Wow, This synth was a pleasant surprise. When I read the feature list, I pretty much ignored it, since it did not seem to offer anything new, but after hearing people talk about it, I downloaded this beast. Wow. Simple interface, but extremely function, this is a monosynth, which has one great asset. The way it sounds!!! IBlit sounds extremely warm and mmmm, vintage. It also complements the more "in your face" character of Triangle I and II perfectly and is currently my preferred synth for analog-style basslines. The presets provide a very good idea of the way the synth can be used. I have not had to use the documentation or customer service, since I have not had the need to, as Iblit is about as intuitive a synth as it gets. Everything is neatly laid out, and easy to understand. The portamento is sweet, as are the filters. As funky mentioned, there seems to be no hint of aliasing.
The one big negative is a lack of MIDI control. This synth would really do well with MIDI learn.
If you haven't, try Iblit out. It is really worth the time.
Simply put, z3ta+ is my favorite synth. As a prior reviewer mentioned, this is a programmers synth, although the included presets, and another bank released a few days ago do provide a good starting point. Not for the faint hearted, the feature list of this beast is extensive. The power does come at the price of potential high CPU use, but any self-respecting modern computer should be able to handle the load, which is pretty good for a synth of this power.
The user interface is the best I have seen in a synth. Elegant and intuitive. I hope the earlier RGC synths also get this UI. The pop-up windows for the XY pad and the waveshaper are just the way to do it.
Now for the main bit, the sound. With 6 oscillators, built-in FX, numerous waveforms and 2 sweet filters, this is one sweet sounding beast. The ability to morph the LFO's makes for some tremendous evolving pads and pulsing sounds. The apreggiator, amp modeling, etc are features that extend these abilites. z3ta+ is also excellent for leads and basses, but in my hands, fat pads and evolving pads are where it gets maximum use.
My favorite bit about the z3ta+ other than the sound is the control I have. MIDI learn up the wazoo and a fantastic mod-matrix give tremendous real-time control. The XY-pad also allows some very cool modulation to be done in real time. Of course the ability to alter waveshape in real time gives rise to numerous more opportunities.
Bottom line. This is a stable, powerful and wonderful sounding synth, which will take some time to master, but the endless possibilites will keep the user busy for a while. The support from René is excellent. Don't hesitate .. buy this one.
When I first got Triangle II, I was a tad disappointed, because straight out of the box (so to speak), I preferred Triangle I (which I also use extensively), but as I started tweaking the knobs on TII, I realized how powerful it was. It is not necessarily "better" than Triangle I, but I find it more pleasing to tweak, especially realtime, while with the T1, I essentially use the presets of slightly modified versions. When it comes to analog-sounding basslines and portamento leads (esp the latter), I don't think there is a better VSTi out there and only the original Triangle matches it in its class and the complement each other perfectly as they have different characters. A must in any studio, esp if you are into Berlin-school electronica and/or into Keith Emerson/Larry Fast.
Edit Nov 2002. I am notching down the features number by one, since, having played with z3ta+ and crystal a lot lately, I have come to the conclusion that a Mod Matrix is special. That said, the lack of one makes P 1, so easy to program and control, and very easy to play "live", the true essence of a performance synth.
After months of resistance, I finally succumbed and bought Pentagon, when my musical needs required a true subtractive synth that I could control real-time with my new controller keyboard. It was quite a coincidence that the day after I bought PI, z3ta+ came out and now I have two synths that make me drool.
The Pentagon GUI is pretty good and easy to navigate. My only problem is with the color, which is too dark for me, but following the release of z3ta+, I suspect that the next version will have a filler GUI.
The Pentagon sound is fat, perfect for re-creating some of the classic sounds of the past, which works out perfectly for me (prog rock + Tangeringe Dream style electronic rock). The features and realtime control possiblities of the Pentagon are excellent, and give rise to the possibilities for some creative sound sculpting. It is not too difficult to program this beast, as both patch creation and realtime modulation are a breeze. The bottom line, this thing sounds great. The presets are pretty darn good and provide a great starting point for setting up new patches.
