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Reviewed By Halma [read all by] on 29th August 2014
Version reviewed: XPSP3 on Windows.
Last edited by Halma on 29th August 2014.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Curve 2 is a very compact but also versatile and powerful sounding synthesizer. Compact because it comes with no additional FX. So you only get the Oscillators, Filters, Envelopes, LFOs and semimodular Routing Matrix. But that's a cool concept and works astonishingly well. The only drawback might be the lack of a manual. That's why I gave it only 9 Points.

The Name is program. It's all about curves. You can have up to 10 different curves at once. They are both: oscillators and LFO waveforms at once. All standard waveforms are on board and you can draw your own pretty easy and comfortable via dragging the mouse over the grid. With Rightclick you toggle between spline mode, edge mode and delete point mode. The grid is actually very helpful and awesome when designing rhythmic LFO patterns that can be further used on your Osc Volume for eg. gated pads. The LFOs can be synced or not synced to gate in, beat sync or free running up to audio (set it to note) so your LFO can now be used to modulate things via FM in the Routing Matrix. Great feature.

Curve2 has 3 Oscillator sections. There you can load two different waveforms from the Curves window which can be be mixed via LFO and Envelopes. Each section can be routed to the Filter section with the two Filters in different ways: 1 into 2, 1 and 2, only 1, only 2, 1 and 2 L and R, bypassed. The Filters are 6dB, 12dB and 24dB, all LP, then some BP, HP, NOTCH, PEAK (I love this one). 12dB and 24dB can selfoscillate - use keytrack in the matrix and have some fun. The Filters sound great and are per voice. Lovely resonance.

Last but not least the Envelopes. Instead of SUSTAIN you get a LOOP knob. Click the ZOOM TOOL in the corner and have some fun with Curve 2 own ENVELOPE DESGINER. :) Really great feature. So easy to come up with the perfect envelope. I wished all synths would have something like this.

The Matrix is semimodular and comes with lots of modulation and cross modulation possibilities. On top of it some features are only available only via Matrix (eg FM). Then you will get 4super controller hotkey thingies you can connect to mostly everything in Curve2 via drag & drop and control it via eg Modwheel, Aftertouch or something else.

Then you will get a pretty stunning and clean sounding Unison and Detune Feature with additional Spread parameter and a cool Damping option which balances out the sides vs the mids. And when you choose a odd voice number one voice will always be dead centre mono. Then some easy MIDI touch routing automation feature, some quality settings (oscillators are bandlimited or with aliasing, Eco mode etc), up to 32 polyphonic and an OUTGAIN dB option (pretty helpful if you press lots of keys and have lots of oscillator action going on so lower that to avoid clipping).

I surely missed something but the overall sound is pretty great and catchy: funky short arp basses are possible, lush stereo pads with lots of bass or even classic noisy supersaws. You don't need any fx because this can sound very fat on its own and gives you lots of control over the stereo field.

Awesome synth if you like to design your own waveforms or emulate classic stuff like 303 saw square waveforms or draw a MS10 50% square on your own. I dunno if it sounds like the real deal but it sounds great anyway.

Highly recommended. Lots of fun.

Regards.

Sebastian.

Reviewed By Halma [read all by] on 3rd August 2014
Version reviewed: XPSP3 on Windows.
Last edited by Halma on 5th August 2014.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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I AM NOT THE DEVELOPER OF THIS SYNTH. I WAS BETATESTING IT (OBVIOUSLY THE ONLY ONE) AND SPENT MORE TIME THAN ANYBODY ELSE ON THIS PLANET WITH THIS SYNTH. WHEN I WRITE "Though I am somehow involved in the development process" I MEAN THAT THE DEVELOPER APPRECIATED MY SUGGESTIONS AND EITHER IMPLEMENTED THEM OR NOT. BUT THE SYNTH WAS ALREADY DONE (MORE OR LESS).

Hello everyone, .

I can't believe there is no review for HYDi until now. Maybe people are afraid of the SE framework, maybe people think this little dirty girl can't come up with some serious sounds...let me say you one thing: you should not have to worry about stuff like that.

