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SynthMaster [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Mastrcode [read all by] on 6th November 2015
Version reviewed: 10 on Windows
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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SynthMaster is a very versatile Plugin. Ideal for very complex sound designs. I tried a lot of modular VST/standalone software before, but this piece of a diamont tops them all.

You can do so much things with just one instance of this VST to get outstanding results. Synthmaster is suitable for all kind of electronic sound design, electronic music, even for movie scores or game music or sound effects from another universe.

Two layer sections with awesome oscillators. They are so powerful. With a bright palette of waveforms. Analog waves, digital waves, vintage waves, even waveforms of some big synth legends are available. But the most thing i love about the oscillators is the possibillity to load even own created wavefiles for using as waveforms. So there is no limit for a sound design from another world. Together with the modulation sources like the envelopes, very versatile LFO's, filters, arp sequencer, internal FX routing etc. this is a killer synth. If you take the time and go experimental with this VST, you'll get an awesome sound out of this plugin. I'm also experienced in VST programming and coding, but compared to the programmers of this awesomeness i'm just a small shadow behind you and i have to give very big compliments to the programmers of this masterpiece.

Now let's go a bit into detail:

The Layer section:

There're two layers. Each layer has 2 oscillators, 2 filters, a very good arpeggiator, 3 FX sections with different effects like distortion, lo-fi, ensemble fx, a phaser and an EQ. The oscillators can be modulated by 4 additional oscillators, which are routable as modulation sources. Perfect for FM synthesis, amplitude modulation and destruction of the basic soud of the oscillators. Each layer has its own glide pitchbend range and velocity option, a 8 voice unison with unison detune, unison cutoff and unison panning (stereo spread), each layer hast its own volume and panning control and a coarse pitch.

The oscillators:

The oscillators can load a big bunch of different waveforms. Ideal for any kind of sound creating. And the oscillators have a special option for importing own wavefiles for using them as "wavetables" to make your own waveforms. I love this option. The oscillators can work in multimode with up to 8 voices each osc with a voice mix control, detune, stereo spread, adjustable detune curve, phase spread and tone spreat in the voice section of the oscillators. Each osc has it's own volume and panning control, coarse and fine tuning option, a phase control and a high cut filter control. Very awesome, powerful and versatile oscillators. There should be more VST's with such great oscillators.

The filters:

The two filters of each layer can be split, one filter for each of the main oscillators, then the filters can be switchet to parallel routing or switched in series. Also filters have their own distortion unit to overdrive them. Ten they have a switchable 12/24 dB slope, cutoff, resonance and keytracking control. The filters can be modulated by different sound sources over the mod matrix routing. The filter are sounding very good. they can sound clean, but also harsh and very dirty. I like the sound of the filters very much.

The Arpeggiator:

Each layer has a powerul Arpeggiator with the classic arp modes, a arpeggiate mode, a chord mode for arpeggiated cords, and a sequence mode where you can play own programmed tonal squences with just one pressed note. It has an octave range with up to 4 arpeggiated octaves, a arp stage control with up to 32 stages, a sync control for playing the arp in different synced speed (supports 2/1 to 1/32 bars, 2/1 dotted to 1/32 dotted bars and 2/1 triplet to 1/32 triplet bars) and a velocity control with step, note step + note and step x note. This Arpeggiator is very powerful and the right thing for good arpeggios (as an avid trance musician i love powerful apeggiators like this one).

The Voice Modulation section:

Each layer has 4 routable ADSR envelopes with adjustable envelope curves, two very versatile 2-D envelopes, 2 multi stage envelopes with up to 16 stages, 2 LFO's and a key scaling modulator. The LFO's are loaded with sine, triangle, square, saw, step and glide waveforms, speed, volume, phase and noise control, and an attack and release control with adjustable attack and release curves for fade in/fade out modulation of the LFO's and a final volume control. The envelopes are very fast and crisp, what is very important for my needs as a trance producer. I especially love the possibillity for manually adjustments of the envelope curves.

LFO Section:

There're 4 synth LFO's for each layer. They are the same LFO's with the same functions like the LFO's in the voice modulation settings. They ca be routed via the mod matrix, to control/modulate the individual devices.

