Arturia V Collection 6 is a software emulation anthology of the most legendary synthesizers ever produced.
If there are any synths you’ve admired and dreamed of owning you’ll probably find them here in this collection.
The V Collection has become somewhat legendary itself and is hands down the best and most economical way to own all the greatest synths in music history.
Arturia didn’t stop at just recreating these classic synths they’ve also added new qualities to each of them only found in the V Collection versions.
The compilation includes 21 different virtual instruments and synthesizers.
This amassment of instruments is so renowned Native instruments has adopted it and offers for their Komplete platform!
If you followed our site you already know that we are big Arturia fans and that we have already tested all their software synths they launched in the previous V Collection version (Read the other reviews here). That’s why in this review we’re only dealing with the 4 new instruments from the 6th edition of the V Collection: The DX7, Buchla, Fairlight CMI, and Clavinet.
Buchla Easel V
There are essentially 2 American synthesizer traditions: Moog (east coast) which is basically a subtractive synth and Buchla (west coast) a semi-modular, frequency modulation synth.
There are many digital reproductions of the Moog but as far as I know, this is the first and only digital version of a Buchla.
There many different instruments in the Buchla family and the Buchla Music Easel was a portable synth built directly into a suitcase.
The Arturia Buchla Easel V is the only software emulation of the Buchla Music Easel synthesizer at this moment!
The Arturia Buchla Easel V interface is an HD picture of the original synth. You could almost believe you have the original synth in front of you.
The Buchla has different labeled sound sources then you might be used to.
There’s a Complex Oscillator offering 3 waves types, a Modulation Oscillator which is a LFO/FM depending on how you use it. A Pulser and a Sequential Voltage Source.
The sequencer has 5 steps?! There are also some of the more familiar parameters and sources like Arpeggiator, Portamento, Lo Pass Gate and a Randomizer.
The Buchla is a modular synth which means everything can be routed in different order to create unique timbres and sequences.
For producers who base their sounds on presets, modular synths can be daunting.
But with the Buchla, all the components are color-coded and make personalizing your routing incredibly easy.
Each source has individual parameters that are designated with an arrow to their inputs.
When you click an output all the possible inputs light up red.
As you can see Arturia has done their best to make the complexity of modular synthesis transparent.
Shuffling through the presets reveals some really interesting sounds and sequences.
Some instantly recognizable for example „Strange Stuff“ which is the sequence used as the main theme in Netflix ‘s „Strange Things“.
In order to recreate the sound of the Buchla, Arturia used a physical modeling engine and there is something wonderfully organic about the all the sounds.
A real analog Buchla Music Easel costs around $5000. I have never seen one or played on one.
The Arturia version is a beautiful and fascinating instrument in itself and I am starting to understand how some people get lost in messing around with modular synths.
Of course, even with all the color coding and support, you will have to invest some time to get what you want out of this instrument.
Then again „easel“ means creative frame so I believe the intention was to contrive.
If you always wanted a Buchla or if you’re curious, here it is, grab it as part of the collection or just by itself.
The DX7 V
The original Yamaha DX7 had its heyday in the 80’s and was heard on many a pop and dance hit of that era.
It was very commercially successful and therefore there are many of them out there and they can be bought secondhand on eBay any day of the week for about $250.
The DX7 relies on Frequency Modulation which is really tricky. Due to that the DX7 didn’t offer a lot of tweaking possibilities but relied almost entirely on the presets.
If you can get your head around FM synthesis though it can offer extremely distinct sounds for example bells, brassy or morph sounds that cannot be created with any other type of synthesis.
I once read that the most prosperous producers put themselves ahead of the rest by using FM synthesis.
There hasn’t been a new digital FM synth on the market synth Native Instruments FM8 so the new DX7 V from Arturia is a welcome sight.
They’ve stepped up the game of the DX7 by enhancing the interface to with some hands-on parameters.
With this new software version, you have all the possibilities for sculpting the sound as found on the FM8.
