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Compadre [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 24th May 2005
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows.
Last edited by MickGael on 28th May 2005.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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User Interface: Boasting a lovely photorealistic interface, the ergonomics are clean and elegant.

Sound: Fantastic. If you are looking for something that will instantly give you a vintage pumping compressor sound, look no further. The sound is rich and thick, and you can dial up (or down) that character to taste.

Features: Compadre was optimized for loops and drums, and the feature set offer a very broad range of options for that application. Within minutes I was able to come up with a very cool syncopated pumping effect. Alternately, I was able to pull out "stick", snare attack, or paper in the kick. Very flexible and lots of fun.

Documentation: Certainly enough to get your started!

Presets: Lots. More than enough to showcase what it can do and you should have no problem finding a starting point for rolling your own. Simply adjust the threshold and you are in action.

Customer Support. Excellent!

Value for money: A great value.

Stability: No crashes yet!

Bottom line: I own and use several hi-end compressors. They all have uses and stengths. That said, Compadre is unique in a lot of ways. If you want to add heft and attitude to drums, its a no brainer. Surprisingly, it has proven a life saver several times on vocal tracks. None of the compressors I had were taming a wild voal track the way I wanted, so I tried Compadre. It nailed it in 5 minutes. I was more than impressed. In short, for me it is a "character compressor" - but what character! When I am looking for "that sound" this is the one I use.

I love it.
Zero Vector [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 3rd November 2004
Version reviewed: 3 on Windows.
Last edited by MickGael on 4th November 2004.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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Let me say up front that I was lucky enough to be a beta tester for ZeroVector, but let me be clear: this is an honest and impartial review. If it sounds like a rave, it is because I love this synth!

Quite simply, I can't think of another VST with the kind of power that ZeroVector offers that is easier to program. It begs you to create your own sounds.

Interface: Clean, elegant, and very intuitive. It comes bundled with 2 skins, and is skinnable. Very cool.

Sound: Rich, liquid and rich. To my ears, it sounds a bit like the venerable CS-80V. Capable of wispy, aggressive, and all points in-between. But try and write your own presets on the CS-80V and you will appreciate the elegant simplicty of Zero Vector.

Features: Very flexible. But again, not at the exprense of ease-of-use.

Documentation: It is a testament to the ease-of-use of this synth that I have never once had to look at documentation. Add to that the fact that as a guitar player, I am not the most experienced sound designer. But given that I am able to create sounds that exceed my own expectations, I could not be more thrilled.

Presets: Lots of 'em, and they are a strong selling point. No, I don't say that because I wrote a bank. ;) A bunch of very talented soiund designers wrote banks, and the default bank does a terrific job of showing-off the range of the synth.

Customer Support: Dave Wallin is a g0od guy, very professional and very responsive. Nothing but good things to say here.

Value for money: If only for the sheer ease of programming, this is a good value. When you factor in the flexible sound, the growing number of free banks (I'll be posting more myself over the next few weeks) it's an even better deal.

Stability: Rock-solid on my P4 using Cubase and Chainer. I have had some issues using MiniHost, but that seems to have been limited to my machine.

Wish list: I would like to see more waveforms - especially the ability to import (or create) your own. I would also like the abiity to define your own default sound bank.

Bottom line: I own most of the "usual suspects" and many of the big name synths, and I have to say this is becoming my go-to synth - especially when I want to "roll my own" sounds. Very strongly recommended.
Doppelmangler [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 18th May 2004
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows.
Last edited by MickGael on 4th June 2004.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Well, looks like I have the honor of being the first person to review White Noise's Doppelmangler.

Some thoughts:

Doppelmangler steps into the fray with other big name synths like Cube, Cameleon (and other's I'm sure I've missed).

So, how does it compare? I am pleased to say very favorably.

The first thing that impressed me is the GUI. It is VERY intuitive, and for me personally, far easier to use than some of its competitors. I was able to roll my own almost immediately - not something I can say about many other synths.

In terms of sound it also stand out. It has an unusually warm sound that seems to have more, I don't know, "soul." The bulk of my arrangements rely heavily on traditional instruments (bass, drums, guitars & piano), and I am very impressed with how rich Doppelmangler sounds in the mix without eating up all of the frequency headroom. Interesting trick, that, and something that very much works to its credit.

The CPU, while not "light," is still very reasonable for the complex crunching that is going on. It runs smoothly and efficiently on my P4 2.2 laptop.

The full version of Doppelmangler comes bundled with a bunch of presets - more than enough to cover bases and get your started.

Lastly, it's been very stable on my machine and even better - the cost is very reasonable.

I strongly encourage you to dwonaload the demo. I know there is alot of shouting about lots of synths, but this one has some real potential. Check it out.
SampleTank [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 23rd April 2004
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows.
Last edited by MickGael on 4th June 2004.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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I have been interested in SampleTank 2 for a while, but I took note of the complaints about instability in Cubase and general bugginess. I figured I would wait I while.

Well, I waited, and I can now say that this is already an indispensible composition tool. DO NOT underestimate how much more productive you will be when you work within the same environment. ST2 loads very fast and is unusually intutitive.

In short, I use it on every project, and it's fast, sounds great and is, well, fun to use!

The CPU usage on my machine is very reasonable, but what is really imporessive is how the sounds blends together.

It's hard to describe, but they have an organic feel. Even some sounds that are merely good sound great when combined with other sounds. Some kinda mojo, but it really does work.

It's also worth adding that the KVR support - in the person of Squids - is superb. He responds to posts very promptly and he is always gracious and generous with his time. Gotta love that.

For what it's worth, my advice is to forget about the early negative things you may have heard. Its running beautifully on my machine and I could not be happier.
CS-80V [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 16th November 2003
Version reviewed: 1.0 on Windows.
Last edited by MickGael on 4th June 2004.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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With all of the virtual synths available - both free and commercially available - it's all too easy to become jaded.

Well, this synth has made all the difference for me.

Like its sister product, the Moog Modular V, this "feels" substantial and classy.

Although it sounds like a cliche, the sound is unusually warm sounding and very flexible. The delay and chorus FX enhance the sounds quite a bit, but the unprocessed sound is great as well.

The CPU usage, though a tad heavy, is nowhere near as taxing as some reviews I have read. Granted, it is much more efficient when run as a VST than when run in stand alone mode, but I have never been able to peg the CPU usage past %70 with mega-polyphony.

The presets are exceptionally good, and if they sometimes bear a resembance to the Moog Modular, that is not necessarily a bad thing.

It is quite stable (so far) in Cubase SX 2.01.10

The GUI is similar to the Moog Modular V in that it intends to be a "photo-realistic" recreation of the original - which is good and bad. One major improvement is that the drop-down arrows are MUCH larger than the Moog Modular, which is a very good thing. There is also an "ALL" option in the preset list - two things that Arturia should include in the next update of Moog Modular V.

The bottom line: the thing reeks of class. Go out and buy it.
Waldorf Edition: PPG Wave 2.V [read all reviews]
Reviewed By MickGael [read all by] on 6th November 2003
Version reviewed: 1.2 on Windows
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Just wanted to add a few comments about the Waldorf PPG Wave 2V.

If you are interested in the PPG Be aware that - IMHO - the factory presets go a long way towards underselling this VSTi.

In a nutshell, if you simply judge this by the factory presets, you may find it a bit bland or limited.

Granted, there are some limitations given the nature of an emulation, but in my experience you really should roll up your sleeves a bit and play with it.

You will need to play with it a bit to get a better idea of the range of sounds this is capable of, or try some of the many excellent banks that are readily available (although the demo does not allow that)