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Zebra2 Synth Review

Brandon Drury —  October 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

[schema type="review" url="http://www.u-he.com/cms/zebra" name="U-he Zebra2" description="Zebra2 could be the most feature-packed VST synth on the market." rev_name="Zebra2" rev_body="Zebra2 gets my bulletproof rating as an absolutely outstanding synth." author="Brandon Drury" pubdate="2012-10-16" user_review="5" min_review="5" max_review="5" ]Zebra2

Zebra Website   Youtube Channel
What Is It:  Soft synth
Price: $200 direct from their website
Rating:  EVERYONE into virtual instruments / synths should take a SERIOUS look at Zebra2.

Intro

In December of 2010 I bought an Access Virus Rack, Roland JP-8080, DSI Prophet 08, Novation Bass Station, and several months later I picked up a Moog Voyager.  I borrowed a Korg MRS2000 for a year.  These are all super cool synths.

In July of 2011 I started my trial of Zebra2.  Now I can not think of a reason to fire up the hardware.

I’ve went back and forth as to which sounds better, Zebra2 or the hardware, and I eventually realized that it was the wrong question.  Without hesitation, I, Brandon Drury, sound better using Zebra2 than I do with any of those other synths.  I mean that if you hand me Zebra2 and you hand me my synth rack and say, “Do something interesting”, I’m going to come up with results that are more intriguing and more satisfying on Zebra2.

Some of this could be that I’ve focused on Zebra2 for 4+ months.  I’ve been able to focus on Zebra2, because Zebra2 takes the handcuffs off and provides everything in a single package that a person CAN focus on.  What do I mean?  I mean that being able to modulate ANYTHING with ANYTHING is a quantum leap that none of my hardware synths come even close to.  The arpeggiator modulation option is the most insane thing in the world.  Having all the effects (damn good, fun effects), so many filters, oscillators, waveshapers, additive synthesis, the ability to draw my own oscillators, etc makes me suddenly a mean SOB.  It makes me dangerous.  I like that.  It does it all under one hood and that allows me to get more comfortable and experienced under that one, single hood.

To even get into the argument of a computer gadget sounding inferior seems like kid stuff from my particular vantage point.  If the sound of the oscillators is THAT big of deal to you and you’d rather have great “core” sounds at the expense of doing anything cool with them, that’s your cup of tea.  I will say that if a person really only wants those same eight sounds that are generally all over the radio that maybe a ROMpler like Nexus may be up your alley or maybe some very specific analog synths.   BTW, I don’t view the limited modulation options in on a Prophet 08 or Moog Voyager as being wildly different from a ROMpler.  There may be a guy who’s deadly with those analog synths, but I’m not.  After using Zebra2, going back to the analog world feels like half your toys were taken away.

For me, the ability to sound unique is the ONLY thing I care about.  Brandon sounds like Brandon using Zebra2 and he never felt that way using any of the hardware.

Minivanz, my partner in crime on this synth stuff, had trouble with the sounds in Zebra2 at first.  He loved Sylenth. Sylenth1 Synth Review.  Two weeks later he was a complete believer in Zebra2 and was cranking out some truly CRAZY stuff with it that he wasn’t able to do in Massive or Sylenth regardless of inherent sounds in the synths themselves.

My Initial Notes The First Day

I like to take notes of my initial impressions with a gadget.  Here’s what I wrote down.

–Install went perfectly.

–Presets are a little too good…I almost want to use them.  (I’m not a presets guy.)

– I’m getting the kind of sounds I’m into is FAST.  (Their Youtube channel is a HUGE help.)  I’m hoping to get into “intermediate” sometime this year when it comes to making my own patches from scratch.  I’m getting sounds I like in minutes without any of the clearly not-quite-there problem so many of us face with most sounds we try to nail in home recording land.

I want to emphasize that I’m not using the presets.  I’m just getting the kind of results I want out of a synth with 20x the satisfaction in 1/20th the time.

–  There’s a lot to learn.  Zebra2 is comprehensive.  It’s clearly designed to be a synth you CAN’T outgrow.  The speed of sound creation outweighs this sizeable learning curve.  I get the feeling that there’s NOTHING this synth can’t do that I’d ever need.

Note:  4 months later I still feel this synth can do just about anything.

– After about 4 hours of use I’ve decided all my hardware synths must go.  I like the sound of Zebra2 better than ANY of the synths I own.

Note:  I still feel this way.

