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Reviewed By gurdonark [read all by] on July 18th, 2009
Version reviewed: 1.0.0.1 on Windows.
Last edited by gurdonark on 18th July 2009.
Ironhead Spawn features numerous softsynths in a single product. The package focuses on percussive sounds, with an emphasis upon percussion that can be sequenced melodically. These synths are quite easy to use--even their names are intuitive things like "bash" and "ding". Each comes with an impressive array of pre-sets, which are logical extensions of the instruments using a range of parameters, rather than the "hey this is weird" detritus that sometimes affects softsynth pre-sets.

I've been playing with these synths since soon after I bought them, and I pronounce them "effective and easy". I use them in the simple [Bram Bos] Tunafish sequencer, in which they operate efficiently and generate a good sound. I found that when I apply my sequencer's flanges, gates and delays to these synths, I get very pleasing electronica sounds.

The GUI on these synthesizers is simple and clean. My only minor problem is that the synth GUI tends to "pop up" once in a blue moon after I have set it and minimized it, but I am not sure at all if this is a "synth issue" or a "user error" issue. Also, sometimes I have had to focus on making sure I am getting enough volume from the synthesizer called "ding".

I make ambient music most of the time, and these synths will be great for adding percussive elements in unorthodox ways to dark ambient pieces.
Today, though, I completed a more conventional electronica piece, which I reference for those who'd like to hear the synths in action (interfacing with Creative Commons samples--they're the percussion in the main melodic sections]:

http://ccmixter.org/files/gurdonark/21698

This collection of synths is an excellent buy--well thought out, and targeted for the creator who'd like a dependable set of instruments without the calculations and complications of Buchla-like programming.
An artist could use this as a one-stop synth which, with a sequencer, would be virtually all one needed to easily create original music. That's because unlike some percussion synths, Ironhead: Spawn is intended to permit one not only to bash, crash, and thud, but also to do melodic thins like ding. It's a solid ping/bop experience.
Reviewed By gurdonark [read all by] on February 3rd, 2007
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
This synth is not quite a one-trick pony, but let's call it a pleasant small stable of jaunty miniature horses.
It sets out to provide simple whistle sounds, and in particular cinematic whistle sounds more interesting than, say, the general MIDI whistle-like instruments.
Not surprisingly, as with analog instruments, the Shepherd plays far better with simple arrangements than with polyphonic polyglots. If you're hunting for freeware to give you that unique solo,then just whistle over here. I found it easy to download, and not time-consuming to figure out. It's pretty much "plug and play". As with all synths, if one works at it, one can make a displeasing sound, but it impressed me how many shadings of the basic idea one could get with a little knob-twiddling. This is a good device for sample creation, as the whistel efffect is impressive.
The synth is advertised as producing a Morricone sound, and it lives up to billing, although one can find a goodish few whistle sounds with a little creative use of the settings. This is the kind of straight-ahead one-purpose freeware vst of which the developer should be proud.
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