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Access Music Virus b
Overall Rating
Submitted: December 3rd, 2004
by Anonymous Reviewer
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Sound Quality
the virus definitely has a character of its own. the filter is *smooth* and in the right configuration, sweeping the filter cutoffs can make it seem like it screams. i find that i can coax alot of filthy leads and basses out of it and warp them in realtime by fiddling with the semi tone rotary and the filters to create dying/screaming electronic noises. the bass end on it is fat and solid and prominant all the time if you have the sub oscillator turned up. you can also make lush pad sounds with it and ambient sounds that are wildly different from the screaming leads. if you keep twiddling a patch though and dont really know what you are doing it will, more often than not turn to evil sludge, so there is a tendancy for it to sound quite dark although it is capable of doing the polar opposite if you know what you are doing. 'virus' is a pretty appropriate name for this synth - it is particularly suitable for dark drum and bass reeces and hard house leads, although sitting and twiddling opens up a mind boggling variety of sounds that can be created on this machine, i find it is easiest to let it slide into hard, warm and distorted grime. which i personally quite like. the effects section i didnt particularly find that useful. the reverb and delay werent what i thought they would be and i prefer to use software impulse response reverb instead of the virus reverb. similarly i prefer the much more versatile psp 84 delay to the virus's in built delay. the distortion is more subtle than i thought it would be. alot of the really twisted, bitty fat quality you get from the virus is more from the configuration of the osc/sub osc/filter than from the distortion effect. unison mode does make sounds more...'massive' but i tend to agree that it sounds a little messy sometimes. despite the flaws, its the only instrument i own that consistantly makes me smile when i switch it on and play with it and i think its a credit to access that they have made an instrument that is fun to play and which has a character of its own.
Reliability/Durability
the wooden panels on either side dent fairly easily but the metal case feels quite solid. it is deceptively light for its size though and i imagine dropping it from a height of 5 feet onto a hard concrete surface would do quite alot of cosmetic damage to the unit although i think it could take a battering and still function as intended. the power supply chord sits loosely in the back of the virus and its possible to quite easily pull it out if another cable snags on it. the rubber rotaries wobble slightly if you rock them left and right. i doubt it could stand up to alot of rotary abuse although the action of the rotaries is smooth and as a general rule the entire synth is well put together. maybe because i want to keep it in perfect condition i am treating it more delicately than it needs to be treated.
Price/Value
General Comments
this is my first hardware synth after a year of working entirely in a software based environment. overall i am glad i purchased this instead of the nord lead 2 rack (although im itching to get one of those too, im glad i got the virus first!). since ive got it, i find the synths i was working on before have in many cases become redundant. these were reFX vanguard, linplug albino and g media impOSCar. virus seems to do everything all of those instruments can do and most of the time i find using the virus is preferable to those instruments for the sound i want to create. i have only had it for a week but it is quickly becoming the centrepeice of my productions and i am beginning to re evaluate a number of the ways i programmed those softsynths and the sounds i found desirable based on my increasing use of the virus. the i spend time with it, discovering new things about it, the sicker this instrument gets. hence the name i suppose. for the price i paid for it on ebay i consider this incredible value for money.
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