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Reviewed By rasputin [read all by] on 28th January 2019
Version reviewed: 1.5 on Windows.
Last edited by rasputin on 28th January 2019.
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This is a really venerable FM Synth, with a solid implementation of DX7 patch format. Consider that if you buy this, you can scour the net for literally 10s of thousands of patches, since this reads all .syx DX7 patches (I haven't found one it can't read yet).

I created a Python program to parse the patch name out of the file, and currently (although there are a lot of duplicates) my spreadsheet of patches is just over 104,000. I think that ought to be enough for anyone. If I live long enough, I'd like to rationalize the collection by type of patch, type of operator algorithm, etc. Maybe someone has already done that and I just haven't found it yet.

It seems to be a little unstable in Live 9.7 on Windows 7 Pro 64-bit; sometimes it hangs and sometimes checking the "HQ" box and playing notes hangs it. But what do you want for cheap? It might even be that version 1.4 is better than 1.5; I haven't investigated it yet.

Reviewed By rasputin [read all by] on 2nd January 2019
Version reviewed: 2.2 on Windows
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Not sure if this is still supported by developer; the download link takes you to the top Download page at the Arturia website, and I don't see any information for Analog Factory.

I used it occasionally after installing "Analog Factory SE" which was a demo included on a (very old) issue of Music Tech or like magazine many years ago. If you can find that installer I can tell you it does still work as a VST on a Windows 7 system with recent (2018) versions of Reaper and Ableton Live.

Reviewed By rasputin [read all by] on 4th August 2018
Version reviewed: 2.8 on Windows
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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If you're new to Zebra and research a bit you'll notice that it is over 10 years old. The last update (before 1/2018) was in 2015.

That is said not to imply that its sound is in any way dated. As you'll see over and over from reviews the sound engine is powerful and infinitely flexible, along with the modulation capabilities.

A huge advantage of a supremely well-designed synth of this age is the terrific number of sound banks available. In fact there may be TOO many and you'll have to spend some time picking through them to find the best ones.

Some people go overboard and design patches that have infinitely complex evolving sounds that are entire compositions in 120 sec; and it's great to know this can be done, but better are the incredible pads, basses, leads and incidental sounds you can create with Zebra. They asset themselves in a mix without being overbearing. Amazingly light weight in terms of CPU/RAM use; I am using an 8GB Windows 7 system and can load a stack of these up in Ableton without it even noticing.

Really, try the demo. 15 minutes is admitted too short a time to really get into it, but it's a chance to try a bunch of presets and get a handle on the power of this amazing too.

The most recent (2.8) demo even further improves the already excellent manual.

Reviewed By rasputin [read all by] on 13th August 2016
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows.
Last edited by rasputin on 21st August 2016.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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English - Windows version 3.02 reviewed 2016-08-13 (with a few edits 2016-08-21 for clarity)

In the Reaper forum there was discussion about enhancing the media browser, which has some good features, but at version 5.20 is still somewhat minimal. A contributor suggested Crypton Mutant so I came here and tried it out.

This one really has some excellent features, and as it is currently free it's unbeatable. With a few tweaks and enhancements I would be glad to pay to support the developers a little more. Sonicwire is a soundware vendor so I think the intention is that the Mutant browser can take you to Sonicwire when you are browsing for sounds. Fortunately the integration is passive and there is no need to sign up with Sonicwire to manage your local sound libraries.

The description on the the Details page is pretty accurate. I'm just going to add some remarks of my own that go beyond it.

The sounds database appears to be kept in memory first, then managed in My Documents / Crypton / Mutant / Mutant_db / Mutant.db with an XML file storing the column widths, audio file types., etc.

I moved the executable there and it still works fine. You can create as many dbs as you want but they will all be in the Crypton folder.

Pros:

  • Truly free as far as I can tell; not crippleware, etc.
  • Simple, logical/conventional GUI operation.
  • Allows adding tags and user memos to samples and loops (extremely helpful for me).
  • It has a nice feature where length of sample, besides showing in mm:ss in length column is indicated by the length of a transparent bar over the entry row. Waveform of sample is also displayed.
  • Fast to build database: On a Intel Core 2 Quad based windows 7 system (not at all the most recent) took about 5 min to add 5700 samples then another 15 or 20 minutes more to add another 42000.
  • The database for 77000 items is only about 35 MB.
  • Search is extremely fast and has simple boolean operators and, or and not (and: space between strings, or = | between strings, not = - before string).

Cons:

  • My biggest disappointment is that only sounds within current folder are displayed. Would be nice to have the option of displaying all sounds within current folder and subfolders. Although Search is very fast, it searches over all files in the database which may return a lot of hits.
  • In the found items list, you need to look at a sample's Properties to see which folder it is in.
  • Some typos/inheritances from Japanese in English GUI and manual -- these don't affect operation.

Wish list:

  • Allow display of all samples (hack for this is to a Boolean that covers everything: if you enter "-?" in the Search box it finds all the items that don't have ? in the name (or in tags).
  • Find and markup duplicates for deletion.
  • Clean up GUI and manual for English version.
Reviewed By rasputin [read all by] on 11th May 2010
Version reviewed: 1.13 on Windows.
Last edited by rasputin on 9th June 2015.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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One of the best free synths out there, I think. It was originally released back in 2002 I think. That's 8 years ago now.
It's criminal that there isn't a review newer than 2007. After a couple year hiatus the developer has made an enormous number of improvements.
I agree with another reviewer that if you just download this and try a few of the presets, you might be disappointed. But if you just persist and spend a little while intelligently experimenting with it you will be amazed.
As mentioned at top it is architecturally modeled after the Nord Lead 2 Red. It is extremely light on the CPU and you can use a whole stack of them on any halfway new PC.
The other thing to note is that there are at least two dozen patch banks contributed by various users--check those out as well.
Soundwise that is obviously a personal choice. I find the sounds have a cleanliness and clarity that make this an excellent choice for lead sounds of all kinds. Like many synths it can benefit from a little filtering, reverb and processing but what doesn't? Simple GUI, very easy to use. Oh, one important thing: a one page GUI-no flipping around to different tabs forever (yes, I know that more complex synths need more complex GUIs)
The English documentation is still a little quirky as the author is not a native English speaker, but it has improved since 1.07. Again, the device is intuitive enough that this is not a huge issue.
Stability; I have never seen a hang or crash that I can attribute to use of this. I have used it on Windows 2000 and XP systems.
Definitely a 10/10 overall all factors considered. Besides, what's the risk in at least trying it out.
I gave the customer support a 5 since I have no idea about it.

Update 2015: still a must have, and the new patch bank handling system is great. Now you can have 128 banks of 128 patches all arranged in a hierarchy. I guess I'll be spending the rest of my life auditioning user-contributed patches. Now with resizable GUI and as mentioned above the one-page GUI is wonderful for quick tweaking. It still seems stable as a rock on my older Windows 7 system, and light enough on CPU I can use many instances.