ANALOG FACTORY REVISITED
Analog Factory delivers a single software instrument with a simplified, one-size-fits-all user interface. The synth manages to harbor most of the modeling capabilities of Arturia''s entire line of vintage instrument emulations while providing a huge number of representative presets. In addition to the virtual ARP 2600, Moog Modular and Minimoog, Yamaha CS-80, and Prophet-5 and Prophet VS, Analog Factory 2.0 adds the Roland Jupiter-8 (see the November 2007 issue of EM) to its list of emulations, bringing the total number of patches to 3,500. Although Arturia has been faithful to Analog Factory''s fundamental design, that hasn''t stopped the company from adding features that didn''t exist in its hardware counterparts. Arturia''s Jupiter-8V is a good example; its Galaxy/Sequencer section adds modulation and performance features that weren''t available on the Jupiter-8. In the most recent version of Jupiter-8V, Arturia has added Velocity and Aftertouch response—features that are not implemented in Analog Factory''s Jupiter-8V presets.
I was struck by the remarkable amount of sonic variety under Analog Factory''s hood. The sonic character of each vintage synth engine contributes to the diversity (see Web Clip 1). Add the handful of parameter controls, and you have plenty of room to create a patch library with a personal stamp on it. I particularly appreciated the incredibly thick tones of the Moog Modular V in contrast with the animated, somewhat more refined sound of the CS-80V. Likewise, Jupiter-8V nicely frames the comparatively edgy and biting timbres of the Prophet VS model. It is tempting to build composite sounds from layering instruments, and for that reason alone, it would be nice if AFE supplied some kind of combination or multitimbral mode—especially in the standalone version, in which it isn''t possible to instantiate multiple AFE instruments.
Overall, Analog Factory is pretty easy on the CPU; however, the Prophet-V and Jupiter-8V presets have significantly stronger drain. Fortunately, the software''s browser rates each patch''s CPU load on a scale of 1 to 5, so you can choose accordingly if your computer''s workload becomes an issue.