My experience is similar to that conveyed in BONES review. This thing is a BEAST for warm, fat, in-your-face analog sound. The randomization options are superb, as is the ability to add saturation in multiple places. I purchased my copy from pluginboutique for $1.00. Yeah, F-in ONE DOLLAR?!!! The modulation options are thorough and the sound is killer. Get it now.
Wasp is the first VSTi synth I purchased (2+ years ago) yet it is also the synth I've made tracks with most recently. For me this says a lot. I find it particularly good for bass, lead, and bizzare sound effect work. While it can handle pads too, I prefer the greater modulation flexibility and lower cpu usage of other synths.
For only two oscillators, it has a lot of sonic muscle: pulse-width modulation, "Dual" switch for detuned oscillator doubling, an exceptionally ugly (read "good") distortion circuit, ring modulation, and an FM knob.
In addition, it has a decent selection of onboard effects. The reverbs and paragraphic EQ are outstanding. The phasor and delay are frustrating because the presets can't be configured much.
Wasp's amplitude and filter ADSR envelopes deserve mention because they have a nice and crisp response. Attacks and decays are very sharp. This and the 24db/octave "LP Fat" filter are really good for punchy bass sounds. Also, as you change any of the knobs to alter the envelope shape, it is repesented graphically as well.
High marks for Wasp overall for the following reasons: * Clean, punchy tone with a smooth LP filter. * Great Interface (easy to program: all controls are visible on screen at once, and graphic display of envelopes) * Great reverb and EQ. * Very affordable
I can't believe there's no reviews on this synth! I think I am GTG13's number one fan. Let me share with you why I like it so much...
* Excellent pulse-width modulation sounds. On GTG13, you can assign an LFO to each oscillator's pulse-width and modulate them at different rates for very thick virtual analog sounds.
* 2 LFOS for the filter. LFOs 1 & 3 can both be assigned to the filter cutoff frequency. This is great for creating complex modulating pads.
* Velocity sensitive. GTG's got a knob for adjusting how much key velocity affects the filter.
* Onboard chorus. It's nice and warm... don't think I ever turn it off.
* Oscillator sync. You can sweep the oscillator pitch with an LFO or the filter envelope for some hard-edged tones.
* Filter types. GTG13 has the usual lowpass, highpass, and bandpass, but it has a cool band-reject filter too.
It's not perfect. I'd like to have optional tempo-sync on the LFOs, visual readout of values, a ping-pong delay, some finer LFO values for pitch vibrato. Blah, blah, blah... All that doesn't matter because it's free, it sounds fantastic, and it's quite flexible.
No docs that I could find so I had to rate it a 1 but Mik's synths are pretty easy to program so that shouldn't cause much difficulty.
M42 Nebula is my favorite synth for complex pads. Do to its pulsar modulator, its arp LFO, and its tempo-synced independent left and right delay lines, it excels with rhythmic evolving patches.
It has a very thick tone for a 2 oscillator synth. Other synths require the layering of numerous oscillators in unison to acheive a fat sound. M42 on the other hand does just fine with a simple 2-voice chorus.
Each patch is created using two oscillators. One of these is a virtual analog oscillator and the other uses a SoundFont as its source. As far as I can tell, user-defined SoundFonts may only be used by replacing the factory ones. This is a limitation. However, it's not terribly restrictive when you consider these SoundFonts are only shortcuts to a more complex source waveform (think D50 pcm waves) and the M42 provides 20 of them. The real magic is all in the modulation matrix. There are two envelopes, a pulsar, and an LFO for each oscillator which may be combined in various ways.
In addition, M42 includes a unique distortion it calls the Warp effect. It has a very aggressive, unique sound which I'm quite fond of. However, use of this effect results in patches with low volumes.
The UI is well done. All controls are on one screen for ease of use. The documentation is a comprehensive set of HTML files (pdf available too I think). Presets are good (thanks to sound-designer Tim Conrady). They display nicely the instrument's capabilities.
Only quirks I've encountered with this synth relate to my own underpowered PC. My Athlon 850 does not always work well with the cpu demands of some VSTis. On a patch I was creating I heard distortion until I turned off the chorus effect. I saved the patch and rebooted the PC. The distortion was gone though the patch was identical and had the chorus enabled...
M42 was created using the SynthEdit compiler. If you've got preconceived notions about the quality of SynthEdit VSTis, you REALLY owe it to yourself to listen to this synth. Chances are, it'll make you a "believer".
I downlaoded Oberon one day because I was seeking a new synth with the quality of Satyr but not as difficult to program. Oberon fits that bill perfectly. Its a champ for simple virtual analog stuff. I really like the retro-GUI. My only criticism is that it blinks a little when you use the toggle switches.
The interface is tricky, but this is a complex synth. I find the new GUI more appealing than the previous version. The cool part is, aside from the LFOs and Envelopes, all the controls are visible at all times. There a couple of things to watch out for because the default settings for knobs are often zero. For example, as soon as you assign an oscillator to a filter, the sound goes silent. These is because filters have a volume control that defaults to zero. Similarly, envelopes have no effect immediately after they're assigned because the "length" setting defaults to zero.
