First of all, greetings to the readers of the Scythe blog. I am Chris Day, aka Python Blue. Jon felt it best to broaden the subjects of these posts a tad to include production aspects and synthesizer reviews, meaning he brought me on board to cover some of those particular posts. The main focus will still be on Scythe, don’t worry; we’ll just be taking short breathers some of the time. This is the start of synthwave production posts. In this first production related post regards a VST I bought just two days ago and have been lightly experimenting with since: UVI’s Falcon.
Synthwave Production | UVI Falcon VST Review
From the reviews and descriptions on its home page, Falcon seems to be intended as an alternative to Omnisphere. If so, it’s certainly more affordable than the latter ($349 retail price instead of Omnisphere’s $495). It’s still not cheap, but the good news is that each purchase also comes with a $100 voucher for another UVI product, which I’ll probably take advantage of soon enough.
Unfortunately, the structure of Falcon presets is where the confusion starts. Each program consists of a layer, and each layer has at least one key-group, which contains an oscillator. The oscillator itself can’t be modulated much. This means you need to use a LOT of key-groups if you wish to incorporate high quality multi-sampling, for instance, instead of simply dragging and dropping into one key-group. The good news is that, for the more simple aspects of sound design, that’s the only major obstacle with working in Falcon.
With each oscillator, you can apply effects to them, which, for some reason, includes filters in its nomenclature. I took a more experimental approach to testing this and applied a sample rate decimation effect (arguably aka a bitcrusher) so that it had basic key tracking of notes, meaning it would sound more decimated on lower notes. Much to my pleasant surprise, while the decimation effect sounded wrong in either mode (“Blocker” mode increases mid-range frequencies while “Decimate” overdoes the ringing effect”), the frequency did technically transpose to different notes and pitches.
Probably the most notable of the other effects is the XPander filters, which offers a lot more filter types than otherwise available, and SparkVerb, which is a custom reverb unit with quite a few shaping possibilities.
Events and interfaces are scripted with Luascript. This can easily catch new sound designers off guard; I myself have a lot to learn with the Lua language. However, it appears that UVI’s own soundbank interfaces are based off these scripts, implying that a lot can be done with it.
Saving is extremely straightforward. Unfortunately, it appears there is no way at this time to save external references, except for scripts, into your saved program or multi: no monolith programs with self-contained samples, in other words, beyond the copy-protected soundbanks made by UVI.
Probably the only other thing worth writing home about over other VST’s is that, with Falcon, you no longer need MOTU’s MachFive sampler to extensively edit the programs in other UVI products: it can all be done in Falcon. Heck, I even successfully exported some Kurzweil K250 piano samples from the U1250 sound library. This is useful in synthwave production, or the production of any genre, really.
While Falcon is a good initiative as a VST, honestly, I feel it needs some work. Thankfully, it appears UVI is willing to update this VST, as they already have, whether it’s through fixing some minor performance bugs or even adding a new chorus effect called Thorus (the best of the modulation effects by far, in my honest opinion), so hopefully, UVI is willing to address the concerns stated earlier somehow.
If you’d like to check out some of Python Blue’s music, check out his album “Outrunning the Dream” embedded below.
Outrunning the Dream by Python Blue