by Anders Johanson January 02, 2021 9 min read
The year 2020 has affected a lot of people in different ways, but it seems like nothing can slow the team at Arturia. While the world has been forced to stay inside, these folks have only continued pushing forward with product design and software development, and the people at Arturia have been stepping up their game. Not only have they been increasing the quality of their MIDI controllers and desktop keyboard interfaces, which are available at various price points and capabilities, they have been gearing up towards releasing the PolyBrute 6 - a six-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer that has an impressive list of features and functions. This synthesizer will be the next in their Brute line of analog synthesizers, the line that starts with the MicroBrute and moves all the way up to the new PolyBrute monstrosity that will hit the market in January. The hardware side of things has not been their only focus as Arturia has announced that the newest version of the V Collection, their ever-expanding collection of vintage synthesizers reimagined as software instruments, is now available for purchase. If you have not taken your first steps into the world of software synthesizers, this collection might be one of the best places to start. Granted the price tag may seem intimidating at first, you will quickly come to realize the value you are getting with this package.
Yes, there are certainly freeware and similar-but-not-quite-the-real-deal versions of these synthesizers out there, and maybe that is your thing and you can work with that, but if you are looking for the most accurate recreation of classic synthesizers, keyboards, organs, electric pianos, and string machines, the people at Arturia have put together a meticulously-crafted tribute to the greatest keyboards of all time - all in this collection.
V Collection 8 is the newest installment of Arturia’s software suite of classic keyboards. V Collection 8 comes packed with all of the synthesizers and pianos from previous versions, as well as some brand new ones that are being unveiled for the first time in this collection. New updates to classic sounds, new presets, new software integration, all presented in an interface that allows you to manipulate the synthesizers just as you could in real life, which shows off Arturia’s reputation for their attention to detail. With plenty of options for sound design and composition, the V Collection 8 offers one of the most diverse collections of synthesizers and keyboards in its brand new offerings, without even mentioning the rest of the library of synthesizers that come with them. Here is a brief look at the new instruments that come included in V Collection 8.
Arturia V Collection 8 comes with a handful of new synthesizers and keyboard instruments, all recreated with accurate sound engines and each with a user interface designed to function like the original hardware units. These synthesizers are some of the most legendary pieces of hardware in the synthesizer world, and this software adaptation will give you access to everything for a mere fraction of what it would cost to purchase all of these units as hardware instruments. The new software instruments include the Jun-6 V, Emulator II V, Vocoder V, OB-Xa V, and Stage-73 V 2. In addition to these instruments, V Collection 8 comes with access to Analog Lab V, Arturia’s keyboard preset and setting library, as well as PatchWorks, a collection of presets curated specifically for V Collection.
The Jun-6 V is a lovingly-crafted reworking of the legendary Roland Juno 6 series of analog synthesizers. Though the Juno line has jumped over into the world of digital synthesis and modeling, the classic analog Juno synthesizers are still some of the most sought-after keyboards on the market. Acquiring one of those hardware synthesizers might be a little bit difficult these days, and even though Roland put out a smaller boutique version a few years ago, even those are hard to come by. This software version takes the classic polysynth and puts it right at your fingertips, ready for you to sculpt those familiar sounds without breaking the bank. The interface looks just like a Roland Juno unit, meaning that as soon as you load up the software you will be welcomed by the familiar simplicity of the front panel, then guided through the different steps in synthesis as you move across the faders on your way to an authentic recreation of that classic analog sound. The Jun-6 V comes loaded with 185 stock presets that are ready for you to explore, and you can, of course, create your own or download more from the Analog Lab.
Emulator II V
Based on the vintage E-mu Systems Emulator II, this software instrument is an 8-bit powerhouse. Many of the stock samples and sounds will be recognizable the minute you hear them, though I am sure many would not realize that those sounds came from these Emulator machines. The Emulator II V has some tricks up its sleeve, though, as you can dive into the sampling engine and be introduced to a more modern-looking sampler, allowing you to fine-tune your samples and color them in ways that you would not have been able to on the hardware counterpart of this software. The user interface looks clunky and unassuming at first, but the broad spectrum of sound that can come from this software will keep you coming back to load it into your templates and projects. From lo-fi distortion and warmth to crisp sampling, the Emulator II V has a lot waiting in its bag of tricks.
Arturia’s Vocoder V software is a recreation of the classic vocoder unit designed by Bob Moog in 1979, but with some modern twists for ease of use and sound design. The original hardware version had separate units for vocoding and synthesis, but the software version in V Collection 8 has both together in the same unit. Vocoder V features a patchbay interface that will let you manipulate frequencies, patching them into each other in unique ways to further process your input sounds. Vocoder layers can add a lot of depth to a track, and while they may have a pretty standard sound, they can be used in a variety of genres if you figure out exactly how to incorporate them. The vocoder can process incoming audio, in the same way that a normal vocoder would, or you can load samples into the software and play them back by pressing keys on the keyboard to add the vocoder effect. This would create some unique effects depending on what you load in, how you patch in the patchbay, and what other plugins you add on top of it.