I give her 10/10. Though I am somehow involved in the development process I think after such a long time without a review I am allowed to write one. She deserves one and I know all of her Ins and Outs (lol). Of course I am heavily biased. So keep that in mind.

But I hope that you will have a lot of fun and some usage in your projects with HYDi.

I wrote Andrew shortly after his first KVRDC12 Version. I liked what I have heard so far and saw many potential in it. Shortly after that I was heavily beta testing a new version which became more and more polished over the time. We fixed lots of bugs and added lots of new stuff. I recommended a few things and lucky for me Andrew implemented them into his already pretty deep concept synth.

And that's what HYDi is all about: a hardcore semimodular modulation monosomething synth with some of the most innovative custom Oscillators, Filters and FX I have ever heard in the VST synth world (paid synths included).

I stopped counting the different SAW waveforms after five or six and all of them sound different plus a RAMP one as well. The third OSC can act as a dedicated SUB OSC with some nifty functions like FILTER BYPASS.

This synth allows you to route your filters either PRE or POST AMP. The resonance of most filters sounds completely different that way.

HYDi comes with one of my favourite software CUSTOM (!!!) LOWPASS FILTERS: LP12C...I like this so much that I measure a lot of synths against this one. Use the inbuilt stepsequencer and let this modulate your CUTOFF as well. High resonances with low cutoff on SAW or PULSE can sound very 303 this way. Not a lot Filter can do this IMHO (another good one is eg signaldusts DOLPHIN 303 filterdesign if you are after that kind of sound).

The micro fx section (a small fx section between the AMP and "MAJOR" FX sections) contains a pretty useful compressor that I use a lot. This in combination with the upper EQ/FILTER unit can give your final sound "the icing on the top".

To get the most out of HYDi I recommend to think about her this way: everything that is going either into FX1 or FX2 is MONO. The FX can now be used to add some STEREO information to the MONO signal. That can be the pretty subtle but awesome CHORUS unit, one of the two REVERBS or the FREQ shifter in L/R config. Use different timing on the DELAY, PAN each of the two delay lines to L & R and you can get a nice PING PONG effect. Use the AMP ENV as a mod source and invert it to get a DUCKING effect. This can be applied on most FX.

I also recommend downloading my CORESOUNDS pack that will give you a bunch of preconfigured raw OSCILLATOR setups. Tweak ENV & FILTERS to taste and have some serious fun.

Regards.

Sebastian.

Reviewed By Halma [read all by] on 25th January 2014
Version reviewed: XPSP3 on Windows.
Last edited by Halma on 25th January 2014.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Because I could not download a specific plugin due technical reasons for beefing up my Kickdrum with a resonant lowcut (LC) filter I tried numerous others and found SWEEP the finest sounding of them all.

For those who don't know the technique: a resonant filter does not only cut the frequencies above/under a specific point but also emphasizes them at the given cut off frequency. That said, if you lowcut eg. your Kickdrum at 50Hz all frequencies below will drop rapidly in amplitude (=getting quieter) according to the slope that has been used which is the main task of a LC filter: getting rid of the unwanted low frequency stuff. But another thing happens if you raise resonance slowly: all your frequencies around 50Hz will be emphasized until the filter starts selfoscillating which results in a brutally loud sinewave. So beware not to turn up resonance too quickly or otherwise you can damage your ears and speakers. For safety reason unexperienced producers should use a brickwall limiter with proper settings at the end of the chain to minimize damage.

Anyways, the timbre of the resonance is pure gold. Via the drive knob and setting the "Q range" from safe to full ( CAUTION !!!!!!!!!!) the resonance sounds so sweeeeeet. Exactly. Lots of "eeeees". I tried numerous others and I liked some of them but nothing came even close to SWEEP.

If you missed the 2013 xmas giveaway from Waves (RBass for free) or could not download "Bark Of The Dog" from boz Digital Labs (which is free also) or if you are just looking for another nifty tool with a certain tmbre then SWEEP is highly recommended.

I give it 9/10 because its free and has a really great sound, clear layout and is a joy to use. Like all the other products from this dev. They have some real "Soul".

God job mystran.

Regards.

Sebastian.

