Arturia Analog Factory Experience

David Holloway
1 July, 2008
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Arturia are one of the small band of software publishers devoted to recreating classic synthesisers of the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. The Moog Modular V, Minimoog V, CS-80V, ARP2600 V and Prophet-V are all synth icons and Arturia have had them bundled together for awhile now as the Analog Factory 2.0 suite. The Analog Factory Experience adds a CME brand 32-key weighted MIDI controller keyboard – with wooden sides to keep that retro feel. It’s essentially a duplicate of the standalone software component and fills that role beautifully.

I’ve used the CS-80V and the two Moog emulators from Arturia previously but I was still very impressed at how much is gained through combining all of them together. The interface is very similar to Logic and Soundtrack Pro’s loop section that allows you to narrow down sounds by what instrument, sound type or sound characteristic you choose. Choose ‘Bass; and ‘Dark’ and you’ll get a list of, you guessed it, dark bass sounds. Click on the Minimoog V button and the list will reduce further to dark bass sounds from that instrument only. 3500 sounds are supplied so most sonic bases are covered though the more acoustic sounds like pianos are not surprisingly weaker in numbers and quality than say string pads or synth brasses.

Any sounds you particularly like can be added to your favourites list, which can also be selected along with user presets in the sound selection interface. User presets are sounds you’ve tweaked and saved. Said tweaking can occur via either your Mac or the hardware controller. Twist one of the controller knobs on the keyboard and it is mirrored on the applicaton itself. As far as the sound manipulation itself, all the expected options are there from a knob-twiddling perspective: resonance, filter cutoff, the rate and amount of LFO (low-frequency oscillation) and basic delay and chorus parameters

I got so engrossed in the standalone Analog Factory application that I nearly forgot to test its plugin capabilites. It’s compliant with the VST®, Audio Units™ and RTAS™ standards so you’re set no matter which Digital Audio workstation you use. This is where Analog Factory comes into its own – it’s a supremely simple way of having an array of high-quality sounds at your fingertips that can be used quickly when the creative urge strikes. Yes a more basic Apple Loop would do but never underestimate the level to which the sound itself can drive creativity. For me, the Analog Factory Experience combined with Logic Pro is as close to perfect for a laptop music option as you’ll get.

A feature-limited demo is available for download from Arturia’s website to give you a taste of the software side of the hybrid equation. The best thing about the demo is it doesn’t require you to jump through the hoops of the piracy protection mechanism Arturia uses – this is really the only criticism i could make of the product.

Australian Macworld’s buying advice. If you don’t own a USB MIDI controller and want some truly classic synth sounds that are a step above Apple Loops, give the Analog Factory Experience very serious consideration. If classic synths are a passion then the purchasing decision will become even more desirable. If you’re set up with decent hardware and are running a more substantive application like Logic Studio, the $549 price tag may be a little steep on top of your previous investments.

Analog Factory Experience

Pros Breadth and quality of sounds, intuitive interface
Cons Clumsy piracy protection system
Distributor CMI Music & Audio 03 9315 2244
Type Hybrid synthesiser
Publisher Arturia
Processor Universal
Rating 4
OS X 10.3.9
RRP $549.00

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