ABL3 is very good and fun to use. There does seem to be an improvement to the sound with their Feb 2022 update. The ability to simply use the piano roll is really nice. Though for some of my projects I do opt for using the onboard sequencer and then muting and unmuting parts. Onboard distortion and clipping is very convincing. I still feel like outboard distortion offers much more realism.
I'm happy to have ABL3 if I want to meander around some acid techno or other 303 heavy genres.
It is absolutely a synth of its time. The sounds (as well as the appearance) really take me back. Its excellent for chords, arps, pads, synth accents, and it is okay for bass. I don't consider Hybrid to have an extremely punchy sound for all your needs and the oscillators don't seem to be top quality all of the time. Regardless, I continue to find inspiring sounds with Hybrid and again: I really like the UI. It may come to be a nostalgic synth.
I thoroughly enjoy this VST. The appearance gives the feeling of a gothic or steampunk laboratory. Good on them for ambiance and design. They did something right with Vacuum because the sound is staggeringly good and its very hard to find presets that aren't inspiring or useful.
Parsec is (potentially) very underrated. I genuinely enjoy the way sound design and patch building can be handled with Parsec. I personally like the appearance of the previous version, but it still has an enjoyable and simple UI. Parsec can make some extremely interesting and mysterious sounds. I readily give the five stars because of its strengths. REALLY good for sound fx, pads, poly, plucks. You may not be satisfied with how it handles leads and bass.
Very usable. It would seem that there is a limited selection of piano sounds from this device that sound rich and musical. I have found the combination and blend of piano types that I like and have layered it and run it through EQ to get the most realistic piano sound possible and that seems to work very well. If you are looking for really excellent piano sounds, this may not be the first device you want to turn to. It does nicely for accent and backup piano.
It is very usable and has a lot of dimension in its sound. One thing to point out is that currently, the click points for each parametric seem to skip around on their own unless you cease playback of the project. They will also snap back if you go beyond the bounds of the graph with the cursor while clicking and dragging. Otherwise, its incredibly nice to have so many bands to work with on one device.
Xpand 2 is pretty insane for what it is. I can make big and intricate sounds very quickly, and I appreciate the selection of onboard effects (although I would really like to have more than just two slots for them.) I am kicking myself for not getting Xpand sooner, because there was a time when I was very heavy into the slightly more cheesy, Ocarina-of-Time-esque sounds, of which Xpand has PLENTY.
A valid issue is that there are very little options for shaping the sounds individually, or for shaping the overall sound. And admittedly, given how I eluded to Xpand having a lot of voices fit for a SNES (or N64), it does not easily have a strong sound. It remains an inspiring tool to use. I do recommend it, because it will get you very far.
Europa is just a really fun instrument. While I personally haven't done a whole of routing in the mod matrix; sound design and patch building can still be done quickly and powerfully. For any of you who are familiar with Thor, I have a very easy time thinking that one engine on Europa = at least 1.5 Thor instruments. I will point out that there doesn't seem to be any FM, AM, sync, or ring mod routing between the oscillators (engines really). That would be a cool (and perhaps hardly necessary) feature. It's not the punchiest synth in terms of sound, but I still really enjoy using this instrument every time I decide to work with it. I highly recommend it for the experience, and for the usability. It has beautiful presets, and creating your own is almost too easy.
This is a very inspiring VST. The overall sound quality is incredible and I can get a lot of variations from one instrument. Some of the notes seem to have a bit of a rattle or dissonance at certain velocities, and there is rare occasion where a note will stick out like a sore thumb among the rest especially in a riff or arpeggio.
I love the ambience you can create with Cloudrum, and the internal effects are brilliant. If there was a version (paid or free really) that had more drum types featured I would definitely get it.