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Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 11th March 2012
Version reviewed: 25.4.149 on Windows.
Last edited by VitaminD on 7th February 2013.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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At first, I essentially ignored Synthmaster simply due to the name. Silly, yes. But, to me, the name is a little cheesy (reminds me of comic book action heroes or power rangers) so I wasn't expecting much.

How I was incredibly wrong.


This is one of the single most feature packed synthesizers available today. It rivals U-he Zebra2 in this matter; Synthmaster is a 'swiss army knife' of synths.


The UI is layed out in a manner that I found easy with which to work; I had little problems upon initial run on sculpting a sound with this synth. There are multiple skins (color combination themes) from which to chose too (click the 'Settings' button below the logo) that I found useful.

The GUI, however is static in dimensions. So I will say, I wish there was the ability to increase and decrease the GUI size.


The Preset browser is fantastic! I wish other synths included this sort of feature, one can click on Sound type (Lead, Bass, Pad, etc) and then on various sound/timbre attributes (Saw, Legato, Lofi, Wavetable, etc) to narrow sound selection. Wonderful.

Speaking of which, the included sound bank is rather well made. The included sound bank seems geared more towards Electronic dance music (House, Trance, Dubstep, etc). However, other genres (Chillout, Pop, even Reggae) are included.

The real interesting feature is the developer's promise of included MORE presets in the form of Genre-based Expansions at no additional cost. The first one is already released by Rob Lee (House/EDM set) and it sounds very good. These are song-usable sounds; no need to to sift through a hundred patches that are 'cool' on their own but don't fit in a mix. These fit nicely in a song.

I also enjoy the powerful Arpeggiator that works like a trancegate (tempo synced).


I'm not even hitting on the ginormous amount of synthesis types, combinations, and selections in which to design sounds. You will have to see it to believe it. It reminds me of the V.A.S.T. synthesis on Kurzweil Workstations.


With the latest update as of this review update (2.5.4.149), Synthmaster now functions properly in Synapse Audio Orion! No timing issues, no hung notes, nothing but rock solid stable synth-action! woohoo.

I should also probably mention this synth sounds like a digital synth to me.. well, 'of course!' you say.. it runs on a computer! What I mean is, the sound quality is clear and bright but a little thin ...still yet rich; Synthmaster reminds me of Waldorf synthesizers in this regard - it blends well in layers and plays well with other synthesizers.

While there are a few things I'd like to see (more filter choices, GUI resize), this is an interesting synth with deep synthesis possibilities and a suite of well designed sounds. It is very worth it to try this one for a spin.

Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 27th June 2007
Version reviewed: 2.5 on Windows.
Last edited by VitaminD on 23rd May 2011.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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If I, for some odd reason, was stuck on an island with nothing to do but eat fruit and write music and then ONLY could pick one synth to use.. Zebra2 would be my pick.

The capabilities of this synth are rather incredible to me.. It has a very full sound naturally, but has the ability to sound thin and digital or even harsh if so desired. There are so many features packed into Zebra2.5 that I'm unsure I'll ever need any other synth. ever.

Stability has been good in my host of choice (Orion Platinum) and cpu usage is acceptable for me (aging Athlon x2 5600+ [2.8ghz])

Zebra2 can be a very complex synth if you want it to be.. at the same time, I've made several stunning sounds through much less complex patches. And the amount of presets that are available for Zebra2 means even if you aren't looking to be a synth sound designer/programmer, you will still have no trouble pulling out tons of fantastic, usable sounds.

If you want it to be complex, you can have your way. With the ability to load 3rd party Oscillator waveforms, means Zebra2 never gets stale. As of version 2.5 we now have the 11 voice mode for each oscillator and some great filters. The Envelope Generators are super powerful and the effects are solid.

