Arturia: V Collection 4 – A great package of legendary synths and kits
When you talk about the real classic synths, organs and keyboards, and the musical history that we have with analog sound synthesis, you can’t avoid mentioning all the Moogs, Roland’s JP-8, Yamaha’s CS-80, the Prophet, and other such synthesizer champions and flagships. The Arturia team has taken some of the most powerful renowned synths, analyzed them, and developed the True Analog Emulation that makes even the most hard-boiled analog synth fanatics, ahem, wet their pants from its realism and sheer power. In this collection, Arturia are offering all of their emulated “virtual-vintage” plugins in one large collection.
Its predecessor, the V Collection 3, was a great success with its artfully emulated synths and drum machines. Now comes something even larger and more powerful, with more of Arturia’s “virtual-vintage” synth content and programmability than one can use in a lifetime of electronic music creation. It’s the Arturia V Collection 4.
- Stand-alone, VST and Audio Unit, AAX (Pro Tools 11)
- 6000+ classic synthesizer presets (!!!)
- 9 legendary analog synthesizers, an electric piano, vintage organ and a string machine
- Massive drum machine with 170 kits and thousands of patterns
- Immense possibility for sound creation
- Exact replicas of the analog hardware synthesizers
- Analog Lab – A complete and intuitive solution for all synthesizers in one plug-in/stand-alone
- Thick basses, screaming leads, space-warped pads and keyboard sounds, organs, sound effects, strings and …
- … TONS more.
A collection of legendary synthesizers
The choices Arturia made for their grand collection of synthesizers and drum kits cover almost every base you need when it comes to synths and beats. Let’s see the collection in an overview and check out some features with each of the synths and plug-ins. Here we go:
Modular V – This thing is insane. You can create any kind of intense wide soundscapes, cool and useful leads for soundtracks and sound design. I don’t always understand what’s going on in this synth, but I love playing around with its oscillators and parameters to come up with interesting new sounds.
Mini V – With four decades of renown, the Minimoog has proven its worth in live performances and in the studio. Spacey leads, warm pads, simple and effective oscillators, SFX, keys and more. I am in love with the saturated thick basses from the Mini V. A great synth in all aspects.
CS-80 V – Massive sounding synth. It’s been used in so many soundtracks (Bladerunner, anyone?), and in many other genres where really lush and airy pads or strong strings are called upon. Hard to summarize this synthesizer as it’s just one of its kind.
ARP2600 V – Did I say Modular V is insane? This might be even more so, with its ravaging sonic capabilities. There are some really funky presets in this one, but if you want to create some really raw and interesting EDM type sounds, this synth perfectly fits the bill. It’ll find a place in those sci-fi game and film soundtracks. I can sit for hours playing around with this one (I even did and disappeared into an alien planet a la Metroid!).
Jupiter-8 V – Ah, yes. The JP-8. When it came to the market at the beginning of the 80s, this thing really stood out with some pretty awesome sound production capabilities, and it’s easy to see why. What I love about this synthesizer is how the pads sound and can be shaped – for me, its strong point is specifically this. But it really is way more than that! I myself like using a long algorithmic reverb with the Jupiter-8 V as well, and producing organ sounds is quite cool with it.
Wurlitzer V – The Wurlitzer electric piano is quite similar to a Rhodes, but with more edge and presence, and it also lends itself really nicely to some overdrive and rock & roll effects. It comes with some useful presets in V Collection 4, but playing around with the pedals and settings in this legendary electric piano is not only fun and easy, but also powerful.
Prophet V – I can’t begin to describe how useful this synth is. Many praise it as the synth for that phat, warm, and punchy bass line that you want. However, I can use it for pretty much anything: guitar, electric piano, pads, leads – man, this is a beauty and a beast. It’s so warm and thick in the low end, and the possibility for creating some pretty epic sounding stuff with it is truly endless. The presets that come with the Prophet VS and Prophet 5 (both included in the collection) are also very useful.
Oberheim SEM V – With its unique multimode filtering capabilities and simple but extremely powerful interface, you can quickly create some very cool arpeggiated sequences, plucky and fat bass stabs, weird as hell soundscapes, and a lot more. It’s a much appreciated synth among the fanatics, and I really like it as well! The bass pluck and leads can be super crisp and clean. Loving the presets!
