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Reviewed By monk_volcano [read all by] on 18th July 2012
Version reviewed: 10.6.8 on Mac
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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I told myself I would really try not to give this plugin a 10/10. But I have to. I'm sorry. I guess if I could, I might give it a 9.5 because there are just a couple of minor features I would like to see added, though they would just be some icing on this cake. When I first read about this plugin, I was thinking "ok cool, a linear phase eq with a nice interface, every one needs one of those lying around." I came to find out that there are a handful of features that take this plugin to a higher realm of function. This is freaking great plugin that has as many creative uses as it does practical.

I'll start with the sound. The sound is what you would expect from a linear phase eq, I reckon. The clarity that the signal retains when making enormous boosts is pretty stunning. Even while making extreme boosts to very high frequencies, it sounds as if the filter is simply making those frequencies louder; any distortion or artifacts created are virtually indistinguishable to my ears. This allows you to radically alter sounds, and still retain a lively sound. It's really crazy what you can get awaywith on this thing. Considering that I'm into "idm" (it's ok if you roll your eyes), this is very exciting to me.

One of the key elements that gives this eq a unique set of qualities is the usage of Bezier curves for the band filters. I mathematically have no idea what that means, all I know is that it makes working with this eq notably different from working with a standard parametric. It will take a little bit of getting used to, and I'm guessing there are some situations that it may not be preferable. You can have from 1-60 control points, and this is more important than you might think. (This next part is going to be tricky to explain, but I'll do my best.) First of all, when you boost a node, the bandwidth of the boost is altered depending on its proximity to other nodes. In other words, if there are other nodes close by, they will make the bandwidth of the boost smaller. In addition to that, changing the slope of a filter band doesn't have the same effect as changing the q in a typical eq. When you raise the slope amount, higher frequencies will be boosted and lower frequencies cut, when you lower the slope, the opposite occurs. This can yield very "musical" results. I know it sounds complicated, but I'm sure you'll catch on quickly if you give it a spin. I find working with these curves to be very easy and effective. Also, I just find it very enjoyable to explore a novel approach to eq'ing.

Then there are some even more out there functions which really end up making this plugin for me. The transpose function allows you to shift all of the control points up or down the freq spectrum. So basically you can make a crazy filter and this is the cutoff control. I should add that adjusting this parameter occurs perfectly smoothly; you can automate the hell out of it. A very powerful feature. It also has other uses. For instance, let's say you've transposed a synth line up a few semitones, but you want it to have the same "spectral signature", transpose the eq up as well! Then theres the 'gain scale' parameter. This controls the overall amount (or scale, derp!) of gain boost/cut. Often I'll go a little overboard with this eq, so this parameters is great to reel it in a bit while maintaining the tonality I've achieved. But we're not through yet.. by using negative values, you can invert the amount. HECK YEA! This is a quick and dirty way to separate two clashing elements. In studio one, I can apply a little boost to one signal, and then just copy the instance of splineEQ over to the sound its competing with, invert the gain scale, and BAM! no more masking. Maybe a bit of a ham handed way of doing it, but it works really well in certain situations!

Last but not least: the GUI is gorgeous and functional. For some reason when I think of linear phase eq, I think of some big gnarly laggy beast of a plugin that requires me to put on a lab coat to operate… err, maybe thats just me being a bit over dramatic I dunno. Whatever the case, this plugin is elegant and responsive. The rainbow frequency analyzer in the background will keep your girlfriend mesmerized for hours while you tweak your "keyboards" in a state of euphoria. Besides that, it simultaneously displays the spectral content before (bottom the eq curve) and after (above the curve). I also just find it easier to see what frequencies are present with this style of analyzer.

OK and a couple of relatively minor critiques. The range of this thing is huge. By that I mean, you can make up to 60 db boosts. It might be handy to limit the amplitude range for when you're doing more conventional equalization duties. Another idea that struck me, is the ability to lasso groups of nodes and move them about together. Given the shear number of nodes available, this could be very hand.

So basically this thing is fantastic. If you are doing any sound design heavy music, I'm on the verge of telling you this eq is a must have, even though I generally try to avoid saying that about anything.

Reviewed By monk_volcano [read all by] on 7th July 2012
Version reviewed: 10.6.8 on Mac
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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First off, let me just say that the rumors are true: you can do "everything" with this synth, and with high quality results to be sure. It does everything you would expect it to do, with some unexpected bonuses thrown in.

Each component of this synth is capable of affecting the sound in a staggering amount of ways. This is complimented wonderfully by the fact that you can save presets for each component. This modular approach is a strong advantage for this synth. Personally I like to make sounds from scratch as I'm writing a track, but with this sprawling synth, having building blocks is a huge aid to workflow. Plus when you're in an experimental mood, you can mix and match elements from your favorite patches and get inspired.

The sound quality is very high throughout. The filters are top notch. I loaded up a saw wave and put em through the ringer, and was way impressed with the results (I encourage you to do the same). I wouldn't say that I prefer analog or digital mode, they both have a distinct sound which will be suitable for different situations. An important aspect of the filter section is the distortion circuit. It can subtley enhance a sound or (of course) destroy it. Also there's a host of modulatable parameters within the filter section (too many to go into) that allows you to make things get super organic and animated.

