Synth Site: Miscellaneous: Darkstar: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.1 out of 5
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Lars a hobbyist user from USA writes:
I read so many negative reviews on the Darkstar that I thought I would never own one....well, two things changed that-I noticed a lot of people who are turning out good music are using them.. and I got one at a good price...I love it!

I have been playing synths since the mid 80's, and have owned a lot of gear, including the Yamaha AN200(which I promptly didn't suit me.. I don't do dance/techno).

The DS is great if:

1.It is not your only sound module..I layer the DarkStar sounds with my Virus C and my Karma.

2.You have effects to route the DS sound thru.. it is rather raw on its own.

I like this so much, I am considering buying another one.


Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Saturday-Mar-08-2003 at 12:15
Immon Talebian a hobbyist user from england writes:
Derteeeeee! On balance this is a pretty digable machine. I bought this after selling my K station , because to me this sounds better!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-23-2002 at 20:32
a professional user writes:
The joystick makes this a barrel of FUN!! I only wish all synths had em. With joystick you can do things that are not very easy to do without one. For an experimenter like me, its an awesome feature. That's why I bought the darkstar and I still love it. Get the vocoda chip too!! Its worth it!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-17-2002 at 14:57
c-spam a professional user writes:
This is a kinda long review, sorry. I have a lot to say about the DarkStar cos I feel some of the opinions here have been very misrepresentative.

I am obsessed with 1970s/80s analogue synths (have owned twelve in total) and within five minutes of switching the DarkStar on I made amazing sounds which I have NEVER been able to create on any of my other machines. The first time I touched it, I made the most amazing warm, fat slow-sweeping tone which gradually disintegrated into amazing random bubbling and crackling. It took about two minutes before two fellow analogue-lovers came over to have a go, and pretty soon there were three of us fighting over it/playing it at the same time.

Addressing a few previous comments...

1. It's only digital-sounding if you want it to be, or you don't know how to manipulate the sound. You just can't make assumptions on first impressions, especially if you're not prepared to play with it. Presets are for demonstration, you're not actually obliged to use them!

2. Compared to other virtual analogues, including the Novation K-Station, the DarkStar *honestly* does so much more and is much more loyal to its predecessors, sound-wise, despite the K looking better on paper. If I had the choice I would buy another DS over a K (the only thing I would miss is the arpeggiator). Novation is trying to convert the analogue lovers to its' (very good) modern equivalents, and until I got this instrument I thought they were the be-all and end-all of VAs just because of the 'proper keyboard'. But I am now a total convert. I have no vested interest in dissing Novation, I just think the DarkStar is a better product for the same RRP.

3. No problems at all with noisy outputs or hiss, even through a cheap amp with no EQ. Maybe those units were faulty??

4. The controls are not as immediate as a less compact synth, because so much is crammed in to one space. You need to read the paperwork before you dive in, that's to be expected. If you buy one without a manual you might struggle with the more complex functions but the process of creating a sound should be obvious.

5. If I had paid the RRP of £395 for this I would have been disappointed in the display... it does not do the unit justice and makes the learning curve quite steep. But I paid £180, which I would consider cheap (and US$200 would be an absolute STEAL - if you see them at $200, PLEASE buy two... or buy three and send me one of 'em!). For £180 it's totally value for money, and the build quality and size suggests it's rugged enough to be toured (another reason why it's better than the K Station).

Finally, Mr/Miss "no one" (below) is talking absolute crap when s/he implies that anyone "serious about making music" would not want a DarkStar. How patronising!! This is the one and only problem with the synth reviews on SonicState - the high number of lesser-known synths that are damned by those who only care about having the most fashionable collection of numbers and letters on their equipment. I've never even heard of RedSound before - I just know a good synth burble when I hear one and my first impressions of the DarkStar tell me it's one of the best burble-makers I've ever heard... my SH09 is sitting lonely in the corner right now. If you're interested in a unit like this, you NEED to go out and try one through a quality amp... don't rely on what other people say... I nearly did, and I could have missed out on an amazing piece of kit. And besides, you have to see it in action just to witness the booting sequence (makes the thing look like a flight deck!) and the Knight Rider-style edit lights.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-17-2002 at 06:12
Jason Vine a professional user from London writes:
Bought one of these yesterday, after spending over an hour playing one in London's Turnkey music store. (They've got one permanently wired up so you can try before buying.)

As with anything, it's not only about what is does out of the box, but also about what you can bend and shape it to do. With a little tweaking I had some fantastic trance style basses, chords and thwips (yes, thwips is a word !) and even a pretty close CR78 sound alike drum kit.

Of course the real clincher is the price £199, which is a bit of a bargain.

Still, don't take my word for it, try one for yourselves. (Then get out your credit cards !)

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Sep-13-2002 at 08:28
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