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M-Audio Venom Synthesizer


Anderton
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Quote Originally Posted by Psicraft

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Of course Avid has done a masterful job of hiding these downloads -

Here are the ACTUAL Vyzex Venom v1.11 Editor downloads hosted by Avid:


Windows: http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=...drivers&f=1133


Mac: http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=...drivers&f=1132


I am adding these to the Vyzor site's 'Offline' site page as well... Hopefully we can avoid anyone else getting lost like this in the future, but Murphy is always waiting...

 

Just took my links down, everyone thanks you for these.


 

Quote Originally Posted by Psicraft

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Normally we'd sell a Vyzor editor for a synthesizer like Venom for $79 to $99, but since Avid has already licensed a Vyzex editor included free with Venom, we are able to pass the shared development and licensing savings on to end users. Even more dramatically, Venom is shipping in large volumes so we are applying the economy of scale to cut the cost of Vyzor Venom even more than we normally could - Vyzor Venom will sell for $19.95, which I think is unprecedented for an editor of this caliber and scope - Craig will know more having probably spent enough on music software over the years to have otherwise purchased a small island in the Carribean... icon_lol.gif


Our pending line of software releases support a variety of instruments: Each software title is specific to a particular synthesizer - Some of them totally new like Venom, and others decidedly retro... Please visit the Vyzor website when it comes back online - You may see more than a few of your old friends rebooted for the 21st century as editors with a professional edge. We're not referring to them as 'The Future of Vintage' for nothing! thumb.gif

 

I await with a query of anticipation!
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Quote Originally Posted by Psicraft

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Basically there is another level of important features coming for the editor: LinkTracker, Sync Manager and expanded 'Patch Collider to Collection' capabilities. We originally planned these extras as 'retail upgrade' goodies but in the final analysis we decided to make them a free update for Vyzex Venom as well as features of the Vyzor Venom upgrade.


The big difference in the retail version will be that Vyzor Venom can also run as a VST/AU plug-in with DAW automation (in addition to the standalone operation of Vyzex Venom). The GUIs of both editors will be identical *at least for the initial release*.


Normally we'd sell a Vyzor editor for a synthesizer like Venom for $79 to $99, but since Avid has already licensed a Vyzex editor included free with Venom, we are able to pass the shared development and licensing savings on to end users. Even more dramatically, Venom is shipping in large volumes so we are applying the economy of scale to cut the cost of Vyzor Venom even more than we normally could - Vyzor Venom will sell for $19.95, which I think is unprecedented for an editor of this caliber and scope.

 

Wow. Wow. I'm ready!! Love the VST/AU capability options etc.


Have no fear about "hijacking" the thread - the whole point of a pro review is interaction among the reviewer, the HC community, and manufacturers. The insights you're giving, along with the sneak previews, are fantastic and welcome any time. They add greatly to the value of this review.

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Quote Originally Posted by Anderton

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Venom isn't for everyone, and it's not about "this one monster synth will replace all your keyboards!" It has a character and if you like that character, you're in. To give a rough analogy, some guys like demure, pretty, quiet girls with blond hair, nice dresses, and can make the most fabulous dinner on the planet. Others like girls with dark hair, lots of lipstick, ripped stockings, tattoos in strategic places, and the ability to go clubbing until noon the next day. If you like the latter, say hi to Venom.


I wonder if the people at M-Audio are horrified, laughing, confused, or saying "YES! He gets it!!" right now... idn_smilie.gif

 

I am Laughing out loud while thinking "Yes, You got it!!!" icon_lol.gif
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Quote Originally Posted by Anderton

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The examples are just one Venom using Multis - no overdubs. [...] But if you like electro, industrial, Kraftwerk, NIN, etc., I think this is going to rock your world. smile.gif BTW - do yourself a favor and listen over decent speakers, there's some pretty pumping bass in there.

 

Craig, this is awesome! I especially liked the sotto voce violins (6:16 - 6:26) that provide such a nice contrast to the fat, buzzy stuff that the Venom does so well.


