Synth Site: Access: Virus C/ KBD: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.7 out of 5
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FIZMO100 a hobbyist user from UK writes:
I had a Virus C for a week or so - I bought it cheap, so if I didn't like it I could sell it on and make some money. As it worked out I sold it quite soon, but here are my impressions.

As synths go, the Virus is pretty good. It's got plenty of features, and a few unique touches, such as the two assignable knobs below the LCD that you can add a variety of labels to, such as 'Hype' and 'Infect'. Very snazzy. Polyphony is up there with the best, the effects section is a major strength, and you can program it to to all sorts of eprverted things. It's a well built, sleek looking box too, and the red LEDs with the black background look great.

For me, however, it wasn't really a keeper. Sure, it was stuffed full of useable sounds, but the overall sound quality for me wasn't there. I had it sat next to my Andromeda, Nord Rack 2x, and a Waldorf Q and XTk. I've also owned a Novation KS4 and a Roland JP8000. I'll try and review it against these synths, to give an impression of where it does well, and where it is lacking.

Going from the Virus to the Andromeda was an eye opener. First impressions of the Virus were that it sounded good, but then playing it after playing the Andy makes you wonder where the bass has gone, and why it now sounds so lo-fi. I'm not an analog nut, and I'm not gonna try and claim that because the Andromeda is analog it is automatically better, but to my ears the Andy was distinctly more solid and richer sounding than the Virus. It's more expensive, but it's a hell of a lot better sounding too!

With the Nord, it was a similar story - although the Virus has a lot more options and programability than the Nord, and effects up the wazoo, in terms of quality, again, I'd take the Nord. If I had to choose only one synth out of the Nord and Virus, I'd go for the Virus as it's much more versatile, but the Nord is easier to use, and while much more limited, the oscillators are a lot purer sounding.

The Q is harder to program than the Virus - the interface is a lot better, but it's just harder to get a sound that works well, probably due to the monster amount of options. When you do hit a sweetspot on the Q however, it blows the Virus out of the water. It's a very high quality, crystal clear sound - you can hear every nuance of what's going on. It's like the difference between looking at something through smoked glass, then removing the glass. The same is true of the XTk, though it isn't as close to the Virus in what it is designed to do as the Q.

My main gripes about the Virus were the somewhat sub-par sound, and the interface, which I found to be the least accesable of the lot. The manuals are excellent, and go a long way towards making up for this, but I just didn't click with the Virus in the same way as other gear.

Some may think I'm being too harsh on the Virus, but bear in mind I only had it for a week or two. I used it a lot over that period, but maybe if I'd had it longer it would have grown on me. I certainly wouldn't rule out owning one again in the future, to give it another go, but I found a V-Synth in a local store and traded in the Virus against it - a damn good move it turned out to be too!

I wouldn't say the Virus is a bad synth, it's not. Just for me, it is outshone by a few other pieces of kit in a similar price range on the s/h market. I think it would be ideal for a first synth, as it is a complete package, with usable effects, and tons of great presets to get you started, and the manual really explains how to program. The interface is a bit of a bugger, and could be a bit confusing for someone starting out, but a bit of time spent using the unit would sort that out.

This is a very hyped piece of gear, and I hope I've gone some way to adding a bit of balance to these reviews. It's a great synth, but it's definately worth looking at the other options before buying one.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Saturday-Feb-25-2006 at 22:25
L A Lawrenson a part-time user from UK writes:
I bought the Virus C brand new when she first came out about 4 years ago, and all I've done to it since is load up OS version 5, which irons out a few bugs in the earlier OS (well worth doing if you ain't done it yet). I bought the synth for one reason only - it's raw power! No other VA screams or kicks like this baby. When this little sister throws a tantrum, the pram goes out the window along with the toys! I've owned Moogs in the past and, yes, they are the best at what they do (ie bass sounds), but I got fed up with (a) tuning problems when used live, and (b) repair and servicing costs. If you can stand the hassle, save up and buy a Moog. If not, get one of these babies, cos they do the best Moog emulation out there. Bar none. Period.

The only thing I would say to those who are still undecided is, this baby does not do "subtle." She dominates every mix and craves constant attention in every live scenario. If you're looking for a "do it all" solution, don't buy. Go for a Supernova. If you can afford it, get both.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Feb-24-2006 at 06:47
[A][D][D] a professional user from USA writes:
The king of the VA hill by faaarrrrr. Makes the nord lead sound thin and weak imo. Mine's the XL, which has full Virus C specs in a 1U rack. If you know anything about programming you don't need tons of knobs. Onboard fx are killer! It's been said that VA's are only the sum of their fx, and this thing is the best of the best, believe the hype. I'm not gonna fight about how 'analog' it can sound. Take a synth for what it is, not what it compares to. If you want Moog sounds, buy a Moog and quit your bitching! The bottom line is this is an exceptional piece of gear. Great for any electronic style, especially more experimental music like industrial. I use mine mostly for leads, bass, and weird evolving noises. With the new TI out these are readily available. Get one!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-27-2006 at 15:30
Cryosoul a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
I've had my virus for about a month (bought it used for what equals $950 or so), and despite a little difficulty with making it sound exactly the way I want it to right away (because of my inexperience not because of the synth), I'm worshipping this beast! Like the previous poster, I have no idea if it sounds analog. I do know however, that I don't care one bit. It can get me sounds a hundred times heavier and snappier than any softsynth I've ever used.

I make mostly EBM/Industrial music, and this synth is perfect for it. Although the presets are more geared towards regular trance & such, it's really easy to tweak it into making these really punchy and aggressive basslines that I love. Want things gritty? Look no further! Although making a nice, warm pad is not a problem (I don't care if a $2500 true analog can make even warmer sounds, the Virus can still sound warm enough to fit in nicely in any mix).

All in all, if you want something that emulates real instruments or if you're into rock organs and such, I'd suggest you look a little further. But if electronic music is your cup of tea, then this is THE synth to get!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-06-2006 at 12:22
Bryan Roman a professional user from USA, New England writes:
You need to disregard the 'haters' and knowitalls on this board. I think you can figure out which ones they are.

Bottom line? This synth is INCREDIBLE. I've had it for two years now, and I'm always finding new ways to get great, original sound out of it. Play with it live all the time. Filters rock, great bass, leads & pads. The effects are exquisite, esp the Phaser and Delay. Ahhhhh...virus delay....

Does it sound analog? I don't know, does Pepsi taste like Coke? Many people are fanatic about one, yet blind taste tests show they can't tell the difference. People who say it doesn't sound analog need to take the stick out of thier bum. WHO CARES? It sounds great. That is the bottom line, right? I mean I could be wrong but I always thought that what mattered most was how something sounds in the end. This thing sounds f***ing great!

If you're looking for analog "imperfections", why not try to run the Virus through a tube, or run it through a Moogerfooger or any kind of analog filter box? Then you can claim your farty-blip sound is the most hardcore intense farty-blip sound in the world!

In the end, does it matter if a synth is "analog" or "virtual analog"? Only if you think it does.


Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-May-25-2005 at 13:41
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