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Reviewed By QuadrupleA [read all by] on 3rd November 2013
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Gotta say, I wasn't that impressed with this one. Of course it's free, so the value for the price is excellent. Kudos to Sound Magic for giving it away, and I hope it's brought some customers to their full products. But - I find the sound quality pretty strange - so I'll talk about it from that standpoint.

Like others have said, the release sound is unrealistic - there's an optional "REL VOL" setting that actually plays a different sample upon release of a note, a sort of higher pitch flutey squeak, which when you boost it to the point that it's audible sounds really strange to me. When I first heard the plugin I thought something was wrong with my system. If you turn that off by setting reduce "REL VOL" to 0, the notes still sound strange when they end - the volume cuts off very abruptly. You can set "RELEASE" to be longer, which controls the volume envelope, but you lose expression and control of when the notes stop - and still it tapers off unrealistically. Even when you don't release the keys, the notes don't sustain very long - e.g. if you play a chord and hold it, after about 6 seconds the notes will all abruptly end at different times. It's like the volume envelope just abruptly jumps to zero once it's below a certain threshold.

Aside from that, the actual sustained body of the notes sound warbly - it's not a smooth note, there's some pulsation and a bit of a bubbling effect, maybe from compression in the samples, or noise reduction on the original recordings - not sure.

So overall, when it's dry, the sound comes off really strange to me. You can bury that in reverb to cover it up, but to me that's just sort of sweeping the sonic problems under the rug.

Aside from sound quality, the UI is a little plain. I had a lot of bugs and display glitches with the 64-bit version. The 32-bit one functioned correctly though (this was using FL Studio 10).

Reviewed By QuadrupleA [read all by] on 27th November 2012
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by QuadrupleA on 27th November 2012.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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OK - giving this product an 8 for the quality of the samples, but a 1 for its terrible and outdated installation process, the use of a cumbersome iLok dongle system for copy protection which you'll have to pay $50 on top of the regular cost, and some bugs and issues with the product itself.

A bit of detail; I bought the Silver edition. It comes in a giant, mostly empty box with two DVDs inside, which were pressed in 2008-2009, as well as a sheet of paper saying essentially "STOP: the installation on this disc does not work - please view the videos at the following two URLs for the correct installation procedure."

After you tediously type the long URLs into your browser, you'll get two large ZIP files (no kidding) with videos in them - I guess we're in 1995 before web video - which, on unzipping, contain complicated instructions explaining things to download off their website, things to uninstall, etc. (it's not clear what order you're supposed to follow them).

Following the videos won't work, however. You'll uninstall what the disc installed, and install the updated version, but still be missing the actual sample library. After a call to tech support, I learned that apparently you have to shut off all of Windows 7's security features and antivirus, reinstall, and then go onto the disc and copy all the instruments and samples to their appropriate folders manually, as that part of the installer is broken. You'll also have to download and set up new software from the iLok vendor.

In my case, on top of the rest, the $50 iLok will only work in one particular USB port (despite being recognized by the computer on all of them - apparently it needs a "strong" USB port, but nothing in the error message will lead you in the right direction). And if you use a wacom / tablet mouse like I do, you won't be able to click any of the menus or controls in the Play application - only the pen stylus or a separate mouse works.

So yeah, not a pleasant experience for something I shelled out $300 for, with no return policy once you open the box - I wish EastWest would trade a few hours of developer time on the installation and product, it'd save thousands of combined hours of their customers' time.

Reviewed By QuadrupleA [read all by] on 12th November 2012
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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I like the concept a lot - 4.3 billion presets in an uber-minimal package - never run out of sounds! But the sounds themselves get pretty stale after flipping through about 100 of them.

Most of them are very treble-y, metallic, noisy, with lots of reverb. Lots of tinkly bells, gongs, and variations thereof. So the pallete is a bit limited. I don't tend to find a lot of use for these types of sounds in my music, at least thus far. They also dominate the frequency spectrum a fair bit, so some zealous EQ'ing might be in order to fit them into a mix.

That said, if you like those sounds, you now have 4.3 billion of them!

The randomly generated descriptions are pretty funny.

The thing is free, of course, so I feel a bit silly being critical of it. It's something of a promo / sound engine demo for Image-Line's Ogun, which I haven't used beyond flipping through some presets in the demo.