Log InCreate An Account
  1. Plugins
  2. »
  3. User Reviews

Product Reviews by KVR Members

All reviews by Sycopation

Review Something or Find Reviews


Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
April 2nd, 2024
Version reviewed: 1.0.3 on Windows

This thing is excellent. I've tried dozens of gate sequencers (triggergates, trancegates etc), both paid and free, and this thing probably has the best combination of power, flexibility and ease of use I've ever seen. It has a mix knob (believe it or not, some don't!), a full ADSR (some have just AR), the ability to set the number of steps from 1 to 32 (many just have a small number of options, like 4, 8, 16 - many just have 16 by default with no option for anything else), the ability to set the number of pulses from 1 to 32 (number of pulses has to be lower than number of steps), and also a reset count that can be set from anything between 1 and 1,024, which is completely amazing. With the wide options available for step count, pulse count, and reset count, you can make some very intricate patterns, anything from really short to really really long (all the way up to 16 bars with a sixteenth note pattern, or even 32 bars if you set the step count to 32!). Use all of these things together, and set the wet / dry and attack / release values to something pretty subtle, and you could put this on a chord / pad track that would evolve subtly throughout essentially an entire track. Brilliant. You can also set the step duration to be a dotted value (16th dot, 8th dot etc), which is a pretty cool feature. Just be sure to set the reset count to a multiple of 3 (12, 24, 48 etc) if you want the pattern to regularly recur in a "normal" sounding way.

Suggestions for improvement would be:

Allow the user to set the strength / depth of pulses individually. This is something that many (probably even most) free gates already allow, so I'm not sure why they opted not to allow this. It would makes it more "fiddly" to use for the average user, but if you had to access this feature by deselecting the default, you could maintain ease of use for average users while still unleashing greater power for more advanced users.

Allow the user to select where in the sequence each individual pulse occurs. The pulse dial is great, and super easy to use, but it would be nice to be able to dive deeper. Again, you can still leave the current behavior as the default and allow advanced users to go further.

Overall, just awesome. I've been using Gatekeeper for years and it's my go-to for rhythmic gates, but with how easy and flexible HY-ESG is, I could see this supplanting Gatekeeper as my go-to for rhythmic gates.

Excellent! Five stars.

Read Review

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
January 12th, 2020
Version reviewed: v1.1.3 on Windows

I am writing this review based on the free version, which is a stripped down version of the paid version.

This is a pretty decent delay, speaking generally, and this a really, really nice delay for being free. Definitely one of the nicest free delays I know of, and I have tried scads of them.

It has an internal ducker, which is awesome. Also a limiter at the end of the "chain." It is stereo (L & R), and each can be set in sync mode or in milliseconds, and they can be linked. It goes up 3200 ms, which is longer than many if not most delays allow. Overall output can be panned (though not L and R individually). Overall feedback (not per side). 3 band EQ - lo cut, hi cut, mids (all 3 with variable freq and gain). Even with all modules engaged, I can't get it to crack 1 on CPU, so it is extremely CPU efficient.

It only comes with four presets, none of which I find very useful, but hey, it's free, and you can create as many of your own as you want.

Just a few complaints / suggestion for improvement:

*It has a mix knob (instead on one for wet and one for dry). Hy-Delay 3 had a separate knob for each, which I think is highly preferable.

*I wish you could have the option setting the delay times in milliseconds by typing it in.

Read Review
Vacuum Pro

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
February 12th, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.0.7 on Windows

I picked this up for $1 during the Plugin Boutique sale back in November 2018. Hey, why not for a measly dollar, right? Since the price was so low I didn't really delve into it all that much at first, just perused some patches. My thinking was "I already have Diva and Repro, so is it even worth investing any time in?"

