What is the UVI Vintage Vault?
UVI Vintage Vault is a sample based collection of classic synthesizer sounds. UVI has sampled the original vintage synthesizers for this and put them all together in their UVI Workstation Software sampler.
It contains the following packs (which can also be bought separately):
- Darklight IIx (Fairlight CMI-2x)
- Digital Synsations (Yamaha SY77, Korg M1, Ensoniq VFX and Roland D50)
- Emulation II (Emu Emulator II)
- Emulation One (Emu Emulator)
- Mello (Mellotron)
- String Machines (11 vintage String Synths)
- The Beast (Synclavier FMII)
- UltraMini (Minimoog and Moog Voyager)
- UVX-3P (Roland JX-3P)
- UVX-10P (Roland JX-10, MKS-70 and JX-8P)
- Vector Pro (Sequential Prophet VS and Yamaha SY22)
- Vintage Legends (Yamaha CS-70M, CS-40M and CS-20M, Elka Synthex, Rhodes Chroma, Yamaha DX1, DK Synergy and Kurzweil K250)
- WaveRunner (Wavetable synths including PPG Wave and Waldorf Wave)
- Beat Box Anthology (Classic 80s drum machines, for a full list see here)
After purchasing Vintage Vault from UVI, you will receive a serial number. You then have to create a user account on their website and register the software to your iLok account. You then have to install the iLok License Manager on your computer and download the licenses, either to your iLok USB dongle or directly to your computer.
Then you’ll be able to download the product – Vintage Vault comes in at a whopping 57 GB (unpacking to around 61 GB). Luckily, there are several mirrors available that are located throughout the world, so you can choose the closest server. Downloading from the European server was very fast for me, so I had no problems there.
All in all, it’s a straightforward process.
Vintage Vault contains a lot of great sounds, some of which instantly bring you back to the 70s or the 80s! However, quite a few presets are also suitable for modern productions. Browsing quickly through a few presets, I found a few instantly recognizable sounds. For example, I stumbled across the intro synth sound from Michael Jackson’s Beat it (In Darklight IIX Bass>Bit Heat) and the famous slap bass sound from the music of Seinfeld (DS1 Bass>Marcus Thumb).
Vintage Vault contains over 5,000 presets, so there’s probably something for everyone in there. You can really hear the differences in character of all the different synths that UVI have sampled for this collection. It sounds very authentic, and Vintage Vault makes it very easy to add a retro/vintage touch to your music. The samples of the drum machines also sounded very good, and there are plenty of those as well.
The Vintage Vault instruments provide the ability to tweak several parameters, and also provide several functions that some of the original synths didn’t have (like polyphony, unison, overdrive, and effects for example). On most instruments, you can control the amp envelope, filter envelope, filter, filter overdrive, effects, unison/chorus, modwheel modulation depth, and an arpeggiator – but it differs a little per instrument.
The filter is an element that greatly contributes to the character of a synthesizer. Although most of the Vintage Vault instruments include a filter where you can control the envelope, cutoff, resonance, and drive, they sound far from authentic to the instrument they are trying to emulate. Having said that, the filters do sound quite alright, especially with a little filter overdrive.
The GUI’s all look very pretty, and UVI have created a custom GUI for every instrument in the collection! As cool as this is, it comes with a little disadvantage: on every instrument, the parameters are in a different spot in the GUI, so sometimes you really have to spend a while searching for the parameter that you wanted to change!
Having so many presets is awesome (again, over 5000!), but the way that browsing so many presets is handled in the UVI Workstation software is far from ideal. For some instruments included in the Vintage Vault, you would have to load the instrument first before being able to browse the presets from the GUI. For the others, you would have to use the UVI Workstation browser itself.
The internal browser is like browsing through the folders on your hard drive, so you would not able to, for instance, show all the “bass” sounds from all the instruments; you would have to browse the presets per instrument. There is a search feature, but after you load a preset from the results list, the GUI of the instrument would open with the selected sound, and the results list is gone upon your retrurn to the browser, which would revert back to its normal view.
A preset browser, like the one found in Omnisphere, for example, would be a really welcome addition to find the sounds you want, and it would enhance the usability and workflow quite a bit!
The UVI Vintage Vault is truly a collection of wonderful sounds, lots of which add an instant retro vibe, and many others that would be right at home in more modern sounding productions. The individual GUI’s look great, but that comes at the cost of having to learn where all the controls are each time. The process of finding and selecting presets is also an area that could be improved.
If you are looking for authentic vintage synthesizer sounds that can work just as well in retro and modern sounding music, I highly recommend taking a look at UVI’s Vintage Vault.