Outer Limits has a huge library and thats the best part of the program. The basic interface provided is limited but allows some creativity. The user license is restrictive and thats not so good, be careful when you use this program. The samples may not be imported into any sampler you wish... This is an instrument with a sample library included or tied into the intrument.
The sounds range from dark and moody, even spooky I suppose- to bright and twinkling ones. I intend to use the sounds as part of an overall mix, not that the sounds are unfit for soloing but due to the before mentioned user agreement.
Outer limits has had a few loading errors when I use it in Cubase and required repairing or reloading. This is a newer program so I expect a few bugs. The program is sold as being eerie and mysterious...evil maybe. I find that the sounds have exellent aplications for many sound styles and not all that 'dark' but rather are intense and sonically odd. If you are looking to flesh out a soundscape these sounds may well fit your needs, if you intend to use a patch for a lenghty solo, contact the seller and pay the fee as it is not a 'stand alone' product. The sound banks are not bread and butter sounds like trumpets and flutes but are odd backgrounds, drones and quirky bleeps and splashes floating across a soundstage. Just insure that the soundstage has a few other sounds on it to avoid legal issues. Outer Limits should be thought of as being a spice in a mix not the meat. The basic included interface is useful but limited. The graphics are not very spectacular but basic. This VSTi uses a lot of HD space but streams and thats good, you will need a large RAM and fast computer to run this program that loads from DVD drives only. I give the sound designer 5 thumbs up but the limited legal use and graphic interface restrict the programs usefulness. If you need to add to a mix this might save you several hours of programming dozens of softsynths and hardware based synthesizers (as well as storing and maintaining them) then mixing them, just for a touch of strangeness. The cost is reasonable and the trend of sound developers moving towards making REALLY new sounds is also a plus. This is for making space music, effects or ambient, not dance music or top 40 styles. (edited after using for several months) I still use it but it has become less useful as I find it hard to set the sounds into many mixes. I think I grew tired of the dark elements over time but if you keep the sound mixed down a bit it adds spookiness without dominating. I have decided that the limited interface and choices as well as the lack of more complex modulation and filters really keep this program from being better. Run it through some modulating delays and it is much more interesting! I wish it had more patches and that there was some updates but it is what it is, the change in ownership of the company probably didn't help much.
I do own hardware and soft synths and I notice that all softsynths tend to get a bit stale and I usually find what patches I like and work with those. Mixing Outer limits with spacey synth washes and re-sampling is the ticket here. Cut a nice wav section and push that through Absynth if you want to mutate the sound beyond recognition, use extreme EQ and resample....rinse and repeat. I would only buy this if you already have pretty much all the FM, subtractive and additive stuff covered and REALLY need that extra weirdness. When people hear Outer Limits in my small studio I usually get a funny look so I tend to use it when no one is around. Was that a noise in my closet? No, just an echo. Ian Boddy , you are one strange sound designer!
The sound quality still seems really great and the sonic/psychological effects of 'Outer limits' still makes me have goose bumps. Listening to Boddy's songs on emusic.com has made me more aware of the dark side of the force. This program is another example of using a small yet powerful sample of his analog arsenal as a building block for my own work. I have noticed I am beginning to look at overall sound design a bit differently and what price is that worth? I am happier now with the program than I was when I first purchased it. But then again, I enjoy barbeque potato chips and peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches so don't say I didn't warn you!
The real key to my brief review is for you to consider what I was looking for: an emulation of the PPG2.3 -a synth costing thousands of dollars that in the 1980's produced really different timbres. I paid 10$ for my used copy of PPG2.V on Ebay (compared to the 300$ cost a couple of years ago and the 50$ blowout price last year!)
Does the PPG VSTi sound like a PPG 2.3? Yes I would say almost perfectly.The PPG user group admits this openly. A collector who can afford a used PPG 2.3 probably is not so excited that their rare beast has competition...hehe..The PPG2.V uses very little CPU and is very programmable. I would have paid the full cost when the program was new but I was unable to do so. If I had the money I sure would have.
