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Is the Access Virus the king of VA synths?

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  • Is the Access Virus the king of VA synths?

    I want to get a little desktop 3 Oscillator VA synth to compliment my Korg M50, I mainly want it for Trance and Tech House sounds (I am a proper musician, honest!)

    I was considering getting a Yamaha AN1x, however I would rather have a knobby keyboardless rack/module synth as space is limited. I then considered the Novation Nova Desktop, which sounds good to me, but a bit too smooth, even to the point of sounding bland. The AN1x sounded much grittier and more 'alive' to my ears.

    I ruled out the Nords because used prices are astronomical, and the JP-8080's sound didn't impress me much, especially compared to the AN1x, and I think the MS-2000/Microkorg sound plain awful and only have a pitiful 4 voices of polyphony.

    However

    Every forum discussion I read seemed to said 'the AN1x and Nova are nice, but the Virus is the one to go for'. I would go for it, but they're pricey, even for the pre TI models. From what I've heard of the Virus, it sounds wonderful, but I'm not sure which I prefer between the AN1x and Virus.

    My budget depends on how much I want the synth. I could juuust about afford a Virus C if I got lucky on eBay, however the differences between the Virus B, Virus Classic (not the A) and the Virus C seem neglagable. I'm willing to go up to


  • #2

    Nismology wrote:

    I mainly want it for Trance and Tech House sounds 


     

    When you do this genre music in the contremporary fashion, today,  then there is no Access Virus involved anymore. AN1x, Microkorg... all history.

     

     

     

    Comment


    • Nismology
      Nismology commented
      Editing a comment

      Yeah, thanks for the totally unhelpful answer. I'm fully aware that VST and AU softsynths are the industry standard, but I should have clarified I want a hardware synth I can just sit down and play without bothering with a computer. I dont sequence, I play live.


  • #3

    Nismology wrote:

    I want to get a little desktop 3 Oscillator VA synth.....

     

     

     


     

    Don't forget the Alesis Micron/Akai MiniAK.  OK - they've got keys, but are still relatively small.

     

    I've had most of the ones you're considering, except the JP8080.  The JP sounded too 'plastic' to me. 

    The AN1X was a disappointment.  I like Yamaha's AN system - I've got it in the EX5R and also an AN plug-in board in a Motif ES rack.  They sound really good, but the AN1X just sounded really 'flat' in comparison.

    Nords sound clean and sharp, and so do the other AN types I've got, but for for some reason, the AN1X sounded muddy.  Like you say though, Nords are a bit pricey for what you're getting.

    Got a Nova desktop unit that sounds pretty good to me,especially considering the low price I picked it up for.  No real complaints about it considering the price, other than a feature or two I'd rather have.

    Got a Waldorf Q which is a keeper for me.

    I've had 5 different Access products, 1 B, 2 C's, 1 VKC, and a TI.  The TI is currently the only one I have.

    Also currently have 2 Microns, and used to have the Ion and Fusion as well for VA's.

     

    Thing is, most of the VA's have the same standard  based, but digitally generated traditional oscillator types.  The difference is mainly in how clear and sharp, or distorted and muddy they sound on their own.

    Other than that, filters and fx play the main roles.  The Micron has a nice variety of filter types that allow it to sound hollow or glassy, as well as doing standard fat resonant sweeps and such.  It can approach Waldorf Q territories, with its formant, comb, and other filter types.

    Where the Virus is king is in the FX area.  Take away the FX on a Virus patch, and what you've got left is a bit bland sounding.  No reason to avoid the B in particular.  The C gives you more polyphony and a different filter type, and so on.  The TI is a big jump in regards to the different types of sounds it's capable of. 

    One of the main reasons people avoid the Micron is the editing.  It's a bit tedious if you're not conversant with it, and while there is a commercial editor for it, the free ones are mainly partially unfinished.


    If you like to program your own sounds, Waldorf and Alesis offer the most options.  If you like to run with presets, there's a lot of them available for the Virus series.

    Comment


    • Nismology
      Nismology commented
      Editing a comment

      Wow, thanks mildbill.

       

      The thing that puts me off the micron/miniak is I want a synth with a very hands on 'knobby' interface. I hear nothing but great things about the Alesis Ion and it's derivatives, but I don't have space for the larger Ion and it's nicer interface. The Waldorf Q sounds bloody fantastic, but the non-micro rack version is rare as hen's teeth here in the UK, and when they do come up, they go for way out of my price range.

       

      Interesting that you didn't like the AN1x's sound, I suppose it is a rather aged VA now. For a long time I lusted over a Nord-Lead 2X keyboard, (mainly for it's looks, I'll be honest), but everytime I hear one, it leaves me a bit underwhelmed. It's also interesting what you said about the Virus sounding bland without FX, I found the same with the Novation gear, a lot of the demos I listened too were saturated with effects that seemed to somehow de-focus the sound.