But after exploring it some more, this thing is actually really nice. It has such a dark, mean, edgy sound! If I were to make a Blade Runner-style soundtrack, this and Repro would get used a lot. The CPU performance is also pretty decent, especially compared to a lot of other VA synths, and especially when you put it in eco mode (I can't hear much of a difference on most patches). I really like that you can have a Part A and Part B in the same instance and then blend them how you like. You can even modulate the balance between the two using automation in your DAW, which offers a lot of creative possibilities, especially when you combine patches with quite different ADSR parameters. One thing that seems to be missing is the ability to differentially pan parts A and B (if it's there I haven't figured out how to do it yet). It would be really nice to be able to adjust both the stereo width and the pan position of both parts separately. Oh well, I can always do that with bounces and plugins if I really want to.

It's true that it has a "Super-wide... sound" but that sometimes comes with a cost - a lot of the patches have pretty bad phase coherence (read this if you don't understand what that means - https://www.waves.com/tips-for-fixing-phase-problems-in-your-mix). But what I figured out is that can be improved SIGNIFICANTLY by 1) turning off the chorus / phaser and 2) decreasing the stereo width, either by using the on-board Master Width knob (bottom right corner) or by using a separate dual panner / stereo imaging plugin.

The "8 Smart Knobs for macro control over parameters" is also a super nice touch. Another of Air's products, Loom, has similar functionality, and it is super handy for shaping the sound quickly, as well as modulating the sound using automation in your DAW. One single knob is controlling multiple knobs behind the scenes. It's a really easy and effective way to add some life and variety to parts.

The arpeggiator on this thing is suuuuper simple (the four options are up, down, up & down, and random), but I actually don't view that as a bad thing. I have numerous synths that have really sophisticated arpeggiators and step sequencers that are light years more sophisticated than this thing, but I actually like that it's really simple, and offers very few options. It allows me to very quickly decide if I want to use it or not on a particular part, whereas in a synth with a bajillion options I might spend 20 minutes or more just fiddling with the arp. Simplicity is good sometimes. It's especially fun to play with on atonal / percussive material, because you can just keep adding more notes, which will affect the feel / rhythm, but you don't have to worry about sour notes, weird melodic figures etc. I'm getting some really cool results by exporting these parts and then messing with sample chopping / manipulation techniques. Fun stuff.

If this thing goes on sale again, it's absolutely worth picking up. At $150... ehhh... I'll let you make that call.

Read Review
Loom Classic

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
November 28th, 2018
Version reviewed: 1.0.7 on Windows

I bought this recently because multiple places (KVR and Plugin Boutique) are basically giving it away. I think I paid about $4-$6 and I think the sale continues to the end of 2018.

I usually avoid ALL products that require iLok like the plague. I hate it. It annoys me to no end, and I think it is an extremely heavy-handed approach to anti-piracy that shifts the burden much too heavily on to PAYING CUSTOMERS. But in this case, I'm glad that I didn't notice, because I like this synth.

I've tried a handful of demos of additive synths in the past, and just never cared much for the sound or the layout / workflow. But Loom is different. I primarily work with virtual analog (VA) softsynths because that is generally just the sound I prefer. I like that "warmth." Most additive softsynths I've tried sound tinny, harsh, metallic, brittle, edgy. I rarely want that sound in my music. But with Loom it gives you so many ways to EASILY shape the tone that I can usually find a way to make many of the presets sound much more pleasing to me with a few tweaks. In fact, many of the presets come with a lowpass filter already engaged to carve off some of that harsh high end.

The modules layout / concept on the edit page is fantastic. I love that each one shows a visual representation of how it is changing the sound, in series. The info boxes on each module are incredibly helpful. It allows even a novice to get in there and start tweaking the sound, and to do so in a way that is very intentional, not just as a result of blind trial and error (which rarely aids in long-term learning). It helps you understand what you're actually doing.

I am the type of synth user who doesn't care about the pride involved with building your own patches. More power to ya, synth nerds, but I just want cool sounds one way or another. I want a wealth of good patches to use as a starting point, and a clear layout / GUI / workflow that will allow me to easily tweak the sound to my liking. Loom is very good on these measures.

What I really care about is the performance / expressiveness of a synth. I want to be able to start with a patch that I like / mostly like, tweak it to my taste (if needed) and then set about figuring out how I'm going to make the sound expressive in my song. Loom makes this process very easy. The Macro controls on the Morph page make this incredibly efficient.

