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TB FlX v3 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 12th April 2016
Version reviewed: 10 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Imma be quick on thisone. This is hands down the best dynamic EQ I've used. Don't get me wrong. I've tried pretty much all the major ones and they are awesome, but I always get lost in that "range" parameter. Fix draws you classic dynamic curve for each EQ filter. This makes it super intuitive to use. It also sounds great. I've been able to save some pretty sh***y recordings with it. Can't believe it costs only 19 Euros. It's an absolute steal.

Serum [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 23rd September 2014
Version reviewed: win7 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 2nd November 2014.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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I had high expectations on Serum. It was written by Steve Duda, man, who's been in the background of some of the most influental acts in electronic music, man, who I personally consider a genius. His LFO Tool finds it's way to every single production I make. He is a musical visionary. So did it meet the high hopes?

Features 9/10

...well let's start by the basics. It has 2 full featured OSCs, sub, noise, only 1 main filter and a FX section. So in terms of quantity, not so much. Even Sylenth 1 has more OSCs. But there are some extremely revolutionary features on this synth that make it absolute blast.
Let me start with the OSCs itself. It seems like quite usual wavetable stuff, but right when you assign your first modulation, you find out, that the graphical view of the waveform is updated and rendered realtime, so you know exactly how your waveform looks like at any moment.
When you open the edit window, you find out, that the wavetable is incredibly editable. So far I praised Zebra for having the best OSCs possible. Not anymore. This is mental. You can generate the signal using math functions, analyze wav files, draw them. Then edit them, add random content to them and so on and so on! You can morph between snapshots of the wavetable, further edit them by "wrap" FX. (I miss odd/even FX from Zebra though, but anyway, still great.) There's also a great 16 channel unisono as a bonus.
Moving down to the filter. Yes, I miss the second, parallel one. But you get tons of filter types (including really nice z-type-ish morphing ones) and it's graphical view is also realtime updated.
FX section has all the usual suspects, another filter, nice unisono-emulator, something that feels similar to Massive's dimension expander, really nice distortion module with another filter, compressor with multiband mode, eq, delay, reverb and so on... All the effects are reorderable and really cool sounding. One of the best in-synth FX section I've ever seen.
And then the modulation. Daaamn. You have all three options to create a modulation connection. Drag'n'drop, left-click assignment or standart matrix. All modulations show realtime values on screen and everything modulated by them is also moving. All the envelopes and LFOs have a realtime dot traveling across the shape to show you what part of the curve is currently playing out. Also all the LFOs have full feature set and editability of LFO Tool's LFOs, including shape presets.

GUI 10/10

Best gui on non-modular synth ever created. Period. All the realtime views allow you to quickly analyze what's wrong in your patch. It even helps you to discover bad habbits you've gained in other synths over the years. As mentioned earlier, modulation section is extremely good. Same goes for the wavetable editor. It's clearly visible that Steve's intention was to simplify otherwise really cumbersome tasks to the point it becomes quick and easy to do on regular basis. You can feel he knew all the weak spots of GUIs of literally every synth on the market, so when he made his own synthesizer, he avoided all of them. Newblies probably will get stuck a little, but definitely much less hard then in other feature-wise comparable synths. It's that good.

Sound 10/10

Ultra clean. Analog lovers will have to do some pitch modulation and EQ-ing to get the their feel, but come on. It's 2014, not 1970... Especially hi-end is amazing. That's something wavetable synths usually struggle with. Also no aliasing. It doesn't have a "character", but on purpose. You're free to make one. Or not. You decide. I've noticed really short CPU spikes causing clicks, but that's probably becouse of me running 96k on medicore machine. I really have no complains in this department what so ever.

Value for money 10/10

Huge. It's not really a biggest synth featurewise, but every single feature it has, have been tweaked and coded to absolute perfection. Also, you're buying the future my friend. Right now, this beast was endorsed by biggest names in the electronic music filed and thousands of bedroom kids, home producers and pro-guys are discovering it. I think we are about to see rise of complex patches in near future music thanks to this plugin's clever layout and no-nonsense politics. I love it.

