Saturday, June 20, 2015

Arturia KeyLab 61 (Producer Pack) Review – Modern Hybrid Synthesis

Arturia have dressed it up and you can take it anywhere.

Bundled with the FULL version of “Bitwig Studio”, Arturia’s own “Mini V” (Minimoog emulation) soft synth, and luxuriously complemented with “Analog Lab”, the Producer Pack is a heaping portion of quality and value. Toting their “KeyLab” series of controllers as being Hybrid synthesizers, Arturia have successfully produced a line of well-built, well appointed midi keyboards that contend favourably with offerings from their competitors. 

Available in key configurations of 25 keys, 49 keys, and 61 keys, these sturdy, tactile-friendly keyboards boast full-sized, *semi-weighted keys with velocity and aftertouch response. During inspection, here on the reviewer’s bench, I couldn’t help but develop an appreciation for the notable strides that Arturia have taken to ensure a seamless, functional integration of hardware and software. A KeyLab controller operating in tandem with Arturia’s “Analog Lab” software truly does result in a rewarding Hybrid synth experience. The savoir-faire is enhanced all the more whilst being hosted within the BitWig DAW. 

It’s clear from the onset that these collaborative Arturia/BitWig Producer Packs dish up a palatable plateful of production-ready abundance at very attractive price points. In all fairness, the MSRP is a substantial value considering that “BitWig” lists for $299, “Mini V” retails at $99, and a “KeyLab 61” controller costs $499 when purchased individually. This review concentrates on the KeyLab 61 Producer Pack, which at the time of this publication, sees its list price marked at $549 (USD).


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AcousticSampleS Mark79 Review – Let There Be Rhodes!

Over the better part of a decade, AcousticSampleS have consistently proven themselves as purveyors of fine quality sampled instruments. It is evident in each one of their products that a careful balance is maintained between library size and sonic realism. The question could be asked: “What good is ‘realism’ if the instrument that’s been sampled isn’t pristine in its original state?”

Fortunately for us, company founder & owner, Arnaud Sicard, and his team at AcousticSampleS, sonically capture some of the best-sounding instruments available in the world. Mark79 is such an example of Parisian craftsmanship, par excellence.

This engaging instrument is experienced within the proprietary “UVI Workstation” sample player format, freely downloadable from Definitely a qualifying contender for audio quality supremacy, the UVI format provides convenience, ease-of-use, and exemplary built-in effects (including a streamlined version of UVI’s fabulous algorithmic reverb, Sparkverb). As with other sample players, such as Kontakt, a user can configure disk streaming, RAM consumption, ADSR, and most nearly any other pertinent option thinkable. Personally, I really like the UVI platform and I find it very comfortable to use.

Mark79 may certainly be categorized as a classic, vintage instrument. Here, we are presented a superb sample library of a classic 73 key ‘suitcase’ Fender Rhodes® Mark II, circa 1979. The samples were recorded dry via studio-grade DI into a high end tube-powered preamp. From the moment you play your first chord or riff, your ears are greeted with authentic Rhodes character a-plenty. The tone is rich, full and very well-balanced. All of this sumptuous tines n’ tone can be had for the reasonable price of 79€ / $87 (USD)

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Review Revival Giveaway - True Pianos

Exclusive Reviewer's Revival Giveaway Offer!

WOW! 4Front has blessed Reviewer's Revival with (2) licenses of True Pianos to be given away for FREE!

1 FREE license to be given away for every 150 Eligible Entries!

Click HERE to Visit the True Pianos home page.


1. Sign up for the FREE Reviewer's Revival NewsFlash. (Mandatory)

2. "Like" Reviewer's Revival on Facebook (Not mandatory, but much appreciated.) This can also double your chances of winning.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Review Revival Giveaway - Win a Copy of Acon Digital's Verberate!

Exclusive Reviewer's Revival Giveaway Offer!

Have you heard this fabulous, new release from Acon Digital yet? Verberate is a professional-grade, full-featured algorithmic reverb plug-in that has been impressing music producers everywhere! Subscribe to our mailing list for a chance to win one of (3) licenses to be given away FREE!


Friday, April 18, 2014

SonicCouture EP73 Deconstructed Review – Uncontested King of Rhodes Samples?

Uncontested . . . strong word; don’t you think? One would have to make sure that the claim could be substantiated or one would be considered brazen, or ill-informed, or rash, or gullible, or just plain stupid. I honestly hope that you don’t think that dear ol’ Brother Charles fits into any of those categories. *Smile.

SonicCouture have not simply raised the bar; they may even have ‘become’ the bar, as regards Rhodes MKI sample libraries. Man, this library rockZ. I mean it . . . this library abso-freakin-lutely RockZ! The depth and detail of SonicCouture’s sampling process is immense.

The level of realism is tremendous. The release noises, the pedal noises, the triple-layered Round Robin sampling, the attention to sonic detail, the inclusion of close and contact mic’d acoustic/mechanical sounds all contribute to making this perhaps THE MOST unique and authentic-sounding virtual Rhodes to date.