       

      @Gribs: The Radias is a synth I've not really paid much attention to for some reason. I've heard it's a great little machine if you don't go in expecting analog emulation. It also does drums iirc?

       

      The Radikal Accelerator was that synth with the built in accelerometer that you could activate by picking up the whole synth and shaking it around right?


  • #4
    Nobody mentioned the Radias, perhaps because itis outside your price range (I am not sure now). I owned an A series Virus and liked it a lot, so I bought a TI2. I just finished (not mixed and mastered) an "exercise of the month" track using it exclusively for a little local synth group we have going here in MN and some of the younger guys seemed surprised that the entire thing was a TI. It is possible to coax lots of different sounds out of it, especially with creative use of all the pre-wired modulation routings along with the modulation matrix. I didn't use any canned presets, though. I made every sound myself starting with an init patch. Two beefs I have with it are that the comb filter is in the effects section and not the filter block so your ability to do Karplus-Strong style sounds as with the Waldorf synths is limited and also the LFOs do not have very long maximum periods (as in many seconds to minutes). My other hardware VA (outside the Kronos) is a Waldorf Q. I think those are also outside your range, even for the modules. Those are great knobby synths, though.

    Edit - I think the King of modern VA's is probably the Solaris, though thatnis really expensive and you have to wait and wait. The Accelerator also seems pretty uber in terms of it analog modeling.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Gribs<br />
    <font size="3"><br />
    <font size="1"><i>...Music can be used to stimulate mass emotion, while mathematics cannot; and musical incapacity is recognized (no doubt rightly) as mildly discreditable, whereas most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.<br />
    </i><br />
    G.H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).</font></font></div>

    Comment


    • #5

      I had the Radias board on the M3 but never the full Radias synth.  I spent some time programming patches on it and was able to get some great sounds, especially some leads and basses.  I think that the new "King Korg" looks like a nice synth designed for players with a very user-friendly panel (especially compared with the Radias units), but in my opinion it is a step backwards in terms of synth compared with the Radias.

       

      Edit - Forgot to mention the Accellerator.  The fact that the synth has an accellerometer inside is an odd-ball gimmick that detracts from what, as far as I have been able to tell, is a very high end (in terms of sound, filters, etc) and well-designed VA engine.  Jorg Schaaf of Radikal Technologies has a reputation for designing really great-sounding (but possibly difficult to use) gear.

      <div class="signaturecontainer">Gribs<br />
      <font size="3"><br />
      <font size="1"><i>...Music can be used to stimulate mass emotion, while mathematics cannot; and musical incapacity is recognized (no doubt rightly) as mildly discreditable, whereas most people are so frightened of the name of mathematics that they are ready, quite unaffectedly, to exaggerate their own mathematical stupidity.<br />
      </i><br />
      G.H. Hardy in A Mathematician's Apology (London 1941).</font></font></div>

      Comment


      • #6

        I can't agree on the Virus. I had an original Virus and an Indigo2 but I sold them because I didn't think they sounded all that good compared to other gear, especially analogs, but even other VAs.  I have several VAs but the ones I think sound best are the Waldorfs, i.e. the Q, and XT. I'd also rate the Nord Modulars up there as well. Granted they're not bread and butter synths, but they sound great, and can produce unique and unusual tones. That's from a studio standpoint; a Virus is probably more appropriate for gigging. 

        I also like the aforementioned Yamaha AN sound, which you can get in a variety of instruments. I think they sound more "analog" than many others, and come in at a relatively low cost. 

        Comment


        • Metrosonus
          Metrosonus commented
          Editing a comment

          or get synapse audio dune and a good reverb if you want cheap but close. 


      • #7
        The an200 sounds like ****************. Nothing g like the an1x. And taking out the plgan card From the an200 and putting it in a motif
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><br />
        <b>Give me my moog, but **** off you american techno rockstar! people in countries I've never been to do it better than you! </b><br />
        <br />
        <a href="http://www.computermusicguide.com" target="_blank">Computer Music Guide</a><br />
        <br />
        </font></div>

        Comment


        • mildbill
          mildbill commented
          Editing a comment

          Metrosonus wrote:
          The an200 sounds like ****************. Nothing g like the an1x. And taking out the plgan card From the an200 and putting it in a motif

           

           

          LOL - did you pass out in the middle of a sentence or something?


      • #8
        Im on my phone plgan is the yamaha expansion card. There is one inside the an200. You can take it out and put it into older yamaha synths. It sounds huge that way
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1"><br />
        <b>Give me my moog, but **** off you american techno rockstar! people in countries I've never been to do it better than you! </b><br />
        <br />
        <a href="http://www.computermusicguide.com" target="_blank">Computer Music Guide</a><br />
        <br />
        </font></div>

        Comment



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