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Reaktor Player [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Revolver [read all by] on 23rd May 2003
Version reviewed: 4.0 on Windows.
Last edited by Revolver on 30th May 2003.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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I'm going to review this as non biased as possible and weigh in both the good and the bad. For $199 you get a LOT! A whole music making studio with more included than in other softwares at a higher price. The ability to download Reaktor instruments (thousands of them) is a real plus and offers unlimited expandability in some sense. Included are synths, samplers, drum machines, sequenced synths, effects, various tools, etc. One big problem with this release is the compatibilty with the thousands or Reaktor 3 instruments since they changed the copy protection scheme. A conversion tool is going to be released (might already be out by now). Loading some downloaded ensembles caused a crash. As for the synths in this software... I find them to be too thin and also harsh sounding. I have yet to find a Reaktor synth that has the warmth or tone of analog whereas other softwares do a very good job. The included presets weren't very good being that most were chaotic random sounds that are hardly useable. What really annoyed me was that each preset was set so loud (clipping the meter in Reaktor) that I had to lower the volume of nearly every preset I loaded to stop the clipping. The Junatik had the best presets of the bunch IMO. I will say that I found the Travelizer and Graincloud to be amazing! They can really create some soundscapes that are breathtaking. As for support, Native's response via e-mail is very slow (they take quite a few days)... calling is better. Overall I really didn't care for this software much because of the harsh, obviously digital, sound of the synths and truly weak included presets. If you like tweaking sounds than this is an excellent package as there are lots of complex synths to play with. Also, this package is excellent for creating unique soundscapes as it includes nearly every synthesis method available. And for $199 it definitely offers an incredible amount. I would simply suggest waiting for the Reaktor Session demo to come out and trying it out before buying. It may or may not be for you.

I'm adding an update to this review. I have since changed the stability rating from 7 to 2 being that since this review was initially posted I have had a ridiculous amount of crashes using Reaktor Session (with the included synths). I've now been playing with it in Cubase VST 5 and have had it crash to the point of *requiring a reboot* and also causing the loss of ALL work since the last save being that it causes Cubase to freeze and you cannot save. I don't have these problems with any of the other 9 VST synths I use. I have also lowered the value for money rating due to this.
Beast [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Revolver [read all by] on 23rd May 2003
Version reviewed: 1.01 on Windows
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Beast is one fat sounding synth! It really can sound very much like true analog. Yeah, it's monophonic but it's obviously meant for rythmic basslines or leads and in this deparetment Beast shines. You can get really thick and dirty using the distortion or do clean pulsing warm basses. The built in reverb and delay are an added bonus but aren't the best in the world though they get the job done. Beast is very stable. I've only found one instability and that's a crash when you change sample rates while Beast is active. The included manual explains all the details of the synth. Overall I love this thing for it's great sounds. I've been using it a lot lately in a new song and for only $29 this synth is a steal!
Exciton [read all reviews]
Reviewed By Revolver [read all by] on 23rd May 2003
Version reviewed: 1.2.3 on Windows.
Last edited by Revolver on 11th May 2005.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Like one of the other reviewers said... *don't* pass this synth up because it looks like an average analog emulation and has the normal features. When I first saw it I almost passed it by cause it seemed like a run of the mill analog emulation. But man does this thing sound incredible!! Download it and try it out. The presets (especially the pads) are excellent and really show off this synth. The effect section, even though it appears deceptively simple, is very nice and lets you achieve regular effects such as delay and chorus as well as some really weird stuff. Above all though thing is VERY stable (not a single glitch yet) and uses a VERY small amount of CPU resources (5-7% on most presets). I purchased this synth and am very happy with it (Note that the demo has a beep tone every few seconds). I gave the "features" a rating of six only because there are synths out there that have plenty more features. But again, the sound is a major factor and this synths got it.

**EDIT - Increased feature rating and User interface to 8 with the new Version 2 of Exciton. Still using this synth after all this time. Pretty much my most used VSTi aside of Battery which I use in every song for drums.