this.
The interface is tidy, a little dated, (but who cares) don't let that fool you, because it works well, CPU ressources are used when it's on, so I have put mine on the master bus, and switch in on, only when I need to mix and master my material.
I totally recomend buying Isone if you looking for a solution to working with headphones and even if your thinking of buying a ""better one"" in the future, this plugin will give you insite as to what your aiming for, if you need to. I'm begining to wonder why this plugin, is'nt part of other professional mastering systems, as just like everything else in the tool box, 'You can turn it off if you don't like what's happening'.
Best purchase this year, go for it.
Isone Pro is now Just Isone at Tone Boosters. and is even better, now the best and cheapest Room Simulator on the market.
Jeroen's list of achievments in dsp just keep getting bigger, so it's an absoulute no brainer to buy this plugin, it's so helpful, he's released a studio pack of tools also for something rediculous like $25.00 and this is also brilliant, if your just starting out and want quality tools for your DAW on a budget. head on over to Tone Booster's, excellent stuff JB.
My first contact with this FX/Instrument was through the forum of Synth Edit, I initially went to the site to find some modules to use in an instrument, but found this instead of what I wanted and so decided to give it a go.
Without beating about the bush the first thing I will tell you is 'It's very very good' and an a great improvement on many commercial attempts in the past of something simillar. Infact, After usiing 'Loop Drive' I can't see a reason to buy one or attempt to build one in Reaktor or other dsp.
'Loop Drive' is free and has class. You should download it and see why.
Moving to the second and more in depth view, my reasons are as follows, I will point out the features that I notice straight away and that make it different.
It has a grid that can be inlarged showing the sliced (beat*) sample that has 8 pre assigned slots to flip back and forth between presets. controlled by key strokes.
(This is great and allows quick variation or controlled variation between those great cuts you make, quick easy and intuitive. and something Ableton's Live slicer can't do without lots of preperation and careful routing, the exception being when MAX for Live is released and someone makes one of course.)
Everything is quick to change and can be done whilst running the unit. it has an effect section that has an automation grid, to dirty up the scenes and of course the grid can be inlarged both in step and in slice.
It has a great and professional looking gui and will keep you guessing, 'Why is this thing Free?'.
If you anything like me, and have mainly commercial plugs in you vst library. then it's my guess that this will sit with along with 'dbGlitch' as an exception to that fact but be used more, 'Yes, more....'
Don't be fooled by it's free status, the FX is this years a must have plugin and has many other brilliant features beging to be used.
NB: I did experience a crash, but taking it easy with the effects chain is probably necessary to get the best and not make to many changes on 'the fly'. for a free plug you can't expect miracles however. there is a fix and I suspect future versions will be released to help smooth any bumpy rides.