UVI Digital Synsations Vol. 2 Captures the Best "Digital Maverick" Synths of the '90s

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The dream of the ‘90s is alive in Paris.

Prolific French soundware shop UVI loves to package impressive recreations of forgotten or under-appreciated synthesizers and drum machines into sample-based virtual instruments. It’s latest release, Digital Synsations Vol. 2, focuses on three “digital mavericks” of the ’90s: the Roland JD-800 (1991) ROM synth, Ensoniq Fizmo (1998) “transwave” synth, and the Kawai K5000S (1996) additive + PCM synth.

UVI uses a base of more than 20,000 FLAC samples from the original instruments to layer together more than 500 total patches for its three modules, which run inside either UVI’s flagship Falcon platform or the free UVI Workstation host. It’s more than 18GB of content total.

The Roland JD-800 became one of the most celebrated keyboard synths of the early ’90. Preceding the virtual analog craze of the latter half of the decade, the JD-800 was based on the ubiquitous D-50 digital module of the late ’80s, but it added multimode filters and a sumptuous hands-on array of controls, which too few synth provided at the time. Its warm sound and design make it a well-loved board even today, which can still fetch more than $1,000 on the used market.

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UVI’s DS-890 Digital Soundware module in Digital Synsations Vol. 2 draws from both the JD-800 and D-50 and pull together 179 bass and lead presets for modern needs.

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A rare find, the Ensoniq Fizmo delighted people with its “transwave synthesis” sounds, but it was a pig to program it beyond the hardware controls if you ever got in front of it. Because of lukewarm reviews and Ensoniq’s closure soon after Fizmo’s release, there aren’t many Fizmos out there (especially the rack version) , and people craving its unique sounds still pay more then $1,000 for a used unit.

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The UVI Dzmo Realtime Transware Synth module uses the UVI Engine to push the abilities of the original, and offers 162 “electrifying and hypnotic” patches.

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Sound designers have been digging up the Kawai K5000S additive synth lately for good reason. Its distinctive pads, leads, basses, guitars, keys and bells have aged very gracefully—still sounding unique and appealing today.

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UVI’s DK5S Advanced Additive Soundware module capitalizes on the personality of the original to deliver “wild tones, from crisp, edgy leads to rich pads and surreal harmonic washes.”

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All three source keyboards for Digital Synsations Vol. 2 have stood the test of time and would cost $3,000 or more total to buy today. Purchasing the UVI package lets you layer and cross-combine elements from each one into brand new patches, along with the advanced browsing, editing, arppegiation, and other features of the UVI Engine.

The huge amount of demo material (below) for Digital Synsations Vol. 2 paints a vivid picture of the dreamy possibilities available from the collection. A longer over video below also previews some of the sound-design features, as well. I’m interested, for one. If you are, as well, you can grab the product for $99 through May 7. After that, the regular price is $149. UVI DS Vol. 2 works as a stand-alone, AU, AAX, or VST instrument.