Many electronic musicians rely on virtual instruments only because we lack the
financial resources to acquire and maintain roomfuls of vintage hardware. Instead,
we settle for software running on our computers. Soft synths emulate classic
keyboards by modeling their sound and behavior, whereas samplers play sounds
recorded from the original instruments.
Paris-based soundware maker UVI has long
been a dependable purveyor of high-quality sampler
content, ranging from the plunk, rattle, and
squeak of a children’s toy museum to the jazzy
stylings of a 1930s Gypsy swing band. UVI’s largest
library is a synth collection that gives you a
lot more bang for the buck than all the others.
Vintage Vault comprises samples of more than
40 hardware synths and 80 drum machines—the
complete contents of 15 current UVI products for
less than the price of the two of them purchased
Like all UVI soundware, Vintage Vault is formatted
for its sophisticated sample player, UVIWorkstation.
The Mac- and Windows-compatible
software is free to download and runs either
standalone or as an AAX, AU, or VST plug-in.
UVIWorkstation is multitimbral, meaning you can
load multiple sample libraries at the same time
and play them on separate MIDI channels.
UVI sampled each source instrument’s oscillators
with the filters wide open, allowing UVIWorkstation’s
filters, envelopes, and modulators
to do all the heavy lifting during playback. The
result is that Vintage Vault functions and sounds
much like a real synth. You can convincingly tweak
most parameters in real time, either manually or
with modulators, and save any parameter changes
you make. UVIWorkstation also handles step sequencing,
arpeggiation, and effects processing for
Each library’s GUI matches the look and feel of
the sampled synth it contains while providing
controls for all UVIWorkstation parameters, even
if some of those parameters were missing from the
original instrument (see Figure 1). As with most
synth sample libraries, the product names have
been changed to more or less resemble the names
of their source instruments, some more closely
than others. For example, the Minimoog library
is called Ultra Mini, Sequential Circuits Prophet
VS is Vector Pro, and NED Synclavier is The Beast.