The oscilators are great as well. SOOOOooo much I could go into here, but I'm going to focus on the wavescanning oscilators. Wavescanning (or as I always call them wavetables) oscilators are my favorite kind. And this is my favorite implementation of them I've encountered. You select the number of individual waveforms that are interpolated between, and then you select each waveform individually from the wave library. This may sound a bit tedious at first, but there's an ace up the sleeve here, and its called the mouse wheel. Just hover over the selector and crank the wheel until you find the right waveform. It's basically the same way you might audition drums sample til you find the one that pops. You can create you're own wavetable oscilators very quickly by just modulating the index with an lfo and then hoverin' and rollin'. I was very happy to discover this. Like I said there's too much to go into in this review, but another great feature of the osc section is that frequency modulation on any type of oscilator is just a couple of clicks away, which opens up yet another splendid can o' worms.

I'm not quite sure why, but the layer system in this synth is working for me a lot better than in other synths. It's just easy to copy and paste a component of the sound from one layer into another, and then take the rest of the components in a different dirrection resulting complex sounds. Also worth mentioning is that the effects are very high quality, and once again have a load of modulatable parameters. This is the way it should be IMO; when effect parameters are modulatable, they stop being effects and become just another module in the synth. kudos for that. Also the unison sounds really great (of course). Another detail that I appreciate is that you have a very fine degree of control on all parameters, which is very important for finding ye old sweet spot. I'm always a little miffed when I see a soft synth that has 127 values for each parameter (its not 1985 ya'll). Which reminds me, the envelopes are very very precise and tweakable. In both the ADSR and multistage you have very fine control of the time and curve of each segment.

So in conclusion, everyone should have one monster synth, and for me it's this one. I know that there are going to be things I realize I can do with synthmaster in the future that excite me, and being a bit of a gear junkie.. that's great. I can remind myself that I'm forever going to be discovering new sounds without having to actually buy a new synth. I could write pages more about this synth, but I'm going to stop here, check it out for yourself!

Reviewed By monk_volcano [read all by] on 5th July 2012
Version reviewed: xp on Windows
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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My first review here. I feel like this synth deserves some recognition.

This may seem like a bit of a "no-brainer" of a statement (heh heh)... but for me the sound of a plugin is always its main attractive force. I'm not easily fooled by fancy gui's and clever marketing schemes. It piqued my interest when I read that Corona had been updated with zero-delay feedback filters (maybe some of you are rolling your eyes right now because of my previous statement about clever marketing schemes, but bare with me :P). So I checked out the demo.

It actually wasn't immediately apparent to me how awesome this synth sounds. Like so many plugins, the presets don't really do it justice. I'm always in pursuit of a lively, present, and organic sound. And those are three words that I would certainly use to describe Corona. I swear I've coaxed the best sounds I've heard from soft synths out of this thing. I've realized that it is the combination of an unique and wonderful filter and very complex and flexible oscillators.

I've heard some people say that filters are not ultimately important in a synth, especially if you're not doing filter sweeps all the time. Well I beg to differ. Even if there is no filter modulation or movement going on, the filter is altering the harmonics in a significant way. The filter on this synth (of which there are two in serial) is very interesting, and very sensitive. It has a saturation circuit with several different curves available, and adjustable drive amount. By pairing the right drive settings with the right filter type, you can really get some wonderful tones. Running it in zero-delay mode (alt mode) is almost always preferable to my ears.

Then there's the oscillators, which are the most obviously unique thing about this synth. There are 3 osc's which can be 'combined' using several different processes. I don't really understand what the processes are. I just think of them as alternatives to FM or ring modulation. You can set how oscilator 1 and 2 are combined, and then you set how the third is combined with that signal (at least I think that's how it works). You can also adjust and modulate the phase of oscillators 2 and 3. There is a library of waveforms for each osc, or you can LOAD YOUR OWN FREAKING SAMPLES... tons of possibilities. Even with out the filters there are an overwhelming amount of tonal possibilities.

Both the filter and the oscilator section are very sensitive, which to me means you can dial in just the right sound. Combine this with a powerful modulation matrix, and you can create some very organic sounds. There are 2 random modulation sources, which is something every synth should have IMO. Dial in a sound, then use these two sources on osc tuning, phase, cutoff etc and see if you're not a bit shocked at the sound that you hear.

Also, overall I would consider this synth to be a good balance of flexibility and power: 3 lfos, 3 envs, 3 oscs, and 2 filters. Nothing too overwhelming, but you can really get a huge variety of sounds out of it.

OK other than the sound and basic features what else can I say... I like the GUI quite a bit. Simple, large, and not confusing. Easy on the eyes. It has a nice little chorus on it, and some simple delay, which I feel like are the only effects you really need built in. The unison mode is great too! Especially when using random modulation, because each voice will be modulated differently, combine that with the spread parameter and SUPER PHAT LEADS BRO.

I think that about sums it up. Check this synth out. It's thabomb.com

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