Matrix-12 V – The famous king of polyphonic synths. This is an all-rounder that never ceases to amaze me in how many useful synth sounds I can create with it. The patches that come with it – meaning the settings presets – are super useful. And it’s not very hard to figure one’s way around this synthesizer either. The Matrix-12 V is a synth I will be using on many projects to come, with its lush pads and leads and its rich sound.
Solina V – This string machine produces a sound that is much appreciated, particularly with its built-in chorus effect. There are many settings presets in this one, and most of them are useful. The Solina V has a very lush character with an airy, chorus-y texture to it. It also has some very nice built-in convolution reverb choices, so using this one with some big reverb will put that lush synth string sound into a project with the character of a larger-than-life organ – very pleasing sound!
VOX Continental V – Absolutely fantastic organ that has been used by the biggest bands since the 60s, all the way through the 90s. I really love this organ, because when I play it, I feel like Alan Price back with The Animals. It has an edgy and daring sound to it, just ready to be played together with a rock ensemble. The amount of different and awesome organ sounds you can produce with this bad boy is mind blowing. Again – I freakin’ love it. Arturia has really hit the jackpot when emulating this organ, and I can’t wait to use it in some rock & blues tracks. The only choice of theirs I do not agree with is the choice not to include a sustain pedal option, even if the classic real one didn’t have one.
Analog Lab – This is a stand-alone/plug-in that can host all of the synthesizers above in one single instance. It collects ALL of the presets from every single one of them, and it is beautifully arranged and easy to search for just what you need. This is a really useful feature, and I’m thankful to Arturia for including this!
Let’s take a look at the other aspect of this collection; the drum machines.
Spark the ignition!
Arturia have in this collection generously included their amazing drum production solution, the drum machine Spark 2. This thing has 170 different kits in it, several thousand beat patterns, a great interface, and superb programmability. It’s useful for pretty much any modern music style; EDM, dubstep, electro, DnB, house, pop, soundtrack – you name it. The samples are clean and powerful, and the sequencer tab with the beat patterns is really cool. You can even program the beat within the interface, click-and-drag from the plug-in window into your sequence, and end up with either a MIDI or WAV file right there, depending on whether you like working with audio or MIDI.
The drum kits are very diverse, and some of them I probably won’t ever use because they are very experimental. Some I will probably use every time I need something deep and heavy, or fast and punchy beats, just because they are so potent, well recorded, and programmed. The physical modeling engine inside of Spark 2 makes this thing extremely powerful for all kinds of programming. There is also a Song, Studio, Modular, Mixer and Library tab – this is truly a complete drum production that will fit into any modern music creators’ arsenal. If you wish to learn specifically what this thing is about, check out Arturia’s website, but let me tell you: I am definitely sold on this thing.
A small issue I found with a few of the plug-ins is that the sustain pedal isn’t always mapped to the release of the plug-in. This is all part of the design – staying true to the old analog classics, as I had pointed out above with the VOX Continental V. But there is a way to map them inside the plug-ins, and a quick Google search will get you to the Arturia sustain pedal mapping section for the plug-ins (those that don’t have this as standard).
Another thing that stayed true to the synths’ late 1900s technology is the voices option. On the Matrix-12 V, for example, the maximum number of voices is 12, and I would have loved more for some great polyphonic sustain stuff. But again, they are staying true to the analog classics.
To sum up my experience so far with Arturia’s V Collection 4, I can only say that I have been deeply impressed with everything I can do with it when it comes to synths, organs, string machine sounds, drum kits, and beat making. It is a complete package, filled with Arturia’s superbly modeled “virtual-vintage” synthesizers from the legendary ones and more. Each of the synthesizers, along with the drum machine, is worth the asking price, just because of their extreme usefulness and amount of content.
While Arturia has decided to stay as true as they can get to these legendries, I’d have loved to have features like the standard sustain pedal and a greater polyphonic voice limit on some of the synths. Though using these plug-ins, I barely even think of these small subjective issues.
Comparing the sound from these virtual synths with the real thing, you would never be able to tell the difference. You might be able to detect a slight difference with a frequency analyzer, but in terms of sound, this is as close to the real thing as it can get. That negligible difference will not matter when these plugins provide the warm, thick, powerful, and crisp sounds that we all have come to love over the decades from our favourite bands, musicians, producers, and composers. This collection will make sure that you’ve got almost everything you need when it comes to classic synth, organ, string sounds and beat making.
Now back to fiddling with these bad boys – they are just too cool!