–  Using Zebra2 as plugin insert (Zebrify) on audio is an absolute blast.  I’ve mangled audio just about every way I can think of using the kind of plugins Waves, UAD, or Soundtoys make.  A full-featured fully modular synth as an effects unit is an Apache helicopter fighting Julius Caesar.  There just isn’t a comparison to the two when you REALLY want to mangle something.    I suspect a lot of indie rock bands I deal with who say, “Brandon, do some crazy shit on this part” are going to be in for a shock.  GOOD!

–  The number of  tutorials on Youtube, particularly by the manufacturer, are VERY VERY inspiring.    I can’t say I was all the impressed with their website.  They focused on none of the things that are important to me, but I have to say that their Youtube channel is tip top.

–  The manual is written by human beings.  A synth this in-depth does require manual reading sometimes if you want to tweak. It’s nice when a manual is done well.  This one is.  Not only is the manual a standable read, it has built in tutorials.  This does happen, but not nearly enough.  I’ve found these to be ultra helpful.

Moog Bass Vs Zebra2 Bass

The Moog bass sound(s) are fairly legendary.  When you fire up a Moog there is a thing to it.  It’s hard to deny that.  The Moog on its own will give you an evil grin.  Trying to wedge the Moog into a fairly dense mix was something that I have never figured out in the 18 months I’ve had it.  Trying to shape the tone of the Moog to fit these dense mixes is not something I’ve ever figured out, either.  Minus EQ, how do you tame 140Hz on a big Moog bass sound?

Note:  Abysynth 5 also has this problem where you have to find ways to ditch that upper bass stuff when using the standard saw.  It sometimes takes real work to get that junk out.

With the Zebra2 bass, I use the default saw oscillator.  I run it through WaveShaper 3, I fiddle for 30 seconds, I have a very useable bass sound from which to build a song.  It has all the grit, nastiness, balls, bla, bla, bla that I want out of my bass sounds without that 140Hz stuff.  It’s the sound I thought I’d get out of the Moog by default.  Nope.

I don’t want to get into the argument of digital vs analog.  I just want to say that I personally DRAMATICALLY prefer having solutions to my problems included in the same box.  Having the ability to get THIS detailed, as I’ll discuss later, is something that separates the new thinking from the old ways and allows soft synths to not only compete with old analog hardware but to surpass them.  YMMV

Awesome Features

Creating Your Own Waveforms
The thing I hate most about the Prophet 08, Moog, and various softsynths I’ve tried is sometimes I need that one sound.  What is it?  Hell, I don’t know, but it’s a craving I get and the answer to getting it is almost never found in simply playing with the waveform options for a given oscillator.

The ability to draw in your own waveforms for any given oscillator is simply a grand slam.  While getting fast at it is an art, I have to say that this is the synth-world equivalent to moving a mic.  (Sometimes that one mic placement on a guitar track wasn’t ideal, but no amount of EQing will fix it.  Moving a mic could change the fundamental character in a way in which no EQ would be needed.    Drawing custom waveforms allows us to get into the heart of the sound and fundamentally change it in ways that are aren’t possible with other synths.)

Seriously, this waveform drawing is the future.  If you’ve not spent a few hours with the technique, you’ve missed out on exactly the kind of thing that makes a soft synth like Zebra2 so valuable.

Sound Shaper
Fire up a saw bass.  The default initial sound will work.  Toss on Sound Shaper.  You immediately have tremendous control with just the “depth” and “hiout”.  These are most likely very simple EQ-type functions, but they are voiced perfectly to get what you want in literally 2 seconds without pulling out a parametric EQ.  I’m not aware of anything this musically intuitive in Massive, Sylenth1, or Absynth.  (Absynth’s sound shaper is awesome, too, but more in a completely-mangled-insanity kind of way.  “Shaping” isn’t the right word for it.)

The Sound Shaper is very useful on many, many sounds and is a nice alternative to EQ, which is something I generally avoid when making synth sounds.

Filter Drive
Most filters have a drive option which works similar to the Sound Shaper…only different.  You can really bring an otherwise boring synth patch to life just by cranking up the Drive on the filter.  The vintage filters in particular are outstanding for causing mayhem.

Modulated Reverb
I was a fan of the effects in Sylenth1 because they sounded reminded me of a Friday The Thirteenth movie from 1988.  I’m a fan of the Zebra2 effects because they sound like something I could use on 10 different studio projects this week.