The documentation and user support are excellent. Now that Rene has his own KvR forum, even better. The synth has never crashed, and is fairly light on the CPU compared to some other synths in the same class, and at $99 this is very fairly priced.
I consider the Pentagon to be a performance synthesizer cause of its amazing realtime control, which becomes all the more powerful when combined with its monophonic little brothers. If you don't have it .. get it
It is difficult to give a real score to Phatmatik pro, since it doesn't really have presets or a "sound" per se. There is however one thing to be said for it. It made me start using loops. That alone says a lot about the power of this wonderful VSTi. Slicing is a breeze and very accurate. The ability to read acidized files provides access to an existing library of top notch sounds. Midi drag and drop is wonderful and in my case he most heavily used feature as it allows me to chop up loops and rearrange slices. The ability to export audio or drag and drop also provides a lot of flexibility. At its simplest Phat Pro can be used to create a drum kit. The slice editor is great as are the global modulation/filter settings etc. I found Phat Pro to be highly intuitive, but customer support has not been too forthcoming in recent months.
There are some minor flaws, such as the default ADSR settings, the stability when slice highlighting is turned on (although that is more of a problem with my machine), but all in all, PhatPro has made a significant impact on my music. Indeed it has changed the way I make music. I can't wait for future updates. I think everyone should have this VSTi
I almost use no freebies now, and JX-220 was the last one taken out of my list (I still use JX-16, Cheeze Machine and Triangle). That said it is an excellent instrument. The GUI is quite intuitive. While the presets themselves don't tickle my fancy, just a little tweaking makes this thing growl a whole lot better. For someone newly into VSTi-based recording, this is certainly one of the top 6-7 free VSTi's available.
I can't say enough good things about SonicSynth. I have spent the better part of my time since I got it experimenting with the soundcontent and the ideas it could give me. Bottom Line: I would buy it again just for the Pianos and organs. The different acoustic and epianos (that tremolo rhodes is mouth watering) not only sound great but sit just perfectly in a mix. The organs go from shimmering chorus organ (one of my faves) to the Jon Lord screaming B3 sound. The strings have a lot of "feel" to them, especially the ensembles. As I use Sonic Synth more and more I keep finding new patches to use that simply amaze me. The SFX patches are an example of that. Very atmospheric and brilliantly done. The pads, synth leads, basses and msic synth banks are probably among the more heavily used banks for me when I sit down to work at ideas, as they inspire me a lot. The Wright Lead is very quickly becoming one my favorite Sonic Synth patches, and anyone familiar with my posts in the Cafe is already aware of the heavy use of Sonic Synth pads in anything I do.
Frankly, if someone asked me which VSTi they should buy if they could afford only one, my answer would be SonicSynth (unless the person is a sound-mangler of course). SonicSynth makes me want to run out of the door and buy a more expressive controller than I have right now.
I don't think I can really add to the reviews that have already been written. SonicSynth is worth the hype, and Squids and Co's great support is already well known around here.
I would not have a softsampler if not for this VSTi. Just the price makes this a must buy, but the functionality and abilities of VSampler, including the ability to stream put it right up there with the big boys. I am not a big soundfont user, but sometimes I have no choice but to go the SF route, which is why the great soundfont support is a big plus. I only wish there were more native libraries, but Akai import does give users access to pretty much anything. I don't see myself buying another sampler in the near future.
I am new to sampling, and the documentation and samples that come with VSampler have been of some help. That said more experienced users might find it sparse. If I have a negative comment, it is with the user interface but that is more of a matter of personal taste.
Added comment: Since I wrote the original review I have been in touch with other developers and it is clear to me now that VSampler support, while decent, is not at the excellent level of some other VSTi's
Mr. Taips once again provides an excellent free VSTi. Although I don't use it as much as I used to, it is still a good string ensemble VSTi. Being a Pink Floyd junkie, I was drawn in by the name. Some of the presets are excellent. "Shine on .. " has always been on eof my favorite tunes to play and here I have a canned sound for it.
I still use this occasionally, mostly for harmony parts (splits time with Cheeze Machine). I have had problems with high pitched screeches but it is possible that subsequenct updates have fixed that. I recommend this for anyone into 70's string ensemble sounds.