My first Virus

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Murderhausen
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My first Virus

Post by Murderhausen » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:19 am

I just won an ebay auction for an Access Virus KB, and cannot contain my excitement. It's strange, however, because I was just becoming interested in a Supernova II before somewhat impulsively buying the virus. I am just wondering what some people can tell me about the differences between not only those two units, but some of the other stuff in my arsenal I can use as a frame of reference.

I've read about the filters being great, the low and mid range being deep, the high-end not sounding so good, and most of the effects being a little better than average with perhaps the exception of the reverb.

I am not looking to start a Virus vs. Nord Lead vs. Waldorf Q fight or anything, but just want some honest opinions and comparisons from people who have played more than a couple VA synths. I am interested in the quality of analogue sounds, string and pads with the chorus and phaser effects, and then the quality of the outerworldly sounds this machine can achieve with its routing and effects.

The seller told me it has OS4.8 if that is of any consequence.

Also...I know (because, perversely, I already read the entire PDF manual) that some of the functions for things like the third oscillator and third LFO are buried in menus, and even things like the waveform selection are not what one may be used to in a conventional synthesizer. Some comments about the overall interface and ease of use would be nice. Just wondering if it is easy enough to sit down and get lost in this machine in the pleasant, aural way, and not the menu-diving, forgetting what you had in your head way. Thanks!!

-Jeremy
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Post by Murderhausen » Tue Jun 03, 2008 12:22 am

Maybe I will also add the question of which VA in my collection does the Virus make most expendable?

My virtual analogues include:

Roland JP8000

Alesis Ion

Nord Lead 2X

Korg MS2000

Or maybe you'll think I won't like the Virus at all and will sell it for something else...
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:05 am

I think you did well to get a virus instead of a supernova, there's something about the Novations I just don't really like. Just my personal preference though, I've heard people (particularly clubbedtodeath) get some fantastic sounds out of them, but I just don't like using them myself.

I doubt anyone can guess for you which if any of your VAs the virus would make redundant, and I'm not going to even try to guess. I'm sure once you get it into your studio things will become apparent. The viruses (virii?) have great keybeds, you'll probably want to use it as your master controller over any of those.

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Post by clubbedtodeath » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:23 am

Hi there Murderhausen.

This kind of thing pops up on VSE regularly.

Take a look at :

http://www.vintagesynth.org/phpBB2/view ... +supernova
http://www.vintagesynth.org/phpBB2/view ... +supernova

See if these help.

Cheers,
Clubbed

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Post by Joey » Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:26 am

Murderhausen wrote:Maybe I will also add the question of which VA in my collection does the Virus make most expendable?

My virtual analogues include:

Roland JP8000

Alesis Ion

Nord Lead 2X

Korg MS2000

Or maybe you'll think I won't like the Virus at all and will sell it for something else...
I had both the nord lead 2x and ms2000 at the same time as a virus B and virus TI... I sold them all and kept the TI, but that is just because I couldnt find anyone who wanted the ms2k or nord in time before I got the TI.

I would have still sold them off if I had only had the virus B... It can cover the bases of both the ms2000 and nord lead.
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Re: My first Virus

Post by pour_furets » Tue Jun 03, 2008 5:58 am

Murderhausen wrote:I am interested in the quality of analogue sounds, string and pads with the chorus and phaser effects, and then the quality of the outerworldly sounds this machine can achieve with its routing and effects.
The phaser is nothing short of amazing. It adds a lot of character to the Virus--though I usually run my Virus patches dry--and really shines when applied to external audio. Pads are very thick and juicy, though not quite warm. Modulation capabilities are quite impressive and I've gotten some very usable and musical "effects" type sounds out of mine. When I first purchased my Virus B, I was really into ambient and drone music (think Klaus Schulze and early Robert Rich) and I found that I could easily make the music I wanted with the Virus, it fit my style perfectly then and has adapted well as my tastes have changed (to electro-acoustic, to techno, to minimal, etc.).
Murderhausen wrote:Also...I know (because, perversely, I already read the entire PDF manual) that some of the functions for things like the third oscillator and third LFO are buried in menus, and even things like the waveform selection are not what one may be used to in a conventional synthesizer. Some comments about the overall interface and ease of use would be nice. Just wondering if it is easy enough to sit down and get lost in this machine in the pleasant, aural way, and not the menu-diving, forgetting what you had in your head way. Thanks!!
Although the concensus seems to be that there are too many features buried in menus, I've never found this to be the case. There is a lot in the menus of the Virus, but that's because there is so much to the synth. There are more controls on the surface of the Virus than there are on the Nord Lead 2 (which has almost no menu-diving), so that just goes to show how deep the instrument is. It is actually pretty easy to craft sounds without getting into menus at all. Try bringing up the "init" patch and tweaking with only the knobs before getting into the deeper features.

That, said, the menus are logically laid out. It is fairly easy to get into the 3rd LFO and 3rd oscillator. I would recommend, though, keeping away from the 3rd oscillator. With the 2 main oscillators and sub, you can get sounds that are plenty thick and complex, the 3rd osc can start to muddy up a sound pretty quickly.

