Sonic LAB: Snow In The Summer - The Virus Ti Snow Reviewed.

A small, big, fat, Total Integration synthesizer      22/08/08

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12:44 mins
The Access Virus synthesizer range has always had an unattainable qaulity, something that the elite synthesists use. you read their users lists and feel that somehow you’ll never be able to afford one of these classy European synthesizers. Either that, or you don’t make trance... Neither of those impressions are true of course - especially now as the new Virus Ti Snow brings the latest in Virus technology into a more affordable area - okay, it’s still not what you call cheap, but it is almost $1000 less than a full-blown Virus Ti keyboard and gives you a whole bunch of that DSP powered synth engine. As far as the Trance accusation goes, after my time with the Ti Snow - I was until recently, a Virus virgin y’know, I would say that it is capable of a really wide range of sounds, so you can cross that off the reasons why I cant have one list. Sure, you wont get pianos and other "real" emulations, but after all, this IS a synthesizer and unashamedly so. There’s not much point in me writing a full review here, as I've just spent ages putting together this video review which I hope will cover it. However, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below - in fact I encourage you to do so, and I'll endeavor to answer the best I can. (please bear in mind that sadly, I will have to give back the Ti Snow at some point in the not too distant future). Specs
DSP powered Virtual Analog Synthesizer.
Four part multi-timbral, Internal Effects, Arpeggiator, USB-Audio Interface, Stereo x analog I/O, 192 kHz / 24-Bit D/A, MIDI I/O, LCD-Display
Polyphony: between 10 to 50 Voices, 512 RAM and 512 ROM Patches, 64 embedded Multi-Patches, TI (Total Integration) Function – can also be operated via MIDI. Pricing
$1550 USD, £779 UK, €1100 Euros
Test Setup
MacBook Pro running OS X 10.4.11, Apple’s Logic Pro 8.0.2, Virus Control 2.7.048, M-Audio Axiom 61 USB controller keyboard. Mackie 1202-VLZ3 with Genelec 1029a active speakers and tolerant neighbors.

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37 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Marc JX8P    Said...

Great test, very informative.

22-Aug-08 03:06 PM


Miatch    Said...

Maybe odd question, can you use it as a USB to MIDI converter?

BTW I recently got a blofeld, and had wishful thought (hoped) that it's USB port would work like TI. It does not. USB on blofeld is for MIDI and updates only

22-Aug-08 11:15 PM


Zuppi    Said...

it is mentioned in the access FAQ:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/6fykt7

23-Aug-08 04:54 AM


marc    Said...

in total integration mode, the midi i/o become a MIDI interface. also, the audio i/o becomes an audio interface.

marc

23-Aug-08 05:31 AM


miatch    Said...

Cool, thanks Zuppi and Marc, good to know! Not that including a $30 usb to midi port should really influence my choice, but any old excuse, right?

23-Aug-08 03:06 PM


Taxis    Said...

I don't really see the point in paying 1500 for a va when thats what a prophet 8 module costs and its real analogue.

24-Aug-08 05:04 AM


shekhar dhain    Said...

ONCE AGAIN A SUPERB REVIEW.

Thanks nick, im almost persuaded to get one, even though my own experience of virus gear in the last decade has been quite colourful and exhasperating to say the least ;-D

24-Aug-08 07:06 AM


Zuppi    Said...

hey miatch,

it is more than that! you have 2 MIDI ports (external and synth) AND an i/o audio interface including headphone connector.

When I am just using a laptop and a TI I have a full blown mini studio...

Zuppi

25-Aug-08 09:37 AM


Bernard    Said...

Great review, thanks so much Nick

25-Aug-08 12:23 PM


raveon    Said...

It's real nice but if the choice had to be between Virus module that you have to drag around or new bigger HDD for installing Omnisphere that's going to come out soon for third of the price of this and still leave you with around $1000 to maybe get some nice plugins or a nice controller..

If you already have everything and ton of cash to burn then Virus is pretty cool indeed.

25-Aug-08 08:53 PM


Fairbanks    Said...

QUESTION: What are the Sources/Destinitions in the MOD Matrix? For example, can MIDI breath control and aftertouch be routed to VCA amount and VCF Cutoff respectively?

I can't find any specific information on routings in the online manuals except for a generic "practically anything can be routed to anything else" statement.

Thanks Nick. Excellent work there.

26-Aug-08 11:17 AM


Gus    Said...

Great, very good.

Now it would also be great to see a true blofeld video review

26-Aug-08 07:18 PM


miatch    Said...

Um Raveon, as far as I can tell Omnisphere is going to be another sample playback unit. They can be cool and sound wonderful, but it really isn't the same thing as using a subtractive synth. It's like saying why buy a basketball if you can get a baseball cheaper... they just aren't for the same thing.

26-Aug-08 10:19 PM


Zuppi    Said...

@ Fairbanks:

yes, in the mod matrix you can use "breath" and all other controllers to route to nearly all parameters, also the ones you've mentioned.

27-Aug-08 07:51 AM


Nick B    Said...

Hi, sorry - been out of town. The mod matrix, allows up to 3 destinations pos or neg per incoming MIDI controller.

I'll see if I can upload a screen grab tomorrow of all the params you can map to.

27-Aug-08 11:18 AM


Fairbanks    Said...

Thanks Zuppi and Nick.

One follow-up: is VCA level/amount controllable separately from the envelopes? In other words, can a CC make the VCA open without having to trigger an envelope?

Thanks again.

