Friday, 22 February 2008

Quick review of Analog Factory softsynth

Arturia Analog Factory is a collection of the Arturia softsynth emulations consisting of the Roland Jupiter 8, Prophet Vector, Prophet V, Moog Modular, Minimoog, ARP2600 modular and the Yamaha CS80. Although the full emulations are there, the interface for each synth has been simplified and there are 3500 patches (presets) ready to use. Think of Analog Factory as the live or fast version of each one of the softsynths. The interface is simple, but the full emulations are behind that interface.

After using Analog Factory for a while I found that the quality of emulations is superb. You have a reasonable amount of control with the usual ADSR, LFO, VCF and other controls available. For each patch there are also three controllers which have been assigned to whatever the most useful additional controls would be. These are usually well chosen and allow considerable changes away from the original patch. All control changes are smooth without audible glitches or zipping and the Arturia technology that emulates down to the transistor level on a particular circuit board is stunningly accurate at recreating the original analogue feel. I found that the controls were already mapped to sensible settings allowing immediate use with a controller keyboard (Axiom 61 key) and Logic. The only downside is the sounds can sound a little too clean, which can easily be remedied in the mix. There are two standard effects built in; delay and chorus which work well with the traditional sounds on offer.

Patches are selected using a straightforward and fast category grouping table, which allows you to quickly narrow down your selection. There is a useful "favorites" option which enables you to group and quickly select your preferred patches. There are also shortcut buttons to user selected patches on the main interface.

All categories of sounds are strong and useful with some stand out sequences (arpeggiator) patches which automatically match the tempo of the track when used as a plugin instrument. These are accurate emulations, so the polyphony is often limited to what the original instrument would have managed.

Analog Factory is a great way of having a huge arsenal of accurate analogue sounds at your disposal and represents stupidly good value.

Pros: Price, quality of sounds, range of patches, easily tweaked patches
Cons: fairly heavy CPU usage for multiple instances of Analog Factory, can take a while to load each instance.

Test computer: iMac 2GHz Core Duo, 2gb RAM, Logic

UPDATE: there appears to be a bug with Leopard 10.5.2, Logic Studio & Express 8.01 - saved projects with Analog Factory 2.0 instruments stored inside will cause Logic to crash on loading. Somewhat annoying. There's a work around until this is fixed: hold control down when you launch Logic and disable the Core Audio driver. Then load the project and switch on the Core audio driver by clicking enable in Preferences > Audio. Tedious, but at least it works.

Update 2: This appears to be fixed in Analog Factory v2.2.1 running on Logic Pro 8.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Curious about Getting Things Done? Start here

A great collection of links from Merlin Mann's 43Folders site...

GTD - Getting Things Done (David Allen's book of the same name has created at times geeky, but good meme)

The Best of Getting Things Done (43Folders)

Great collection of GTD Links from Merlin Mann's always interesting 43Folders site:

A new banner


Thursday, 14 February 2008

Weird and wonderful search engine

Try it and let it evolve...

builds an installation / movie from your search

Saturday, 9 February 2008


SuperDuper! Daft name, good software. Make a back up now! Works alongside Time Machine from v2.5, creates a clone of your main hard drive - a bootable back up of your entire system. Trial version available. Very easy to use, reliable and has features like sandboxing -

You require a second (typically external) hard drive to use SuperDuper! as there isn't much point in backing up a drive onto the same drive.

A free alternative is Carbon Copy Cloner, but SuperDuper is worth the money. Once you have a clone of your hard drive you can revert to the back up by restarting or booting your Mac, hold down the Option key and select the external drive to run from the back up. Two minutes and you're back up and running even if your main hard drive is broken. Intel based Macs can boot from either Firewire or USB2 drives.

After the initial back up incremental back ups can be scheduled and only take a couple of minutes. SuperDuper allows you to run scripts after back up, shut down your Mac etc.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Nouvelle Vague live at the Point, Cardiff, video

Another great gig at the Point, Nouvelle Vague take eighties indie songs and turn them into Bossa Nova style cabaret numbers...