In particular, the reverb stands out.  It’s a bold sucker capable of some pretty wild stuff.  In particular, the ability to modulate the frequency of the reverb has been particularly amazing at the more over the top sounds I employ.

Because Zebra2 has such a great effects section, it’s amazing how many sounds can be done with a simple oscillator and creative effects usage.  Bypassing the effects often makes me go, “Oh” in disappointment.  This, too, illustrates both my personal tastes and my qualms with my analog synths.  I tend to like synths with effects on them and I never liked the additional patch and workflow issues of using/buying additional hardware effects processors for my Prophet 08.  This definitely gives Zebra2 an unfair advantage.

Outstanding Extras
The ability to change the screen size is brilliant.  The world of 1080p has made once huge screen displays miniscule.  If you are like me you have a stupid console in the way that forces you to be 42” away from your screen.  I sometimes struggle with plugins where I can’t see the settings.  That’s not a problem with Zebra.  This is a feature I’ve never seen before and I have to say it makes me feel confident that this company has their crap together.

Very Efficient  CPU Usage
CPU is usage is almost non-existant on my AMD 6-core 1090T processor.  There are plugins that chew up 25% of my CPU power with one instance.  I can’t even see the CPU meter move with Zebra2 using a fairly basic patch.  Even on the most intense patch I’ve made so far I’d imagine I’m using maybe 4% CPU usage.

Back To The Old Synths For A Day

For the sake of the his review, I thought I’d tear up an X-girlfriend just to see if I was missing anything.  I fired up all my hardware synths for a few hours.  There was the “Oh…..wow…..different!” thing that every person with 68 guitars does the day they bought the 68th.  The inherent character of each synth was pretty neat, but I never got anything dangerous out of any of them.  I made 40 presets in the Prophet a week before I snagged Zebra2.  I went through them.  Not one of them sounds like a convincted felon made them.  They all just kinda sound….the same.  Grab 40 random presets I made on Zebra2 and you can imagine me in my mad scientist suit.  It’s a different world.

Downsides?

Hmmm.  The synth always seems to sound fairly “smooth”…not too far from what a neck pickup does on a high gain guitar.  If you go through their presets, ALL of them have this “smooth” quality.  The tools are ample to screw that up, but you do have to go out of your way to do so.  (Filter drive is great for this.)   This isn’t a huge issue, but it may take some getting used to for some.  I don’t consider this “smooth” thing a bad thing.

We have encountered a few bugs here and there, but reliability has been 99.9% and I’m pleased.  These bugs do seem to pop up at the most opportune times, but that’s just my usual luck.

Other than that I’m really at a loss.  There aren’t any other downsides that I can think of.

Conclusion

Is Zebra2 right for you?  Hell, I don’t know.  It’s right for me and not just by a little bit.  I think it’s better than hardware synths for me, I love the way it sounds, and continually find new things to do in it.  I’m sold.

I’ve noticed that I’ve not even felt the need to shop for synths online now that I have Zebra2.  How often have you bought a synth and then been satisfied enough to not want any more synths?  (This is something the high end compressor and EQ makers can’t figure out.)

I feel that some smart dudes into synths sat down and said, “We all use DAWs and love real synth sounds.  How do we make these technologies work perfectly with one another?”  There was none of this crap like where UAD will intentionally cripple a plugin to have the same workflow limitations of the hardware box.  Instead, the Zebra2 guys seem to be a lot more “forward thinking” like the iZotope guys.  How can we make synthesis on a computer BETTER than on a real synth?  I think they achieved their goal.  :beerbangX:

All in all Zebra2 is a total winner.  I can’t imagine a person not finding it awesome if they put 20 hours to really learn it in and out.  It just sucks that I bought $4,500 in hardware before figuring out that the $200 Zebra2 is the answer.  Speaking of that, make sure to check out their “ Dinosaur Crossgrade“.

Saved Comments


nulldevice – 10-30-2012, 08:51 AM
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Heckmann’s new one, “Diva”, is supposed to sound even better. And is supposedly even more of a processor hog.

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axxessdenied – 10-30-2012, 11:36 AM
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Nice review! I think I’m going to check out the demo! How would you compare the learning curve in Zebra2 compared to Massive?

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bitflipper – 10-30-2012, 12:11 PM
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I recently went through an exhaustive comparison of soft synths, looking to augment my hardware and mostly sample-based software. I demoed pretty much every product I’d ever heard of in the past couple years.