I'm intrigued by the fact that the drum sounds exist at the oscillator level, and can therefore be subjected to wave shapers, ring-modulators, etc. (with or without sync), for that sweeping, "LFO-over-time" effect. Makes for a much more complex texture.


Great music!

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Quote Originally Posted by Jon Chappell

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I'm intrigued by the fact that the drum sounds exist at the oscillator level, and can therefore be subjected to wave shapers, ring-modulators, etc. (with or without sync), for that sweeping, "LFO-over-time" effect. Makes for a much more complex texture.

 

Great point that I should have mentioned previously...but yes, it's very cool.


 

Great music!

 

I'd like to take credit for it, but really, everything you hear is drawn from the first 20 multi presets (I used 13 of them) and all I really had to do was decide which keys to hit, and when. So in many ways, it was much more of a "DJ remix set" than a musical performance - but I guess that demonstrates one more very cool aspect of Ms. Venom.


It's also interesting that even with all those sounds going on, I never really noticed that there were only 12 voices available. There didn't seem to be any noticeable voice-stealing.

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Quote Originally Posted by Anderton

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... all I really had to do was decide which keys to hit, and when.

 

Isn't that all Mozart and Art Tatum really did? wink.gif


Seriously, you're being too modest. I listen to melody, to basslines, and to other "key hitting" gestures. What you play is not only "preset appropriate" (which in itself is not something you'll hear in a month of Saturdays at Guitar Center), it's musically inventive. Delightful, even. thumb.gif

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Quote Originally Posted by Jon Chappell

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Isn't that all Mozart and Art Tatum really did? wink.gif


Seriously, you're being too modest. I listen to melody, to basslines, and to other "key hitting" gestures. What you play is not only "preset appropriate" (which in itself is not something you'll hear in a month of Saturdays at Guitar Center), it's musically inventive. Delightful, even. thumb.gif

 

I am in NO way against any credit on Craig's awesome demo song, but I'm sure that he meant that those presets have, all of them, "Phrase Sequencers" (aka arpeggiators in steroids) assigned for each of the 4 voices, where each voice can have a different phrase sequencer (and then, having the drums playing a beat, the bass grooving and the main/lead synths doing arpeggios or interesting drones).


So, basically you press a key with your left hand and get a groovy drum pattern + a bass line; with your right hand you play chords or single notes and you get those interesting sequenced notes. Of course, you can turn the phrase sequencer off and play all by yourself, too.



Craig did all of that and added real-time filters and other modifications, summed to very tasteful melodic and rhythmic combinations.

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I'm very interested in hearing a synth that doesn't sound like the typical analogue modelling lark. It seemed interesting, but all the sounds I heard were on the harsh side. I like harsh, but they sounded like the same kind of harsh. The main selling point seems to be that it's a Synth with DISTORTION. I love some of the distorted synth tones on Daft Punk records(that sound from "Da Funk"), but it's not anything all that new and special. I didn't find any demos of the Venom that blew me away. I wouldn't mind having a go of one though, it seems like a decent workhorse synth.

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Quote Originally Posted by Psicraft

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The point I was trying to make was that Avid has been hosting these downloads all along, and they are there now... Of course Avid has done a masterful job of hiding these downloads - I just realized that even my earlier reply to this thread was no help on that front - All my search results provided were another firmware download, not the editor download that was needed facepalm.gif.

 

Here's an update on this topic - The Avid website now shows the Vyzex editor downloads alongside the drivers for Venom when you use their Driver and Software Search page. Case closed, folks - Anyone looking for the latest official release of the Vyzex Venom editor in order to check out what Venom has under the hood can head to the Avid site and grab the software for a (visual only) evaluation.


Here's the link: http://m-audio.com/index.php?do=support&tab=driver .