27-Aug-08 04:40 PM


Nick B    Said...

Hi Fairbanks, I just took a look and not as far as I can see. It doesn't look like you can access the VCA amount as a separate parameter anyhow.

Interestingly, you can route one matrix slot to another.

28-Aug-08 04:28 AM


Fairbanks    Said...

No love for the VCA.

I suppose that overall Volume is a destination then?

Thank you.

28-Aug-08 10:28 AM


Fairbanks    Said...

No love for the VCA.

I suppose that overall Volume is a destination then?

Thank you.

28-Aug-08 10:29 AM


Nick B    Said...

Not implicitly but I iguess cc 7 on that channel will control that. You can control each osc level via the matrix though..

28-Aug-08 10:56 AM


ML2    Said...

Hey Nick, do you remeber what song that is you were using with the atomizer? Thanks.

29-Aug-08 05:45 PM


Nick B    Said...

It was the Benni Benassi remix of Goldfrapps Strict Machine.

30-Aug-08 02:11 AM


   Said...

Thanks...

30-Aug-08 03:38 PM


Sven from Spain    Said...

Thanks Nick;An extremely informative overview.It did actually make me remind of a Blofeld with more possibilities.As the Blofeld is considered very cheap,I don´t think anyone can actually complain about the Virus´pricetag.To me personally,it is the very first review of a synth that truly could get me interested into hooking it up on a computer;at last it looks convenient and inventive!

02-Sep-08 03:00 AM


Nick B    Said...

Yep, the computer hookup is actually very appealing, especially as the latency is workable.

Glad you like

02-Sep-08 11:09 AM


Howard    Said...

Fairbanks said... is VCA level/amount controllable separately from the envelopes?

There are actually two parameters that do something similar to what you're asking: "Filter Gain" (modulation via LFO1 only) and "Osc volume" (mod via anything, but e.g. noise level isn't affected). Hope that helps!

12-Sep-08 08:55 AM


Tiagu    Said...

Can you control the knobs Separately using automation with cc commands from softwares like for example, cubase or logic?

23-Sep-08 04:37 PM


Benedict Johnson http://www.myspace.com/weaponEXmusic    Said...

I have NI Massive, which seems to be the nearest software equivalent to a Virus TI. The trouble is, Massive doesn't run so well on my macbook. Does anyone know how similar they are?

28-Sep-08 04:01 AM


Benedict Johnson http://www.myspace.com/weaponEXmusic    Said...

I have NI Massive, which seems to be the nearest software equivalent to a Virus TI. The trouble is, Massive doesn't run so well on my macbook. Does anyone know how similar they are?

28-Sep-08 04:01 AM


Zuppi    Said...

@tiagu: yes, you can do either automation or MIDI CC to the plugin

29-Sep-08 10:59 AM


ANDI VAX    Said...

NI Massive is very unstable here. sounds not bad, but fat from Virus TI IMHO. Of course Prophet 08 rox, but Virus is the most versatile hardware i've ever seen! So, if you need you first synth - try Virus. If you have Virus, Nord, Moog and look for other character - definetely Prophet 08 or Morpho :)

02-Nov-08 03:41 AM


Settimio    Said...

Very comprehensive video review. I am very inclined to buy it now, but I have only a question more. My greatest problem in my tech-house productions is to make very good massive bass sounds. Do you think the Virus Snow will allow me to do also that, or do you suggest me to buy in addition another synth more dedicated to bass sounds? And if I have to buy another synth, does Access have a dedicated synth for bass sounds? Thanks. Settimio

13-Nov-08 09:00 PM


Nick B    Said...

Settimo, I think the Virus should give you plenty of bass. The raw waveforms are actually quite substantial - I thought they had more weight than the Arturia Origin for instance.

09-Dec-08 05:11 AM


Matyi    Said...

Nice review. What are the patch names used in this video?

12-Jan-09 01:28 PM


Patrick    Said...

What do you think about using the Virus TI Snow with alternate controller such as a Drumkat by Alternate Mode? Do you think that connected via MIDI IN/Out would work well with assigning different sounds to each pad? It would be used mainly as a sound module. What do you think?

02-Feb-09 11:56 PM


Drutski    Said...

I have just sold my Virus TI Keyboard and bought Omnisphere and a Novation SL controller. Big mistake! Although Omnisphere is a stellar rompler, the synth engine doesn't come up to scratch. the Novation remote controllers are plastic toys! I've been totally spoiled by the Virus, both the engine and the build quality are rock solid. A word of advice, if you have one, never let it go. :'(

09-Apr-09 09:39 PM


SJR    Said...

I have the Virus TI Keyboard and when i first got the virus i wasnt keen, but after a month or so i began to see the real depth and quality you could pull from the engine!!! now it is the only synth i use in my productions, i produce trance and it really is the perfect synth, you can create pretty much every element you need for Trance/Dance music as it has so many different Ocsillator modes, the wave tables are great for pads and soundscapes but i find myself using the Hypersaw more than anything else!!! the new TI2 is now out and im thinking of buying one as im away to university soon so i need a portable alternative (I use the virus as my soundcard as well as my main synth) so im looking at the TI2 Desktop, also the new OS3 is so much more better than the previous versions, it looks far more eyepleasing and the new improved and added FX are stunning :D

anyway, ill stop ranting :P but honestly, the Virus TI is worth every penny :D

ps. you can hear my virus TI in my solo and group trance productions on www.lostshadows.co.uk (In the site player)

Thanks

Sam (SJR)

17-May-09 06:10 PM


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