I did this review with my buddy, Minvanz, who I work with frequently on the Jetface project. He’s VERY handy with Massive and makes all his own sounds and I brought him in to help me with the Sylenth1 review. I’ve been helping him a bit with his mixing skills and he’s coming along nicely.
For those who of you with lives who don’t want to watch a 30 minute screenshot video of two jackasses blabbering we sum up 99% of it here with these bulleted points.
Things We Love
The thing sounds DAMN good. It’s good enough that I don’t notice any obvious drop off between my Prophet 08 and Moog Voyager RME when switching to Sylenth1.
The presets are inspiring for a guy with my tastes.
Four oscillators with 8 voicings each is a VERY nice touch to anyone making their own synth sounds.
The arpeggiator is super simple but almost always effective.
Minivanz loved the random sound preset generator.
Things We Didn’t Love
I thought the lack of modulation routing options is a real downer when it comes to really wild modern sounds.
While I loved the reverb for it’s corny nature, Minivanz was expecting something more “hi-fi”. I chalked it up to character. He found it limiting. The delay, in particular, always seemed to deliver good results. The reverb is capable of “epic” (whatever that is), but it does so on its own terms. You’d have to try it out.
Lack of ability to modulate master filter. Minivanz does a lot of work with envelopes and LFOs on the master filter and while he could more or less do the same thing with the individual Oscillator filters, it was a bit limiting when we could do this.
A Trance Synth??
I’ve read a few forum posts online (always a good sign I’m about to get mad) and quite a few people called this a “trance synth”. I’ll admit that it does have quite a few presets that fit that genre. That may explain why I like the presets quite a bit.
Of course, those presets could be used for just about any music genre if a person were creative.
However, calling Sylenth1 a “trance synth” is like calling a computer a “porn viewing machine”. I can think of at least three other things I do with my computer. It’s a tool and can be used how you choose. The cello preset was particularly indicative of how the synth could make all sorts of sounds that aren’t remotely “trance-like”.
I think the thing sounds outstanding, uses relatively CPU juice, and is very very fun. It’s a tool that anyone so inclined should give a try. The presets are great, but there’s a lot under the hood on this thing for anyone who wants to dig deeper and you can go way further than the “trance-only” rumor floating around.
rca33 – 06-20-2012, 03:41 PM
Cool video and review!
Bigduggieface – 06-22-2012, 11:11 PM
Thanks for the video.
I bought this synth about a year ago. I was immediately impressed at how good it sounds and how musical it feels. I’m not usually into arpeggiators, but Sylenth has one of the most useful I’ve heard.
It is unfortunate that Sylenth has not made it to any of my recordings yet. That’s too bad. For whatever reason, other soft synths make the cut but not this one…yet. However, this video has piqued my interest again.
brandondrury – 06-25-2012, 04:26 PM
Yeah dude, the Sylenth1 synth is prime time in my opinion. I generally look at synths as very hands on….almost DIY in nature but Sylenth1 is one of the more fun synths I’ve heard.
It’s definitely darker than other synths that are going for more of the digital sound. Of course, I can’t make my hardware Prophet 08 or Moog Voyager RME do the “digital sound” either.
nulldevice – 06-26-2012, 02:30 PM
Biggest problem with Sylenth has been lack of support. It hasn’t been updated in a looooooong time, and the mfgr hasn’t been forthcoming about bugfixes or other support, other than to publicly say “stop asking.”
aaron aardvark’s Avatar
aaron aardvark – 06-26-2012, 10:03 PM
I didn’t know you were that interested in synths! I encourage you to do more synth reviews in the future. I think the Sylenth sounds quite good (I have only used the trial version). For me it is more of European dance/pop synth. Maybe some day I will own the non-trial version.
brandondrury – 06-30-2012, 12:25 PM
Oh yeah, dude. I’ve been hitting this synth stuff off and on since day 1 and for the past 18 months or so I’ve been doing this Jetface project every Tuesday which is ENTIRELY synth and vocals. I’m getting into making my own sounds from scratch and even making my own kicks and snares. It’s slow but it’s coming together inch by inch.
I’ve just snagged a review copy of Zebra2 which I’m LOVING!!!!
dudermn – 07-15-2012, 05:00 PM