Reviewed By Halma [read all by] on 6th October 2013
Version reviewed: XP SP3 on Windows.
Last edited by Halma on 6th October 2013.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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ADZE CONSUMER REVIEW

Download.

ADZE comes as a zip file (2,07MB ~ 2.177.684 Bytes) and contains the dll & a pdf. No keyfile, no ilok. Demo (STOOONER) is fully functional but limted to only two sampleslots instead of six.

SPECS & INSTALLATION.

32-bit & windows only. Unzip in your VST directory and you are done.

Concept.

ADZE is a PERCUSSION RESYNTHESIZER and comes with a lot of unique features. LOLWUT? A percussion re- what? Basically it's a sampler specialized in playing back ONE HIT (DRUM) SOUNDS.

ADZE loads ONE SAMPLE per file slot (six available), maps it to ONE KEY on your keyboard (eg C1 or C#1) and automatically maps it to the SAME NOTE in every other OCTAVE (eg C 2 or C#2, C3 or C#3 etc) so you have the same sound playing the same way on the same note each octave. Eg if you load a kickdrum sample into file slot 1 then you can play it back on your keyboard with C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 etc. It won't get pitched, it still sounds the same on every mapped key. This is a pretty neat concept if you take into account that you only want to play back percussion sounds which normally don't play a melodic structure and therefore don't need any frequency transposition.

If you would load the same kickdrum into a generic sampler chances are high that either your kick will be transposed over the whole keyboard range in every pitch you can think of OR mapped to only one specific key which you have to search for. And believe me: I have done this more than one time. ADZE is a real timesaver because I don't have to look for the root key, then transpose it from C1 to C3, transpose my sample from C1 to C3 because my keyboard starts with C2 and don't has a C1 key, then hope everything went fine, realized that it went not, hit every key on my keyboard because when I hit C3 I do not hear my sample, found it later on C4 but played way to fast, looked for root key again … I think you got it.

Not ADZE: load sample, hit key, done.

But it's even getting better. After you have loaded your sample ADZE performs a one time FFT analysis. The bigger the sample the longer it takes. But you can force ADZE to shorten it. Some of ADZE's feature will be applied directly into the frequency spectrum of the sample. Therefore they will be calculated new everytime you change one of those settings and can't be modulated. Not every feature will be applied via FFT though (eg the Filter).

And now that you know that this unit is not suited for playing back your 4,8GB Steinway Grand Piano multi-thingy sample library let's go on and see what it can do what other units can not..

Setup.

Simply load it into your DAW and that's it.

Device Layout.

If you have worked with a synthesizer or sampler before you will already recognize some elements. The layout of this devive is pretty straightforward like a classic synth Osc -> Filter -> Amp layout (from the left to the right) but with it's own enveolpe concept :

File Panel -> Pitch Panel -> Spectral Features -> Pre Amp Panel -> Filter -> Amp.

Envelopes.

Each slot comes with three envelopes. The most obvious one is in the AMP section on the right side and behaves like a standard ADSR envelope that some of you might know from other plug ins. There is also an option to change the env Attack contour from linear to exponential.

The other two enveolpes are « hidden ». Nah, not really, but if you are looking for some more ADSR stuff you won't find it. There was one moment where I thought that the AMP envelope acts global and is connected to all of them. But I was wrong. Finally I got it and I have to say that the concept is bloody brilliant and easy to understand once you get your head around it. Both FILTER and PITCH envelopes each have a predefined contour which behaves similar to a DECAY stage in a 4-stage enveolpe. This contour can be shaped via the CURVE knob and defines how the envelope shape behaves "over time". I might be wrong but as far as I understood it it behaves like this: fully left = concave, 12 o'clock = linear, fully right= convex and either decreasing on default or increasing when inverted. In other words : the pitch drops (raises if inverted) and/or filter closes (opens) more slowly and pleasent on concave, gradually on linear and pretty fast and spikey on convex. The RATE parameter controls the speed of it or how long it takes from start to finsh : fully left is so fast that it sounds more like an impulse while fully right it can take utterly long. And finally we have the ENV > knob which behaves like the usual ENVELOPE AMOUNT knob/option on other units. The higher the settings the more noticeable your envelope modulation sounds. Eg on low settings you might only modulate the pitch a few semitones while fully right it easily spans a few octaves.

