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Reviewed By tetsuneko [read all by] on June 18th, 2006
Version reviewed: 1.0.0.1 on Windows
While there are many reasons why i consider this to be among the very best subtractive FOOS VSTi's out there, the biggest one is the sound of the thing itself. I highly recommend jx10 for a subtractive synth in your arsenal.

I could have written how the internal architechture of the jx10 works, but this becomes obvious once you have used it for a while.

mda JX10 is supposedly similar to a Roland JX10 in its features? I have never used a real JX10 myself, so I wouldn't know. There are two oscillators, square and saw. You get two envelopes, one for filter and one for amp. Filter section might seem modest to contemporary alternatives, only a single LPF. Also, in the modulator section, there is only one LFO. Doesn't sound like much? I disagree!

First of all, the plugin itself is a single .dll, so no need to install or worry about bloating your DAW's registry with redundant garbage. Some people don't seem to mind this, but I'm very picky about this myself.

Another feature that I admire in JX10 is it's GUI-less interface. I know this turns a lot of people off, having used to all kinds of nice looking GUI's with 3D rendered knobs and such. I usually find GUI's to be quite distracting, so for me this is actually a plus instead of a minus. And surely if a GUI is needed, someone with the urge can make a skin and post it to mda?

What about cc's then? I think that when shaping sounds on stage, less is more. While there are only a modest amount of parameters on the jx10, I found I can easily map almost all of the parameters to my PCR-50 (which has ~32 controllers). Shaping the sounds becomes a snap once you have most controls assigned, and I actually remembered again just how fun those old analog synths used to be! Many other VSTi's have huge amounts of parameters, and the only way to gain tactile control of them is by buying the biggest knob-box in the world.. hardly convenient?

As I mentioned in the beginning of my review, jx10 sounds great. The filter, although only a single LPF, gives you instant gratification by sounding very smooth and warm. Oscillators are very nice as well, no sign of syntheditesque thinness or homogenicity here. I guess I should have analyzed some tests and include the results here, but I am a lazy bitch you know ;) It is enough to say that I'd go toe-to-toe with jx10 against anything else than xhip any day! (I hate to base arguments on personal experience, but I have tried many, many VSTi's - both FOOS and commercial - and I should have a pretty good idea about what sounds good and what doesn't..)

I don't know if there is a manual for jx10, but it's so simple that one hardly needs it anyway.

To wrap it up, mda jx10 is a synth that grows on you. Once you get over the fact that it's not meant to be used for every sound in your next hot track and use it in the context of where it's strenghts lie, good results are bound to happen. It's no wonder that mda is working for Digidesign nowadays.