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Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 5th November 2004
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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I had the luck and joy to be another betatester of this synth, and while i know and own many great commercials and free synths, Zero Vector is definetly a gem for me, something special, it really pushes the limits of VSTI synths further. So while the following text may sound like an ad of the synth, it is the true opinion of the writer; luck has it that there is a demo version available which allows judging the synth without having to trust another raving betatester :-).

Why this rave ?
First and most important of all, the basic sound.
Due to good basic waveforms and very good filters, Zero Vector sounds extremly smooth and "creamy", very hardware-like, with an added misty and dark quality.
The sound fits extremly well into any mix and works, surprsingly, very good with all synths i own, be it the digital or VA kind.
If possible, i honestly would give it a 11 in the present rating system, the +1 for setting the standarts higher.
However, the quality possible can have a price: rather high CPU usage. Especially with Clone and Unison and the Arpegiator, some patches CAN eat much CPU; however, turning down these features before the final mix, freeze and ever-faster computers allow to circumvent the CPU demands - and, of course, many presets use only moderate CPU.

Then there are the features.
Many basic waveforms, various filter models with diverse options of filter drive and configuration, including very cool smooth-sounding vowel filters, Clone, Sync, FM and Unison options, the easy to use Vector Pad and the flexible Modulation matrix - with roughly 20 destinations and sources on each side -, the three additional LFOs/ Envelopes, the arpeggiator and a compact good effect section allow for an extremly broad range of sounds.
Very good organs and Epianos, lush strings and choirs, hard basses or synced leads, beautiful plucked sounds, cool moving arpeggiators, strange ambiental voice sounds, oriental leads, f....-up brachial noise, dancy hoovers - the list what this synth makes great and with style goes on and on, just check out the presets for some of its possibilities.

Speaking of the presets - there are at the moment over 500 with growing tendency, and quite simply they are
really great - i could do entire albums with them without missing much save drums (which ZV does also well, btw.)

The reason there are so many great presets is simple and another point why Zero Vector is a gem for me:
It is easy to program. The GUI is laid out clear, the signal flow is easy to apprehend, and the mod matrix, drawable envelopes, the uncomplicated FX section and the vector pad allow a playful attitude in sounddesign instead of sincere programming.

The manual follows this intuitive approach; while rather short, it guides the newbee towards an understanding of the synth in a tutorial vein without missing detailed explanations.

Other points ? The customer support of Dave is very good, the synth is stable, and personally i like the (skinnable) GUI alot, especially the second white skin.
Zero Vector isn't cheap, but considering the league it is playing in, the immense universality and its sheer quality, it is very reasonable priced.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 1st October 2004
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by VanLichten on 1st October 2004.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Somewhat hidden besides the mainstream of VSTi development Dash Synth Designer Liquih has build an impressive small orchestra of unique synths and effects under the name of Nusofting. Microrock Pro is the newest addition to this line of - now merged with Dash - brand of products, and as it name suggests, it was basically intended to be a bass and guitar physical modelled emulation for the nasty and long-haired side of sounds.
But in the course of the development - which i observed as Betatester - it really grow to something unique and emerged as a instrument in its own right.

INTERFACE.The GUI is done in a photorealistic fashion and looks like something each guitarist would want immediately to plug his guitar into- it looks damm good IMO and, above all, is clearly structured: best note !

SOUND. Three basic synth modes lets one choose between a bass emulation, a guitar emulation and the typical rock guitar quint accord emulation. The degree of possible realism varies; while the basses can sound very naturally straight from out of the box and 70s-pink-floy like guita sounds, ebows and effects are done very convincingly also, achieving a strat -heavy metal or blues sound
takes some time, good ears and the old Guitar recording trick of double-tracking several instances - plus some freeware like simulanalogs Guitar Suite.
Short: It is possible, but,as with recording real guitars, its rather a science in itself.
However, absolute realism isn't really the intention of Microrock nor any other PM synth IMO, and so the fun really starts when doing sounds which might have been a guitar once...
In this vein, Microck can do nearly acustic guitar sounding sounds, strange psychedelic fx, great brass-like nasty sounds and cool lead sounds with a rough digital quality to it which no other synth i am aware of can do in a professional quality.

FEATURES. Various rather complex parameters allow the modification of the basic string sound and the following shaping via distortion, overdrive, a wah, a chorus, tremolo and a very cool little delay unit.
As said, the combination of these allow a surprisingly big palette of sound since especially the string and tone parameters tend to interact in a complex fation; nothing to miss here :-).

MANUAL: A short, clear structured, good looking and very readable manual in HTML format is supplied.