Velocity.

A lot of unlabeled round knobs under/beside some parameters can be used for additional velocity modulation.

File Panel.

Everything « direct sample related » like the LOAD SAMPLE button, an option to change SAMPLERATE, BITRATE or SAMPLE START point. Six different interpolation modes to choose from which can have a noticeable impact of the sound.

Pitch Panel.

With the above mentioned ENVELOPE you have some unbelieavable amount of control on the pitch of your sound. If you are looking for a little bit of « knock » or some « laser » pitch modulation then this is where you should look first.

Spectral Features.

Most importantly they can't be modulated. This is where the FFT thingy comes into play. And you won't find these features on any other VST (not that I am aware of). ENHANCE emphasizes already contained frequency content and eg. can give your KICKS some real nice lowend or SNARES some body. SMEAR will fade/blur/timestretch your signal and is pretty cool, SHIFT will pitchshift it and LOW/HIGH will produce a "perfect" shelf eq with some additional twists like "stereoize" a mono signal with or without a definable crossover frequency for lower freqs which then can be set to mono again.

ALL THOSE FEATURES WILL BE APPLIED DIRECTLY INTO THE FREQ SPECTRUM.

Pre Amp Panel.

Haven't played that much with it but as far I can tell it acts as both: an additional gain section for your amp AND for some nonlinearities in some of the filters. This can be modulated via one of different envelopes.

Filter.

54 Filter modes (lp, hp, bp, br, peak, punch + harmonic + bypass). That's a lot. But more than once you will end up using a lowpass filter on your drums. Unfortunately most people only get half of the concept of a lp filter and use it for cutting the high frequencies only. But if you raise the resonance you also emphasize the frequencies at the cut off point so it can be used not only to cut but also to boost frequencies if you use it with that in mind. And the same « envelope magic » can be applied here as well. Btw those freq cut off markers from left to right (aprox): 10Hz ( I guess), 100Hz, 1kHz & 10kHz.

Amp.

I have to say that in addition to the ADSR amp envelope (with either lin or exp attack) the CURVE/SHAPE knobs are the way to shape your sounds « the way you want them ». Here you can define even more surgical how your AMP envelope stages behave. Consult the manual for this but think of it like the pitch and filter envelope curve setting with another additional cool "morphing" option.

Bottom.

LFO, MW support, other stuff. Sorry, haven't used that but looks damn cool and I think that I will use them later more often when I feel comfortable with the rest of the unit.

Usage.

It's totally up to you. ADZE comes with six slots and can be used eg :

- as a drum-machine. Load your drumkit or separate one hit sounds (kick, snare, clap, hh, shaker etc) and play your beat on the keyboard/mpc or program it via the MIDI editor.

- as a drum/sample-layer device because nobody said you can't trigger two or more samples at once : load your « weak » kick into slot 1 and a sinewave sound (have a look at the filesize and length) into slot 2. Now layer to taste and adjust envelopes.

- as a sound designer tool : load a sample into slot 1 (eg a sinewave), adjust pitch, add PUNCH filter –> now render it to wav and load it into slot 2, turn amp 1 down, transpose MIDI (or hit key), shape ite g with ENHANCE and a LP FILTER -> render again and load into slot 3…rinse repeat.

Sound & Performance.

Sound is so unique that I have not really words for it. You have to hear that on your own. CPU is pretty light on my CPU (DC 2.5GHz) once FFT is performed. You can do everything to your samples. Only sky is the limit. And so easy to use once you get the grip and have a feeling for the GUI. Only thing that would be cool: a dropdown list for the filters. It's a pita sometimes switching between different filters.

Presets.

No presets because there wouldn't be any benefits from it. This is not a synth (well, not really).

Summary.

Very unique device. I think there is nothing similar on the market right now. Try it on your own. STOOONER is the two voices version and it's free and fully functional. If you like it buy ADZE because for only 13.37$ you won't find anything similar and more fun for your drums.

