Good things come in small packages, at least thats what we’re led to believe and if Korg’s recent slew of releases are anything to go by (watch-out for our microSTATION review), there is some truth to that.
So, here’s another small thing, the Arturia Analog Experience The Player 25 - quite a mouthful. What we have here is a 25 Key USB controller designed to compliment the Analog Experience - a software engine in both standalone, VST, RTAS and AU (Mac only) which plays patches from seven of Arturia’s analog emulations - the 2600v, CS80v, JP8V, Prophet V, Prophet VS, Minimoog V and Modular V. The keyboard is 25 key full size, made by CME for Arturia. It gives the impression of quality with its wooden end cheeks and solid metal case - which is presumably why it weighs so much. The keys have a good feel to them with a better than average solidity, though no after-touch. The 7 switches and 5 knobs (one also has a push action) give you access various fixed assignment parameters. Pretty much all of them double up with two functions flipped with the backlit Shift key so you know where you are.
From left to right:
In the Player Software, patches are laid out in familiar Arturia fashion with category lisings: one for each synth (seven), plus 12 for various patch categories and one for Favourites. Click on the Minimoog V, then Bass category and you get a list of bass sounds from the Minimoog V - hardly rocket science and nice and quick to navigate the 1000 included presets. No additional patch attributes can be accessed, so your stuck with what Arturia deem appropriate, which in most part is fine.
There is a wide range of sounds here with plenty to inspire and get the juices flowing, though of course, if you want to change anything outside of the given set of parameters, your out of luck, but that is the nature of presets - kind of like NI’s Reaktor engine.
Arturia claim that you can fully operate without the aid of a mouse or perhaps trackpad, and while this is certainly possible, its not completely so. Jumping categories and synths can be acheived with a combination of the select and push function, but turning a selected patch into a favourite, for quick access cannot.
Summary Overall, we found this to be a pretty enjoyable experience, and value - I mean, some sample libraries charge this much for just 1000 patches or less, but add the useful, controller, its quite a bargain. Arturia’s synths are highly regarded by many as great emulations of some real classics, and that is what you get access (albeit limited) to.