From the manual: "All of the knobs in the Macro Control section automatically connect themselves to the appropriate controls that are available on the Edit page. This means that turning one Macro knob will cause several of the controls on the Edit page to change simultaneously. For example, if you turn the Tone knob, a variety of settings on the Edit page will change in order to modify the tonality of your sound. This saves you from having to go to the Edit page and manually locate and modify individual parameters relating to tonality."

How easy is that? What this means is that you can create a LOT of expressiveness just by automating (either through the morph pad, or your DAW's automation) a small number of parameters on the morph page. Even small modulation amounts on just four knobs alone (Tone, Punch, Length, Reverb, for example) can really make a simple part (pad, arpeggio, chords etc) sound really complex, detailed and ever-changing.

If you're even thinking about buying it (and you probably are since you're reading this), just do it. You won't regret it (even with the annoyance of iLok).

Read Review
Ambient Reverb

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
July 10th, 2018
Version reviewed: 4.3 on Windows

I'm giving this 5 stars mainly because 1) the freeze function is incredible 2) most other free reverbs are junk (the exception being OrilRiver) 3) the CPU load is excellent.

I still need to see if I will use this very much for routine mixing tasks, but after spending just 30 minutes with it I know for sure I'll be using this for sound design, namely making organic pads. If you use the freeze function, or even just dial the decay time up to 100, this thing will make gorgeous sounding pads out of almost anything. So far I've mainly just experimented with single sound sources (piano, tuned percussion, synths etc), but the next stage of experimentation will be to use some bussing and/or sends to create some multi-timbral pads. As someone else pointed out, this reverb does not modulate the wet signal, but honestly it sounds pretty lush anyway, and I plan to bounce these pads I make to audio and then use other FX plugs (EQ, chorus, phaser, trancegates etc) to give these pads some life and movement.

Overall, great great freebie.

Read Review

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
July 2nd, 2018
Version reviewed: 2.0.3 on Windows

I'm giving this five stars not because I think it's perfect, but because I think it is hands down (imo) the best free reverb out there. They're not just blowing smoke when they say it "can rival the quality of commercial reverbs." In fact, I like it better than all the reverbs included with my DAW (Studio One). I own some nice reverbs (FabFilter Pro-R, Waves TrueVerb, u-he Uhbik-A, UVI SparkVerb - the first two are good for getting a realistic sound (among other things), the latter two are good for spacier / weirder things), and even with a decent selection of quality paid reverbs, I still end up using OrilRiver fairly often.

I've tried all the other free ones on KVR and just didn't care for any of them. Maybe some are okay if you invest more time with them, but I'm not precious about reverbs - I just want something I can use to quickly dial in the sound I want, and OrilRiver hits the spot quite often, and fast. It has a decent number of presets, but not an overwhelming amount. Sometimes having constrained choices is very good for creativity. Last song I did I found a totally serviceable preset, tweaked it a bit, all in under a minute - sounds great.

Read Review
Cocoa Delay

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
June 30th, 2018
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows

This plug-in is awesome. I have tried dozens and dozens of delays, both free and paid, and after just a few minutes of using this, I can tell this is going to get a lot of use.



*The stereo offset is awesome. Just to be clear, in case anyone is confused by what stereo means, this dial offsets the left and right channels, so you hear the delay slightly earlier in one channel compared to the other. In very small amounts it very subtly widens the stereo image. Very cool. In larger amounts it creates a much more chaotic feel. Especially when combined with the ping-pong option.

*the ducking option is superb. The only other delay that I know of that does this is the also excellent (and free) GVST GDuckDly. It ducks down the wet signal underneath the dry signal, making it easier to control your peak levels. Excellent feature, I still don't understand why this isn't a standard feature on all delays.

*Separate dials for wet and dry signal. I really dislike delays that control the wet to dry ratio with a single dial. Boo.

