Softsynths & FX Thread


I mentioned Phase Plant in a post above, gave the demo a try, but I was not really convinced.

It has some unique features, FM/PM stuff with multiple wavetable and sample-based oscillators specifically caught my eye…
The GUI is ok, modulation is easy enough to set up, but I don’t like the 3 huge effect lanes taking up a lot of space waiting for you to buy additional snapin modules ^^
And the wavetable interpolation and provided wavetable selection is not impressive, the wavetable editor looks nice but has a very basic functionality and I dind’t find stuff I would expect coming from Serum and Icarus.
I also was a bit unimpressed by the sound and especially by the factory presets: in the end I switched through bass presets while working on a DNB tune and didn’t find much in the factory presets that didn’t sound basic, I started with a group of Phase Plant tracks and ended up with a group of Serum tracks with my old presets…

Right now I like Bitwig The Grid much better for what I originally wanted to do with Phase Plant. The only thing really missing is better wavetable options, but everything else is great - completely fell in love with that thing!


Great info, thanks. I may give Phase Plant a demo round, but I’m hesitant because of the ‘pay-to-play’ snapin system. The price tag starts looking a bit high just to get all the stuff that should probably come with it. Maybe the demo will change my mind.

The Grid seems really interesting, and I keep hearing great things about it. Just not sure about diving into the Bitwig ecosystem just for that (as I’m plenty happy with my current DAW selection). Any thoughts on how The Grid holds up to something like VCV Rack or Reaktor Blocks?

Also: apparently Massive X doesn’t let you import your own wave tables? WTF? Seriously? In this day and age? Deal breaker.


Not really that familiar with VCV Rack and Reaktor tbh, but I think both are a bit different and probably more flexible, at least as isolated plugins. It’s not as low-level as Max and has less modules or user content than VCV or Reaktor.
But the Grid is very intuitive and user-friendly, modulation is extremely fast to program in both in the Grid itself AND with the usual bitwig modulation, including MPE and whatever else you might need.


Absolutely love this thing, patches grow organically, fast and borderless, which does not necessarily include growing in an economic way, but the CPU hit is not that bad ^^


Quick note: it seems like Avenger will switch to eLicenser copy protection soonish (dev wrote on KVR that there would still be like 1 year of free updates and a big new version coming before that, but seemed convicend it’s the way to go because of recent piracy he attributed to a 50% sale). It’s a really good synth imho, but I don’t like that at all and I’m kinda reminded of Camel…


I hate to say it, but sometimes the DRM makes the product so bad that I pay for it, then torrent it to keep the DRM out of my way. I can get a lot more going at once with my machine it turns out. We’re talking the difference between being able to run a full mix in real time versus checking one instrument at a time against drums and then one instrument at a time against bass and then one instrument at a time against… and so on. That makes a big difference for the speed and quality of my mixes, more than anything I can pay any amount of money for, in fact. Sad that this is the best many devs can come up with. Free updates, good support, good updates, rent-to-own, etc would be better (see u-he, Image Line, etc), but sometimes that isn’t possible or it doesn’t do enough for the dev (apparently).


I’ve had a fun time reducing and limiting my softsynth use over the last months. Doing more collaborating with two other guys and we wanted to have shared plugins to make that easier.

Made a careful inventory of what we really needed and assembled a collection of free and Computer Music included limited versions.

Top ones we’ve been using are Aalto, Zebra, Bazille, Phonec, <—CM versions…, Viking, Sinnah and Noisetar.

Giving me this great hindsight that I probably could have been doing almost everything I’ve done with a 10th of the tools.


I think that’s absolutely true. I see very, very little difference in the sonic capabilities of synths that do similar things (wavetable, etc). Maybe the filters on the Largo are a bit more exciting than Serum’s, but it’s not anything that’s going to make or break a track. They all do mostly the same things in somewhat similar ways.

Where I have preferences is in flexibility and workflow, and I like having options there. It’s fun to stand up a different synth from time to time and twiddle around in ways you’re not used to. I find I often repeat myself when playing around with sound design in my usual programs, and it’s fun and inspiring to break out of that from time to time. That’s really the only reason I keep more than a couple of ‘workhorse’ synths installed.


Yeah, I really like Avenger but I think it’s a really bad move to take a program and change the DRM to a completely different system with effing sticks. I kinda agree with the comments saying at least they should make the synth half hardware so it uses less CPU in the new stick version… But I doubt I will upgrade in any case.


I don’t have enough fingers to count how many times I’ve been punished for purchasing software, along with having to jump through insane hoops in order to resell licenses, etc. My favorite is being denied access because I can only activate my license on 2 desktops at one point in time, except I need to use one on my work setup and I have to wait a month to ‘deauthorize’. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t even make some companies happy enough to buy a licence twice (which I’ve done to no avail), so it would be nice if the landscape would change a little bit. You just get fucked in so many ways. /rant

Now I see why so many people are into hardware, actually.


Meanwhile… ReFX still thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to require a dongle for NeXus in the year 2019


Yeah what is up with that?
i even have my largo vst on the same key.


Anyone here using Tone2 Icarus? I have already been a big fan when they announced v2 with some really cool improvements coming soon. But the best thing is, the developers have been really responsive to feedback and user requests. A few of the things that seem to be going to be implemented because of user feedback in the thread at KVR:

  • MPE (dev directly bought a Seaboard to check it out :smiley: )
  • bigger modulation matrix
  • wavetable morph modes for the distortion section additional to the main wavetable morph parameter (therefore kinda breaking the magic “only 1 morph mode at one time” barrier that only a few other synths left behind…)

Some other great aspects of Icarus:

  • awesome resynthesis with different options that all just seem to work.
  • extremely fast to use (some hardcoded LFO connections that are not that bad and some other stuff that contributes to fast workflows)
  • v2: flexible multi-stage envelopes

So yeah, maybe give it a try if you are looking for a new softsynth.


Thee kick ass delays I’ve actually spent the weekend banging the fuck out noises with. Even if you’re not an Arturia customer, The intro price of $99 is well worth the wings if you’re in the market for VST FX.


Just a heads up: UVI Falcon V2 is out now as a free update for all owners and with a discount for all others…

Also, Icarus V2 is coming soon with MPE support, shiny new MSEGs, Glitch- and Drum-Sequencers and more options for soundmangling - one of my fav synths now for sure…

Good times in Softsynth World :smiley:


I’m sure Arturia has been mentioned here before but the DX7 VST is worth it for simply the presets and sounds it makes. They are resource hungry if you’re like me and a midi guy but such a good machine. Definitely something I would buy physically besides the fact I’ve read it was somewhat to program physically.

Also, NI has some nice reasonable / if not free Bass/pad related Reaktor plugs.


RE the physical DX7, when I was doing research last year to figure out the best keyboard actions out there on synths, the DX7 came up again and again. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious what all that fuss was about.


Messing around with the Falcon 2, its pretty decent. Not as initially impressive as Omnisphere but by no means rubbish. Lots of potential.


Was looking for something with an additive vibe recently and re-discovered Dmitry Sches’ Thorn. I had been really interested in the demo video and just hadn’t got around to buy it. It also has a Computer Music stripped down version so I can use it with the guys I collaborate with.

The unusual thing I enjoy about it is you can put more typical subtractive type oscillators and use an additive-type filter.

It is quickly becoming my go to when I want something opposite of my analog modeled subtractive synths.


Haven’t tried that one yet.but i do have Diversion.which was recently updated.
really gnarly in your face stuff annnd the usual as well.