The 2 assignable knobs are your friends too. There are 3 main synth parameters that I do wish had representations on the front panel: ring mod volume, noise volume, and portamento time. The assignable knobs make it so only one of these is left in menus.
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Post by Murderhausen » Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:56 am

Joey wrote: I would have still sold them off if I had only had the virus B... It can cover the bases of both the ms2000 and nord lead.
That's pretty interesting because I find they each have their individual strengths. Particularly the squeaky-ness of the MS2K which I find less present on other virtual analogues. It would be nice to find a unit that was versatile enough to contain the idiosyncrasies of multiple other machines.
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Post by JMP » Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:18 pm

I've had the Virus Classic briefly and just acquired a Ti, also owned the Novation A-Station, Supernova I, II & KS Rack previously.

They sound different, the Virus will give you much thicker sounds and are particularly good at pads. The Novations can sound thinner at times, I often used them to add a nice tone onto a pad from another synth. They can give a sound clarity that's quite different from other synths.

Overall, reckon you've made a wise choice between the two and you may find the Virus B replaces your JP8000, shame no ribbon controller though. If you still fancy a Novation, try an A-Station, these are pretty cheap (about £100) and can give you a good insight to the kind of sound Novations give. If you've got a bit more cash, go for the KS rack, best of the bunch for the money if you've got the rack space.

All only my opinion of course.

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Post by ford442 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:28 am

i have the Virus Powercore and i like it better in many ways than my Novation Nova.. richer sound - and a lot more features on the Nova are buried in menus like you were talking about..
the Virus Powercore is like a Virus B, but runs on a PCI DSP card and it can even render down to audio like a normal VSTi...
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Post by philbar » Wed Jun 04, 2008 11:29 am

Congratulations on your purchase.

the virus b can easily replace your nord, and is better sounding and far more flexible than an ms2000.

THe ion has more filter types but is hamstrung by its lack of voices.

the jp-8000 has 2 oscillator types (supersaw/ feedback) and the ribbon controller which are missing from your virus, but otherwise its got a filter thats rubbish compared to the virus and only 2 oscillators and poor fx...

overall (like jmp i'm a TI owner) the virus for me is my favourite VA synth and there are a load of patches available for you to try online so that you can see what its capable of.

note it does sound different to each of these but can replicate pretty much most things you have there and more besides.

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Post by Synthaholic » Wed Jun 04, 2008 1:39 pm

Just wanted to say congrats on your purchase.

And to say, only on a synth forum would "My first Virus" be considered a happy occasion. :)
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Re: My first Virus

Post by kraku » Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:35 pm

Murderhausen wrote:I just won an ebay auction for an Access Virus KB, and cannot contain my excitement. It's strange, however, because I was just becoming interested in a Supernova II before somewhat impulsively buying the virus. I am just wondering what some people can tell me about the differences between not only those two units, but some of the other stuff in my arsenal I can use as a frame of reference.
Well I sold my Virus TI a year ago and now I'm in the process of buying a Supernova II :tongue: So I guess we're on the opposite sides of the same axis.

Maybe I should tell why I sold my VTI. The sound character just didn't do it for me. I know lots of people who love the sound, but it just wasn't for me. I'm not saying I hated it or anything, far from it, but the sound was just a bit dull for my taste.

Another thing about the VTI that disappointed me a little bit was that the oscillators were quite weak sounding. If you stacked huge number of them on top of each other (or used the hypersaw) then it was huge, but there was no comparison between Virus oscillators and for example Korg MS20 / MonoPoly oscillators. The Korg ones were lightyears ahead in fatness/power.

I should also mention that Virus isn't the fastest and the most intuitive synth to program. This is because many of the knobs have dual functionality which you access by pressing shift-button (IIRC). It doesn't sound very complex - and it isn't - but it still tampers with the intuitiveness and programming speed quite a lot. :(

The strengths of the Virus are:
- VERY versatile synth
- VERY powerful synth

In the end, it's a workhorse synth, no doubt.
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Post by crystalmsc » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:45 am

If I should choose one VA keyboard only. I'd be fine with something like the Virus Kb. Even as my only synth action keyboard.
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Post by Neonlights84 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:09 am

I think you should see what you think when you actually can field test the Virus compared to other stuff...but you already know that I think you should sell that other stuff and find that Octave Cat you've been wanting.
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Re: My first Virus

Post by pour_furets » Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:51 am

kraku wrote:I should also mention that Virus isn't the fastest and the most intuitive synth to program. This is because many of the knobs have dual functionality which you access by pressing shift-button (IIRC). It doesn't sound very complex - and it isn't - but it still tampers with the intuitiveness and programming speed quite a lot.
That may have been the case on the TI, but not so with the B. The only knobs that pull double duty are the Wave Shape/Pulse Width and Cutoff 2. WS/PW change function depending on which waveform you have selected for the oscillator with the other knob. The Cutoff 2 can either adjust filter 2's cutoff independently or in relation to the cutoff value for filter 1, depending on how you have it set in the filter menu. No 'shifting' involved. I've always found Virus programming pretty intuitive. The real trick is to get used to the relationship between filter 1 and 2 and how to effectively use filter 1's saturation. With these, you can really alter the filter character. The Virus may not have a lot of different filter models like the Ion, but with the 2 filters and saturation you have the ability to sculpt an (almost) equally varied array of filter tones.
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