*Drift. So awesome, especially for melodic and harmonic material (not quite as useful for percussive material or anything with a sharp attack - unless you're going for a really wonky off-kilter feel, of course).

Cons / room for improvement.

*Please please please in a future version allow the user to key in an exact millisecond value for a delay time. The standard options (eighth note, dotted quarter note, quarter triplet etc) are all there, but I'm a big fan of doing weird stuff like 5/16, 7/8 etc.

*Why is it limited to a delay time of two seconds? I'm sure there is some technical reason for this, but I would really like to see that expanded greatly.

*I would really like to see a stereo width control in a future version. The stereo offset is great, but would just be so much better if you could have the option of tightening the left / right width. I can do this with another plug-in downstream, of course, but it would be nice to see it incorporated into this plug-in.

*The CPU usage is a little bit high. Not terrible, but could be better.

*The LFO is great, but it would be nice to have the option to set it to host tempo values, such as eighth note, quarter note etc. It would also be really cool if you could apply the LFO to other parameters, such as feedback, pan, stereo offset etc. And while you're at it, why not include one or two additional LFOs and also be able to assign those to different parameters? The capacity for chaos would be enormous.

*If this had more than one delay line, it would be insane. And then if you could control parameters both individually and globally, this thing would be a beast.


Overall, this is a great great plug-in. Huge props to the dev(s). We are so blessed as Music Makers to have free plug-ins like this available to us. If a future version incorporated even half of my suggestions for improvement, I would easily pay money for this, and I'm a cheap b@stard. My main reason for giving this 4 stars instead of 5 is the inability to key in an exact millisecond value.

Read Review
TB FlX v3

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
May 8th, 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

This is by far the cheapest multiband compressor with sidechain that I could find, and it works great. Very transparent. Everything else out there is over $100. ToneBoosters offers similar products for a fraction of what their competitors charge.

Read Review
Scarlett Plug-in Suite

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
April 10th, 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

A lot of you probably own this because you got it free when you bought a Focusrite interface. That's why I have it. Since it was free I really didn't bother with it much for the first half year or so I owned it. But I've been using the EQ and compressor a lot more lately and I quite like both of them. The reverb is okay, but nothing too special, imo. But the compressor specifically is pretty great as a bread and butter track compressor (i.e. not for buses). The gain reduction metering is great, the controls are very easy to use, the interface is pretty good looking. Best of all, the CPU load is reeeeaaaalllly low, which is great for anyone working with an older or relatively underpowered machine.

The simplicity of these plugins is a huge plus. They do what they're supposed to do and they're easy to use.

Read Review

Reviewed By Sycopation [all]
April 8th, 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

The description here does not do this product justice at all. Please go read the product page at the Rob Papen website.

This delay may not be for everyone, specifically people working with recorded audio, or in more "organic" genres. Basically, if you need your delays to sound "real," this may not be the best product for you. Sure, it can do "natural," but so can two dozen other delays that you probably already own. That kind of application is not where RP-Delay shines.

However, I think this could be the best delay out there for electronic / EDM, or any genre where delays and FX aren't always expected to sound "real." It really excels at highly layered, variously panned, heavily filtered and distorted delays. A total dream for creating wild effects.

It has two main delay lines (1 and 2), and each has four sublines: A, B, C and reverse, each with its own mix knob (dry vs wet), level, panning, feedback, filter type, and distortion type. All sublines can be set by sync, or by very accurate ms. Each subline can be triggered by a MIDI note. Each subline can be fed by the main input, or by any of the other sublines (see "position"). It has a master mix knob, master stereo width knob, master 3-fixed band EQ (low, mid, high). Also has master volume triggering, sequencer and Audio Follower.

It has a highly variable CPU load, depending on the patch (many, many awesome presets).

The only other delay plugin that I know of that allows such precise control over so many parameters is More Feedback Machine by u-he. The main difference to my ears is that MFM sounds more analog and RP-Delay sounds more digital. This same distinction holds true for u-he synths vs RP synths as well, imo. They both have their place. The price difference between the two is not huge, so maybe try both and see which one you like more.

Read Review