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In-depth Feature:  Native Instruments Prophet 5 VST synth
Mark Tinley writes:
  • Test System Used .

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    ...continued

    Good Points
    So if your sound card can cope, VST 2.0 instruments can now be played in real-time. A 6ms delay between hitting a MIDI key and hearing a note is quite bearable on everything but drums, and I have been having a lot of fun constructing tunes entirely in MIDI in my virtual studio.

    To test it, I started off doing a Japan and Talking Heads style track using six separate synthesisers for everything from drums to kettle and whistle noises. As I constructed my tune I soon discovered that the provided presets were full of usable pads and bass sounds. Suddenly I was doing Japan meets trip-hop, house, garage and jungle. I ended up on a film soundscape, moody pads evoking the dreams of the last mohecans and then I just couldn't decide. One thing I do know however that whatever my next session, I'll be switching this sucker on. This software has 512 patches that really speak Prophet. If you bought this synth for the provided presets alone, it would provide you with sounds for every analog dominated style from here to Calcutta. As a solution to immediate sound design, it's an absolute bargain.

    Bad Points

    In Cubase the software causes no problems at all and is totally compatible and really stable. Using LOGIC is a slightly different story. Latency is nowhere near as good and a noticeable 23ms is the best the software can currently manage without causing clicking on playback. This is mirrored in the playback of hard disk audio tracks and isn't really a reflection on the Native Instruments design, or VST synths in general. E-Magic just need to do a bit more work under the bonnet of their audio system. While I am no expert on code, I suspect it may be due to their buffer design. Unlike Cubase there are limited options for tweaking how a driver will react. While the separate application for setting up MME devices helps, I would encourage E-Magic to expand the user options for ASIO drivers. 6ms latency is probably just a tweak away.

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