In this review we are going to test and review the newly released monosynth from u-he called Repro-1 which is a component level emulation of a really awesome monosynth that came out during the time of the Roland SH101 and the Moog Prodigy.
The Sequential Circuits Pro-One today is known for some of the most iconic basslines in electronic music having been used by artists like The Prodigy, Depeche Mode, Prince, Vince Clarke and many more.
Truly emulating a hardware synth is not an easy feat to pull off that is why u-he has had this synth in alpha and beta versions for quite some time to figure out the algorithms for the filters and oscillators and such so that we can have an accurate representation of the original hardware synth and not blow up our CPUs when we turn the Repro-1 on in our DAWs.
So let’s start with where you would usually start when you get to know a new synth and that is in the preset folder where you find over 500 different presets neatly sorted over eleven separate folders. The presets sound really good there are quite a few to play with and they give a nice representation of what this synth is capable of.
In Repro-1 you have two oscillators which can output 3 different types of waveforms OSC A can output an upward saw and a Pulse shape and OSC B can output an upward saw, Triangle and a Pulse shape these waveforms can be blended with each other straight from the oscillators themselves and can then be mixed together in the mixer area.
The mixer is also where you can add some noise or feedback to your waveform.
OSC B can also output a downward saw but for that you have to get into the tweaks page which looks like you took of the front panel of the synth to change the inner workings of the synthesizer.
Both of the oscillators have different algorithms to choose from which can add warmth and character to your sound if needed.
OSC A can be switched from either ideal to P1 or P5 both of the P options have a warmer sound to them.
OSC B also has the ideal, P1 and P5 algorithms but also has a Bottom option which really emphasises the triangle waveform.
Shaping the sound coming from both oscillators is done with the AMP envelope this is an ADSR envelope this is where you can change the shape of your sound from short plucky notes to long drawn out ones.
The filter in Repro-1 has a cut-off and resonance control and controls to use its own ADSR envelope which allows you to shape your filtered sound or to enable key tracking which also tracks pitch bend signals as a default but this can also be changed in the tweaks page to just key tracking.
There are three types of filters in Repro-1 Crispy, Rounded and Driven the first two accurately model the filters present in the hardware models u-he bought for analysis of Repro-1 and the third one is a result of balancing different filter parameters to get a novel CEM3320 type of flavour.
The filters that are in Repro-1 have a really nice character to them and sound awesome and show all of that hard work and testing that went into creating them in a digital synth. The filters can also self-oscillate really nicely and so hidden in the filters is also a sinewave should you ever need one.
LFO & Modulations
The LFO in Repro-1 has three types of shapes it can be set to Ramp, triangle and pulse these can be moulded together. The timing of the LFO can be set to rate which has a range of 0.1Hz to 30Hz or to clock which is synced to the host DAW and has a range of 8/1 up to 1/64th.
In Repro-1 you get 3 modulation sources that via 2 paths can modulate 5 different destinations in the instrument it may seem kind of confusing at the beginning of playing with the synth but it should become second nature in a few hours.
Sources: Mod filter envelope, Mod OSC B and Mod LFO.
Paths: Direct or Mod Wheel.
Destinations: OSC A Frequency, OSC A Pulse Width, OSC B Frequency, OSC B Pulse Width and the Filter Cutoff.
u-he has made some improvements on the old sequencer that was in the original Pro-One synthesizer where the Pro-One could store up to 40 notes in 2 lanes tops and in Repro-1 you can store up to 64 notes in 2 lanes. The notes themselves can also be turned on or at rest or tied together for some long notes in your sequence.
Building your sequences is really fun and easy as you don’t have to sit there and set all the values of all of your different steps but you can just record them in and set your rests and ties in afterwards.
The tweaks page is probably what it would look like if you removed the front panel off of the Repo-1 with all of the normal controls that you see on the front panel but also a few extra ones.
Oscillator A: Setting the algorithm of the oscillator from ideal to P1 or P5.
Oscillator B: Setting the algorithm of the oscillator from ideal to P1, P5 or bottom. Inverting the upward saw to a downward saw waveform.
Filter: Setting the different algorithms for the filter to crispy, rounded or driven. Setting the key tracking mode with pitch bend or without.
Envelopes: Setting the different envelopes types for the AMP envelope and the Filter envelope to Normal, High sustain, One shot, Piano 1 or piano 2.
LFO: inverting the ramp waveform from upward to downward. Adding and removing DC offset from the LFO.
Note Priority: Change the note priority of Repro-1 to Low, High or Last.
The effects in Repro-1 are 5 stomp box type things which can be set in any order according to what you sound needs at that time with a Jaws, Lyrebird, Resq, and Sonic Conditioner.
The Jaws Wavefolder is a special type of waveshaper where the device literally folds the waveform back onto itself multiple times which can create an effect that sounds similar to FM.
The Lyrebird is a Delay is modelled after an analog bucket brigade type Delay which is capable of free running delays and host synced tempo delays letting you create effects like flanges and choruses or big long echos and reverb type effects.
ResQ is a dual device acting as either a semi-parametric EQ with two shelves and a midrange band or a triple bandpass resonator. This is really a fun effect shape your sound or to add some awesome resonance to a specific area of your sound.
Drench is the reverb in Repro-1 it is a plate reverb but it also has a pre-delay which is great for keeping your original sound but also being able to create large spaces.
The Sonic Conditioner is a transient shaper with gain and width controls this really helps when your sound is either too loud or not loud enough if it’s too wide or not wide enough and if your sound lacks punch or has too much punch and starts clicking.
u-he’s Repro-1 looks like the old Pro-One with some added upgrades that fit well with the old looks and help meld past and present in a style that pays homage to the era the original was from.
The sound that comes out of this synth is really great with a rich low end and crisp highs the oscillators and filters just sound awesome and the effects put a nice cherry on the cake so it is easy to see that the long alpha and beta stages where definitely not for nothing because this thing sounds awesome.
- Great sound quality.
- Lots of Presets.
- Easy to use but has a few hidden gems like Easter eggs wakawaka.
- Resizable interface
Repro-1 software synthesizer is available for both Windows (AAX, NKS, VST2 or VST3) and MAC (AAX, AU, NKS, VST2 or VST3). Another great thing is that this plug-in supports Native Instruments’ NKS format, being compatible with Maschine and Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboards. You can get your copy directly from u-he website (link below).
More Details / Download: Repro-1
— AmbientSynths (@AmbientReserve) January 4, 2017