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Ambient Reverb [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 10th July 2018
Version reviewed: 4.3 on Windows
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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.

OrilRiver [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 2nd July 2018
Version reviewed: 2.0.3 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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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.

Cocoa Delay [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 30th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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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.

Pros.

*FREE.

*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.

TB FlX v3 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 8th May 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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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.

Scarlett Plug-in Suite [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 10th April 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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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.

RP-Delay [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 8th April 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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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.

Presswerk [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 4th April 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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I'm going to keep this very short as I am definitely no expert on compressors, much less ones that model vintage hardware compressors.

My first thought was "$129 for a compressor, are you kidding?" But now I think it's worth every penny. The very first mix I used it on I could tell that this is no ordinary compressor. It's hard to put into words. It just makes things sound awesome. The presets are great, especially for people like me who only kinda sorta know what they're doing. But I'm actually learning more about using compressors now that I have one I'm actually excited to use. It sounds great, the GUI is inviting, clear and functional. The gain reduction meters are great.

The CPU load might be bit high to use this on every single track, but it's actually moderate enough that most people could probably use it on all their buses + any tracks where they wanted a little extra character, grit, warmth etc. Most DAWs come with very CPU-efficient stock compressors that will do the trick for very basic jobs, so you can save up your juice for where it matters.

If you already have a compressor you love, you might be able to skip this one. But if your experience with compressors so far has been just using them because you basically have to, then try this out. It;s outstanding and you'll soon be rationalizing why it's okay to drop a good chunk of change on it.

Bazille [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 16th December 2015
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by Sycopation on 16th December 2015.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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I am not a super experienced synthesist, so I will not try to give a techy review. I'll leave that to the people who know more and care more. This review is way more subjective and opinion-based.

I primarily use presets (with some tweaking to taste), and this synth does not disappoint with the presets. I've spent 3+ hours going through favoriting all the ones I like and I'm still not even halfway through. But that's what we call one of those good problems. Tastes vary, and these things are very subjective, but I like a higher percentage of presets in Bazille than in any other synth.

Simply put, I just love the sound of this synth. It probably has just about the most unique sound of any synth I've used, and I've tried 50+. It just has a "je ne sais quoi" (to use a douchey French word) that I've not heard anywhere else. Just playing it and listening to it makes me feel... I don't know... nostalgic... or maybe pensive is the right word. I have an affinity for sounds that are vaguely retro-ish and analogue, especially patches that sound like e-pianos. Or anything that sounds vaguely like bells, tuned percussion, or any other sound where it's hard to say for sure if it's natural or synth. This synth does all those very convincingly. To me it's more "organic" and analogue than even Diva. Which is really important to me, because I really dislike the extremely digital-sounding synths you hear in a lot of EDM and electronica these days. I definitely like a more retro sound, and Bazille really hit the spot for me. It just sounds nice in a way different from most other synths I've used, including the other u-he synths. At first I was afraid that Bazille would be redundant since I already have ACE, Diva and Zebra, but it most definitely has its own character and unique strengths. In the course of a week or two it shot to the top of my list, above ACE, Diva, Absynth, Zebra, everything. I'll still use those other bad boys lots (I still can't find anything that beats Diva for fat analogue bass), but this is the first thing I'll try for most things, especially chords and leads.

As I said, I don't do much patching myself, but the more I learn about patching, the more I appreciate the visual, modular nature of Bazille (as well as ACE). Much more than any other softsynth I've used, these two synths make it very easy to follow the signal flow, because the patch cords create a visual map. Either of these would be a fine choice for someone that was trying to learn synthesis from the ground up. I will definitely concentrate on these two as I continue to learn more about synthesis.

I really only have two "sort of" complaints about this synth. As with almost all u-he products (especially Diva and ACE), Bazille will do cruel things to your CPU. Bad, unkind things. Just don't even mess with any of them if you don't have a computer less than three years old with a minimum of an i5. And even if your rig can handle it, you still will probably want to render or freeze most instances. It's that bad. One single instance can spike your CPU, and 2-3 will almost for sure take too big of a bite even on a big rig. The other complaint also applies to all u-he products. I really wish they would switch to a preset browser like you see in Massive, Absynth or Synthmaster. This would be especially helpful in a synth with 1,700 presets! But they stuck with the same format for their newest synth, Hive, so I'm not holding my breath that this will change.

Overall, great synth. Try it for yourself. I DLed the demo pretty much out of boredom, not having any real intention of buying it. Then two weeks later I just had to do it. It won me over.

Royotoms [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 16th December 2015
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by Sycopation on 16th December 2015.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Another awesome free instrument from Alan ViSTa! I am a big fan of all his stuff, especially the tuned percussion. The samples are high quality and I don't think I've ever had any of his VSTs crash on me. Sounds good, stable, super easy GUI, just so simple to use! Sometimes you want a powerhouse like Kontakt with a monster engine under the hood, and sometimes you just want something simple and easy to use that that allows you to just work fast.

I love that each rototom has independent volume and pan control. That gives you total control over dynamics and stereo placement. Having control over reverb level AND lenght is also great. Dialing in the right amoung is really fast and easy. An intergrated compressor would be nice, but hey, I'm not going to complain about something so trivial.

The only actual complaint I have is that it's pretty CPU hungry for what it is/does. But that definitely won't stop me from using it, because freeze/render is your friend.

Good job, mate. I made a nice rototom track with this in under two minutes.

Frostbite [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Sycopation [read all by] on 20th November 2015
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by Sycopation on 20th November 2015.
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I've only just started to mess with this, but I already love it and can tell this is going to get a lot of use, especially in my sound design-focused sessions.

Even if the only trick it did was the "long reverb," it might be worth the asking price. Basically it just takes the most intense part of a reverb and holds it for a specified amount of time, up to 25 seconds. Very awesome. Obviously, one can use automation of reverb/volume to achieve somewhat similar effects, but this does it 1) much more easily and 2) in a much different sounding way. A way that freezes the sound and just repeats it, but with no audible looping artefacts. I used to spend a lot of time in an audio editor to get effects that I'm getting with this with just a few dial tweak.

It also has the ability to severely transform the input sound. The "bowed metal" preset makes everything sound like, well, bowed metal. Very cool effect with which to create some icy soundscapes. For real, if you're into any genre where you like to create a spacy / barren / cold soundscape, you want this plugin.

One idea for improvement: allow users to type in values, or at a minimum, allow for fine-grain tuning by holding SHIFT.

The beat of a different drummer: An interview with Mattias Eklund from Toontrack
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