Sample Moog from IK multimedia is supposed to be a "Moog Synth Anthhology". It contains more than 4 GB of samples and 1700 patches which were done in cooparation with Moog Music and Sonic Reality. Included Instruments are : Minimoog Model D, Moog Modular 3C, Moog Modular 15, Moog Modular 55, Memorymoog, Multimoog, Prodigy, Source, Polymoog, Concertmate MG-1, Taurus 1, Vocoder, Etherwave Theremin, Minimoog Voyager, Little Phatty. Maybe the most complete sample collection ever. SampleMoog is based on the SampleTank engine and contains two different synth engines (resampling and new STRETCH-engine). STRETCh means Sampletank Time REsynthesis TeCHnology.
The user interface is known from Sampletank but the GUI has the typical Moog style like Minimoog switches and rotary knobs. The interface is very easy to use, the only bad thing is the small text in both GUI and browser. Patches are organized by Instrument. A possibility to search for categories would be nice. Only the Multis are sorted after categories.
This is the most important point for me and in one word the sound is fantastic. I owned a Minimoog Model D for some months so i know how it sounds. In my opinion this sounds better than dedicated Moog softsynths like the Arturia stuff or Minimonsta. For shure it does not have the sound creation possibilities of the full synth but the sheer number of patches lets you forget about that. There are hundreds of really useful leads, many (also hundreds) interesting and nice pads and of course basses and FX. Some nice pads are based on monophonic synths like the Minimoog because the engine allows to play them polyphonic. You can turn some bass sounds into nice leads by changing the pitch 1 or 2 octaves higher. As a conclusion i can say that all typical Moog leads, basses, pads, polysynth, brass, and FX patches are contained. Not contained are Arped or sequenced patches but the the basic patches for an external sequencer are there..
FEATURES The features of the engine more or less correspond to the Sampletank 2.5 engine. It's 16 part multitimral and split and/or layer zones could be set. The keyboard can be easily transposed. Play modes for each element are are Mono, Poly and Legato 1 or 2. Rotary knobs for Portamento time, Main volume and Pan are present in every patch. Two rows for controls are there, the lower for FX (like EQ, compressor, Gain, Delay, Reverb, flanger, phaser, chorus...) and the upper which can be switched between controls for "range, macro, synth, filter, ENV1 (Amp), ENV2 (Filter), LFO1, LFO2 and VEL (Velocity)". Some features : RANGE = transpose, velocity amount MACRO = cutoff, resonance, keytrack SYNTH = switch for RESAMP (resampling enngine) and STRETCH (STRETCH engine), pitch, fine tune, bender, pan A) RESAMP = Pitch, Fine, Bender, Pan B) STRETCH = pitch, fine, Bender, Pan, Harm pres, Hrmncs (Harmonics) FILTER = type (LPF, BPF, HPF), slope (8, 12, 24 dB/oct), Freq (Cutoff), Res (resonance) ENV1 = Amp envelope: attack, hold, decay, sustain, release, level ENV2 ) Filter envelope: attack, hold, decay, sustain, release, filter (env amount), pitch LFO1 = Wave, rate, depth, delay, level, pitch, filter, switches:BPM sync + free run LFO2 = Wave, rate, depth, level, pitch, filter, pan, switch: BPM sync VEL = veloocity modulation:Curve, amp, filter, pitch, res, lfo1depth, env2sus
1700 presets, sorted by instrument. Like i said in sound almost all kind of Moog leads, basses, pads polysynths, brasses and FX are contained. Some multis are contained, sorted by category. Bad thing is that the single presets are not sorted by category. The quality of the presets is so good that i give a 10. The most important thing is that most of the patches are really usable which could not be said about many other softsynths. No Arp or sequencer sounds contained, for that i use VAZ Modular or Sylenth1. Which Moog synth had an arpeggiator anyway ?? I think it was only the Source. From some synths the basic waveforms are contained for programming your own patches.
