Luxonix Ravity is a synth that has grown on me as I have come to realise just how powerful, useful and great-sounding it is.
The synth comprises an architecture of four layers, which can be split, stacked or whatever, each a full VA synth and each with a full suite of built-in effects.
GUI The GUI is flawless. There ae two main pages - a preset browser feauring in-situ previewing of presets (the best implementation I've seen) and the main synth editing page - with four tabs : one for each layer. The controls are laid out sensibly and the GUI is pleasing to look at and responsive. Damn near perfect.
SOUND The sound of this thing is great, ranging from fat synth sounds to realistic instruments , huge pads and weird FX. There are also some great presets which illustrate this things ability to mimic the workstation synths of the 80s and 90s (Korg M1s etc).
FEATURES There are 4 identical synth layers (generators) each of which is a complete VA synth, including two sampled "oscillators". There are well over 100 samples to choose from covering choirs, pianos etc. as well as the ususal saw, square, triangle. Each layer has it's own arpeggiator (a very flexible one) and it's own multi-fx (a complete implementation fo the famous Luxonix freebie LFX1310). This provides huge flexibility - you can have a stabbed attack on layer one, with pingpong delays, backed up by a swelling pad on layer 2 which is heavily chorussed and reverbed, with an arpeggiated xylophone on layer3 , heavily compressed and .... well - you get the idea.
There are also some great hidden features in here in terms of mapping of midi controllers using midi learn etc.
DOCUMENTATION A ver good manual is included which covers all the basics, including installation and programming. There are also detailed feature tables in the appendices, covering default midi routing etc.
PRESETS There is a huge range of excellent presets, including some bass and lead patches that are hugely responsive and rewarding. Patches are arranged into 11 banks, including piano, strings, organ, synth bass, synth lead etc. with each bank ranging from 20 to 50+ sounds.
CUSTOMER SUPPORT Never had to use it, but the Luxonix guys frequent KvR and also have their own forum.
VALUE FOR MONEY Given this synths great library of sounds, built-in effects, ease of use and quality , I would say the Ravity(S) is one of the best VFM vstis around. Truly excellent.
STABILITY Never crashed, frozen or even dropped a note. Top Notch.
All in all , I rate this synth very highly indeed to anyone looking to expand their range or to find a workhorse vsti which you can use to find the right sound fast, to get down ideas quickly. I love it and use it in most projects, often more than one instance.
Ravity (R) is a *proper* drum machine. It's not going to replace your copy of Battery or BFD for big multi-sampled kits. Oh no. It's a drum machine - and it's a bloody good one! This little fella has a couple of extra special tricks that make it stand out a mile. But more on that later.
UI Really nice to look at - well laid out and easy to understand.
Sound Great, crunchy - tough-as-nails drum machine samples. That's the primary function, although there are some acoustic kits and some weirder ones, it's the synthetic-and-proud-of-it drum kits that are great here.
Features ...and here's where the special features come in. (1) In-place-preview. Start your sequencer playing, then go to the preset browser in Ravity(R) and start clicking on kits. You'll hear your track played by each kit as you select them - but you don't have to commit to the change. Only when you decide on a kit and double-click is it actually loaded. Simply fantastic!
(2) Drag-n-drop kit building From windows explorer onto the drum pad buttons. champion!!
(3) 6 outputs each with a full LFX1310!! OK , you could set this up in a modular host, but it's just so damn convenient here. wahay!!
Documentation Comprehensive-ish. Could do with a bit more on the middi assignment features and the short-cut knobs at the top of the GUI, but more or less complete
Presets The kits provided are, as I said, great drum machine kits. Think Dr.Rex and you'll be in the same ballpark. But , of course, that's only half the story. You can build all your own kits, too, natch!
Customer Support Haven't had to use it, don't think I will. Yeap is fairly regular on KvR, so I'd imagine it's fine.
VFM If you're doing electronic music and you long for a good drum sampler that doesn't confuse you with velocity layering and midi-note assignemnt, this is perfect. The in-place-preview alone is worth the asking price.
Stability. Rock solid. Never budges.
Not long after I tried the demo of Ravity(R) , I knew I had to have it. Try the demo yourself - you'll probably get hooked, too :-)
I had been waiting a long time for Dr. Rex as a VSTi and as soon as this was released I was on it like a rabid dog. But One/Solo goes a little bit further, as we'll soon see.....
GUI The GUI is small and covers three pages. It's a little difficult to read because of the size, but in terms of layout and "coolness" it can't be faulted.
Sound Well, this beast plays rex,rcy, rx2, acidized wav and opf (it's own format) files. The sound quality is top notch, however you'll need to provide your own sounds or get one of the bundles (there is currently a drum-n-bass version with the rex files from the 160db and 260db CDs. There are also plans for a Norman Cook/Commercial Breaks one). These should be good value, depending on your style.
