I traveled back in time to revisit OnePingOnly and I have discovered two amazing things about it.
1. There were 16 pings.
2. There is a new 64-bit version at the developer's github with 128 pings.
All these many years (the file date of original plugin is April 2000) I though there was one ping only, but there never was and never will be. I mean, unless I play it very carefully. I guess I could think of it as 128 single pings.
You can do anything with OnePingOnly. Anything at all. The only limit is yourself. The infinite is possible with OnePingOnly. The unattainable is unknown with OnePingOnly.
This is a perfect example of taking a simple idea and doing it well; making it both easy and powerful. The interface is clean and clear with well-thought-out, useful tools. The colour-coding of each instrument makes it very easy to know which one you're editing. It's easy to copy and paste from one instrument to another; easy to label and set the choke; saving and organizing presets is easy.
It's just a pleasure to use and sounds great. Highly recommended.
Ethnosphere is very easy to install. I love that about it. Drag drop done. Most of the instruments sound real and the quality of the recordings is high. Its intention is to allow the user to inject a little ethnic flavour into their songs. It is not trying to be the king of virtual ethnic instruments. This job (adding ethnic flavour) it does admirably.
There are a few complaints. The first is the volume: turn it up! At the highest volume level, the meters don't even go halfway. The second is the number of instruments that are a single sample. With some it sounds fine; I don't mind. But with others it sounds terrible. The third one is the loops. I LIKE the loops. Many of them are excellent. BUT... they just don't work in this instrument. What's the tempo? Who knows? Can I beat slice them? No. And since they're spread across the keyboard you can get other unknown tempos along with obviously pitch-shifted percussion. The loops are almost useful, but not quite. Give them to us as WAV files and they'd be excellent. Finally there are a few glitches, but I'm trusting that they can be repaired.
The user interface is nice enough. The sound varies from very good to very bad - mostly good, though. Features are limited, but unnecessary. Documentation is not needed. There are many presets, some good and others... not so good. Customer support seemed good to begin with, but when I sent them my review and listed the patches that have bad sample sets, they just ignored it. Value for money is pretty high, but I'd have to say now that the Plugsound modules do it better - if only they had a specific ethnic module. Stability is excellent, though - I haven't had any problems at all.
I bought this synth quite a while ago and I have spent a lot of time being intimidated by it. For more experienced people, it may be simple, but for a... well... bass player like me, anything more than a power switch can hurt my brain.
I'll start with the only criticism I have: The random-preset generator generates REALLY quiet patches. It may very well be for safety's sake, though, since some big, nasty sounds can come crashing out of your speakers if your tweaking goes awry. Still, a non-distorted gain knob wouldn't hurt.
I'll leave out the press-release descriptions of all the features and just comment on the one thing that makes this synth stand out: the three levels of ADSR! Most synths give you the ability to change the ADSR of the amplitude, but this one has independent control of the pitch and the filter, as well! So, for example, during the inital attack phase, the pitch can descend from a higher note or ascend from a lower note or even start to ascend/descend from the root note. Or the decay phase can change the pitch. Or the sustain. Even the release, so after release, the pitch shifts.
And there are more than just the usual controls for these. You can set how much velocity has an effect on, say, the attack. So soft notes can have fast attack and hard notes slow - or the opposite.
Even without these nifty features, Fat Machine is a great sounding synth. With the great sound AND some amazing features all for is a crazy-good deal. The potential for sounds you've never heard before is huge.
EDIT: I had lost the documentation (my own stupid fault) and forgot I ever had it. Now that I've found it again, I had to remove all my criticisms of the docs and now I'm bumping the review up even more!
Dash Synthesis seem to have found a winning formula - at least from my perspective. They follow one of the all-time great rules, which is "Keep it simple." They have small, but fun synths at very reasonable prices.
This synth, daHornet, is all kinds of funky. Loading it up and playing the first few notes, I suddenly found myself in the world of Logan's Run - and all the other sci-fi movies from that era. It's not restricted to that, though. A little playing around got me a respectable accordion sound. That may not sound like a good thing to some, but the point is that it's not as limited a synth as one might think.
Where this thing really shines, however, is the in the way-out wacky sounds. A lot of those are towards the end of the presets, but they're really not hard to dial up yourself. Check out "Man in a hive."
daHornet is laid out nicely, with a logical flow to the buttons. Right-clicking on the logo brings up a menu that has some options you might want to check out. I found that the volume level was a little too high for Cubase and a number of the presets were clipping. A quick trip to this menu and I set the volume to "soft" - perfect! There are also four different randoms, each of which can be assigned to the numbers 1-4 on your keyboard. A nice touch, indeed.
I have no complaints with daHornet. Sorry. It's a niche synth, but it's a very well-executed one. It's easy to download and check out. It's fun to play with. It's easy and cheap to buy. And the support from Dash Synthesis is second to none.
There are a few technical glitches (unless, of course, they're features) but otherwise this little VST grabbed me by the balls and made me squeal in pleasure. The sounds are full, raw and sexy.
To put it in totally untechnical terms, if B4 is a $200 meal and some restaurant that would NEVER let me in, Dirtbag is a delicious breakfast served with love to a starving person. I have no idea what that means, other than I'm hungry right now.
There seems to be a little feedback loop happening on some of the presets, but I imagine it can be fixed easily enough... unless it's meant to be there. This is the Dirtbag, after all. Cleanliness is next to uselessness, maybe.
Worth a try. Some fantabulous sounds come out of this thing, in my opinion. And I also own B4...
A few notes on my ratings... some of them are low because this thing is free (no docs that I've seen... maybe I should look harder), I haven't received a response yet about the glitch thing (haven't been waiting long, mind you) and there aren't too many presets... but it doesn't need very many. This thing is not making an attempt to be all things to all men.
UPDATE: problems have been fixed and new features added! The only thing lacking now is docs, but he has most of the main features listed on his website.