Reviewed By Halma [read all by] on 4th October 2013
Version reviewed: XPSP3 on Windows.
Last edited by Halma on 4th October 2013.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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BONG CONSUMER REVIEW

Download & Protection

BONG comes as a zip file (3,28MB ~ 3.444.167 Bytes) and contains the dll & a pdf. No keyfile, no ilok. Demo is fully functional but contains bird sounds as a « protection » (nice).

Specs & Installation

32-bit & windows only. Unzip in your VST directory and you are done.

Setup

After loading an instance of BONG into your DAW you will be prompted to choose between a simple 2 channel stereo (1 x 2) or a 12 channel (6 x 2) setup. I recommend choosing the latter one and route all of them through an additional drumbus channel. You can find dedicated outputs on each drum module on the right side in the AMP section (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6).

Device Layout

If you have worked with a drum machine before you will already recognize most of the parameters available to alter the timbre and shape of your sound. Inside the manual you will find a "map" that guides you through the basic layout of BONG.

On the left you will find the "PITCHANDTONEPLACELAND" aka part one of the oscillator section with such ususal suspects like PITCH, RATE, AMT, TONE etc. Each section has it's own number of parameters. While SNARE2 only comes with one parameter the HATS module has nine of them.

Next we have "DECAY LAND AND STUFF LAND" (part two of osc section) where you will find the envelopes. Pretty simple and no traditonell ADSR concept but with it's own twist. While the DECAY parameter does exactly what some of us expect from it the RELEASE parameter works a little bit different. It feels more like a shape option for the decay parameter.

Next comes « PIRATE HOLE TREASUE » (part three). Only 2 x OSC AMP and either on SNARE1 or SNARE2. No other module comes with it.

Next on the map lies « LAND OF THE SECOND SOURCE ». Here you will find some additional (shaping) options to add frequency content like noise or snap to the according base sound that you have created in the oscillator section. Not every module comes with them though.

The last three areas are "STEREOLAND", "PANLANDIA" and "AMPIA aka THINGS THAT DO NOT EXIST". Here you can adjust the output gain of a sound and it's position in the stereo field (plus a mono/stereo knob on some of them).

Or making a long story short: oscillators & noise to the left, amp on the right and extra stuff in between.

Sound & Performance

This device sits pretty lightweight on my CPU (DUALCORE 2.5gHz) and performs without a flaw. The sound of BONG is top notch and comes with 41 different drum models. The KICKS have an unbelievabe amount of lowend and sound pristine, the SNARES sound snappy as they can (one of the snare modules even comes with a BRUSH mode) and the CLAPS sound so wet…I have not heard something similar on any other algo VSTs. HIHATS are either pure noise or with some sinewave backup which gives them a very sweet metallic timbre and comes in three playmodes: two closed and the usual open one plus a CYMBAL. Then we have TOMS which can also act as CONGAS or as a LASER. The SHAKER has a TAMBOURINE mode and can be played forward & backward. The RIMSHOT comes with an optional CLAVE model.
Most of the modules have the option to use VARIABLE noise which sounds way more organic and less static. This is one of the benefits if you are using a drum machine with dedicated algorithms instead of relying on post-processed samples (even a shitload of round robin one hits won't come close to this). Even smallest variations are noticeable for our brain and let things sound live.
Most of the parameters have an additional VELOCITY amount knob. Use this if you need some variatons via different velocity levels. Sometimes only a slight bump here let's your drums sound more organic and fat.

Presets

I am not a preset user but the developer did a great job on this. 33 patches until now that should keep you busy for a while and/or act as a great starting point for own sounds.

Summary

You won't get more bang for the buck. For only 25$ as a new customer (15$ as a pre-customer) you will get 41 different drum models. That's roughly 0,61$ (0,37$) for each. Even if they are inspired by some of the great units from the past like the ROLAND TR-606, TR-808, TR-909 or BOSS DR110 (circuit-bended..yeah!!!) I won't compare them to this one. It's not that I can't but I think the developer put so much passion and experience in this unit it should be mentioned on it's own and therefore "stands it's man on it own". It sounds really great to my ears. Lots of characters and it's hard to get something worse out of it. If you like 80's & 90's signature drum sounds don't look even further. You won't regret it. This one is one of the best drum machines you will find and I think THE BEST when you take a closer look at the price. Simply plug and play. Instant results.