In short, Zebra2 is one of the few software synthesizers I feel is actually worth it's asking price. Value for Money is extremely high -- The abilities are so large in Zebra2, I'll probably never dig to the bottom of the sound palette. And, compared to some of the other larger hardware synths, this one is rather easy to program too.
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 11th May 2004
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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I'm giving my first '10' in UI to Buffer Override.. I find it has _THE_ best gui I've ever used. Breathtakingly done and easy to use. I especially enjoy the help 'box' at the bottom of the gui. Fabulous!

I must admit that while this is a ~2 year old plugin, I only found out about this recently. It was while surfing for effects plugins to use for the Smart Electronix music competition that I found this gem.

Really useful in glitch/stutter effects - just load it to a track (preferrably that has a drumloop) as an insert and be amazed.

Also a treat to use on vocals.. you can get a looping sound that morphs into more of a glitch effect. amazing!

Has yet to crash on me.. even through some pretty unusual manipulations of buffer override. Don't be afraid to experiment with using different sound sources with this plugin. All in all it seems very stable.

Pros:

* Brilliant GUI
* Easy to use
* Powerful tool
* Wonderful sound

Cons:

* Few presets (however this isnt really a major issue since its so easy to use)


Final Thoughts:

Excellent work, I'm thoroughly impressed. :c)
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 2nd May 2004
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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Ben took his sweet time adding this one to the list.. :P anyways...

SuperWave Performer:

Pluses:
* 14 oscillators (all can be enabled/disabled)
* 2 multimode filters (1 per 2 banks of 7 oscillators)
* 2 arpeggiators (1 per 2 banks of 7 oscillaors)
* big, phattt (yes I just used the p word) sound that (imo) is rare in the soft synth realm.

Minuses:
* HUGE gui - all of the parameters on one screen - doesnt all fit at 1024x768 in orion platinum
* Patch recall issue in orion where after a song with SW:performer is used, upon reloading the song, one must cycle back and forth the patch selector to get the wanted sound
* Cpu cycle eater
* Unusual licensing C/R check that wasnt TOO bad but I'm not a fan of C/R
* Metallic sounding Reverb that I detest.



I'll be upfront in that I use this synth 99% of the time for trance.. it can be reminiscent of the big supersaw sounds one can get out of the JP8k from roland.. (let the multipage threads begin...) and is just screaming (well not like a bahssstaaahd) to play trance (bass and leads).

can also do a whole different range of sounds though.. huge pads are also a forte' of SW:Performer. Try switching off the reverb and use a 3rd party instead, you'll thank me later.
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 3rd March 2004
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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Anwida DX Reverb lite is a Medium length (1 algorithm included in the lite version) reverb unit.

What I like about this reverb is it's smooth sound. Most other free reverb plugins I've tried have had a very harsh, ringy sound or were too grainy - not DX Reverb lite! Smooth body, lite yet full sound.. refreshing :D

Integrates well into my Orion Platinum-made songs, never has crashed on me, and it is lite on the cpu usage. In short, its a winner.

I'm surprised this reverb (and the full version) aren't discussed more @ kvr. This one is a sleeper hit!!!

Also, The times I've contacted Anwida with my questions, they've replied in a timely manner with accurate (to my questions) and pleasing responses. I couldn't ask for much more.
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 24th June 2003
Version reviewed: 3.X on Windows.
Last edited by VitaminD on 18th July 2006.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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I love the UI - easy to get around and to understand..

Presets are fantastic and a great starting point for my own sets as well as inspiration on their own.

I'd have to agree with warbug, this plugin is more than just distortion.

Sound is great both as a distortion unit and as an FX unit overall.. I like to use CamelPhat3 on my kick drums, basses, and leads.. though I typically use it on drums to both thicken and/or dirty them.

It could be in my mind.. but I think the BandPass on the v3 sounds different than the one in v2...

Camel Audio staff is polite and knowledgable... and above all they'll listen to your thoughts/issues on their products. This is a big thing.. if you have a problem or even a comment.. the Camel Audio team are there to resolve your issues with their products. I'd give 6 stars for this if I could.

