UVI FALCON REVIEW
UVI’s new flagship synth plugin named FALCON is a hybrid instrument where the people at UVI have tried to merge synthesis and sampling together, with an added effects suite, tons of modulation capabilities and even scripting. We can certainly say that the good people at UVI have accomplished their goal.
Falcon ships with 15 Types of Stackable Oscillators of which 8 different types of synthesis oscillators: Analog, Analog Stack, Drum, FM, Noise, Organ, Pluck and Wavetable, and 7 types sample oscillators: Sample, Slice, Stretch, IRCAM Granular, IRCAM Multi-Granular, IRCAM Stretch and IRCAM Scrub and there are no limits on how you can layer and stack them together this gives you immense amounts of sound design capabilities.
The effects in Falcon are also very comprehensive with multiple effect types: Delays, Reverbs, Modulation, Filters, EQs, Drive, Amps/Stereo, Dynamics, Analysis and UVI.
Legacy FX – these are all included with allot of different types of the effects themselves as well as allot of presets for them and can be stacked and layered as you see fit.
Now all this needs to be modulated and Falcon does not disappoint there either with multiple modulators: AHD, Analog ADSR, Attack decay, DAHDSR, Drunk, LFO, Multi-Envelope and a Step Envelope and these can again be stacked and layered at any point in your patch modulating any parameter you need to modulate. Together with the events section that is included: Arpeggiator, Midi Player, Micro-Tuner and script processor this makes UVI’s Falcon a musical force to be reckoned with.
Falcon’s interface is extremely well thought out its resizable single window allows it to be viewed comfortably on almost any screen size and even though the Falcon interface may seem daunting and complex when you first open the VST however it becomes a truly inspiring instrument to work with and play on when you start to understand its workflow.
UVI’s Falcon comes with the Falcon factory library which is quite extensive on its own and the sounds that these presets produce are ready to use and sound great straight out the box with no additional processing needed well that’s also because you can process everything inside Falcon.
Even though the factory library itself is quite extensive, Falcon can also be expanded with extra sound banks/instruments from UVI’s web store like the two free ones I downloaded from their website (Ping & UVI ap-09) just to see if it was easy or not to add them to Falcon and yes it was really easy and the ap-09 (analog piano). “Ap-09” is a fun little piano to play with, modelled after the first electronic piano ever, the Roland ep-09. “Ping” is actually a retro game you can play when you get bored with sound design and you might know it under a different name, Pong.
Now the factory library itself is a great place to start when getting to know this instrument because it shows you what can be done with Falcon and how the instruments in Falcon are built up especially file structure wise and because of the way UVI has structured everything is why this instrument can be daunting at first especially for novices but fear not because it is quite logical actually and allows you to get very deep into the sound you are creating so deep in fact that you can even make your own script in the Lua scripting language for example:
- Sequencing, Arpeggiation
- Performance tools to enhance and create more realistic sequences: Legato, Portamento
- Instrument-specific scripts to simulate idiomatic playing modes: chord recognition, chord voicing, string selection
- Effects: echo, tremolo, vibrato
- Complete synthesis engine scripting and remote control
- Advanced instrument user interfaces with custom graphics
So the layout of Falcon as shown in the picture above is mainly split into three sections: the two sidebars acting as browser windows and the centre pane where you do all your sound design. The left pane is where you can view your parts and what effects, oscillators or any other parameters are contained in those parts this left pane is also split up into three sections: parts, tree and list.
So basically the parts are your instruments the tree shows you what is contained in those instruments and the list gives you a rundown on all the settings contained in the part you are working on.
Main Centre Panel
The main center panel of Falcon is divided up into five tabs Info, Edit, Effects, Events, and Mods. In the info tab is where you can find the macro controls that have been set for this instrument/part you can add your own macros and change the layout of the tab as all the macros you make end up on this tab. The “Edit Tab” is where you will probably spend most of your time because here is where you create your whole sound, adding oscillators, effects, filters, mods and events layering and stacking them as many as you need. The effects, events, and mods also have their separate tabs to view and set each parameter at any level of your patch, all in all, giving great flexibility in how you can affect the sound you are working on.
In addition to the tabs in the center panel, you can also view a mixer page where can set your levels for each part, send audio out to other sources and put another host off effects over your sound so everything is done inside Falcon with no more need for external processing. In the “Perf” (performance) tab, you can set your key ranges, velocity ranges, outputs, volumes and panning which is great for setting the synth up for say live performances.
Now when you are sculpting your music you want to able to find the either oscillator the right sample or effect you need quickly and preferably not spend most of your time clicking away and losing that original idea you had in your head, in Falcon that won’t be the case with the browser in the right sidebar that is also split up into six different tabs: Main Browser, Oscillator Browser, FX Browser, Multi FX Browser, Event Browser and the Mods Browser clicking on the tabs opens up all the settings and presets that you would need from each category and you can just grab them and drag them into the edit page.
Now it may all seem like much to take in at first glance with all the different layers and tabs in one part or multiple parts but once you start to understand Falcons workflow this turns into something more than most synths on the market as the possibilities for this instrument are just endless. With all these capabilities at our fingertips it is up to you how deep you want to take your sound design as a lack of tools won’t be any issue with this instrument at all and with its dark theming as well as its resizable interface it makes truly a joy to work with for hours on end and in my humble opinion this could be one of the best hybrid synths to be released this year and could be a major contender in the years to come not just because it comes with a large library of sounds and effects as standard and also with all the possibilities of layering and stacking sounds giving you the ability to create almost any type of sound you can imagine but it can also be expanded upon with any other UVI library or instrument so the sky is the limit as they say.
So in closing UVI’s Falcon is an awesome instrument to have in your repertoire and I say instrument because this is more than just your standard soft synth this is actually an instrument that you will have to learn how to program and play but when you put in a little time to come to grips with it you couldn’t be happier with the sounds it is able to produce because well basically it can produce most anything you can come up with basses, leads pads, strings or just go nuts with arps and automation to make a one finger orchestra you can do it all inside this instrument and it just sounds awesome all that together with a huge library of presets and the possibility to make endless more makes Falcon one of the strongest virtual instruments out there.
- You can go very deep with the sound design adding effects and mods.
- Large standard library.
- Unlimited ability to stack oscillator’s mods and effects.
- Mix and match sampling as well as different types of synthesis together.
- Multiple ways to get something done.
- Relatively low CPU usage.
- I think the only negative thing would be that for a beginner, Falcon will look complicated at first glance. But do not get intimidated, give him a little patience and soon you’ll be amazed what you can create with it.