Puremagnetik has a love for tape loops and mellotrons but they also like to mess with things. They wondered what it would be like to use tape loops that had been hanging out in the sun, on the dashboard of a car, in the desert, for the whole summer. Assuming that they were still playable then Verv is the wobbly, fluttering, oozing and degraded result.
Verv is modelled after the 1970s Freeman String Symphonizer and ARP Solina. But it’s also much more than a string machine. Its oscillators can morph between saw and triangle, you can add and subtract harmonics, there’s a pulse wave sub oscillator that’s fat enough to be used as a bass synth by itself. Tweaking the Spread, Shape and envelope controls can produce a whole range of unexpected keyboard and synthesizer sounds.
The “Bake” parameter is all about the tape degradation, or how long it’s been left in the sun. You can dial that back to reveal just the pure sounds of synthesis or turn it up to the wobbliest, grainiest edge destruction. The “Spread” parameter brings in that familiar ensemble sound that you find on old string machines. It has the effect of thickening the oscillators by doubling and detuning them and then use “Shape” to morph them between waves.
Verv has a delightfully simple interface and control set, it’s instantly pleasing and is more versatile than you’d think. You may start off wanting some vintage strings and then find yourself in all sorts of other places.
Now, Verv had me initially very confused over how you buy it and its relationship to Spark – Puremagnetik’s subscription service. Thankfully Puremagnetik was kind enough to set me straight. So, as I understand it, you cannot buy Verv as it is at the moment, you can only get it by signing up to a Spark subscription. All new plugins start off as being available only with a Spark subscription at $8 per month or $60 a year. Each month they release a new plug-in so you get a new synth or effect every month for your next payment of $8. After a couple of months, Verv will appear as a plug-in you can buy by itself for $20 without any other kind of subscription. So I guess you can decide to invest $60 and end up with 12 products during your year subscription, or just spend $20 on the plug-in you want in a couple of months time. Although it also says that you can cancel any time and keep whatever you’ve got so far. So presumably you can sign up for $8 a month and then cancel and keep Verv. It’s all a bit overly complicated and not very clear on the website in my opinion but I’m sure most people work it out.
- Puremagnetik Verv website.