Massive [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 2nd January 2014
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 2nd January 2014.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Massive. Up to it's name, really. It's as classic VST as it gets. It defined what we want in other VST's now. Violinists have their Stradivari's, Guitarists have their Taylors, Strats, DJ's have CDJs, and producers have Massive.

Sound 9/10
Sound is solid. It may be a bit tougher to push it to mellow tones than for example Spire, Sylenth or Diversion, but that just means it's much more "crystalic", much more pure. It's hard to tell whether it's a good or bad thing. Depends on your preferences. ...and on your patience. If you try long enough, you can make creamy sounds in there as well. The only con I can find is that it slightly changes sound going to and from 96 kHz, but as 96kHz is still kind of waste of your resources and as it's the same with a lot of other VST(i)'s, I wouldn't consider it a big problem.

Features 9/10, GUI 10/10
Ok, ok, I know. We have all kind of synths featurewise much better then Massive, but I don't know why, I still return to this one really often. Ease of assigning modulation to a target is still unmached. All those other synths evolved from different versions. It's a good thing, but once a while you just need a familiar interface. Then it's Massive's time. It's interface stayed the same for years and it's still briliant...

Value for money 10/10
No question about this. For 200 euro, you get thing that defined the modern sound. Thing that everyone else already uses. Think that's gonna stay for ever.

I honestly think Massive is the biggest synth in VST history. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Sylenth, but you see, I remember Massive being around and being legendary back from V-Station times. After that, Vanguard replaced V-Station in it's field, then Sylenth replaced Vanguard, Dune almost replaced Sylenth, Spire is kind of replacing Dune right now ... but Massive stayed, and it stayed as epic as ever. ...and that just counts.

Cheers,
Martin.

Spire [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 24th October 2013
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 24th October 2013.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Spire is interesting. Out of the nowhere, in few days, hype like crazy. It reminds me of what happened with Dune few years back. Anyway, is it worth the hype? ...well ...yes.

Features: 8/10

This is the clever bit. It doesn't seem like, but under the hood, there is quite a lot of features. It starts with cute little oscilators being able to generate it's waveform by morphing, by FM, or by AM synthesis. Then it goes into unisono stage, which aside from classic parameters allows you to control even iregularity of detuning and way how voices are scaled from each other. Filters are cool. Few models to choose from. It ends up with badass effect unit. You see, why to have user choosing between regular distortion modes and bitcrushing, when all it takes is two extra knobs for having it all at once. This is the way of thinking I like. I'd love to see possibility to change order of effect signal chain though. It would take just one more tab at the FX area. The modulation stuff is just cherry on a cake. Whole bunch of LFO's, envelopes and step sequencers with (really) nice collection of destination to route them to.

Sound: 9/10

Really somewhere between Sylenth and Twin. Creamy, warm, but rough enough when you need it. It can lack "concentraion" on high frequencies sometimes, on the other side, when your sound needs to be "softer", Spire is right there for you. Even when you use stuff like FM synthesis that usually tends to be harsh. Effects have great quality to themselfs. Especially reverb is kind of cool for a built-in unit.

GUI 8.5/10

User interface is great. It's all really intuitive, straight nice flow. Where it needs to have some tabs, it has them, but only on small restricted areas, so the whole synth doeasn't dissapear when you need to adjust LFO speed, or something. Olny thing I'm missing is some kind of quick modulation assignment. Either knob related pop-up menus, or some drag'n'drop way. Just so we don't have to browse through the whole selection of destination.

Value 9/10

Price is set reasonably, eventhough I think seeing it permanently on discounted price would suit the synth much more as it is really nice bread & butter instrument. What makes it extremely valuable though is customer support. Developer is not just responsive, but also active, which is really breath of frash air having in mind another bread and butter softsynth of the history. ;) It still takes a bit higher CPU load, but developer is actively optimizing the code, so it got better already and it will continue to get in upcoming months. I strongly recommend you to try this little thing. Nice, fresh, easy, capable. Really appealing combination. :)

Cheers,
Martin.

