One of the best bundles of classic synthesizer software emulations got a boost with version 8 of Arturia’s V Collection and now there’s an 8.2 update.
New old synths
Arturia continues to do a phenomenal job of recreating old synthesizers and pushing them into new and innovative places. In this update, we get three brand new old synthesizers and the OB-Xa V that was released in May taking the total number of keyboards in the collection to 28.
The OB-Xa V was modelled on the classic Oberheim analogue polysynth but we know all about that. Let’s check out the new additions.
Based on the Roland Juno 6 this is one of the most accessible synthesizers to come out of the 1980s. Digitally controlled analogue oscillators, 6 voices of polyphony and that simple front panel of sliders and a handful of buttons. It had a richness and a chorus effect to die for. Arturia has retained the classic features and interface while adding deeper access with a second LFO and envelope section and Delay and Reverb effects. For an authentic experience you can degrade the voice calibration and add some chorus noise.
It feels so good to play. I think this is probably my favourite of all Roland’s synthesizers.
Emulator II V
I think I first saw an Emu Emulator II being played by the Pet Shop Boys on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1986:
It was a sampler but much less unwieldy or expensive as the Fairlight that also featured in this video. Check out those double floppies. It would sample at 8bit for up to 17.6 seconds and sound pleasingly lo-fi. You could connect it up to a computer for sample editing.
Arturia brings both the sound and the editing to the Emulator II V with a lot of original library plus a little computer screen that zooms in for sample editing, layering, filtering, key assignment and effects.
A classic 16-band vocoder and string machine with all the patching and voice mangling anyone could need in a beautifully rendered instrument. You can use a voice input or samples that can be arranged in playing order and cycles. There’s a lot of fun library in here as well as a whole range of weird and interesting sounds that show off the potential of a vocoder to be more than a 70’s DJ effect.
There have been major updates to the Stage 73 V and Jup-8 V reworking the modelling and improving the interface. In fact the interface to all the keyboards has been tweaked, the browser improved and they’ve added Macro controls for easy tweaking. Analog Lab has also had a bit of a refit and they’ve crafted a whole load of extra presets purely for V Collection users.
Update 8.2 brings the low awaited support for Apple M1 processors. Arturia has also been working on the GUIs and vibe of the interface to make them look smashing on 4K monitors. Preset loading is now twice as fast and you’ll find some useful microtuning on the Clavinet V, Stage-73 V, Piano V, and DX7 V.
The Arturia V Collection is definitely a bundle to be reckoned with. They’ve bumped the price up a bit to €599 which will not please many people but it’s still fantastic value for money for these brilliantly crafted software synthesizers.