Filters. I think the sound of the
filters, which have wonderful analog characteristics, provides Albino3 with much
of its Virus-like character. There's 4 major types of filters called Silk,
Cream, Scream and Comb. Each has different modes, making it easy to find
the type of filtration you want, or just click around at random till you fn
something that grabs you. The quality of filter cutoff and resonance is
top notch. Those of you who love analog will not be disappointed with
Albino's emulations. In total you get 20 filter modes. Using the
scream filter I was able to get convincing, deep filter effects reminiscent
of old mono synths. The lighter silk and cream filters get those classic
short blips for trance and house.
Oscillators: There are four sources you
can use in any Albino patch. These include Analog, Digital, Noise and
Audio Input as your oscillators. (I was unable to find a way to
use the audio input in Logic.) You can use 4 oscillators in every
layer, and there can be up to 4 layers in every patch. There is also a
"spread" function which multiplies the oscillators in use. You can stack
up to 80 oscillators on a single preset. If that is not fat enough for you,
we'll send you a bag of chips. lol. The combination of analog waves
and digital operators allows Albino's sounds greater diversity than just a
typical analog synth. Browsing through the preset library shows how far
this synth can go. You get digital as well as analog basses, clean bell
like tones, and hybrid tones reminiscent of Roland d50 sounds. Even EPs and
Oberheim-ish Brass. The noise
oscillator can make some tasty snares and hi hats well within the traditions of
trance. The Atmospheres are just the way we like them, warm, glowing,
oozing, sterile, glassy. Paired with the chord function and adding an
arp to one layer can give up some dreamy sounds.
Arpeggiator and Chord Functions: What
sold me on Albino was the excellent arpeggiator and chord function, which can be
used together. While Albino comes with a huge selection of preset
arpeggios, you can also make your own, with up to 32 steps. The Arpeggiator
locks up to your sequencer's tempo. No problem at all in Logic. The preset
arpeggios are so good you might not want to make your own. These arps are
designed to work with the oscillators and the filter and many give a classic trance
sound that you will "remember" when you hear it. I found myself saying,
"Wow, he's got That sound". The chord function is easy to use. Just click "learn"
play a chord, the click "play". Done! Just try doing that on your
Fantom or in Logic. Its a multi step, multi click process on both.
Preset Library: There is one other thing
that sold me on Albino, and that is the huge library of presets it comes with,
programmed by the designer himself, Rob Papen. I've been following Rob's
work for several years. He's the author of many sample CD Roms for Emu and
the sound designer behind Emu's Orbit 3 synth, the Beat Garden, and Techno
Industrial Roms. Rob also developed sounds for the Access Virus. To my
ears, Albino3 sounds quite Virus like. If you can't afford a Virus TI but
want that sound, Albino is probably the best way to get it.
Rob provides 2100 of his sonic creations in the form of presets.
They are well-organized into categories making them easy to find and navigate
to. This is the stuff.
I usually end my soft synth reviews
with my take on who will like and who will not like the synths. This time
I can't think of too many musicians that aren't going to appreciate Albino.
Ok, maybe the Country Chart Watchers and the Professorial String Orchestrators
Guild might not be overly thrilled, but that's probably due more to the smell of
all those unwashed DnBers jumping around than the sound. Pop, hip
hop, the variations of techno, dance club, house and trance music will all find
a lot in Albino to like.
Albino comes in the usual PC and Mac formats: VSTi, AU and
RTAS are supported. Mac users with the Intel processors in their machines
will be happy to note Albino3 is Universal Binary.
I tip my Tweakhat to Rob Papen. Its a classic!