I recently discovered Basslane when I was looking for a way to center/mono the deep bass frequencies of a Chapman Stick track I had recorded that featured a tempo-delay on it, while leaving the upper frequencies unaffected in the stereo field. Originally the track had everything ping-ponging left and right and when mixed with the backing tracks, the deep bass notes were completely lacking in punch, as you usually want bass as close to center to achieve that.
Basslane was the perfect solution for this: after setting the cutoff frequency of its LPF (the pre/post monitoring options really help with this) and collapsing just frequencies below that to mono, the deep bass tones became solid and punchy while leaving the upper frequencies to bounce around in the stereo field.
I imagine this could also be really useful for situations where you have a full stereo mix of a song where the bass was recorded in stereo and lacking punch. Running such a pre-mixed track through BassLane would let you zero in on the bass frequencies and pull them in towards center.
This effect finds its way into what I do probably more than almost anything else I own. :) Excellent for when you don't want a "cyclic/rotating" chorusing effect, but just want to sound bigger and "wider", on synths/keyboards, vocals, guitars, etc.
Great on guitars when used subtly (especially when used in conjunction with mda's excellent Dynamics compressor), especially when going for a clean, ring-y 80's-style Strat sound ala' Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Jamie West-Oram (The Fixx), Alex Lifeson (Rush), etc.
On pianos, can provide a sound similar to the old Yamaha CP-70/80 series electric grand pianos from the 70's/80's....or out-of-tune honky-tonk pianos with more extreme settings, for those times you wanna play ELP's "Benny The Bouncer." ;)
On vocals, great for disturbing evil-sounding doubled vocal effects when used with extreme settings.
Energy Pro is excellent for simulating old-fashioned analog step-sequencers, ala vintage Tangerine Dream ("Rubicon" era, etc). Contrary to what was said on a review of the free version, Energy IS a sequencer (and not "just an arpegiator", even though it can be used that way), but more in the "vintage" definition of what a step-sequencer is: you have an unlimited number of patterns, variable number of steps (including odd-numbered, which is great for prog-ish odd-meter sequences), controllable glide, gate/volume for each step, and a ramp for per-step control of the filter's cutoff. To my ears the synth has a warm, punchy sound that's great for everything from vintage analog-style bass-lines (think Bill Leeb/FLA) to nice screachy lead sequences.
Current version 1.3 has improved and new synth functions (controllable waveforms for each oscillator, cross-modulation, etc), and has fixed the tempo-sync problem in SONAR that the earlier versions had. Works great in both Orion Pro and SONAR (using FXpansion's DX-VST adapter, with no crashes or glitches on my system.
What's nice is that you can trigger your sequences live on the fly via MIDI, which is perfect for generating long Tangerine-Dream-style patterns interactively.
Jorgen's email tech-support is excellent: quick and responsive.
Wonderful sound, wonderful price, and stays nice and stabile on my system. I'm a happy guy. :)
The only thing I could possibly ask for would be pitch-bend. Yes, I know the original didn't have it either, but there *was* a whammy-bar retrofit that allowed some degree of bending, and made the Clavinet excellent for guitar-lead simulations when run through a nicely cracnked-up amp. If pitch-bend was available on the Ticky Clav as well I'd be 100% thrilled. :)
I was also one of the beta-testers for the T2. Thanks to the fact that Rene truly *cares* about just how good his synths are, and takes all feedback seriously: the Triangle II has turned out to be one of my favorites, and truly can now be considered the Pentagon I's "little brother".
But it also has a unique flavor all it's own, making it different from both the P1 and the original Triangle I (which has a wonderful sound of it's own IMHO....owners of the T1 should make a point of holding on to it as well!). The oscillators and filters are punchy and thick, with what's rapidly becoming known as "that RGC sound". The onboard effects are excellent as well. It's fairly easy on CPU usage as well: I can get quite a few instances of the T1 running on my pokey little PIII 450 with no problems.
It comes with a nice big bank of Rene's excellent presets (not sure why someone here said there weren't any presets...there a whole huge bank of them!!). The presets stick mostly to sounds that are musically useful, such as punchy, thick basses, leads and even sounds that could be used as pads in a monophonic sense. The manual specifically mentions that "sound effect" presets were avoided...but the T2 great for sound-design as well.
Speaking of the manual: it's wonderfully detailed, just as the P1's is. I wish all music software developers spent as much time on good doco like this.
And on top of all of this....it's freeware, so how can you go wrong? Check it out: you won't be dissapointed. :-)
A damn nice-sounding string-ensemble VSTi! :) Has a very thick, warm feel with plenty of punch in the low-end. And the effects sound great.
No, it certainly doesn't sound anything like a real, orchestral "strings" or string-quartet in the literal sense (nor does Cheeze Machine for that matter)...but then, it's not *SUPPOSED* to: it's supposed to emulate the sound of the vintage "string ensemble" hardware keyboards of the 70's and 80's, like the ARP Solina, ARP Omni, Crumar Performer...etc. They had a different idea of what "strings" on a keyboard were supposed to sound like way back then... :) Actually, none of these were true oscillator-driven synths in the usual sense, but were actually based on electronic organ/tone-generators pumped through a whole bunch of ensemble/chorus/phaser effects...so the fact that Crazy Diamonds has a sort of "organ-y" sound actually makes it close to the mark of the "real" vintage string ensemble keyboards.
No crashes using this on Orion Pro. I've also noticed the lag-time when changing presets, as well as it changing back to the previous preset if you let go of the mouse-button *outside* of the Program Control box....I sent the developer an email about this, and it's being looked into (BTW: he replied very quickly, so good marks for Customer Support!)
Overall: I REAL nice job. If you also own Cheeze Machine, try combining it with Crazy Diamonds for a really nice HUGE sound!
Absolutely my favorite VSTi, and for many reasons. Excellent fat sounding oscillators and filters that've been making me look sadly at my older hardware synths and say "Hell, why can't YOU sound this good?"...something I never thought I'd say about a soft-synth. Think of a cross between an Oberheim and an old Moog, and you can get an idea of what this thing can do, and it doesn't stop with that. Very, very versatile. Even has functionality to make life easier for Buzz users, which I love.
Tech-support is the best: Rene, the creator of the P1, is one of the nicest people you'd ever want to deal with, and is fantasically responsive to feedback.
Great doco: comes with an excellent, highly detailed manual.
And yes, I even like the GUI! :-)
Between the Pentagon1 (analog/digital synths), NI B4 (B3/Leslie) and GForce M-Tron (Mellotron), I feel like I now own all the old keyboards I lusted for over the years. Ain't technology grand? :-)
Once again mda has a winner: the ePiano has a wonderful realistic warm sound and actually sounds like an electric piano (I always think it's funny when you say "electric piano" to people these days, they seem to immediately think of that DX7-style bell-sy sounding thing... :-)). The perfect sound for setting "that" mood.
My only "wish-list" item: that it worked polyphonically in Buzz (a lot of VSTi's seem to have this problem for some reason)....