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Access Music Virus kb
Overall Rating
Submitted: January 24th, 2002
by gothicindustial
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Sound Quality
This is a virtual analog synth, so don't look for pianos and guitars, unless you want messed up synth versions (which can be cool.) It has the standard issue analog waveforms (sine, sawtooth, square), as well as many digital spectral waves. This allows for (very) limited wavetable synthesis, but is more suitable for hybrid, digalog sounds. The Virus has 2 multimode filters with nice resonance (no self oscillation), and a saturation stage placed inbetween them in the signal path. This lets you distort (in many different ways, including analog, digital, waveshaping, rectifier, and bit/rate reduction distortion) a filtered sound, and then filter it again. Then, you can apply effects (including more distortion!!!) after filter 2. Good stuff. As I said, the Virus excells at aggressive sounds. Look out, though, because it is becoming the standard for EBM/Industrial music. Of course, that is because its so good, but @ the same time, it might be a tad over exposed. Oh, btw, this synth sounds great when its not all distorted, in fact it can be very pretty. My only gripe with this synth, and it is a gripe that has gotten progressively more annoying, is the lack of clear high frequency sounds from the oscs. The sounds are great from the deep lows to the middle mid range, but one you hit the upper mids, the sound changes. Aliasing developes, and the sounds lose their balls, and become shrill. Not shrill as in "hey, how did you get that cool metal sound?", but more like "where's the Tylenol?" shrill.
Reliability/Durability
Hmm...I got this one on the grey market, imported from Belgium to he US. It had the wrong power ord, but I replaced it with a $3.00 cord from Radio Shack. It had some issues when I got it, as it would just decide to not make any sound sometimes. After I upgraded the OS, it was fine. I don't gig right now, but if I did, I would want to have some sort of backup just in case, although the Virus KB has been rock solid for many months now.
Price/Value
General Comments
This synth has been my main axe since I got it, and it occupies the place of honor in my studio. If it were stolen, I would be really pissed, but I don't know if I would replace it. It's a great synth, limitations an all, but its really expensive for what it does. I got one cheap, but the average Amerian pays about $1,800 for a new one. For $1,800, you could buy (used, of course)an Oberheim Matrix-6 as a controller ($300), an Ensoniq ESQ-M ($150), a Roland JV-1010 ($300), an Electrix Filter Fatory ($150), a Sherman Filter Bank ($500), a Sequential Circuits Six Track ($250), and still have $150 left over for a multi effects box. I guarantee that the latter course would provide a wider sonic pallatte, with many different types of osc's, samples and filters (the Virus has a distinct sound due to its crappy osc's and nice filters), and yield much more polyphony. I don't think I'd buy one again, but maybe I'd get the cheaper Virus Rack instead of the Sixtrack and Filter Factory.
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