PRESETS: 100 Presets are supplied which show its possibilities very good; some are usable, some really spectacular (Just listen to the first one, Side Tone).

SUPPORT. Very good - Liqih is a very nice guy to deal with and open to all kinds of suggestions.

VFM: Microrock Pro is - like all of Liqihs synth - priced very reasonably.

STABILITY. Not a topic.

Since i have this, i didn't left it out in one track i do - often as unusal synth bass with some guitarish quality, once as emulation of guitars and sometimes as sound fx source. It always proved to be sounding professional and fitting very good in a mix.
Moreover, it is really fun to play and inspirational and just looks good - great little synth, try it out.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 9th May 2004
Version reviewed: 1.2 on Windows
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GUI: The User Interface is compact and clear in its layout and slick looking; clicking on the "screws" on the side allows choosing four different colour patterns.

SOUND: While Mothership is structurally an substractive synth, the term "analog" doesn't really fit; its basic sound is brilliant and warm but with a certain special colour which is hard to put in words and has no comparisons to other synths i know.
2 Oscillators with three waveforms and variable symmetry, a suboscillator and a noise generator with varying bandwith, three filtermodels, a very flexible LFO section with various modulation targets, three envelopes for Volume, Pitch and Filter, switchable aliasing and a very good chorus and a unique filtered delay section allow for a very broad range of sounds, from convincing analogish bass and leads to Percussion to unique effect sounds.
For me, the main strenghths of Mothership are, however, in moving, spacy pads, unique and beautiful, harpish or epiano-like percussive sounds or not-too aggressive leads. All these sounds work very well in a mix and layering some instances allows very big soundscapes without muddying; since the CPU and RAM usage is extremly low due to optimized coding (i suppose), using several Motherships can be done without worrying looks on the CPU usage pointer in the host.

FEATURES: As described, Mothership is quite a complex beast. Apart from a small wish for an attack curve on the LFO, there is nothing left to wish.

DOCUMENTATION. Very good, an HTML manual with many graphical explanations.

PRESETS. I think there are around 280 presets now, two complete Banks provided and another very good one created by Criminal. Additionally, Mothership has a clever built-in preset generator which generates whole banks of sounds which are always usable and sometimes amazingly good, so there is nothing to complain.

SUPPORT. Extremly good.

VFM. I got this together with some other Nusofting synths at an amazingly good bundle price, but even if you buy this alone it is very reasonable priced.
For a very small sidegrade fee, you can additional order its "nasty brother", Fat Machine, which shares the basic architecture, but features a different filter, a distortion unit and legato options which make it predestined for more abrasive sounds and bass and leads.

STABILITY. This is clearly the product of much expertise on synth design and this also shows in the stability - it never crashed me or made any problems.