Conclusion: It’s frickin’ amazing what you get nowadays for between $60 and $350.

For each product, I started out by cycling through presets and then looked at programmability – how easy is it to get from an imagined sound to a real, usable sound. Having a huge number of routing and modulation options isn’t the only consideration. The UI must be ergonomically sensible: hiding the controls you use least until needed, placing sections in a logical sequence, displaying relationships between modules in a clear manner.

Diva was an early contender, but it was too much of a load on my aged system and had to be scratched from the list. Dune got props for being inexpensive. Twin 2 was my favorite user interface. SynthMaster lets you load waves as oscillators, a cool feature that will likely become a standard feature for soft synths. Helix sounded great but is apparently abandonware. Chromaphone was great fun but too much like String Studio, which I already have. Tassman impressed for sheer versatility, but was as complex as having a real modular synth from the 60′s. All in all, I demoed perhaps 20 products.

In the end, Zebra scored the highest in every category.

* There is an active community of Zebra programmers who share their creations for free, and a number of good commercial patch libraries are available. And because the Zebra demo lets you load and save patches (most demo versions don’t) you can get an even better idea of what the instrument is capable of.

* You get a separate plugin in the bundle that lets you use Zebra’s effects modules in any audio track.

* You can get a $50 discount by submitting a photo of any hardware synth with a sign reading “replaced by Zebra” atop.

* The developer has an active online presence, interacts often with users and is open to suggestions.

* The patch browser lets you flag the patches you like best, and hide all those ugly novelty sounds that might be impressive demonstrations but that you know you’ll never actually use. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next version doesn’t implement a star-rating scheme like Omnisphere’s.

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brandondrury – 10-30-2012, 01:39 PM
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Heckmann’s new one, “Diva”, is supposed to sound even better. And is supposedly even more of a processor hog.
Well, Zebra2 would have to be a CPU hog for Diva to be an “even more of a processor hog”.

How would you compare the learning curve in Zebra2 compared to Massive?
I never got “good” at Massive. I can work my way around, but I never did that 4 day binge where I did nothing but Massive like I have Absynth and Zebra2. Minivanz is really good at Massive and he’s always up to a lot of things where I’m thinking, “What the HELL did he just do?”.

I imagine Zebra2 would be similar to a person who didn’t do their minimal homework needed. I imagine Massive and Zebra2 are pretty similar in terms of learning curve and time needed to get busy.

Massive has a different sound. It’s a love/hate thing. I think I’m more on the love side, but whatever.

I’ve hard better luck getting hard hitting kick drums in Massive than I have in Zebra2. Zebra2 does the 808 thing very well and I’ve watched videos where the 909 sound was nailed, but I’ve been less successful.

I recently went through an exhaustive comparison of soft synths, looking to augment my hardware and mostly sample-based software. I demoed pretty much every product I’d ever heard of in the past couple years.
Damn, bitflipper. You should be writing these reviews! Why do I bother?

* The developer has an active online presence, interacts often with users and is open to suggestions.
I meant to include that in the review. Damn, I forget his name. Either way, I had a few questions that I searched for in Google. I believe it was at KRV that dude was actively discussing the ins/outs and explaining their reasoning/workaround for paths they had chosen. That made me feel very good hearing it from the horses mouth. (Get it? horse? zebra? No, it’s not funny.)

Brandon

gsking1′s Avatar
gsking1 – 10-30-2012, 07:30 PM
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I’ve played with Zebralette and Zebra a little, but own Diva. Diva is truly amazing to my ears. It does use a lot more more processor and it’s forced me to “freeze” tracks in logic. I’m still happy with that purchase after many months. I’ll have to give Zebra another try.

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fyrebaul – 10-30-2012, 09:00 PM
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Good review!

I think Zebra is a fine synthesizer and moreso than that, Mr. Heckmann will be remembered as a Bob Moog of the “digital age”.

The only points I slightly disagree on (OMG, someone disagrees about something completely subjective on the interwebz?!) would be the emphasis on the “drawing” aspect of the additive side of the equation. I feel that in concept it is superb but like many other additive concepts isn’t quite as realized in action. Temper this of course with the fact that while sound design is indeed my profession, I make patches for a number of small software companies while in the meantime Hans-freaking-Zimmer is requesting custom builds of Zebra and composing entire soundtracks with nothing but it.

