- This topic has 6 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 8 months ago by ,Fake.
2019-07-20 at 14:52:36 #89107,shrikeParticipant
Anyone using this?
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2019-07-20 at 17:58:10 #89122,FakeParticipant
Had a little play around with the demo earlier, it seems like a really strong synth but it’s really missing the accessibility that made Massive so popular. They’ve just crammed so much into it and seem to have forgotten how to design a UI, it’s all just knobs and drop-down menus with no visual feedback. There’s just loads of little niggles I have with the UI that add up to make it a bit awkward to use. An example is the envelopes in the modulation section not being animated or directly interact-able, it’s all done through knobs with no visual feedback on the diagram they have underneath. Another example is the dimension expander having 4 modes labelled 1 through 4, no real indication as to what they might be or what they’re changing.
Having said this, it does seem to be a REALLY nice sounding synth, I prefer its sound to serum by far and the internal routing and wavetable manipulation are really strong. It feels a lot more like a modular emulator than a modern soft synth though, I imagine it’ll be really good for general sound design (particularly pads) but it’s not really the successor of probably the largest selling bass synth of all time (They even put C0-B0 as pattern selectors with no apparent way of using them as actual midi notes).
NI have confirmed it’s not a finished product and they will be doing frequent patches though, so it probably will get a better UI in the future. I’d get the demo and see how you find it, it’s got crazy depth and control but you’d better love drop-down menus!
2019-07-22 at 03:20:13 #89263,shrikeParticipant
Appreciate that detailed feedback, Fake.
I’ve been in a “fuck you” mode with NI for the last week, as they locked my Komplete serial number, and when I tried to get it fixed their CS said I needed to purchase a product that I purchased two years ago. Their customer service is capable of being nuclear-terrible. The company is just too big.
But I digress, could you please be a little more specific about why you think it sounds so good? Better OSC? Less aliasing? More/higher quality waves? I know I can try the demo; interested in your particular take.
And the thing has been a UI nightmare from the jump. That LFO switcher alone is just a big fat fail. Might as well take up the entire GUI.
And I feel you on the Serum thing. Make no mistake, I love me some Serum, but the aliasing alone just kills me. I reckon we are due for a Serum 2 sometime soon. It’s been several years now, hopefully Mr Duda has something cooking in his lab.
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2019-07-22 at 14:28:46 #89299,HarryParticipant
I haven’t taken a deep dive in to it, trying to avoid buying new tools for a while, but I bounced out all the wave tables to use in Serum. I did like how the wave table menus were organized.
"Knowledge kept is knowledge lost." - Bobbito Garcia
2019-07-22 at 16:27:06 #89318,FreemanParticipant
Serum is actually very clean, less aliasing issues than Massive or Sylenth1. I think the weird aliasing in Massive might be part of it’s charm? I never got bitten by the Massive bug. Might give Massive X a spin though, I do like the distortion/filters and routing in the original.
I’d suggest checking out PhasePlant by Kilohearts, probably the most interesting synth released recently, lots of cool possibilities within PhasePlant.
2019-07-22 at 17:25:56 #89321,shrikeParticipant
For sure, Serum is cleaner than those two synths, which were released in 2007. Serum was developed and released in the 2013-2014 timeframe.
But Serum still aliases pretty noticeably. It’s not really a concern as we often lay all kinds of distortion and FX over it anyways, but in that init single saw OSC it kind of screams at me. UVI Falcon is cleaner than that (again, later release), and the new-ish bx-oberhausen is *super* clean, relatively speaking. (I’m really digging that synth, btw…seems simple, but there is actually a lot it can do)
I would expect that over the years, the simple saws will get even cleaner. Interesting point about the aliasing of the first massive being kind of a positive characteristic, no doubt.
Kilohearts makes some really great stuff. Interested to try the PhasePlant synth. I own KHs ONE, but never really got into it as it seemed a little too vanilla. I am also keen to try the upcoming Unfiltered Audio Lion synth. Unfiltered makes some rad FX plugs, BYOME for instance is highly versatile & creative.
NI has to be competitive with whatever they bring out. They are not the only kid on the block now, like they were for the better part of the 2000’s (and the ’90’s).
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2019-07-24 at 15:01:11 #89521,FakeParticipant
Yeah I’d agree original Massive really benefited from quite dirty wavetables, it really helped mask the artefacts you get transitioning through waveforms. I think Serum really lacks in that sense, I found the interpolation through a wavetable to be a bit harsh even in Spectral mode, and I’ve come to see the freedom to load whatever waveform you want as almost a negative. Particularly from an artistic perspective I find the limitations of a carefully curated set of wavetables far more inspiring than being able to load literally anything. I’d say the current Massive X wavetables do all sound fantastic, and they’re a lot smoother than most of what I hear from Serum when you’re using them raw, and the remastered Massive ones also sound considerably better than the originals.
I’ve also found, while the modulators really suck, I’ve not even really been needing them that much. There’s enough weird effects like the phase mod oscillator and anima that I’ve only really been using a couple of envelopes and manual automation so far. Also having all these weirdly named parameters (King/kang/kong 1-6x for example) is actually really fun, as I’m still not certain what will happen when I change something.
One big issue is the CPU hit being pretty punishing, especially when using unison. It will hopefully improve when they release VST3 (releasing exclusively vst2 5 years after Steinberg stopped maintaining it and over 10 years since vst3 was released is crazy, could probably blame Ableton for this though tbh) but I’m not gonna hold my breath. I find it surprising that Massive X needs an AVX instruction set compatible CPU, I remember ages ago Waves did a tech demo with Intel showing how you could basically halve the load from a linear phase filter, so I’d expect the first plugin I’ve seen exclusively demanding AVX to be really light-weight. It’s quite a strange move really, any studios running as recent as 2013 mac pro (black bin model) flat out won’t be able to use it, and they don’t seem to have done enough of a good job optimising it to warrant excluding potential buyers. I’m just glad they didn’t go with AVX2 because then I’d be screwed lol.
Anyway back to the point, basically I like how Massive X interpolates between waveforms and the effects it comes with seem to have enough natural movement and interest that I don’t even think I’d need the modulators half the time. They really missed a trick not releasing a Massive X FX plugin, I feel that really helped Serum become so standard, being able to transplant it onto different inputs. That said, including the modulators was a huge selling point for Serum FX personally, and it’s still got to Massive X’s biggest problem. That ridiculous LFO seems like they tried to implement Skanner’s morphing matrix but then ran out of time so just used the same graphic for an LFO selector. That synth is 6 years old now and I’d still say it’s one of my favourites for pads, I’ve actually been using it for this month’s challenge.
I do really like the look of Phaseplant, might have to get the demo for that too! Not sure how I feel about the pricing model they’ve used though, paying more just to get effects like bitcrushers and comb filters seems odd.
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