Harmor [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 23rd October 2013
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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This review will be wierd. Usually I get to know new stuff pretty quickly, but with Harmor, it kinda didin't happen. I love IL stuff. Toxic Biohazard is one of my favs to date, bit I still don't know what to think about Harmor.

Features: 8/10

This confuses me a lot. It feels like developers thought: "Ok, let see what's cool today and get it all into one synth!" They made it at time, when additive synthesis was popular, so it's additive synth. ...but also you've got "regular" OSC's and the resynthesis mode which I'm not really sure how to switch to other way then just dropping image on certain tab. Also, while mentioning resynthesis, some kind of graphical editor wouldn't hurt. Now it just imports images. It has an unisono engine, some kind of light physical modeling included, some harmonization effects and so on. ...alltogether it's really nice and rich package, it just feel somehow unorganized.

Sound 8/10

Not bad. Not bad at all. When you manage successfulyl switch to resynthesis mode, I think it has even better results then Alchemy's spectral mode. As far as traditional sounds go, it's pretty good average. It gets interesting when you start messing with all those advanced features, but then you can't objectively compare it to anything. In other words, when you make it sound good, it sounds good, when you make it sounds bad, it sounds bad...

GUI 7/10

Same problem as with the features. There is a lot to explore. It uses IL's envelope framework to effectively modulate prety much anything ... but the way you "search" for the parameters is really a torture. You've got a lot of functions right in front of you on the "dashboard", but all the additive and resynthesis stuff is hidden. It's not a bad gui, it just takes much more time to get into in comparison with Toxic, or Sytrus.

Value 8/10

I might be affected here, becouse I take extremely long times to finish my tracks, but it happens quite a lot that when I use Harmor, I end up replacing it by synth I know better. On the other hand, Harmor is excellent for this "I have no idea what I need, let's go turn some knobs and see!" kind of situation. While that, In synths I know, I sometimes end up with something I've made before. Not the case in Harmor. ...so ironically, it's over-complexity might be a realy good thing that makes the value.

Cheers,
Martin.

Razor [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 21st October 2013
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 21st October 2013.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Razor ... eh ... let me tell you. Untill Razor, I thought I'm a audio geek. But once I've seen what this Errorsmith accomplished in freaking Reaktor. I mean WHAT?!?

Features: 9/10.

So what the hell is it? Let's put it this way. Additive synthesis used to be all about "adding" those harmonics to the fundamental. What Errorsmith realized is, that it's not just about level. You have all sorts of other stuff you can do with bunch of partials. Shifting them, retunning them in milion ways, you can mimic filters, mimic analog behaviour and so on and so on. To be fair, synths like Alchemy had function of altering different parameters of partials before, but the way it's introduced in Razor is amazing. Intuitive, quick, clean.

Sound: 9/10.

It's hard to compare Razor to anything. Hard to judge on any level. If you like any kind of "traditional" sounds, either electronic or acoustic, Razor will dissappoint you, becouse it sounds like no other thing on earth. If you like experimental stuff, you won't believe your ears. It really is that good. It has it's character, so, espcially when used for bass, you can identify it even in other people's work ... which can be said about 303 also and nobody gives a damn about it, so I guess it's a good thing. :)

GUI: 8/10.

Looks nice, well thought. Loving the spectral view. You see what's happening all the time. Nice touch. I don't like how it's big. That's common problem with todays plugins for me. They don't care about 1366x768 pix laptop monitors anymore. :/ (Much worse in Prism though.)

Value: 7/10.

It blows your mind, when you think about this thing being built in Reaktor. I mean it had to take ages, or this Errorsmith is genius on his own. ...having said that, this being Reaktor ensemble drags it down a little. For sure, you can use it to learn Reaktor, but honestly, when just producing, you want it to load instantly, not after opening Reaktor and browsing through your ensemble database. I've seen some ensembles that made it into a real software, kinda hope this happens here also. But aside that, this synth si crazy. It gives whole new meaning to the expression "additive synthesis", I really recomend you to at least try it. :)

Cheers,
Martin.