So, in that regard, if our respective opinions were weighted against one another…

Yeah.. You get the picture.

Oh and concerning the Diva comment, Diva does indeed -emulate well known vintage analog synthesizers- better than Zebra in my opinion. HOWEVER! It has about 1/25th the eventual sound design possibility and 1/10th the overall flexibility. Diva was obviously built for a purpose, a slightly limited but highly focus purpose. Zebra is a universe unto itself.

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dudermn – 10-31-2012, 01:02 AM
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That one sound you were looking for might be more cow bell.

The glass-viper has been around longer than the zebra 2. Back when I went looking through synths every-one of um had the whole draw your wave-form here deal.
Just a few made the cut.

The glass-viper is harder to use though. Think of it this way.
I kept it because I couldnt figure out how to use it.

jkuehlin’s Avatar
jkuehlin – 10-31-2012, 12:37 PM
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Will this thing open as a 64 bit AU?

Does it have multi-out capacity, so you don’t have to open 20 instances of the same plugin?

How CPU intensive?

If you add and delete osc,env,filter,mod modules, is there a way to lock key maps to automap or eucon? Or do you have re-write the control surface layout every time you change a patch?

Can it host a 3rd party plugin within itself (in the same way NI Maschine can)?

I can’t tell if it has an actual sequencer or just an arpeggiator. Anyone know?

And does anyone know if Uh-e went to the extent Arturia did (with the TAE technology) to emulate the actual inconstancies and imperfections of analog hardware? I understand that analog modeling was not the focus of this program, but I was curious if they had done anything different than NI or Korg when coding the oscillators.

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jkuehlin – 10-31-2012, 12:42 PM
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Can it host a 3rd party plugin within itself (in the same way NI Maschine can)?

I can’t tell if it has an actual sequencer or just an arpeggiator. Anyone know?

And does anyone know if Uh-e went to the extent Arturia did (with the TAE technology) to emulate the actual inconstancies and imperfections of analog hardware? I understand that analog modeling was not the focus of this program, but I was curious if they had done anything different than NI or Korg when coding the oscillators.

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bitflipper – 10-31-2012, 12:52 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by jkuehlin View Post
Will this thing open as a 64 bit AU?

Does it have multi-out capacity, so you don’t have to open 20 instances of the same plugin?

How CPU intensive?

If you add and delete osc,env,filter,mod modules, is there a way to lock key maps to automap or eucon? Or do you have re-write the control surface layout every time you change a patch?

Can it host a 3rd party plugin within itself (in the same way NI Maschine can)?

I can’t tell if it has an actual sequencer or just an arpeggiator. Anyone know?

And does anyone know if Uh-e went to the extent Arturia did (with the TAE technology) to emulate the actual inconstancies and imperfections of analog hardware? I understand that analog modeling was not the focus of this program, but I was curious if they had done anything different than NI or Korg when coding the oscillators.
Not multi-timbral. Much more CPU-friendly than comparable products, even from the same vendor. Can’t host another plugin AFAIK. Has an arpeggiator, no sequencer. Zebra does not emulate any specific piece of hardware.

Get the demo. It’s fully functional – you can even load and save patches. The demo limitation is that after a while it starts randomizing MIDI notes.

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brandondrury – 11-01-2012, 01:27 AM
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The only points I slightly disagree on (OMG, someone disagrees about something completely subjective on the interwebz?!) would be the emphasis on the “drawing” aspect of the additive side of the equation. I feel that in concept it is superb but like many other additive concepts isn’t quite as realized in action.
When I hear something blahhh in a Moog or Prophet 08 patch/track, my options are….Well, I’m not aware of any way to solve that blah other than with EQ. While it does take some playing around, the ability to actually dig deep into the actual waveform for me has been priceless. It’s the difference between a patch being kinda right and being exactly what I want. YMMV.

Much more CPU-friendly than comparable products
I was ruining some Christmas songs for my upcoming light show and tossed up 20 instances of Zebra2. I didn’t even see the CPU bar in Cubase move @ 128 samples buffer. There weren’t too intense of patches, but this gets the point across.

