Recently Arturia have once again updated their acclaimed and award-winning vintage synth/keyboard collection, this time with the addition of 4 brand new instruments, taking it to a grand total of 28 iconic keyboard instruments, weighing in at over 13Gb of memory space.
I’ll address the new instruments, and some other thoughts I have on the collection (you can also check out our previous Arturia V Collection review).
Well, this is a huge sounding synth. You’ve all heard it:
I have never, and probably will not own one. But, compared to what I can hear of it from tracks like the above, we’re in golden emulation territory for sure. It was the main synth on most of Prince’s Controversy album. If you listen to that you’ll hear the versatility of it. Incredible.
The OBx and OBxA are synths that have some of the most distinctive sounds you’ll hear. That SEM filter just stands out. It’s even more impressive therefore when a company does a good representation of that sound. Arturia here have done a fantastic job. It’s a huge sound – it’s got that bold brass tone, the filter sounds nice. It’s immensely playable.
Emulator II V
This thing in its original plastic form currently costs about the same as a decent car. It’s one of the original sample players, or ROM libraries. A totally crappy sampling engine, a bunch of digital noise and grit, and boom, tons of character. Chillwave owes a lot to this sample synth. The layout is easy to get around – the majority of the work being done on the ‘computer screen’ when you zoom in. You can import your own samples, and crap them up through the EMUII engine for that lush 90’s hiphop vibe. Alongside the great emulation, it comes packed with modern editing and effects processing features for you to properly sculpt the sound going through that machine!
It’s a….wait for it…. Vocoder. It looks/sounds/plays like a vocoder and is fairly intuitive to use. This one’s based on the one produced by Moog in the ’70s. There are several soft vocoders out there to choose from, but to my mind, the one thing that stands out about this is the addition of a built-in sample player, which if you’re not wanting to sing/speak into it live, is an extremely useful addition.
JUN – 6 V
Now this I’m super excited about. I want to own one IRL soon. Not much to say, other than it re-creates the tone and timbre with gorgeous richness. As these digital emulations of vintage analog synths get ever deeper, they start to get down to emulating the circuitry to develop that analog tone.
In Arturia’s case, they’ve worked on emulating the drift that comes with slight variations in circuitry per voice. You can choose 3 different levels of analog drift, that give you from almost digital cleanness, to detuned, rich glorious tones. As with the other software apps, Arturia have added more modulation options than with the original hardware, giving you an extra LFO, and envelope. Nice.
Thoughts On The V Collection 8
I love that with the iterations, Arturia is really making the stability of the instruments something to be proud of. In the early days of the V collection, I honestly wouldn’t touch the software when it came to commercial work, as I could just not trust that it would load up the settings I’d saved for whatever instrument I was using. Now I feel it’s rock-solid, and wouldn’t hesitate to use it on whatever project it was needed on.
I really like how Arturia have gone for some slightly off-the-wall instruments, as well as the impossible-to-own classics. I personally love the Buchla Easel – one day I would like to own one, but at the moment it’s out of range/availability. Same with the Synthi, introduced in the V Collection 7. They’re both semi-modular keyboards with character and pizazz that nothing else comes close to, and they’re playgrounds of sounds that you can get lost in for hours.
Smart midi control integration – this is a big one. There are so many excellent instruments out there, but controlling these classics with fingers is a HUGE part of the appeal, and musicality of the sounds. Modulating is good, but performing them is better. Arturia have upgraded the midi control element. A click of the settings, and the entire midi layout for the instrument is provided in a list. A click of any parameter, and a wiggle of your chosen control, and it’s mapped. Saves automatically too, so it will open up any time you use the instrument. The mapping is very intuitive, but the best part for me is the provision of 4 control macros for every instrument. You can assign anything to these controls, and it gives you a quick way to have the same 4 midi controls set to different parameters (or the same parameter) on every instrument. Brilliant!
I also love how each iteration of the V collection has tidied up the GUI for each instrument, creating more space, making all the menus MUCH MUCH better to navigate, and keeping more deeper-dive settings tucked away. The excellent contemporary effects and modulation system that has gradually evolved is being used by more and more of the vintage emulations. With V8 – they are applied to the Jupiter keyboard. You can turn them off, of course, but it just gives even more depth and possibilities to the sound designing.
I’m still of the opinion that digital emulations can’t beat the real thing. There are too many combinations of pathways for tiny circuit variations in voltage, that give the individual analog instruments their character. It’s definitely on the horizon the point where no one will be able to tell. And, in the middle of a mix, I mean…
This Arturia V Collection 8 is now a total classic. Very very impressive. There are other massive libraries out there with varying mixes of modern creations and vintage copies. But when it comes to covering ALL the keyboard bases, there is nothing else that comes close. Highly recommended, and boy is it pricey, but if you’re a keyboard player/producer, this is definitely worth the investment.
The Arturia V collection 8 is 600EUR (you can buy it here), and discount upgrade pricing depending on what you already own. If you want to buy the instruments separately, they’re around the 99EUR mark (ish) so the collection is a bargain comparatively!
More info on the Arturia website.
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