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Reviewed By nonono [read all by] on August 15th, 2005
Version reviewed: 1.1 on Windows
I guess the price may be the reason no ones review this one yet cause it is a bit on the steep side for hobbyist users. That said, I really wanted this package.... I really thought it would be great... I really believed all the marketing .... I was really disappointed.

The major problem is - Space, the installation will eat up 8GB of hard drive space and because the files are so large you will have to make sure you are using NTFS hard drives and not the more common FAT32. I know because I never thought I would have to read the documentation to install software and spent several fruitless days hours trying to install the thing before I broke down and realized I needed to redo the hard drives on my computer. That being said, you should also know that you cannot use an older version of Windows. NTFS isn't compatible with windows 95/98/ME. So if you are like me and have duel operating systems on your computer you will have to make one hard drive invisible to your old operating system if you want to install Ultra Focus.

What you do get, are some pretty good samples... The only downside is that the whole system is marketed as a sort of end all be all of synths. The demo and marketing I got from them before I decided to get the thing led me to believe that once you got this baby and learned to use it you could discard all your other synths. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. The whole system seems a little limited. Yes with 8GB of my hard drive given up, I expected a very wide variety of sound samples. You quickly find that the samples you get are sometimes only vaguely different from other samples... You don't get any decent orchestra sounds to layer in (ie it would be nice to have samples of standard MIDI soundfont sounds to use in creating sounds but you don't get them).

You find that you are too limited in how you can manipulate the samples. You can only use two samples in any one sound. And if you want to add effects, you are limited to just 2 at a time.with the effects being added to the mixed version of the 2 layers, it would be more useful to be able to add 2 effects to the separate layers.

Finding the samples/sounds you want is a pain, there are too many sounds and the names are often less than helpful in knowing what sound it is so you have to do a lot of trial and error (not that big a deal on a small synth but here you are looking at over 2000 different presets and that gets very tedious). I don't usualy complain about too many presets, but here you get the feeling that you could have been given a fraction of the presets and not missed anything.

What the system needs to be really useful is the ability to layer more sounds and an arp function. The USB folks should take a look at Ravity (s) / between the two Ravity has a much smaller sample size but a much better GUI and more possibilities (4 layers instead of two and 3 effects per layer plus 3 effects for the final sound).

In hindsight I would not get this one. It costs a lot and requires what I consider a large trade off on your system configuration. You don't get any sounds you can't get elsewhere... the tweakability of the sounds are too limited... It just ain't worth it.
Reviewed By nonono [read all by] on August 15th, 2005
Version reviewed: 1.4 on Windows
As stated before it is under marketed and under appreciated. This is very true. The current version has the ability to go standalone (the earlier ones were pure plug-ins) which may be of use to some people. It works I tried it but for what I do a plug-in is all I need.

I've used it more than just about anything else for ambient sounds and soft slow sounds. It has one short fall and that is the lack of fatness to the presets that are supposed to be fat (ie the moogish analog sounds you get are a little tinny and weak, you can fatten them up with some effects but you shouldn't have to tinker around for what you expect are standard sounds.

Organ sounds are not that great, pretty limited as they all sound about the same.

Now I know we're not supposed to compare it to other things, but sometimes a comparison is useful. I've used this one and Ultra Focus and between the two Ravity is much better. Why? Because it cost me about a quarter what the Ultra Focus did. The Ravity doesn't eat up as much disk space (if you use Ultra Focus you'll have to give up about 8GB of space and if you're still using FAT32 hard drives you'll have to reformat them to NTFS which is a pain). The Ravity is very stable, I had the earlier version lock up once or twice, the current version hasn't locked up any.

Bottom line is this one is great for ambient sounds, pads, and slow soft sounds. It is a little weak for organ sounds and fat analog sounds. Very good value for the money.
Reviewed By nonono [read all by] on August 15th, 2005
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
Overall this one is very pricey for what you get. Yes it is a very good simulation of an ARP. And if the only goal you have in your mind is learning how sounds were made back in the heyday of analog synths you'll be happy as hell. It brought back some old memories the first couple of hours I got into it. The only problem is that nostalgia wears thin pretty quick, or maybe I've just gotten past love affair with analogs I had back in the seventies.

At any rate, this one has a very limited usefulness. Arpeggiators are common now, and you have to ask yourself why you want the ARP 2600. You aren't getting any sounds that you can't find in less expensive packages. The only thing you are getting is a very good GUI.

The real problem is that I use VST's for the sounds they produce and how useful they are in the music I'm trying to create. I don't really have to have a great GUI, and if the sounds are perfect I can even live with a pretty bad GUI. I wanted to like the ARP, I only wish it had something that could justify my buying it. I hate to admit that after installing it and using it (hours on end over a long weekend), I haven't found any use for it.

If I every need to create some nostalgic sounds from the seventies I might use it, but I suspect most people that buy it will find its capabilities limited (yes it is faithful to the original).

Before you shell out the money for it ask yourself why you are even thinking about it. If you always wanted to have an ARP but couldn't afford it, it’s a steal.

If you think you can use it for some of your music, I would suggest you get a demo of it and listen to it, then get a demo of Arturia's Moog modular... if you need retro sounds it would be a better buy...

The limited usefulness and high price make this one a very bad deal. If they ever lower the price below $50 it might be worth it, but in hindsight if someone stole my software and I had to replace it - I wouldn't replace it.
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