WOW2 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 13th October 2013
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 14th October 2013.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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WOW2 is interesting. There isn't actually too much space on the market for it. You have great filter work of others. FabFilter, Tone2, FXpansion ... and for modulations, nothing beats LFOtool. ...but you get what's happening right after you start the plugin.

Sound: 9/10

Let's cut to the chase. The sound is marvelous. Super-smooth, rich, not over-saturated (unless you want it to be.) Exceptionally good performance in high registers. Resonancy sounds "glassy". Not "whispery" as pretty much any other filter out there, but somehow "glassy". It all is nice and beautiful until you distort it. Then it's of course exact oposite. But again, the distortion is somehow "right". Re-arrangin sonical texture, as distortion should. Really good.

Functions: 8/10

Really interesting modulation system. You have few modulators like gate-triggered ADSR, LFO, step sequencer ... and it's all assignable anywhere you want. I still think that LFOtool is beter for crazy modulations, but, if it needs to be done here, it can be done really quickly with advantage of juicy filters.

GUI 10/10

Gorgeus.

Value for money 9/10

I find SugarBytes stuff a bit on expansive side, so I usually look for their stuff seconhanded. With a little transfer fee, I still support the developers, so it doesn't feel that bad to do. They react to trends (I mean ... WOW2's still is heavily Dubstep oriented), but they try to solve us problems. Like with Effectrix, Artillery, or in this things. All their stuff saves you some time. So if you finnancially can, support them, please. :)

Cheers,.

Martin.

Live [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 26th April 2012
Version reviewed: 8.3 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 26th April 2012.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Live started as application for live performances. I never did live performance, but I can imagine you need everything as quick and as agile as possible. With that in mind, they developed pretty unique app that was reliable and well suited for this purpose. (Thanx to it's clever session view thing.)

I believe it was around version 5 or 6 when people started to use Live for classic production as well. I guess main reason was unification of user interfaces used inside and outside of their studios. Around version 7, Ableton implemented better EQ, more cool devices and suddenly people found out, that it's in fact really good and solid DAW.

That quickness of performance tool just reminded. Everything is right under your fingertips and pretty much everything happens in one single window. That's what created Lives amazingly quick workflow. For example setting sidechain compression is question of 3 mouseclicks.

Next thing, that wows you, is its modularity. It's not pure modular DAW, but it has this racking option, that makes it really easy for you to get creative. Wanna layer X synths in one track? No problem. Wanna have several effects on one track working in parallel? No problem. There is not much of possible craziness you couldn't do with it.

Drum racks are amazing too. It's so logical. One track on outside and new track inside of it for every single hit. Easy, clear. Group tracks (available from version 8 I think) allows you to buss several of your tracks completely. If you need some conventional bussing or effect tracks, classic sends also available. ...and everything still happening inside of the one very window.

Unfortunately version 8 went a bit wrong as well. It's great version, best yet, but it has been around for three years or so. Other DAW developers worked hard on new versions. Some functions like vector automation curves, 64-bit instruction code support, or creative stuff like integrated pitch correction are painfully missing in Live. It's great on it's own now, but development should speed up a bit. So point down for that.

Anyway, I'm using Live as my one and only DAW for few years and having no intentions to change that. May be Bitwig can shake this opinion a bit, but that's question of future. Lot of DAWs claim they're quickest way from your brain to the finished track, but imho Live is only DAW you can really agree on that.

TB ReelBus v3 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 4th April 2012
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 10th April 2012.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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Jeroen had some tape-ish simulator before. Called Ferox. I loved it. It didn't have this huge PSP-like effect making everyrthing bigger, no. It was little subtle saturation when your drums were too digital and neded just tiny bit of tasteful colour.