The Oberheim synthesizers are capable of producing a wide variety of sounds, from dirty and aggressive basslines to some of the most luscious soundscapes you could hope to hear, and this software adaptation is no exception to that trend. If the price of the hardware version scares you away, which it most likely will, then this piece of software will certainly fill that gap and leave you with a final result that will make even yourself wonder if it came from a computer or a physical synthesizer. As one of the most iconic synthesizers of the 1980s, the Oberheim carved the way for supersaw pads and cutting lead lines in pop music. Arturia has introduced a few extra sound-molding elements to this piece of software, and they only make it better. Cross-modulation matrix, mixing oscillators, an arpeggiator, all combine to make the OB-Xa V a diverse and deep instrument.
The Roland Jupiter took some of the features of the Juno line and pushed their boundaries. Where the Juno was user-friendly and simple in its design, the Jupiter added complexity and depth to its sound design capabilities. The Jupiter was the first to introduce keyboard splitting and a modulation matrix, features that would not be replicated for years to come. The software iteration of the Jupiter is Arturia’s powerhouse synthesizer in this collection. If there is a spot in your mix for a synthesizer of any kind, the Jup-8 V will be able to fill it. From chords to bass, leads to pads, the Jup-8 V can do it all. The design as a whole stays true and authentic to the original, but, as with the other synthesizers in V Collection 8, Arturia worked in some additional features that make the Jup-8 V leap ahead of its hardware grandfather. From stacking and spreading voices, to dispersing parameters and sending them wandering off in different directions to influence your sound, the Jup-8 V is a truly remarkable software synthesizer.
Stage 73 V2
This electric piano sound has been used in countless records across the decades, and Arturia’s honest recreation of Fender’s classic Rhodes Seventy-Three piano hits the mark. The original Rhodes did not have much in the way of options - a couple of knobs on the front and then only the velocity of your fingers and any external effects pedals got you where you wanted to go. The Stage 73 V 2 instrument models a couple of different versions of Fender’s classic electric piano, giving you the ability to choose which ones you would like to use in your tracks. Speaking of effects pedals, the software comes with an entire cupboard of effects for you to choose from and chain together, opening up a wide spectrum of sounds for this electric piano. Distortion, chorus, EQ, reverb, delay - it’s all in there for you to use. You can choose what type of amp you want to play through, and if you feel like doing some menu diving you can adjust parameters all the way down to velocity sensitivity and pickup distance.
This handful of synthesizers and keyboards are just the newest additions to the library of instruments available in this collection. With more synths, pianos, and other instruments to choose from in the full version, it might be well worth your investment to purchase the full version and make use of the incredible sounds that are available from Arturia.
The V Collection 8 is available now for a price of $499. That price gives you access to the new synthesizers in this collection, in addition to the instruments from previous versions. In total, Arturia’s V Collection 8 gives you 28 synthesizers, keyboards, string machines, and electric pianos that are ready for you to use as soon as you load up the software. As the newest version of a long history of this software, you also get access to select features from previous releases in the form of presets and libraries in the Analog Lab. The new synthesizers on their own go for $199 each, so purchasing them all together in a collection for $499 seems like a no-brainer by comparison. These faithful recreations of classic, vintage synthesizers would be a welcomed addition to any software library toolkit. The software works as a standalone plugin and is compatible with Mac and Windows operating systems.
If you are anything like me then it may be your pipedream’s pipedream to ever own one of these synthesizers as a hardware instrument. To have it sitting in your studio, plugged in and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I doubt that will ever be my reality, but Arturia has made it easier for me to get those sounds with the release of V Collection 8. If this is the only collection of software synthesizers you ever purchase, I think it is safe to say that you should be set for life. With the exception of maybe one or two other outside synthesizers, what Arturia has put together in the V Collection is a one-stop shop for any sound you could need. This collection of instruments, even just the ones that are featured as new to this version, are some of the most iconic machines in the history of keyboard instruments. Add the other twenty-two instruments that come in the package, the library of presets and custom settings that are available, and the workmanship of the people at Arturia and you have a software collection worth much more than the price tag they have on it. Truly, this collection rivals anything that a competitor has released in recent memory.
The Jupiter, the Juno, the Emulator, the Oberheim, the Rhodes Seventy-Three, the Vocoder, all of those machines have been staples of music production throughout the years, and they are all available in this one pack. The tug-of-war game that is the world of software synthesizers and the companies that make them seems like it has a new leader every couple of months, but it would be hard for anyone to pull the rope away from Arturia now that this collection is available. If you have been looking anywhere else for a couple of software synthesizers, look no further. $499 is a steal for what Arturia has put together.
Writer and musician based in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife, Hannah. Extensive career as both a writer and a musician previously working with brands such as Fox Sports, Yahoo Sports, and Sports Illustrated. As a musician, Anders has played in several bands throughout the last decade, and has experience in touring, booking, band management, engineering, producing, mixing, and composing. Anders has recently composed music for short films and media presentations in universities, and has launched a podcast focusing on giving musicians and artists a place to talk about their work and the process behind their creation.
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