10 October 2010

Lennar Digital Sylenth – Review (soundsector.net)


Most of you will likely have heard of this synth by now and many of you will have tried it out, but for those of you that haven’t here is a review of this superb, intuitive soft synth.
As a sound designer I’m always testing out new synths and there are several fairly obvious factors I take into account when I’m working on a sound bank.
Firstly, and probably most importantly is the over all sound and sound quality of the synth. Sylenth does not disappoint on this at all. The oscillators, although lacking in the number of waveforms (there are 8 and white noise) has a crystal clear, sharp and warm sound, ideal for creating big analogue sounds. With 4 oscillators each able to support 8 voices means that huge supersaws (for trance heads) are easy to make, as are large, rich textured sounds. With the 4 oscillators separated into pairs as A & B this leaves the opportunity to design more detailed sounds, with different traits on filter and amp envelopes.
Secondly is the ease of use, and this is definately one of Sylenths biggest selling points. The synth is very clearly laid out, with a simple one screen interface (apart from when switching between A or B for the 2 sets of oscillators). The design is simple yet fits a lot of information in, and the envelopes and modulation functions are some of the best I’ve ever used on any synth, both for the sound and for the ease of setup.
Effects are obviously an important part of a synth, and Sylenth has a decent, if predictable range built in. Despite being fairly standard (phaser, delay, chorus, reverb, eq, compressor) they provide a very swift and pleasing way of both making sounds much richer and of creating unique sounds with a bit of tweaking. The arpeggio is also included in the fx section (which is conveniently situated in the centre of the synth interface). The arpeggio is superb, particularly with the ability to assign velocity to many modulation parameters, the only issue is the arpeggio is slightly cramped in the small fx panel, a very small problem though!
Modulation and envelopes are extremely important for making more complex or unique sounds. In this the simplicity of Sylenth provides essentially my only complaint about the synth. The lack of assignable parameters for modulation, particularly options such as ADSR on envelopes, delay or reverb feedback mean that these parameters must be modulated using automation rather thanusing modwheel, velocity etc. For simpler sounds this isn’t an issue, and for producers just starting out in sound design most likely won’t crop up, but for more competent sound designers means an extra step, and a less organic sound as a result (think drawing in automation, rather than playing with the modwheel and velocity).
The price of the synth for how much you get is excellent, they’ve kept it affordable which, as well as it’s quality, will have contributed to it’s popularity. The fact that there are a growing number of soundbanks available over a variety of genres make the synth a very attractive proposition and one that will have great longevity.
I cannot recommend this synth enough, it’s one of the most intuitive, powerful and reasonable priced synths I’ve ever used, if you haven’t got it already check it out, if you do, make sure you’re getting the most out of it! 10/10