So ... when I heard about this one, I had to buy it. Especially for that sweet price.
Goal of this plug is straight and clear. Make it like it was recorded on tape. As far as I know from some Pensado's place episodes, lot of people likes the new UAD tape emulation for this purpose. I guess UAD nailed it pretty good. Unfortunately I have no means how to AB it to the ReelBus, but
when you don't think about manufacturer and just listen, ReelBus does quite a good job.

I remember really active usage of MC tapes from childhood. I know, it's not the same as working with highclass studio recorders, but that taste, that "smell" is just reckognizable. ...and ReelBus definitely has it! Warming really good imho. Just listen to demos on the website, it's really cool.
I've used it so far on few lead instruments. It really kind of shifts it few years back colour-wise. Exactly what it's supposed to do. It's also amazing on too dull sinewavy kicks or bass. It adds little (may be sampled?) noise layers to the signal, that makes it sound cooler.

If you drive it hard, it distorts. Exactly the way I remember old cassete players did when recieved bad tape. It wasn't pleasant for me back then, isn't too much now either, but it's still much more analogue then classic digital clipping/limiting/crazy-over-compressing...

Bad side is, that damn UAD could buy a real Studder to meature. Jeroen had access to Studder too, but had to emulate it's behaviour on Teac recorder and then meature it that way. I can't tell how well he matched it as I don't own UAD, but there always will be certan courioustiy about how that UAD plugin sounds. On the other side ... ehm ... 350 dolars against about 12 bucks. BARGAIN! :)

Conclusion: This is really good and really precise emulation. You need to not overuse it or you end in 2001 again in a minute. :D But for coloring it's really cool. I can't compare it with UAD, but I'd guess it would stand up really well! :) And for 10 euros? For price of 2 or 3 launches...? No-brainer.

jsCompShaper [read all reviews]
Reviewed By FarleyCZ [read all by] on 22nd March 2012
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows.
Last edited by FarleyCZ on 10th April 2012.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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Lot's of free compressors these days. Every single one of them has it's own trick. Point is, that in most cases, those payware ones will be always a bit better, more analog. Big companies have resources for real hw units, possibility to meature them. Not much of freeware developers can do that, so they read about behaviour and then mimic it in some way that kinda works, but it's not that precise most of the time.

Is there way out of it? Yes. F*ck them all, make it simple, but solid! Exactly what jsCompShaper does. It features internal sidechain EQ, paralel functionality, ability to continuously switch between compression and waveshaping and last but not least, crazy oversampling.

All you need really is throw it on drum buss and play with settings to hear the sound. In some settings I swear it reminds me of SSL sound. (Didn't even touch real console, so can't tell "for real", but from internetzz.) It doesn't have HP filter though, so it's better for drums where you don't want kick completely low-endish.

That shaping is interesting. Some cool character can be achieved, but especially on the drum buss it does just a little changes, even smaller when used in paralel.

Another thing is versatility. I didn't work with voices that much lately, but i believe it's great on vocals. That EQ and some special voclal presets suggest it. Or knee for example. On some compressors you turn that knob and almost nothing happens soundwise. Not here at all. Hard or soft as you like.

What I love the most is the oversampling. I believe it's one of the things that define sound of those big payware plugins. It makes it haeavy on CPU in jsCompShaper, but result just sounds good. Defined. Smooth. I guess not much far from simplier Waves plugs.

Conclusion: I guess old HW companies have spent ages and milions to make their compressors behave as ideal as possible. SW companies just as much to make it behave as not-ideal as possible to get close to products what HW companies made. As a result there is so much of different coloration in the world that no ordinary listener can really tell. That means on budget, only thing we should be really concerned about is, whether it sounds good or not in general. ...and this compressor definitely does. It won't sound exactly as any HW particularly, but really good anyway! :) I don't mean that emulations are meaningless. I just mean (and hope) nothing to worry about using plug like this. :)

What I love about free plugins is that there is not much of decription needed now, just go and try it for yourself. :) For me, this is discovery of the year so far. Love it!

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