EPILOGUE. I had the demo of Mothership for quite a while on my harddisk and while i liked it at the first try, i never got around to actually buy it, but came back to play with it often. Now that i purchased it and integrate it in my music, i wonder why i didn't buy it on the first sounds i heard - and concluded: it has to be used in a song for really appreciating what an beautiful and original instrument this is. If you do any sort of beautiful and/or athmospheric music, do yourself a favour and try this out !
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 21st April 2004
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Morphiza is a very nice little freebie from Krakli.
It has a nice little GUI, not too may controls so the danger of getting incurably confused is rather low - and doing your own presets easy, has as starting point 16 good presets, no manual - nor is it needed, and cost nothing.
It is supposedly styled after the transitor organs of the 70s, but since i don know the originals, i can say anything about the "quality of emulation" nor does that matter, cause it sounds anyway great - a clear and transparent organ with some "roundness" and character.
It cuts through mixes well, probably works with every kind of music, uses not too much CPU - to put it other way: it is very good and usable !
Try it out, unlike many other SE synths you wont notice its heritage, and thank its author for making such a freebie.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 28th March 2004
Version reviewed: 2.7 on Windows.
Last edited by VanLichten on 28th March 2004.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Ethereal is a very nice and unique synth from Concrete FX. While basically an substractive synth with three oscillators and around 20 waveforms to choose, including sounds like rain and noise beneath the standart ones, the possibilities are much increased through sample import and a additive section which allows drawing your own waveforms. The so made or choosen oscillators can modulate (FM) each other and are send through two serial or paralel filters with 12 different models to choose from, including comb filtering and a formant filter; the outputs of these filters go to an fx section with modulation, delay and reverb fx.
While these specs might sound not so unusual, the addition of very complex syncable envelopes, some syncable LFOs with user-drawable shapes and a hell of a lot of modulation options make it nearly a modular synth, certainly comparable to something like Green Oaks Crystal, if not more complex. Because of a very clever page design for the options ( for example, one page for the fx and one for the LFOs), presets for the envelopes and for the additive section and a generally clear layout, it is quite easy to understand hovewer, and this together with a unique preset evolver which allows to create various changed versions of a preset makes programming it actually confortable and fun.
With these specs, it is clear that Ethereal can do nearly anything soundwise, but its speciality and strength are strange evolving pads of middle complexity, rhythmic loop-like sounds, fx and fx-like melodic sounds.
Its basic sound is digital, clear and warm, reminding me much on the typical EMU sound; it sounds great.
It comes with 160 presets, most of which are really good and usable; however, some of the sample-based ones are out of tune. At least on my system, the present version of ethereal could be a bit more stable; while it never crashed, sometimes it switches the sound on and off.
The manual is o.k. but not really easy to understand for a person not so versed with the concept of DSP-Programming, some more explanations (What is additive synthes, a comb filter...etc) would have been nice.
The customer support of John is amazingly good, i would rate it 12 if possible - he is answering questions always very fast and is very open to recommendations - i have seen him compile a version of his plugs in some hours to test out a specific problem one person had !
All in all, this is a very good, usable and original synth and, above all, it is very fun to play with it or make new sounds; since it is also very low priced, it has to be one of the best synth deals out there.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 19th March 2004
Version reviewed: 1.18 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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This great delay didnt seem to get much attention here, so i think its time for a short review.
Trimmetry is a delay with three serial delay lines. Each of these delays can be routed in pan, damped, modulated, and synced independently; the feedback amount of each one is also seperatly controllable an a global "colour" button serves to colour the sound litely.
The number of features is more than enough for every application i could come up with - in other words: It the right balance between features and over-complication.
The GUI is very nice, great looking and clear and very easy to use, so it easy to come up with the sound you want.The docs are okay but i didnt need them and there are some presets which demonstrate its possibilities nice.The greatest thing about it is it sound; i A/B-ed with delays costing 10 times as much and for me it is the winner, at least for vintage sounds. It sounds really expensive, like i imagine a vintage monster delay to sound, and has a certain "magic" or deepness to it.
In sum, this is much more than worth it price, if you look for vintage-sounding and universal delay test this out.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 10th September 2003
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by VanLichten on 10th September 2003.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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4Front Bass is a nice, good looking, good sounding little Bass module which uses next to nothing CPU resources and is absolutely free.

The basic sound of the bass samples is somewhat jazzy, with more of a live feel than very produced and surely a thing of taste - i like it really.

There aren't any presets or much documenation, it doesn´t need one or the other, support seems quite good and of course VFM is high - it´s free, after all.

Thanks to 4Front for a nice little plugin !
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 5th September 2003
Version reviewed: 1.5 on Windows.
Last edited by VanLichten on 5th September 2003.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Time for a small review in honor of Tobybears Creation, Deconstructor, which doesn´t seem to get much attention here. Deconstructor - i´m speaking of the free version here - is a great rhythmic mangling tool which allows slicing up incoming audio into 8 slices and processing them individually in volume, pan, filtering and effekts, and so allows effects from subtle to utter crazy.
The Gui is nice looking and well laid out, the sound is really good but more on the hard side, the features even in the free version are enough, documenation isn´t much but enough, presets aren´t necessary, it is quite if not absolutely stable, VFM is of course great for the free version - the commercial one is a different matter.
I´m tempted to buy it but 50 Dollars is to much nowadays with getting a complete sampling instrument like Cronox with more options and hundreds of presets for about the same price, hopefully Tobybear will lower the price or upgrade it with a more complete VSTi version with Multisampling / Soundfont import which would be great.
Reviewed By VanLichten [read all by] on 25th August 2003
Version reviewed: 2.14 on Windows.
Last edited by VanLichten on 25th August 2003.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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A great not-so little synth from Dash Synthesis, daAlpha2k
sounds like it looks: lush and great yet somehow decent.
The GUI is very nice and clear, the sound isn´t comparable with anything i´ve heard yet, it isn´t very sharp-edged, more misty, nebelous but still very powerfull.
Features - with extra wav-import for all three oscillators this is quite a powerfull synth but it´s focal points are basses, pads, percussive sounds and fx. Great and really usable ist the random sound generator; fx are good also.
The manual and generally the presentation (website) of Dash could be nicer (with sound design examples and PDF-Manuals), though - DashSynthesis sell here under worth, i feel.
The Support is very good as are Presets, with two banks of inspiring sounds (Check PPG Bass, Enigma or Sommer Voices).
In sum, this a very useful and musical synth which grows with every usage and it´s very affordable- give the demo a listen.