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Access Music Virus
Overall Rating
Submitted: August 15th, 2010
by M-Masta
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Sound Quality
This is where people either love or hate the Virus. Personally, I find the overall sound of the machine to be quite nice, albeit completely digital. But lets break it down shall we? The oscillators of the Virus are...interesting...The analog style type sounds harsh, digital, and thin to me. with nowhere near the punch or weight of even many modern analog synths like the Mopho, or even the new Korg Monotron. Alright, in all honesty it's only the saw wave that's really bad, but the pulse isn't much better. On the other hand, the hypersaw oscillator type is excellent, with plenty of punch and depth to it. The wavetables are a bit of a mixed bag, some sound incredibly rich and fat, others sound ridiculously brittle. I find the sub oscillator sounds quite good, and the noise oscillator is also excellent.Moving on the filters. We have 12 and 24db type lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and band reject (notch) types. The lowpass and notch sound smooth, clean, and pleasant, nicely shaping the raw sound from the oscillators. I found the highpass and bandpass to sound a bit more harsh, but sweeping around, they still remained relatively smooth. The resonance on the filters is excellent, although it cannot be driven to self-oscillation, which is a shame.The envelopes on the virus are quite fast and snappy, although sometimes a bit too much.The FX, though, are where the virus truly shines. The reverb sounds excellent, adding depth and space to sounds without being overwhelming, while the delay (with its numerous types) sounds crystal and pure. The distortions on the Virus (all twenty-five of them) are particularly excellent, and I'd like to call special attention to the stomp boxes, which add a great degree of the dirt and crunch that the Virus lacked before. The analog boost FX is also excellent, and easily beefs up and adds a pleasing and noticeable fatness to sounds. The chorus is excellent, and can add anything from a transparent warmth and depth to a harsh metallic character to sounds. The phaser effect is likely the weakest of the bunch, but event then it has its uses. Other effects such as the comb and vowel filter types are quite well done, although I find the vocoder effect to be a bit flimsy.
The Virus is built like a tank, and although the knobs are plastic they feel solid and sturdy. Since the first OS, the Virus has also come a long way in terms of stability, and it is now safe to use th Virus inside your DAW without the thing completely locking up the program or crashing the synth. There's still the occasional glitch out or bug of course, but by and large, the Virus has finally become a stable, tough, rugged synthesizer platform.
General Comments
The Virus TI is a peculiar product. The oscillators are a mixed bag, the filters good but nothing special. However the FX are stellar and the modulation, sheer amount of sound design options available, and software integration are truly unique. The Virus is one of the most expensive units today, with used desktop units easily going for well above $1000 USD, yet the upgrades and support are truly first class (and the upgrades are free). The Virus can serve as both the centerpiece or as one of many parts of a studio, it can be the essential kit or the occasional contributor. Either way, the Virus is a worthwhile purchase for any producer or musician. You're just not going to find another product like it.  I'd recommend the Virus TI to anyone looking for a stalwart jack-of-all-trades, a synth that can make both the most mundane and the most complex of sounds, the most classic and the most modern of textures and tones.
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