I understand that analog modeling was not the focus of this program, but I was curious if they had done anything different than NI or Korg when coding the oscillators.
Definitely. I’ve not dealt with Korg, but Zebra2 sounds like a totally different synth than Massive, Absynth, etc. It doesn’t really interest me how many miles Arturia drove to work each day or what effort they put into their plugins, necessarily. In my view, the emulation of hardware is a step in the wrong direction for the most part. At least, if a company is going to have a team working on hardware-like oscillators, I’d want another team working on things that actually make me creative. I’m probably in the minority on that one, but after seeing what Zebra2, Massive, and Absynth do, the “rich” oscillators on the Prophet 08 bore me quickly even if I would LOVE to have those exact oscillators as a drop down option in Zebra2.

In short, I say either you like the results or you don’t, but just looking at the filters or oscillators is only the beginning. Whenever I’m hung up on the real thing, I just use the real thing. Emulation is mostly a waste of time for me. To each his own.

Does it have multi-out capacity, so you don’t have to open 20 instances of the same plugin?
I’m not aware of any synths that have 20 synths within them. (Samplers do this, but not any synths I know of.) My Access Virus Rack has 2 stereo outs which an be used to layer to patches together. My Prophet 08 can do that, too, but I don’t think this is what you are talking about.

With Zebra2, I use Cubase instrument tracks and have no problem using one instance of Zebra2 for each sound I desire.

If you add and delete osc,env,filter,mod modules, is there a way to lock key maps to automap or eucon? Or do you have re-write the control surface layout every time you change a patch?
Good question. I never dealt with any of that.

Can it host a 3rd party plugin within itself (in the same way NI Maschine can)?
I thought Maschine was the drum sampler thing. (I’ve not really checked it out.) I never saw the option to run another plugin within Zebra2, but never really needed that, either.

Brandon

jkuehlin’s Avatar
jkuehlin – 11-01-2012, 02:00 AM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post

I’m not aware of any synths that have 20 synths within them. (Samplers do this, but not any synths I know of.) My Access Virus Rack has 2 stereo outs which an be used to layer to patches together. My Prophet 08 can do that, too, but I don’t think this is what you are talking about.

Brandon
When I referred to ‘multi-out’ i’m referring to the ability to open one instance of the plugin on a software instrument track, then setup 16+ different patches within the one instance of the zebra that each receive midi data individually on seperate midi channels from the DAW. This is a very handy feature opposed to opening 16 instances of the same plugin on 16 different channels. For instance:

Vienna Ensemble Pro Sever opened inside of pro tools 10.
MIDI channel 1 -> Output to VE Pro Strings on channel 1
MIDI channel 2 -> Output to VE Pro Brass on channel 2
MIDI channel 3 -> Output to VE Pro Woodwinds on Channel 2 etc…

Motu Ethno, Omnisphere, BFD 2, VI, Maschine, Trillian, Kontakt 5, and all East West libraries do this. It’s a huge convenience for film composers that need the same engine to create multiple sound effects in the same scene. It helps organize the session a little more efficiently, and you only have to leave one plugin window open on your desktop opposed to flipping back and forth between all instances each loaded on a different softsynth track.

Sorry for lack of clarification that first time. That’s what I meant by multi-timberal ‘Bitflipper’ clarified that zebra does not do this. Much appreciated…

(and I am planning to buy this program tomorrow)…thanks again for the pointers ahead of time guys. It will save me time not flipping through a manual or googling pages when I order it.

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brandondrury – 11-01-2012, 03:41 PM
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When I referred to ‘multi-out’ i’m referring to the ability to open one instance of the plugin on a software instrument track, then setup 16+ different patches within the one instance of the zebra that each receive midi data individually on seperate midi channels from the DAW. This is a very handy feature opposed to opening 16 instances of the same plugin on 16 different channels. For instance:
I guess it’s just a personal preference thing, but I never liked that method. I think it’s mostly because I’m so handy in Cubase and not so handy in Kontakt. For me, using the Instrument tracks in Cubase has made that multi-out way of working obsolete. YMMV.

and you only have to leave one plugin window open on your desktop opposed to flipping back and forth between all instances each loaded on a different softsynth track.
Yeah, but then you have to scroll up and down to find Instrument #9 within Kontakt itself. When we start debating these types of workflows it becomes tit size hair splitting and is ultimately up for the individual to figure out what’s best for them.

(and I am planning to buy this program tomorrow)…thanks again for the pointers ahead of time guys. It will save me time not flipping through a manual or googling pages when I order it.
My first tip is to DEFINITELY flip through (and read) the manual. Follow all the tutorials included. It’s one of the few “fun” manuals I’ve ever seen. Their Youtube channel is great as well.