Choose 'Keyboard Series' in column 1 and 'Venom' in column 2... Choose your computer's operating system in column 3, and the search results will be loaded immediately - You'll get the latest drivers and the Vyzex editor as separate downloads. If you already have a Venom, download and install both - The driver installer will also check and update your Venom's firmware along the way, which is pretty slick if you ask me... cool.gif.


Many kudos to the Avid Website Wizards for responding so quickly, incidentally!


Cheers,


Tony

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Quote Originally Posted by Gus Lozada

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Btw... Hey Tony! Remember that Mexican at the Venom station during last NAMM? wave.gif

 

You bet: I remember he did some exceptionally kick-ass Venom demos there... One of which graces YouTube at
.


All the best to you, my friend... thumb.gif


Tony

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I've been fascinated by synthesizers for a long time but the big dogs in the game have always cost more than I was able, or willing, to pay. My normal position in bands has always been guitar/vocal/piano.

Over the last few years I've accumulated some knowledge and experience with synths by getting software versions (Arturia, Reason, AAS, etc.) but I'm thinking it will be great to get one with a little more actual hands on control.


This one will probably be perfect for me since I've no problem digging into editing software but at the same time I'll have the matching piece of hardware with some knobs and dials to tweak on.


Looking forward to your continued review Craig and I also enjoyed your Venom composition!

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Quote Originally Posted by ggm1960

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I've been fascinated by synthesizers for a long time but the big dogs in the game have always cost more than I was able, or willing, to pay. My normal position in bands has always been guitar/vocal/piano.

Over the last few years I've accumulated some knowledge and experience with synths by getting software versions (Arturia, Reason, AAS, etc.) but I'm thinking it will be great to get one with a little more actual hands on control.


This one will probably be perfect for me since I've no problem digging into editing software but at the same time I'll have the matching piece of hardware with some knobs and dials to tweak on.

 

It really sounds like this is the right synth for you. One caution - just because it can make rude & nasty sounds doesn't mean that's all it does. You can definitely get vintage type sounds out of it, that just hasn't gotten as much attention because Venom does the hardcore thing so exquisitely well.


 

Looking forward to your continued review Craig and I also enjoyed your Venom composition!

 

I should probably title it "Preset Remix" as it's really more of a DJ-style thing, but I do take full credit for knowing which keys to push, and when smile.gif
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I see that the Venom will also function as an audio interface. This worries me a bit because I've had problems with other units that do this. What bothers me is this: Let's say I'm recording on my Mac, I've got Logic open and I'm using my Presonus FP10 to input some guitar tracks. Now I'd like to play in a keyboard part ala MIDI with the Venom. When I plug in the USB cable from the Venom is it going to cause a conflict with the interface I'm already using and want to take over?


I've had this problem with the Line 6 KB37, it's a nice little keyboard controller but it's also a USB audio interface so if I plug it in at the same time as I have my Apogee Duet connected to the firewire port I start getting a bunch of static.


I've had a similar problem in the past with my Dell P4 WinXP machine. I wanted to do some patch editing on my Digitech GSP1101 but when I plug in the USB cable it suddenly takes over as the audio interface when I'd already been using a Hercules 16/12 firewire interface for audio.


At home, where I have several computers, this problem is easily avoided by running editing programs on a second computer or connecting through my Midi Timepiece interface rather than USB but if I began gigging again I would probably only have one computer to do everything.


What would be nice to see is the ability to tell the Venom that I DON'T want it to be an audio interface most (or maybe even all) of the time.


BTW, my Venom arrives today, in fact, it probably already has but I'll have to wait till I get home to try it out.

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Quote Originally Posted by ggm1960

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What would be nice to see is the ability to tell the Venom that I DON'T want it to be an audio interface most (or maybe even all) of the time.

 

You can do this in your ASIO host. De-select the Venom as your audio interface, and select the interface you want to use for audio. But, select the Venom as your source for MIDI data. Drive the Venom via MIDI and run the output into your mixer.


However, remember that you can also enable audio temporarily while you lay down a part, record it into your DAW as audio, then go back to your other interface.


