I remember when I saw Jean Michel Jarre's famous convert in Houston in the mid 80s where he had that amazing laser harp. I was just blown away by the fantastic sound of that harp. Later on I learned that the sound was generated from a synth by the Italian company ELKA called Synthex.
The Synthex was one of those synths of my dreams. Just like the RFS Kobol and the EMS VCS 3.
Today many of those dreams became real thanks to the invention of software synthesizers.
Thanks to XILS-Lab I now have an amazing emulation of both the kobol and the VCS 3 in PolyKB II and XILS 3.
And now - also the Synthex.
Yes, it's true. XILS-Lab already had the Syn'X. And even though it's an emu of the original hardware it's so full of additional features so it got a bit to far form the original - IMO.
Although the miniSyn'X also has added features it's much more true to the original.
The sound of the miniSyn'X is absolutely amazing. And I think the miniSyn'X, just as the original, is very unique sounding.
One don't have to be a sound designer or a synth expert to use it. There are, of course, all the great factory presets. But on top of that - it's ridiculously easy to create one's own sounds with miniSyn'X.
XILS-Lab added an awesome feature called Smart Load. It's a little of AI that helps creating patches. The only eventual drawback of this function would be that it's very addictive. I always wonder what other cool sound will there be if I hit the button once more.
Additional to that there's also a more classic randomizer.
I found miniSyn'X pretty soft on the CPU, It loads fast too.
However some presets (pads) can be fairly heavy on the CPU when played on the higher end in double mode.
Worth mentioning here is that the miniSyn'X has 3 modes. Single, Double and split.
There are also some nice hotkeys that makes it easier to mannage the synth.
Something that I appreciate a lot since I don't really like to work with the mouse.
I'm not the tech guy. I approach and use synthesizers from an instrumentalist's and a musician's point of view.
So, for me the ammount of oscilators and LOF's is of less interest then how it sounds.
And it do really sounds lovely and unique. Especially the basses and leads.
And of course...Yes among the presets there is THAT Laser Harp Sound .
I've been keeping an eye on this synth for a long time before I finally decided to buy it. Now I only regret I waited this long.
PolyKB II is an emulation of the Kobol synthesizer from the French company RSF. The original hardware synth is very rare. Only around 200 where ever made. But thanks to XILS-Lab this emulation is now available for everyone.
An example of the use of Kobol in synth-pop music of the 80s can be found in Yazoo's song "Only You" where this synth can be heard in the intro of the song.
PolyKB II (player) has a very warm, round and soft sound. It could be compared to the Minimoog, on witch the original hardware synth is inspired by, but with more features.
The player is a cut down version of PolyKB II. But it's still very powerful. Although it don't provide any real in-depth functions it has just enough functions for my needs.
The presets includes leads, basses, pads, sequenzed stuff, FX and much more. And there are more presets available. The PolyKB II player can play all presets of the full version of the synth.
The settings panel is also very good. Here you can, among many other things, find a very nice and easy to use section for assigning your MIDI controller to varous functions.
But the best thing with PolyKB II Player is the sounds! They are very alive. When I play on it I really feel that I'm dealing with a real instrument. I'm really getting personal with this wonderful synth. This is a top favorite in my collection.
I was introduced to Night Flight by a friend of mine, who is a real synthesizer enthusiast with a lot of knowledge about synthesizers. At first I was a little sceptical to this low priced string machine. But I couldn't be more wrong. Don't let the price mislead you. Night Flight is a very, very good synth.
My first reaction when I tested this synth was that it really sounded like it came right out of Jean Michel Jarre's famous record Oxygene. Jarre actually used an Eminent 3100 a lot on this and other records.
If you want the sounds of an Eminent 3100 this synth is an obvious choice. There are sampled string machines out there. But compared to Night Flight they sound very static. Night Flight is really an instrument that feels and sounds alive.
With Night Flight it's very easy to tweak the sounds. There's also a MIDI learn function for easy assignment. Apart from the main panel, that looks pretty familiar, there are another six sections (ensemble panel, VCO, LFO, phaser,delay etc...) for in depth tweaking.
The sounds are amazing. I just dreamed away for hours just playing around with the presets.