I only review bona-fide synth gems, and Karnage is no exception. It is a "must download," and if you haven't yet expanded your musical pallette with this jewel, you are either ignorant or lazy (fill in some more insulting adjectives here, if you wish).
First, and let's face it, almost the most important: GUI (I'm shallow that way). Visually pleasant, economical, and fun. Intuitive too, so that making useful patches right away becomes easy. I love the soft blue motif; chunky dials; and big, bold font indicating octave and "on" and "off."
I created a bank of inspiring tempo sync'd patches within ten minutes of playing with this thing, and I usually hate sequenced patches.
The filter is very smooth and bubbly and the onboard delay and distortion are handy.
I commend Ian and Krim for incorporating two of most critical effects into the synth. If all this means dick to you, and you just wanna play, the full patch bank offers a great selection of insanely satisfying patches. I guarantee you, it will be one of your "go-to" synths--and we all can't have enough of those, can we?
This is a phenomenal synth. Enticing GUI. Useable, off-kilter presets. Incredibly fun to program. My plug-ins folder was overrun by cheap-sounding, free VSTi's when I tried this out, and I was blown away. I instantly found the sound I was looking for. I simply can't fit patch programming into my songwriting workflow, so I was very pleased at the variety of patches included (Hint: Developers, always give your synths a nice big bank before releasing them). Even the time-synced patches, which I normally despise, have found their way into my songs. But that's not it. The leads are very playable, and I'm very picky about leads. For those who hate synths without onboard delay, you'll be pleased to hear EZ-Poly has it. I hate having to unnecessarily interrupt my flow by adding a new send effect when it's so easy to have the effect in the GUI of the synth itself. That developers like Ian and Ugo have thoughtfully included this important spice into their works of art is very much appreciated.
Make EZ-Poly a part of your songwriting toolset. It adds colors to your palette you wouldn't have thought possible in a free synth.
Chris went and dun it again. When I heard he was making a string modeler, I was a little underwhelmed. I already have all the free SMs out there and was already planning on buying Harptime. But this is SO much more than a string modeler. For one, it has kick-ass modulation capabilities, kind of like the matrices on his monosynths, Rez and Texture, but much more fun. With it, I've created expressive, moving sounds, from pads to leads to comping sounds. As it has a full bank of 128 presets, a handful of which I made, you will have more fun with this synth than any other freebie out there. Be prepared to be shocked by the unique sound and variety of tones you can get from this thing. Have fun with the amazing and flexible arp feature. And the GUI kicks ass all over the place--so easy on the eyes and fun to look at. Can't wait for what's next. Thanks, Chris. ST is a stunning work of art and you should be proud of it.
Amazing that no one has reviewed this remarkable beast yet. Forget the fact that it's free--Rez is a fantastic monosynth, period. The GUI is cool, the preset bank is loaded, and the sounds therein are extremely useful and inspiring. I have three instances of Rez in my default song project--and that's not enough as I usually add three more! Sounds are thick and incredibly expressive, and some of the patches respond to velocity in unique ways, making it very fun to play. If you haven't yet downloaded this and Texture, Ugo's other monosynth, do it now. I dare your jaw not to drop.
This synth is phenomenal! It produces nice, spacious leads sounds, thick fast and slow-attack pads, and plenty of trance/dance mumbo jumbo if that's yer thing.
It's reall easy to niggle around with and come up with some engaging presets. I'm no programming whiz myself, but still I managed to come up with ten useful and interesting sounds within an hour's of playing with it. It's that good! Also, the external wave load feature sounds tre cool, even though I've never loaded my own custom waves. I've just used the new ones that they've supplied. I turned the flute wave into my own mellotron patch and A/B'd with the M-Tron sound on Gmedia's website. Let's put it this way: I WAS gonna shell out $50 bucks for the M-Tron before I created this patch. 'Nuff said.
The GUI is small and extremely attractive. I hate clutter. Clutter makes me bleary-eyed. Out of all the VST's I own, this synth is probably the easiest on the eyes.
Customer support rules. In fact, I bought daAlfa2k on the day of the 2.0 release. They could have easily charge me the 2.0 price. However they recognized that I came in right "under the wire" and charged me the previous version's price. I hear they're real swift with updates, too.
And much praise for the basic FX section, as fussing with another delay and chorus plug-in is always very time consuming. Nice to have these very quality sounding units tacked on. Well done Dash!
I really like Big Tick's stuff. All their products have a big "Are you sure this is free?!" factor. Their FX plugs are especially nice (Hexaline and Dual Delay rock the house) So it's no surprise that this virtual clav lives up to the BT standard. It's a very useful instrument...very expressive. It blows away my hardware synth samples which sound lifeless in comparison. Having control over pick-up choice and click is tre cool. I've used the raw sound in many tunes. I also distort it with some Supaphaser for some wicked powerchords. You'll love the aunthenticity of this VSTi.
This is a really nice synth and a great value if you buy the MHC package (three synths and loads of FX in one money-saving deal). I love it because it has a really distinctive sound. I find that I'm using it more in my compositions. Don't be fooled by the name; this isn't an a-tonal, special FX synth. It's very musical and useful for a variety of contemporary genres. And I love the simple, attractive GUI. Well worth the money if you want something different and not your average Moog/ARP/Oberheim emulator.
[this is an amendment to my earlier review. since it's original posting, i've experienced serious instability with all my MHC synths. i say buy these synths at your own risk, or wait for any serious update news from MHC. all my other plug-ins are performing well, so I know it isn't my system.]
This is one of the best monophonic synths out there. The effects are an added bonus. I love it on it's own, but for really fat complexity, open up two or three instances of this baby in your host and give 'em each a different sound. Whallah! You have an isn't multi-oscilator synth! And it's free!
What a remarkable, useful instrument! Between this and Big Tick's Cheeze Machine, one has an awesome arsenal to create unbelievable sounding pads. The interface is sparse--big deal, though, given how cool it sounds. It has only three presets: strings, brass, and choir--all of which can be tweaked with the "quality" knob. This let's you control how "lo-fi" you want the sound to be. It also has the requisite attack and decay knobs. The pinch here is that you only have three options for these: short, medium, and long. I've found these are just fine. I only wish it had the most famous of mellotron sounds (Strawberry Fields). Hopefully an update will provide that flute sound. All that said, this is a such fantastically usable instrument, you'd be crazy not to download it.
[This is an amendment to my review. I've now used this fabulous vsti for a few months. Since I've been using it, I've heard other CDs that have the same exact sound, making me think that the word is out on this instrument. The new Opeth CD (Damnation) has Mellotron strings and choir all over it. Word is that Steven Wilson from Porcupine Tree (who produced this disc) loves the Mellotron and played the vintage keyboard on the Opeth CD. My point is that it sounds EXACTLY like Mellosound! Personally, I think that he just said he used a real one to sound cool and retro. :) It would have been a hell of a lot easier just to use Mellosound. A fantastic plug-in, especially when complemented with MultiLens.]