You’ll probably be a hair confused on the blending of oscillators. That can be a hair weird as two series oscillators (based on the grid) are actually parallel. I’m not sure, exactly, why they did that but the designer explained it on KRV, I think. You’ll find it when it gives you a headache.

As soon as you get bored, turn on the arpeggiator modulation and start going to town. That’s the best replacement for slavery that I’ve seen yet. (A concept that does all the work for white people. )

Brandon

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LazyE – 11-03-2012, 11:37 AM
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ok so i`m a MASSIVE hardware synth fan, i used to own a juno, hav a roland jv, a korg ms1 , just sod my korg ms2000 (which are awsme by the way!) a novation bass station and a station and have had various other modular non modular analog and non analog synths throughout the years.
i never thought i`d ever get into soft synths i always thought they sounded `computery` or `shite` lol

however, what with processors and prgramming cmming along so much i was actually impressed with my mates `bass station` emulator that i thought i`d take a closer peek at the soft synth domain!
i then proceeded to shit my pants!

i bought myself absynth3 on the cheap and its pretty good. but i have now just about got my new pc up and running and tried a demo version of linplug octopus and also biohazard.
i need to get my head out of my ass!
i have now realised that soft synths have come on leaps and bounds and in fact (and i hate to say it)
starting to surpass hardware! and thats coming from a die hard 70`s prog rock moog fanatic!

i have just ordered myself zebra 2, i liked it so much prom demos and youtube vids i wasn`t going to insult it by not paying for it.

cheers brandon

Zebra 2 Synth Tutorial w/ zircon – Part 1 (Overview + Oscillators) – YouTube

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brandondrury – 11-03-2012, 04:52 PM
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i have now realised that soft synths have come on leaps and bounds and in fact (and i hate to say it) starting to surpass hardware!
It’s important to note that if you have X hardware synth it DEFINITELY does its thing. Your Moog, Juno, Prophet, etc is considered the standard. Whether any given plugin 100% replicates THIS standard is up for debate. In a vacuum of sound only, even the exact same hardware synth rarely sounds the same from day to say because of the oscillator drift. My Moog Voyager RME will sound out of tune on startup some times. There’s no way around it and apparently they’ve improved it tremendously over the old ways.

It’s my view that looking back on a ’68 Mustang Cobra Jet and wondering if X new car can “compete” is the wrong question. Part of the magic of the vintage cars is everything they suck at. They are loud, mostly uncomfortable, horrendous on gas, have no air bags, (probably no seat belts), definitely no side impact protection, etc. The truth is a new muscle car is better in any sense of the word except for that “feeling” you get on classic muscle car when you romp on it.

Once we get past the FUN of using a muscle car or an old synth and actually focus on the results of our music (which does include practical crap like gas mileage, workflow, synths staying in tune, ease of saving presets, and tone) the modern tools are freakin’ amazing and destroy anything I can put in a rack for my tonal tastes and ways of working.

Some old timers don’t mind the Neanderthal workflow and NEED to know their synth is analog to get musical tones out if. If their music is great, I’m all for it. Practical or not.

Brandon

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jkuehlin – 11-03-2012, 10:54 PM
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Quote Originally Posted by brandondrury View Post

It’s my view that looking back on a ’68 Mustang Cobra Jet and wondering if X new car can “compete” is the wrong question.

Brandon
I think this is a VERY valid point. So right on. Buy both the old car AND the new car. Drive which one you feel like, whenever you feel like it. Heck, go buy 10 different cars. The more of them you own, the more well rounded and versatile your garage is and the happier you will live forever after (assuming you know how to drive).

I could imagine how annoying it would be for a professional race car driver to listen to an antique car collector talk about how the cars he owns are better than the cars his neighbor owns. Do sometimes need healthy reminders in these conversations that it is still more important how well you drive and…not what you drive? Just a thought.

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brandondrury – 11-04-2012, 09:26 PM
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Do sometimes need healthy reminders in these conversations that it is still more important how well you drive and.
This is why the concept of a tool making ME better at my thing was such a big epiphany. Tools that are just good for the sake of being good are meaningless if they don’t actually add any points to the scoreboard. When a person hears my work and judges if they want to record with me or buy my products, I’d prefer to have Zebra2 in my corner.

 

Brandon Drury

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Brandon Drury quit counting at 1,200 recorded songs in his busy home recording studio. He is the creator of RecordingReview.com and is the author of the Killer Home Recording series.
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