Features The feature set is (almost) perfect for what this plugin does. You load up your loop and have the choice of 2 modes. In loop mode, you send a midi C3 and your loop plays in sync. Lower or rasie the midi note and the loop still plays in sync, but gets tuned accordingly. You can export a midi file of the loops groove (even on acid loops), load this into your host and you can then re-arrange the groove, add fills etc. Neato. There are many controls to modify your grooves as well, including a corking filter. This filter , the amplitude and the pitch can all be modified with LFO and envelope modulation. There's even a further set of controls to map controllers to LFO depth , meaning you can map your mod wheel to the pitch LFO depth to introduce vibrato, for example. Two features that would improve things, though, are file preview in the import dialog box and midi drag-n-drop (phatmatik style) of the grove template into the host - hence the dropped point.
Documentation The manual is comprehensive and easy to read. No problems there at all.
Presets - Not really applicable here and unfair to lose drop points because of that.
Customer Support. Exemplary. Dave Waugh is a regular in the KvR support forums and a stalwart of the vst/vsti scene.
Value for Money Quite simply, this plugin is a STEAL at £30
Stability Rock Solid - never crashes or fazes the host.
I was delighted when this plugin was released. It's a great utility plug which has found it's way into every track I've done lately, and usually more than one instance, too. If you have a library of rex/rcy/rx2/acidised wavs then this plugin is simply a *must*. If you don't, then grab one of the bundles and start building a library :-)
A fantastic synth with a truly beautiful sound and some incredible modulation features. If this was a monosynth (like the original Oscar) it would be worth the £100. As a poly beast, it's just huge VFM.
User Interface Sweet. Looks just like the Oscar. Admittedly confusing at first, but that's the Oscar's fault, not GMedia's. Once you get to know the controls, though, the GUI is a joy to use.
Features All ths standard oscillators, some you've never heard of and the ability to make your own oscillator waveforms using additive synthesis. A filter with seperation , many modes, a really sweet drive control and the ability to have two filters operational simultaneously. Evelopes, LFOs, gating patterns - the modulation options are mind boggling. There are some presets where you just *have* to take the time to figure out how the hell it was done. Several polyphony modes, an arpeggiator - there's tons to play with on this killer synth.
Sound From huge warm fat basses to tinkling sparkly crystalline washes of sound, this synth can do 'em all. Ask just about anyone who owns Imposcar - it's the best sounding VA synth out there.
Documentation Comes boxed with a printed manual , which is nice. The manual covers the history of the Oscar/Imposcar as well as providing a detailed insight into the signal path and controls. A must-read if you are to get the best out of this synth.
Presets Ships with a swathe of presets, some of which were programmed by famous Oscar users of yesteryear. The vast majority of the presets are impressive and useable. My one criticism of this synth as a whole lies here, though. The presets are supplied in banks of 36 which are loaded through your hosts fxb import function. They can also be dragged and dropped from explorer. Either way, 36 presets is not a lot at one time. The real gripe, though, is that they are not organised in the slightest. This is my pet peeve with many synths, though. Someone could do the Imposcar user base a huge favour by re-arranging the presets into basses, leads, pads etc.
Customer Support Top notch. Dave Spiers is a regular on KvR and is always responsive.
Value for Money Excellent. Like I said at the top - this would be worth a ton if it was a monosynth.
Stability Rock solid. Cpu load is on the lower side of acceptable. Have never seen it barf.
Summary I have fallen in love with Imposcar since I got it. The potential for sounds is huge and the synth is a joy to tweak and cajole into the right sound for a track. It's also a hoot just to play around with in idle moments. Most importantly, it's a really *playable* synth and is the first one I reach for when I just want to start playing and see where I go.
Try the demo and prepare your credit card for impact.
I won supercamelphat 2 in the KvR Monthly Song Competition (May 2004). Thanks to Camelaudio for supporting our monthly comps.
I should add that I passed up on a copy of White Noise Additive to pick up this plugin - that's how much I like it.
User Interface Whilst not a cutting edge GUI, the interface is functional and clearly laid out. A quick check of the manual reveals the signal path and the exact functionality of a couple of controls which were less obvious .
Sound This is the key to supercamelphats success. I primarily use this plugin to add a warm rounded super-beefy bottom end to my bass and drum tracks. The Magic EQ setting seems to add an enormous amount of thump to basslines and the compressor (one dial!) thickens up drum tracks a treat. The filter can add some funky sweeps to your sound and has an audio level triggered envelope that work like a charm. There is also a bandpass filter which can be used very effectively to trim a bassline until it sits beautifully in the mix. Bring the top end down to remove any noise or aliasing from a vsti bassline. Surprisingly, bringing up the lower frequency (i.e. removing the really low end) can really help a bassline to cut through a mix. The output from the bandpass unit (which is first in the signal chain) then goes to the other effects - the flanger, the compressor, the magic EQ, the funky filter and the distortion unit. A mix control allows the frequencies rejected by the bandpass filter to be reintroduced unaffected. This means that you can pick out a particular frequency band of, say, a drum track and apply supercamelphat's effects to just that band, leaving the rest unaffected. Excellent! Special mention mus be made of the distortion unit, too. There is a mechanical (read harsh) distortion effect and a super-smooth tube distortion that really adds character to a drum track.
Features All described above. I can't think of anything I would add to this plugin - it does the job it sets out to do really well.