The Synth FX section:

The FX section contains:

A vocoder with various modulator inputs: Both layers can be set as modulator with the choice of dry or wet layers, this means with or withot the layer's internal effects. Also an external sound source (audio input) can be routed as modulator input.

2 compressor modules with attack, release, threshold, ratio, knee and ain control and also a sidechain input for the layers and external audio sources.

A nice sounding chorus effect with versatile modulation controls (mix, width, pan, feedback, mod rate and depth, and left and right delay offset).

A tremolo effect, with mix, mod rate, sync left/right ratio and phase settings.

Powerful Delay effect with effect mix control, width, pan, feedback and drive controls, pingpong option and left/right delay times which can be switched to free or synced. Then the delay has a low and high shelf EQ and a distortion effect, which makes it easy to create vintage style delay effects like e.g. tape echos or tube delays.

And finally a very good sounding Reverb. It has a mix, size, time and distance control, early and late reflections section with own EQ's and an early/late mix control. A mod amount and a mod speed control, and finally a diffusion, a density and a damping control. But the reverb can be very CPU hungry with long reverb tails.

The FX section has 5 insert slots for each layer where you can rote the several effects to one of the slots. It also contains a global fx routing section with 2 layer send busses with dry/wet controls for each layer and 5 insert slots per bus, where you can rote the several effects to one of the slots.

The Modulation matrix:

The mod matrix has 64 routing slots, each with source and destination routings of most of the modulator devices and a bipolar amount control for each single slot. With this matrix you can create all your modulation routings like volume/filter/pitch/panning modulations and much more.

The output control:

It contains volume and bypass controls for each single layer, a master volume control with an additional +12 dB boost button and a master tune control.

And finally the main settings option:

It cotains the options for changing the GUI skin, the plugin window scale, the global pitchbend range settings (which can also be set individually for each layer and each single preset), the global engine quality and engine buffer size settings (can also be set individually for each single preset). It also contains settings for default loaded standard saw/triangle/square waves for the oscillators while resetting the preset to default. Then there are controls for antialiased drawing, MIDI CC filter lag, mouse filter lag, bipolar easy knob control, and a hide older presets option.

I also like the preset manager. It's very comfortable and makes it easy to browse between the banks and the presets and the Bank/preset categories.

This VST is awesome, it has so much power. If you take the time and learn, how to use this plugin, this VST can be a huge sound monster. And for its complexity and sound quality it is very CPU friendly. At the beginning it needs a bit acclimatization, but when you then broke the ice, it's very user friendly.

Again, big respect to the programmers, big big compliment for creating such a sound weapon.

This is not just a VST, this is great, great art.

My Points: 10/10.

Hive 2 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Mastrcode [read all by] on 27th October 2015
Version reviewed: 10 on Windows.
Last edited by Mastrcode on 27th October 2015.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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I'm a Trance producer and i was searching for a All in one-VST that fits all my needs. And with Hive i've found it.

A versatile instrument with awesome sounding oscillators. They can process up to 16 multi-voices per osca good condition or bright and fat trance sounds like supersaws, etc. A good idea was the implementing of a vibrato control directly into each of the several oscillators. This makes it easy to create vibratos without the need of special mod matrix routings.

The filters are geat, they can sound very clean, but also very agressive and dirty.

The envelopes are very fast and crisp, which is important for most trance sounds like fast plucks, fast filter envelopes or percussive sounds.

The LFO's are very useful for a big palette of modulations.

I like the mod matrix and it's routing capabillities with the possibillity of "drag and drop"-routing.

The Arpeggiator is very good, the step sequencer is awesome.

The effects section sounds very good. With a great distortion fx for agressive and dirty sounds, a nice sounding chorus, awesome sounding reverb and delay, EQ section, a usefl compressor and a nice phaser effect.

The 3 sound engines (clean, normal and dirty) are a great idea. So Hive can aound very clean, but also very warm, dirty or even lo-fi.

And the most important thing is the CPU load. You can create very complex sounds with very low CPU load.

For me Hive is the best VST on the market to create sounds for trance or other similar electronic music. Even way better sounding than Sylenth1.
For me Hive is THE Sylenth killer par excellence.

10/10 points.