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What's the deal with these Creamware synths?

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:45 pm
by supermel74
Are these straight up VAs or is there some sort of soft synth component? I'm referring to the tabletop models that emulate classic synths. It's so hard to tell nowadays especially since so many soft synths try really hard to look like hardware in their advertisements. How do they sound?

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:52 pm
by Bitexion
I have the MInimax, it is astoundingly powerful. Read any reviews, anywhere, and they'll say it's more or less a real minimoog sound. Some even say it sounds more like the original Minimoog than the Voyager. I completely love this thing. It's not so small as it might seem on pictures. And it copies the panel and all functions 100% (scaled down in size), even the innermost deep features. It has some "analog" instability on the oscillators aswell, like the real thing. And with just one buttonpress, you got 12 notes polyphony and memorymoog territory. It is WAY better than any of the software Mini emulations. Search for Minimax reviews in google, had a good review too.

The reason why they are so good at imitating their ancestors, is that the entire focus has been to exactly replicate the waveform shapes, filter response curves, and all the little features of the original synth. Whereas other VA's just provide a basic set of oscillators and filters, often looking like perfect sawtooth and square waves. But these old synths had slightly asymmetrical waveshapes. The creamware boxes take that into account too.

I have been floored by the sound of this synth every time I tweak on it, got mine a week ago. It really is amazing what they've done.
Same goes for the Pro-12 (prophet-5 emulation) I borrowed for a few days.

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 8:59 pm
by supermel74
Cool. They look like great little machines.

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:17 pm
by Bitexion
You should try one if you see it. They're not so small as they look on pics, and weigh around 5kg's. The minimax covers half of one of my 61-key synths. All the knobs are good, firm quality and it has solid wood on all sides, not just wood imitation plastic. Plus 256 presets (128 user programmable), which is nice. Plus they all respond to velocity and aftertouch, something the Minimoog users can only dream of..

There is just a certain depth and good feel to them that other VA's miss out on.

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:21 pm
by astraeus000
I agree, the Minimax sounds great.... and the Prodyssey as well sound incredible.....when I first auditioned it I believe I made stool in my pants... :oops:

but yeah, I did alot of research online first. I am not dissappointed. I like it so much that I am already getting that paranoid "I gotta get another one for a backup" feeling. :roll:

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:22 pm
by supermel74
$599 now at Novamusik is pretty tempting. Hopefully they're still available when it's time for me to get a new synth.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:05 am
by Septicstudio
These ASBs are really a lot of Phun to play with.

i got the Pro12, Minimax and the Prodyssey.
Although the Prodyssey has the most mod options and I really love the ARP sound, I actually the prefer the Pro12 for playing.
This machine sound so 80s It just what I like about this things. Keywords: Cocteau Twins, David Bowie, Brian Eno and all that 80s synths and Italo tracks, the Pro12 is perfect for that kinda mood of songs.

The Minimax sounds the thickest by far of the trio, when opening vca and vcf sustain levels and doing some legato play, it will melt your studio-monitors.

Re: What's the deal with these Creamware synths?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:13 am
by Septicstudio
supermel74 wrote:Are these straight up VAs or is there some sort of soft synth component? I'm referring to the tabletop models that emulate classic synths. It's so hard to tell nowadays especially since so many soft synths try really hard to look like hardware in their advertisements. How do they sound?
The are standalone HW synths, the remote editor is just used for deep editing of the efx and the Aftertouch settings etc.
I made a basic patch on each one of em, with my preferred settings (no pitchmod to AT etc only VCF mod ) and a 440hz tuning for the main osc.
Besides that I never use the editors, the ASB has knobs enough to play with ;)

The sound fine, just like you can expect from a third (or is it the 4th already?) generation VA I think.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:53 am
by amni
having never seen one i assume that it would just sound like a vst synth say Arturia Moog or AnywhereARP 2600???? or does it have a warmer rounded sound?

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:07 pm
by Bitexion
No no no it is way better than the softsynths. You just have to try it. That is like saying a Minimoog will just sound like a VST synth because Arturia made one called Minimoog V. Who needs the real thing then? :p These hardware boxes use some high quality hardware on the outputs and amplifier section. For instance the filter feedback trick (where you'd put a cable between phones out and audio inputs to create distortion), actually sets up a hardware path that overloads the mixer section, it doesn't just emulate what overloading the mixer section WOULD sound like. It actually overloads it, warming up the sound, and distorting it completely on high levels.

It is both smoother and warmer and deeper than all of the VST's put together. Nearly all the reviews I've read (and I've read them all) online says the same things.
This synth could actually replace the original Model D minimoog. And it supposedly sounds more vintage than the Voyager, which isn't supposed to be a vintage emulation, but a synth of its own.
The software is completely optional, you don't even have to use a separate MIDI cable, it runs across the USB cable. You get a full replica of the surface of the synth plus a page with extra options, like direct control of the effects via knobs instead of clicking buttons and turning the values on the synth. The software editor makes no sound of its own, the synth needs to be plugged in and detected.

There is onboard Chorus, phaser/flanger and stereo delay. It's made out of wood and metal.

These synths cost nearly a thousand dollars for a reason.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:21 pm
by Jack Spider
Bitexion (or any other Minimax owners), if you get a spare few moments, do you think you could dial in and record a snippet of the 'Aquatarkus' patch on this patch sheet, courtesy of No effects, if possible!

Minimoog Sound Sheet

I used to dial this one into my old Welsh Mini and it's pretty good (if you like ELP :wink:) - it'd be interesting to see how the Minimax handles it.

The whole patch book has been scanned in, which is a pretty interesting snapshot of the sort of sounds people were programming into Minimoogs around that time.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:37 pm
by wiss
doesnt look like these things are mac friendly.....

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:44 pm
by Bitexion
Yeah, the editor is very buggy on the Mac..but it's not really needed. You have all the functions of the synth on the synth itself. Editor just makes reaching the effects a bit easier.

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:58 pm
by wiss
thats why i've held back.....I assumed it was pure software and you could go in and tweak the presets via software and just use the interface to control it....kind of like the Korg Legacy but now there is a different story to it so my intrest are peaked again...well I think I know what my next purchase will be...

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:13 pm
by Bitexion
An easy misunderstanding. No, the software can control the hardware, but makes no sound of its own. You need the synth plugged in or nothing comes out. It is basically just a software MIDI interface for the entire synth.