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REFLEX free

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
September 27th, 2013
Version reviewed: 1.1 on Windows

This is a great tool, low on CPU, no-nonsense GUI, makes it very easy to get into, and it delivers a great result.

Controls are so simple that they are almost self-explanatory. The big knob in the middle controls the Decay, goes without saying I guess as that function really is the heart of any reverb/echo unit.

The small knob satellites controls (clockwise from left) size, input, rate, depth, mix and damp (hi/lo)

The Rate and Depth functions moonlights as a LFO and can be tweaked to give a wobbly tremolo effect. A better title for the Damp section could maybe be filter, as it aids in filtering out either hi or lo frequencies.

All in all this freebie delivers a smooth result. Easily my choice of effect when I quickly need to apply reverb/space to a VST instrument.

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SAVIHost

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
September 4th, 2012
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

It's crazy that SAVI host hasn't got a review yet.

This is one of the best free tools around, like a Swiss Army knife, it's perfect to quickly check out a VST instrument without the need for a DAW, or to use a VST instrument without a DAW.

Here's basically what one needs to do:

1: Download SAVI host
2: Unzip/Unrar downloaded file
3: Place unpacked "SAVI.exe" file in same folder as "X-VST.dll"
4: Rename "SAVI.exe" to exactly the same name as "X-VST.dll", in other words = "X-VST.exe"
5: Double click renamed "X-VST.exe" to start instrument

The programme got lots of features, like recording of perfomances that can be saved as wav files.

MIDI is supported, and have worked well with my interfaces. The latest version of the host allows up to 3 MIDI controllers to be connected at once, so you can for instance use your big 76 key MIDI controller for playing, and add to that a little AKAI mini for knob twiddling (via right-click MIDI learn). Both will work at the same time.

But there is even no need for a MIDI keyboard, in SAVI host one can use the regular computer keyboard as a two octave piano keyboard. This is a programme that just keeps on giving!

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SuperTron

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
August 1st, 2012
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

This is some of the best freeware I have come across so far this year.

It contains 64 presets which have been programmed with care. Just playing around with them feels like a Berlin School album done and dusted right there.

It features two oscillators that can be turned on/off, with a choice of 6 waveforms (noise, pulse, square, triangle, saw, and sinewave)

The two filters can be set to high, low or bandpass, and one can also choose the input of each oscillator on each of the filters.

The sequencer interface is laid out nicely, but I would have preferred to have more than two octaves to work with. Another drawback is that the sequencer only has 16 steps, I would like to be able to make longer sequences. But a big plus is that each sequence contains 4 scenes which one can cycle between either manually or automatically, to make variations inside the groove. Add to that an envelope trigger which makes further variations of the sequence possible. It is also possible to shape the patterns according to some provided formats (saw, pulse, up/down or trance), but space is also made available for user settings here if needed.

The sequencer can be turned off, so one can also play the instrument as a regular synth.

To round off the instrument is an extensive effect section. The "vintager" effect is supposed to generate warmth to the sound, an interesting addition, but mostly a novelty, the 80's settings makes the sound a bit more metallic, not something I will use much I think, but a nice diversion nevertheless.

Elsewhere there is reverb, multifx (chorus, echo, delay) and distortion.

The LFO has also been placed among the effects, a little confusing, but it sounds great. Maybe the developer ran out of space and just needed to put it somewhere?

I've used the synth in FL Studio, have had no problems with it, no lag, and midi-learn works great with FL Studio's "last tweaked" option.

All in all this is as great a bargain as there ever was. I didn't know Berlin School was so well looked after "down under" in Argentina. But I'm happy to know now!

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AAS Player

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
May 25th, 2012
Version reviewed: Vista on Windows

AAS Player is a straight rompler, no tweaking required indeed.

Except the possibility to alter the volume setting there is really no way to personalize the presets, there is no options for layering, neither are simple effects like reverb, chorus or filter cutoff present.

The presets are pretty good, showcased by the free Swatches collection, they consist of "bread and butter" sounds suitable for most styles of music.

But as there is no way of shaping the presets in any way they can easily be recognized in the mix, and thus be in danger of becoming dated pretty quickly.

So like a linear video game, once you have played through it there is really not much to come back to here, unless you invest in further expansion packs at $39 a pop.

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Gemini

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
May 11th, 2012
Version reviewed: Vista on Windows

This is a reasonably priced "bread & butter" synth, especially useful for musicians working with trance, psy-trance or psy-chill/dub.

It features two oscillators with five waveforms to choose from, and LFO. Each Oscillator is accompanied by a filter with five different band pass settings to choose from.

You get two sequencers to play with, with speed ut to 128x, and glide function, for some complex patterns

Rounding off the package is the effect section which consists of delay and reverb.

It comes with 180 presets, which are very well programmed and shows what the synth is capable of. A free expansion pack of presets is available for registered users.

A major drawback on the fun factor though is that there is no easy "right-click" MIDI learn, you get a xls file included alongside the synth that lists the MIDI values, but this means you got to know the corresponding values on your controller, and if your controller (like mine) doesn't have a display means you have to dig out the manual from the bottom of the closet, or wherever you thought you remember you put it.........

[Edit update: The synth was tested as standalone in SAVI host. But there is no problem with easy MIDI learning in FL Studio for instance, using the "Tools->Last tweaked->Link to controller" method]

A novel thing is that one can change the color of the panel and the back light, selections can be made between red, grey and blue, depending on your mood of the day I guess ;-)

It was published in 2009, and to my ears it still rocks pretty awesome. An attractive package that is a sound investment, especially seeing the price segment the product is placed in.

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Crisalys

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
September 11th, 2011
Version reviewed: Current on Windows

I got this at a cut price of €20 during sale this summer, which is a steal seeing what this machine has to offer.

It comes loaded with 256 presets, which IMO is particularly usable for trance or Berlin School type music.

The filters have got a nice responsiveness, which makes Crisalys very hands-on straight out of the box.

What makes this program special though is the fantastic sequencer, one really can make some complex and unique loops with that.

My only criticism is that Crisalys is rather heavy on CPU use, and during complex sequences playback can begin to stutter. The adequate provided documentation contains tips for how to sort out this problem, but it goes without saying that you need a better than average machine to fully appreciate Crisalys.
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Zen

Reviewed By Numanoid [all]
August 12th, 2011
Version reviewed: 1,65 on Windows

I really like the idea of this app, and welcome it warmly. To be able to have one app to access presets of several VSTs, and categorize them, will greatly help tidying up music making. That is Zen in effect.

Unfortunately the programme isn't really ready for this yet.

The number of new version and their frequency shows that it is still more or less is beta testing.

The main problem I find is that one cannot just point Zen toward the VST folder and trust it to do the job. It freezes up on a regular basis when scanning VST's. It is difficult to know what kind of machines it will not eat. It seems one have to spend time tidying up one's VST folder before giving the job to Zen. And basically that was what one expected Zen to do.

As this programme is free it cannot really be valued in terms of money. It is better to value it in terms of time. And at the present release, it is a waste of time unfortunately.
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