The documentation is quite good, t explains al features of the synth and is easy to understand.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Just think about buying all the original synths in this package. I guess you must sell your house or atb least your new Mercedes for this. You can use the samples in the full version of Sampletank. Based on the quality and the sheer number of patches i would say that the price is not too high for this even if it's not "a steal".
I run it on a PC with a Core2Quad QX6600, Windows Vista and Ableton Live 7.0.10. The Standalone version and the VSt work 100% stable and is very CPU friendly.
Haven't dealt much with them, so i'll give an average rating.
I would recommend this synth to anyone who is interested in authentoc Moog sounds without spending thousands of euros for the real synths. It'a a kind of library for Moog sounds.
This synth so far is something like a well kept secret. Not many users so far. This is a good point for me. I like to use a synth that not everyone has !! It is not a feature monster like other synths but the selection of features is very good.
GUI / Manual
The GUI looks really cool, very unique like the rest of Olga is. The first impression will be "why is the text in russian ??". There is a switch to see the controls in english. To find that there is a riddle at the first pages of the manual. The GUI is very clear, no hidden functions or dropdown menus. Speaking about the manual it's completely in english and very good. It explains all the features and after reading it you may not even need the english translation of the controls any more.
Compared to other synths Olga has quite basic features but i would say all you really need for programming analog style sounds.
It has two OSCs which can be switched between a saw and a square waveform. With the shape control knob you can fade from the saw to a triangle or from a thin pulse to a square. On OSC1 you can do PWM (by LFO1) and on OSC2 Fine tune modulation (by LFO1). LFO1 is fixed to a triangular waveform, only a rate knob is present between the OSC mixer knobs. Of course the OSCs can be detunded. I havent found a dedicated osc sync so far.
Olga has a maximum of 16 voices. Voice modes are Noise, Mono, Unison2, Unison4, Unison8, Duo, Poly8 and Poly16. With Unison8 you can do nice trance leads.
There are two filters where Filter 2 is a HP with only a knob for Cutoff, like at the Jupiter 8. Filter 1 has an enevelope with ADSR and hold. Filter types are a Lowpass (ladder filter) and two different bandpass modes. There's a slider to mix the cutoff modulation amount of the envelope and LFO1. Two knobs for Cutoff and resnace are present. Take care of your eras when turning up the resonance !!
For more modulation there are LFO2 and a trigger LFO. LFO 2 uses a triangular wave with controls for Rate, Tremolo and Vibrato. The trigger LFO can do some "gate"-type effect.
The Amp section consists of a ADSR envelope, the output knob and a Drive knob. The drive is somehow like an analog tube which fattens up the sound a lot. It also inreases the instability and rawness of the sound. A switch for distortion feedback is also present.
The effects section is limited to a phaser and a chorus but for me that's enough. General controls are a knob for the Dry/wet level which is the effects level for the phaser or chorus. Other general controls are rate, depth and a mono/stereo switch. The phaser has three stages with a volume knob for every stage and a feedback control knob. The chorus effects is awesome, the phaser is nice too.
The modulation wheel and the pitch band can be programmed. The mod wheel can be used for the amount of modulation of LFO1 and LFO2. MIDI CC numbers for all controls are listed in the manual.
The sound is the point you will want to buy this synth. It's hard to describe, let's say it's unique, analogue and FAT. I instantly liked the sound of Olga and that doesn't happen very often. It's definatly an fat analog sound and not so easy to make "smooth" patches with this one. It always wants to sound fat so some carefull adjusments of the highpass filter are sometimes necessary.
The amount of the presets is not very high but the quality is very good. This synth is very new so don't expect a huge number of soundbanks at this moment.
The support is simply excellent, both at the developers homepage and at KVR. Yesterday i reported a problem to schwa (the developer) and today he sent me a corrected test version which works perfect. Could support be any better ??
Price The 80$ for the commercial version are not too much. Nice value for the money.
So far I just love the Olga synth, that's it.
Update (27.3.08) :
So far the remaining problems are fixed with the new version 1.01.00 !!