Clicking on the arrows on the top right side of the interface reveals 4 layers of parameters for the 6 different oscillators, their wavetables, filters, individual amplitude envelopes and so on.
It’s a brilliant design and makes FM clear and fun to use. The unit comes with all the original presets labeled Rom for that vintage DX7 sounds as well as new sounds created with the new parameters.
I would go so far as to say this is the best digital FM synth ever and is a must-have if you’re producing your own music.
You could buy an actual Yamaha DX7 but you wouldn’t have the possibilities that the digital version offers.
Although there are several Clavinet type software synths out there it makes sense to add this synth to the V collection if for no other reason than to make the collection complete and keep you from having to acquire it elsewhere.
The original Clavinet was produced by Hohner and was meant to be something of a keyboard that had the plucky percussive sound and feel of a guitar or bass guitar.
Stevie Wonder used it a lot on many of his greatest recordings and it is the defining sound of funk and soul recordings from the 70’s.
The Arturia V version comes of course with some added extras in the way of a layered interface allowing you to get right into the guts of the instrument there’s also the possibility to add stompbox effects to enhance the sound.
There’s an amplifier to adjust eq and other standard parameters.
The top board opens to give you access to some fine tuning elements like hammer hardness, pickup noise, and dynamics to name a few, there is also a velocity curve which I can’t seem adjust notably.
All in all, it’s a nice emulation but nothing mind-blowing. These instruments are standard in some music and have definitely left their mark and have earned their place in this collection.
As for the Arturia version, it’s nice to have it if you buy the whole collection but if you were looking for just a Clavinet it’s slightly pricier than other provider’s versions.
The original Fairlight CMI Digital Sampler was essentially one of the first DAWs ever created.
It was a complete computer with monitor, hard driv, and keyboard for typing and piano.
If you compare it Ableton’s Sampler plugin or Native Instruments Kontakt, it functioned similarly but was entirely hardware and hands on.
Samples were loaded on the hard drive, processed, layered, sequenced and key-tracked. It came out in 1979 and was worth a fortune.
Arturia’s software version does all the same in the box. It’s basically a DAW focused on Sampling and playing them live.
The first layer of the GUI a picture of the machine. Here we can see some of the parameters for on the fly automation like Filter, Sample Start, Vibrato speed.
Stuff for messing with the sample while you play. If you click on the monitor screen you open up 4 more layers.
The first layer is Sound. Here I can layer 10 different sample on top of each and process them individually. I can work the wave file, automate its envelope and or spectrum over time. I can edit or even assign processing to individual keys.
The next layer is Sequencer, where I can sequence each layered sample separately. There’s also a mixer and map layer.
The CMI V is brilliant, coupled with a midi controller it’s an all-encompassing instrument for live and studio.
The samples included sound spectacular and to make it complete I can load my own samples into the workstation if I choose.
In addition to the 4 new virtual synthesizers, the new V Collection 6 also includes the Analog Lab 3 plugin that incorporates the entire collection of virtual instruments into a single interface where you can directly choose from over 600 sounds. Great for instant inspiration!
This package of synths is excellent in quality and value. Yes there are some instruments in it that I might not ever use but you never know.
Considering there are 21 instruments, I myself am most interested in the Buchla, Analogue Lab, and Fairlight but for the price $499 already those 3 synths are worth that themselves.
The HD GUI are really impressive and look fantastic. It’s almost VR.
While working with these synths I’m constantly stumbling across fine details that enhance the whole experience, for exampl, there is a cursor that follows the trajectory of the amplitude envelopes so you can watch and better tweak your sounds.
If you love synthesizers and want to know all about them or you are looking for some great synths for production or live, you need to look into the Arturia V Collection.
It’s an amazing wealth of technology, history, music and creativity.
Price & Availability
Each virtual instrument in the Arturia’s V Collection 6 can be used as a stand-alone application or as a VST, AU or AAX plug-in, compatible with all major DAWs.