This is what I remember from encountering the situation you describe, but I'll confirm next time I fire it up.

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UPDATE: I apologize for the delay in continuing this pro review, but to make a long and frustrating story short, I had to re-install my system and programs after returning from Frankfurt - a hardware problem with the motherboard scrambled my system drive upon either startup or shutdown (or both, I don't know). The motherboard is fixed, I have a new hard drive, and I've been re-creating my system - I'd only switched over to Windows 7 full-time about six weeks prior to the mobo problem, so didn't consider the system finished enough to image for a restore.


I have most of the system back to normal, and will be getting the Venom driver and editor up in the next couple of days. Again, apologies for the delay.

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Quote Originally Posted by ggm1960

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I do nearly all of my recording on Macs these days, isn't AISO a Windows thing? Perhaps there is a similar option within audioMIDI Setup that I'm not aware of?

 

I do use the Mac for audio, but not in a very sophisticated way...mostlyfor sound design with Peak, and Logic projects. However, I believe one of the cool things about Core Audio is that like Windows' WDM (but unlike ASIO on either platform) it's easy to aggregate devices. So, you should be able to use the M-Audio interface as well as your other interface, and choose an output as easily as you'd choose any output. I'm sure any Mac fans will correct me if I'm wrong.


However, I did test with Windows and yes, you can specify Venom as a MIDI device, use some other audio interface, and mix the Venom audio output into your interface as you would any other synthesizer. In other words, you can just ignore the audio interface aspect, and treat Venom the way you would any hardware synthesizer with MIDI I/O.


The Editor does NOT require the audio interface connection, only MIDI I/O so no problem there, either.


(By the way, trivia item...it is possible to aggregate ASIO devices with Windows; it's just not common or simple, which is why people think it's not possible.)

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In Multi-Mode, we progress from the single sounds we’ve been covering to combinations. One common part of a multi is a single sound paired with a pattern (which could be arpeggiation for a keyboard sound, or a rhythm pattern for drums). The combination is called a Part, and a multi can have four Parts.


In this world, Venom’s color-coding protocol becomes important, with orange indicating multi-oriented aspects, blue single, and green patterns. As a multi includes all these elements, it’s important to know whether what you’re editing affects, for example, just one Part in the Multi or all Parts – especially because some of the Multi parameters can override equivalent settings in a single sound, as needed. It’s all rather daunting at first, but as usual, the easiest way to grasp what’s going on is with the Vyzex editor – from the Mode drop-down menu, just choose Multi instead of Single. The main Multi page gives you an overview of what’s happening with the four timbres.


HttxU.png


Let’s start from the top with the Parts tab in the lower right (the most “overviewish” of the tabs), and work our way down. The top section with the pseudo-display shows the multi that’s been selected, and to the right, there’s an overview of the four parts where you can mute, enable, and select them. The section to the right mirrors the keyboard’s Multi controls.


The MIDI Map section below is all about mapping-land: You set the MIDI Channels for the four sounds, the minimum/maximum note ranges, and minimum/maximum velocity ranges. This is fairly standard stuff, where you can have splits and layers, and cause some splits or layers to sound only within certain velocity ranges.


Then we come to Parts. This is where you can enable and disable controls so that, for example, pitch bend could affects only a lead line you’re playing in one timbre while not affecting an arpeggiated pattern in another timbre. There’s also voice control for poly or mono, unison control, and transposition, and here’s where you can do channel mixing – volume, pan, effects sends, and the like. You can also set up arpeggiation here.


Aux and Master give an overview of what’s happening with effects types and effects parameters for the aux effects, as well as the master EQ settings. Below that, you can see the Performance controls; the four numbers to the left indicate which Parts will be affected by its associated control.


Now at this point, I have to be careful to avoid the tendency to turn a Pro Review into a manual, so let’s take a deep breath, and get more into summarizing the gestalt of editing Multis rather than the nuts and bolts.

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