All sliders and knobs function smoothly and the random preset function can come up with some interesting settings if you're unispiried or simply curious.

I'd be at a very large disadvantage if I didnt have CamelPhat V3 - its in my 'crucial' short list of required plugins!!!
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 16th May 2003
Version reviewed: 1.1 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I use this for the vibraphone and the custom, melodic tine sounds I can get out of it..

Has a very stable feel to it.. Might sound weird to say that, but some VSTi's I've used have felt fragile..

dmiHammer is cpu friendly and stable.. and the sound is nice.

I can only wish the gui was larger.. on a 1024x768 screen, the text and knobs are quite small for this synth. But I am pleased with the simple, well defined layout - Makes programming a breeze.
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 5th February 2003
Version reviewed: 1.05a on Windows.
Last edited by VitaminD on 24th August 2003.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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this will sound like a record being replayed from whats already been said but..

synth1 is very clean and rich sounding.. i realized after really exploring this synth that its all in the onboard-fx.

edit: after using synth1 for a year+ now... I can definately tell that it aliases pretty badly in some circumstances. So watch out.. there is a very defined tiney/chimey aliasing noise if you try to push synth1 too hard.

mainly the chorus... it has (1x,2x and) 4x for ultra-silky leads..

one thing though that gets to me is the knobs. When one selects a knob, a bar automatically pops up to show you the amount. however, since the gui is so close-together, this leads to not being able to get to other knobs UNTIL i click something far away from what i really want!!

edit: about the paragraph above, i resolved this by simply clicking the "opt" button and selecting a larger gui!!! (you can resize the synth's gui in percentages, 150% did it for me) as a result im editing the score.

edit: "the color selection is a novel idea, but i would have rather had a locked gui with a more professional design." -- Im changing my opinion.. I like the ugly gui of synth1.. the ability o change colors has kept the look fresh for me.

sonically though, this synth is stunning (and free to boot)

I wish more developers would read this and realize this is what we want.. crystal clear sounding synths with loads of options that are easy to program and use little cpu(even at relatively high polyphony)!

-rgcaudio, bigtick, linplug.. are you reading this!?

In short, (and IMO) Synth1 is the best VA on the VSTi market.
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 7th July 2002
Version reviewed: 1 ? on Windows.
Last edited by VitaminD on 7th July 2002.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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the interface is rather easy to move around, with only a handful of sliders.. i like this- its ugly but functional.

i liked the decay/release and hardness factors you can apply to the sound.. it has enough features to really mold what you want..

however the sound, well it sounds like a piano- but IMO it doesnt really have a lot of character to it.. it sounds very thin and tiny to me.

i normally use, instead.. a small, free soundfont in place of this piano (converted from an impulse tracker multisampled instrument which was sampled from an alesis synth). Nothing is as good as the real thing, but i have free soundfonts that (to me) sound much better than this vsti.

i would say, since its free, no one has anything to lose by trying mda piano, but it just doesnt fit the bill for me..

different strokes for different folks, i guess.. :)
Reviewed By VitaminD [read all by] on 19th April 2002
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I love zr-3.

never tried B4, but I never will..

Im not an organist.. but I do *love* the sound of an organ.. and this synth does it for me, and its free

I like the fact that it can really sound so different.. it has triple drawbars but no tone wheels. however, it sounds pretty good from high to low.. all rich sounding.. though the high bars can sound a bit tiny if you try something really up in the registers.. but I didnt find it a problem in the least really..

The presets (22 included but scroll through AFTER 22 and read the preset names) really show what this synth is capable of doing.. i especially love the 'sine vibra' preset.. has a very austere and mysterious feel to it..

customer support gets a 5 because I never could get email to them as their mail server blocks yahoo accounts.. which is all I really have.

zr-3 makes some very rich, resonant organ sounds.. yum!

for added fun.. click on the 'void warranty' sticker in the top right corner.. hehe