I am still fascinated with synth sounds from as far back as the 1960's and think perhaps I may not ever get a bank of modular syths stacked like refridgerators...I may not get rare synths to play with. Oh well, the idea that this program fulfills my dreams of having the PPG sound is real. As previous reviewers (here and elsewhere) have noted TD, Depeche Mode and others like Thomas Dolby used this sound to great effect. The PPG 2.V has a distintive sound, decent interface and an extreme sonic resemblence to the hardware PPG 2.3. If it had the function of the waveterm B added somehow my heart would pound! But if you want something so close to the old school PPG this is the emulation that succeeds! The menu is rather awkward for grabbing patches to tweak and some knowledge of programming will help. If you understand what sound you want and it involves the PPG you should be able to get it either by programming or by tweaking an existing patch. (My, I wish I had even more patches to use as a starting point!)
No one has really mentioned this much as far as I can see but if you collect virtual instruments this is a fantastic one to add. If you love this sound of the true PPG this is the best. It is a matter of preference and taste perhaps. Effects will really help this straight forward VSTi sound even more genuine as will layering.
This has a unique and distintive sound worth a small fortune. 10$ !!! I am so pleased I got this. Oh, incedently the updates are still available from the web for this now defunct Waldorf concession product.
With many synthesisers you will find that there are a few things that make you glad you chose them over another version or model/manufacturer. There may be some good patches you find attractive and worth using as a starting point for your personal sound mix.
Inside the cool green graphic is a program called Absynth 2:
Almost all synths have sounds outside of what you might prefer. Absynth 2 has some sounds that right away called to me and many others that absolutely revolted me! Grunge! Noise! But..... this says an awful lot about the program where side by side exsists not only those harsh sound elements but also beautiful drones, evolving pads and so forth that can be massively tweaked. I downloaded a demo of Absynth and chose a patch and then called my close friend to hear "my new synth" sound. They did not realise a VSTi was playing, they looked at my Waldorf q, at the Fizmo, my Roland and at the rack of synths. Which one??? They were amazed that the VSTi could make such deep sounds! So was I... my love of sound is very deep and has held me since the 1980s when i bought my first Analog, a Korg PS3100.
Let me tell you, a synthesiser worth anything can make horrible sounds, teeth grinding and joltings, things that make your fillings loose. It can also be stroked into producing fantastic harmony. The Absynth 2 has many tools for making sounds, for forging them into coherent (or incomprehensible) sounds. I can play a stack of actual hardware instruments and find a patch or make one that fits right in. The effects are rather stark in the Absynth 2 but the delay is pretty smooth. The envelope functions are awesome and you can make a library of envelop settings you like and want to move to a new sample or waveform. The modulations are like Analog setups in a way. A sound can evolve so much it almost puts a real burden on you to make other sounds fit in with the Absynth. But it can give you ideas...
I like to use the small stereo recorder it has inside to make files I can import into Acid or Ableton live. It will over dub and has a function to change volumes. This is a great idea I hope you see the value of this. The instrument fits into Cubase like a dream and uses very little CPU. It is stable. There are dozens of patches availible, many using the noise and grundge I mentioned. I have seldom heard a VSTi that will do hard core noise music and 'hearts of Space' sounds right out of the box but this is one that will.
Drums? Hmm, not really.Kinda. Flutes? Sure, space flutes played in a alien movie. Band instruments? No way! Pads? Textures? Absolutely and much more. Leads are very good but this VSTi leans towards the special niche usually reserved for the hardware patched like a madmad that you forget after you change things a couple of times.
Drawing the modulations are easy and having the ability to sync - these made owning the Absynth 2 a reality for me. I got a student discount of 149.00$ u.s. so it was affordable. The registration process was kind of complex and moving it from computer top computer looks like a hassle but at least there is no dongle/hardware key to deal with. Forget a back up disc it will TRASH your computer drive, it has a hole in the CD!!! Dude just hire Vinnie to bust my leg if I cheat but give me a back up disk.....heh.
With so many decent companies and products folding without warning *ahem*Waldorf-Logic for PC*coff* I wish I had a backup or 3.