Arturia’s Acid V has been revealed as the next in their long line of quality plugins. But does the world need yet another facsimile of the synth that refuses to die?
One of the first decent software synths was Propellerhead’s ReBirth 338. When it was released in 1996, the global demand for the original Roland TB-303 was at its peak. Revived by the infamous acid house scene, the 303 had become iconic. Its resurrection from failed accompaniment tool to the centrepiece of the dance scene was meteoric. Stories of unwitting sellers letting their 303’s go for peanuts were rife. And the resale value was through the roof. Units changed hands for up to four figures! So an affordable software solution was very well received.
French Acid House
Between 1996 and 2023, there have been numerous clones, homages, and reimaginings of this most fabled device. Today, you have got 303 options tripping you up all over the place. Now we have one more to add to the list. Arturia has released Acid V. A 303 with a French twist.
Acid V does not for one second try to disguise what it is and what inspired it. Save for some simplification of the controls, you would have to have just landed on earth to not know what this is. As soon as you start playing it, the familiarity only strengthens. Arturia does not seem to have wasted time trying to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. They claim component-level accuracy and on first listen, it sounds like, well… a 303!
A Better Approach?
What IS different to the original is the inclusion of a distortion effect. There are also decent reverb, delay, phaser, and compressor FX too. Big, clear modulation options (three of them) have shades of Pigments about them, as does the sequencer option. The sequencer employed by Arturia has a much nicer UI than others I could mention. Programming the original was pretty random for most people. Arturia seems to have balanced the spontaneity of the original with something for us mere mortals to comprehend. There’s also a Transmutation section that seems to have been lifted right off one of their ‘Freak hardware synths.
One extra feature is the trimming section. Click the little button and a section of circuit board pops out to reveal some added sound-shaping controls. Bass boost, pulse width, accent attack, cut-off range pitch tracking, noise gain, and clipping level. These are all relatively self-explanatory. Noise Gain and clipping level seem to be an attempt at recreating the behaviour of a beat-up 303.
Does The World Need Another 303?
Honestly? Probably not. There are plenty of options in both hardware and software. Roland themselves have a very well-specified 303 in the Roland Cloud and a Boutique hardware version. Countless Behringer TD-3’s adorn many bedroom studios and live stages these days. The 303 is, however, a pony with not much more than a single trick up its hoof. Very few people have successfully employed it outside of the EDM world. It doesn’t have broad appeal.
That said, Arturia’s V Collection is a highly respected and popular package of tools. Acid V simply adds to that, although it is worth pointing out that Acid V is not yet part of V Collection. I fully expect it to appear in VC10 whenever that appears.
Arturia Acid V
Acid V is available now and new and existing Arturia customers can benefit from limited-time introductory discounts (€99 for new users, discounts for existing Arturia software owners) until September 14th. Just sign in to your Arturia account now to find out how much discount you get.
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- Acid V Edit Screens: Arturia
- Acid V Trimming Panel: Arturia
- Acid_V_-_Closed_plugin_boutique: Plugin Boutique
- pb: Plugin Boutique