Documentation This plugin is fairly simple, but the manual is clear and well written should you need to check up on a particlar function. Screen shots and signal path diagrams are included for a well detailed piece of documentation.
Presets Comes with around a dozen presets, but this plugin is really meant for tweaking. I have never used an unaltered preset : not because they're bad , but because this effect really needs tweaked depending on your input material. Happily, it's a joy to tweak :-)
Customer Support Camel Audio's customer support is exemplary. Ben and Jim are regulars on their KvR support forum.
Value for Money Like I said - I won this plugin , but it was on my list of things-to-buy anyway. If you are looking to make a real difference to your basslines and drum racks then this plugin is a must-buy. Try the demo - you will be amazed.
Stability Solid as a rock. Does what it says on the tin.
Summary This plugin is a joy to use and is a must-try. Get the demo today.
User Interface Really well laid out - very instinctive to use and everything seems to be where you would expect it. A top notch GUI both in terms of looks and in layout / design.
Sound The variety of sound is incredible. A scan through the excellent presets reveals that this synth can do just about anything, from bleeps and blarps to long lush moving pads. Don't expect it to out-phat a VA - that's not the intention of this one - but do expect the sounds to amaze and inspire. Think complex, realistic, unusual.....
Features Analysis of your own samples is a breeze and the editor allows you to set individual partial levels at each step of the multi-stage envelopes. There is a complete suite of good quality effects (filter/distortion/delay/reverb etc) , there's a fully adjustable formant filter, and an "easy" page where you can make quick, simple adjustments (same idea as the one in FM7). Many users complain about being up until 4 in the morning just tweaking and playing. It gets you like that :-)
Documentation A well written, tutorial style manual is included which steps you through the basic operations and then goes into more detail on specifics later. An index would have helped. One point dropped.
Presets The 1.3 version comes with a raft of great presets. Bonus points for the presets being organised by category (basees/pads/etc) which makes finding a useable sound quick and easy. There are also some preset banks available on the camel audio website from other users (including Tim Conrardy) which are also super. Expect to see a ton of user banks for this synth - resynthesising your own samples is addictive and they can be distributed as tiny files.
Customer Support Can't be beat. Ben, Jim and co are helpful and a regular presence in the forums.
Value for Money Considering the huge capabilities of this synth - there is real value for money here.
Stability Rock solid. Never fazes the host. Never glitches or barfs.
I am super-impressed with this synth. The possibilities are endless and the amount of control you can excercise is astounding - combined with an intuitive GUI this makes for a synth that you could tweak for hours. If you're not a tweaker, then the fine library of sounds shipped, the user banks and the sample import facility should keep you happy too.
Top Notch. First Class. Highly Recommended.
User Interface The GUI is a little plain, but very well laid out and easy to navigate. The new NL2 skin (official DiscoDSP release) brightens it up no end so that's worth investigating. The most notable aspect of the GUI is the setting of morph values for all parameters. Holding "CTRL" while adjusting a knob will reveal a second "ghost" pointer. More Later...
Sound If you like rasping growling VA antics, then Discovery delivers what you're after. One of my favourite sounds is that of sync'ed oscillators and Discovery offers a wealth of options for modulating the second oscillator for some seriously hard-edged sounds. There are a variety of filters on offer which all have their merits, particularly the LP24 which sounds warm and thick and the Formant24 which (as you might expect) uses formant filters to lend "vocal" timbres to the sound. FM of oscillators is available too, so tings, pings, bells and twangs are in amongst the sonic arsenal.
Features As mentioned in the GUI section , the morphing feature is thing that makes this synth really stand out. Without it, Discovery would be an excellent VA synth. With morphing, this synth moves to a whole new level. Each and every knob can have two settings applied. One main setting and a second "ghost" setting. You can then morph between these using the mod wheel or (my favourite) velocity. Since you can set the synth to ignore velocity on the VCA (ie no volume changes no matter what the note velo) this feature makes this synth come alive. Imagine filter cutoff, resonance, envelope level, oscillator sync depth and vibrato lfo amount all varying with velocity. Set up a sequence in your host, then play around with those little velocity bars underneath the piano roll that you normally just set flat (or ignore) and you can achieve some incredibly complex effects.
The second feature of note is that Discovery can have up to four layers (ABCD) with each layer being a totally independent, completely programmable version of the synth. A nice bell sound, with a low string fading in , all underpinned by a pulsing growling sync bass? No problemo! Admittedly this does make the synth a bit of a CPU hog, but if I'm honest, I rarely go beyond one layer - this synth is that good.
A tempo-synced delay, a dedicated LFO for pan (great feature!), 3 types of filter distortion, incredibly flexible modulation routing (although not as flexible as a modulation matrix, but nearly) all add up to a superb list of features.
Documentation A good PDF manual is supplied which is well laid out, clear and concise.
Presets This synth comes with a shed load of presets and you can import Nord Lead 2 sounds too.
Customer Support DiscoDSP forum on KvR is lively with regular input from DiscoDSP staff.
VFM Really excellent value for money, this synth. I wouldn't be without it.
Stability Never had any problems whatsoever. Never.
In summary? I really love this synth. It's sound and features are top notch.