SonicCouture occasionally offer sales, but the Listed Retail Price of $129 is very fair in ratio to the sound quality. I have to be careful that I don’t brag this sample library up too much; we don’t want them raising the price . . . *Grin
Continue reading the full review here:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

ToonTrack EZkeys Essential Pianos Review – The Song Writer’s Piano Friends

I was more than a little ‘jazzed’ when I first heard that Sampling giants, ToonTrack, were adding pianos/keyboards to their industry-leading product line-up. I had already been a more-than-satisfied ToonTrack customer for a couple of years. I rely on various “EZdrummer” modules as my drum sample/construction software of choice. As soon as I’d heard the early release news about the original, ground-breaking “EZkeys Grand” Piano sample library/sequencer, I anticipated that song writers and home producers would be elated with the news. I don’t mean to come across as pretentious, but my assumption was absolutely correct.

The initial release of “EZkeys Grand” created no small ripple in the sampling pool. Not only did “EZkeys Grand” hold up extremely well against its large, multi-gig competitors sound-wise, but it gave something to non-keyboardists that no other competing piano sample library could – built-in midi phrases and song construction tools. ToonTrack serves up first-rate piano sounds, assorted musical styles, transposition, drag n’ drop song construction and an attractive, photo-realistic GUI. The EZkeys line-up will empower novice song-writers and non-keyboardists with professional-grade piano compositional parts, while providing professionals a means of creatively fast-tracking song ideas; quickly and easily.

This review will be an exhaustive inspection of the cross-platform “EZkeys Essential Pianos” collection. This wonderful suite of pianos is comprised of: EZkeys Grand, an impeccably sampled Steinway “Model D”; EZkeys Classic Keyboards, a totally vibe’n set of Wurlitzer “A200” and Rhodes “Mark I” electric pianos; and EZkeys Upright, a harmonically-pleasant, old-time, upright piano. Any one of these packages retails for €139/$179 by itself, with any additional EZkeys library available for only €69/$89. As a bundle, the EZkeys Essential Pianos suite rings in at €249/$325. Just for grins n’ giggles we’ll also get introduced to a truckload of EZkeys midi libraries in the styles of: R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Blues, and Pop.


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SPL DeEsser Review – DeEssser SsuperSstar

Arghhh! The blessed vocal track is just about perfect. The tracking went well, the latest take is free of “pitchiness”, mic placement and EQ are bang on. You apply tasty compression by dialling up your favourite ’76 and 2A just right. That sweet vocal EQ couldn’t be better.

Then your ears are no longer being romanced – they’re raped by one of the recording vocalist’s most lethal foes – sibilance.

. Nasty, in-your-face, brash, piercing SSSsibilance. You try the well regarded VST’s from yesteryear, you try EQing, you try a couple of current payware DeEssing offerings, but then the vocal ‘air’ is lost and the vocal track is very ‘flat’. . . . and at last, you find yourself carefully editing by hand in Wavelab, Sound Forge or Acoustica Premium.

It isn't any fun – editing out plosives and/or sibilance “by hand”. It’s time consuming and can result in audible editing clicks when the resultant editing is processed within your DAW. Sibilance has been the bane of many an engineer’s existence. Actually, nasty, piercing SSSs just plain suck!

Wouldn't it be just wonderful if there were a way to easily remedy sibilance with just one or two knobs, and keep the quality of a vocal track intact?

Guess what!? There is . . .

The $199 SPL DeEsser Collection plug-in can be properly reviewed with one, simple word. “Amazing.” If I were to end this review right now, without typing another letter on the page, the review could be considered complete. This set of powerful, specialized plug-ins is nothing short of amazing. Nevertheless, it’s no fun to be a professional writer and not actually . . . write. *Smile. Stay with me, I promise, I won’t keep you long, but I really am very excited to share my experience and findings about the SPL DeEssers Collection with you. *Quick Note: Until July 15th, 2013, this plug-in is on sale for only $149.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Email Subscriptions Now Offered. Coupon Codes, Giveaways, and "Hot Off The Press" Notifications

Yes, that's right. Reviewer's Revival is now one year old and I have some great news to share with you.

Not only are a lot of the RR readers liking the web site and the reviews, but some of the devs are showing a lot of appreciation to RR readers. Every once in a while, Reviewer's Revival will be offering EXCLUSIVE Coupon Codes, Giveaways, and of course personal notifications when new articles are published. I've been hearing from some of the readers, and they are totally down with this cool, new idea. And yes, EXCLUSIVE means that these will be Giveaways and Coupons that are exclusive to Reviewer's Revival subscribers - these will not be "public" offers.

Sign up today and stay in the loop. No SPAM! NO trading or selling email lists. NO JUNK! Only notifications of the latest REVIEWS, and exclusive COUPON-CODES and occasional Giveaways. If you're interested, pop over to Reviewer's Revival and subscribe on the "Reviewer's Blog" page.

Just wanted to let ya'll know . . .

Thanks & God Bless,
Bro. Charles


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