The sound is vastly improved over the previous version. Each oscillator now has a "Fat" oscillator to go with it that is slightly detuned from its mate. It's quite easy to get thick, monster sounds with these fat oscillators, the improved chorus and phasing effects in combination with the 24db/octave LP filter. Detuning the oscillator pairs from eachother is a little more tricky as pitch envelopes have to be used.
Many of the presets have a distant spacey sound akin to Ethereal's name. My favorites are "Submarine Bells" and "Distant". Despite its name, Ethereal is definately capable of some aggressive, thick analog sounds too. Using the stereo spread control can quickly add some depth to some of the presets.
The killer thing about Ethereral are its numerous 64 point, tempo-synced, looping envelopes for shaping various aspects of the sound. Each of these can operate at seperate tempos. Nicely, the curvature of the slope between the points is adjustable as well.
A very cool addition are the user oscillators. These have an extremely easy to use gui for creating oscillator shapes with drag-n-drop placement of additive synthesis harmonics. Ethereal excels at wierd looping rhythmic noises.
I only have two minor issues with Ethereal. It is a bit heavy on the CPU and I prefer other reverbs.
I haven't seen the new documentation yet. Ethereal is rock-solid stability-wise.
Customer support I would expect to be excellent. The developer has personally discussed the product with me via email and implemented some of my suggestions for improvement.
Check this one out. It's a GREAT value alternative for a complex envelope synth.
I had a very different support experience than the other reviwers: I purchased Cakewalk Plasma and received the DreamStation with it. Overall, a very good deal. I wanted to use DreamStation with Fruityloops and was horrified to get an intermittent clicking noise. When I emailed the program author, it took a few weeks but he kindly emailed me the version that was optimized for FruityLoops. I was very pleased with the support as this solved my issue completely. I have also had stuck notes with this synth, but adjusting the polyphony can minimize the problem.
Now for the sound: It's very analog sounding, but often in a buzzy, aggressive way... I'm not thrilled with the Filter. I recommend never turning the resonance up more than 60% unless you like squealing. For a smoother analog VA subtractive synth I'd have to recommend SimSynth or daAlpha instead. Having said this, I'm still glad I have it in my arsenel. It has an excellent FM knob and a cool 2nd assignable envelope that can be used to alter the FM amount in addition to other destinations. Its random LFO is good to. What irks me most about this synth is that the freestanding version has an exceptionally thick chorus effect that would really smooth out the sound... but they didn't include it in the DXi!
Three things that it excels at: * hard synced oscillator sweep sounds (ala Gary Newman) * TB 303 bass simulation * Small, dark, clinky FM arpeggiator sounds
One thing it sorely needs: Velocity Sensitivity!
Wow, these reviewers are a tough crowd. The interface may be a little confusing, but I found the sounds to be excellent. I'm only giving a five for features because it is a bit limited... All it needs are more free sounds and a more intuitive patch-loading system. It's reverb is superb and I like the piano better than mda's. If you've got a broadband internet connection and can download all the sounds, I'd say it's well worth it.
Not the sexiest synth out therem but extremely fat sounding analog sounds out of this freebie. Great for bass, tons of waveforms. Excellent on-board chorus. Modulation matrix is cool but the synth needs a second LFO and a mod-destination for the LFO rates. Clean interface and very stable. Presets are fine, but I prefer to program it.
Can't believe they don't charge for this one!
FruityLoops is fast, immensely powerfull, extendable, cheap, and most of all: fun as hell!
I downloaded it in Nov 2001 just because Cakewalk didn't have a downloadable demo for Plasma (what I REALLY wanted). I purchased the full version within days... It's that good!
The included soft-synths (TS404, 3xOSC, Plucked) are more capable than initially meets the eye. At first you might not be impressed but the more you look the better it gets. The 3xOSC has stereo detuning for each of its oscillators and can load samples for new waveforms. You get 5 LFOs and 5 envelopes (with tension) for volume, filter cutoff, filter resonance, and pitch. For panning you get another LFO. Combine these with Fruity's channel layering capability and its extensive flanging, reverb, chorus and delay effects and you can create some phenominal sounds. Other FX of note: The peak controller enables noise-gate key input effects. The X-Y controller allows automating two parameters of any sample or synth at once using a joystick or mouse.
In addition, it's a VSTi, a DXi, and a Buzz host so you can easily drop in your favorite plugin to expand your sound pallette. (I prefer the WASP and FreeAlpha)
The only drawback I found was that the included samples lean heavily toward vintage drum machine recreations. I prefer more acoustic sounding drums so I had to purchase a sample CD, no big deal.
Step sequencing is a breeze. Pianoroll use is a bit more challenging, but still quite useable. What's really cool is that you can adjust velocity, filter, panning, etc. for each indivual note in a pattern.
Overall, this software is a quirky and revolutionary pattern-based sequencer/drum machine/soft-synth studio. Definately a life-changing purchase for me.
PS Lifetime upgrades for the online purchasers... I've received three such updates this year. A great value!