Post Magazine

March/April 2024

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 31 of 39

REVIEW 30 POST MAR/APR 2024 Force Software's VSM IV is an organic-sounding virtual string machine (VSM) that contains a wealth of sounds from 46 classic and rare ma- chines. Those sounds can be combined using two layers, allowing for a unique fusion of instruments. VSM comes with more than 1,900 presets, including 200- plus new patches and over 11.5GBs of data, enabling users to craft their own unique synthetic strings. The VSM IV comes with the same us- er-friendly interface as GForce Software's M-Tron Pro IV, but the sounds you can get out of VSM IV can be that much deeper, more aggressive or massive. At the center of that capability is a unique dual-layer strings machine. Your building blocks are 208 individual sets of meticu- lously-sampled machines that include the ARP Omni, ARP Quartet, Yamaha CS-80, Crumar Trilogy, Korg Lambda, Logan String Melody, Moog Opus 3, Solina and Roland RS-202. VSM IV mimics early string synthe- sizers, popularized by Ken Freeman, a British keyboard player who discovered the 'chorusing' effect of layering a note with a detuned version of itself. Because it's "only" dual layer, and therefore much like M-Tron Pro IV, I initially expected I would find VSM IV capable of only delicate and relatively-subdued sounds. It isn't. VSM IV, on the contrary, allows you to create a broad range of sounds. Sure, you can opt for the elegant and quiet, but by combining the right type of samples, you can also create large and aggressive soundscapes and music. Interface VSM IV's interface is easy to learn, with its two sample slots, filters and enve- lopes. If you already have M-Tron Pro IV, then there's not the slightest learning curve. Although VSM IV is a string ma- chine, it's not like what I initially expect- ed from string sounds, as I'm used to defining those in the classical way — for example: violins, violas, celli and contra- bass. Most of the string samples that are included with VSM IV are synth-based and that's exactly why this plug-in is a must-have if you want to create anything from musical to cinematic sound. Because VSM IV is sample-based, you gain a head start in the sense that you don't have to first create a base sound with an oscillator. For example, with VSM IV, it's very easy to recreate the typical Yamaha CS80 sound because you have access to string samples from that machine. Experience That takes us to my experience with VSM IV, which is that it's ridiculously easy to come up with something that sounds great and exactly as you envisioned — and all that in a single session. It's a far cry of the creation of a patch with heavyweight synths like U-He's Zebra or Synapse Audio's DUNE 3. Those are very powerful synths that require you to have a full understanding and the ability to conjure up an image of how every filter, envelope, wave form, etc., will influence the outcome. I'm sure people like Howard Scarr, Kevin Schroeder and others will have that ability, but speaking for myself, more often than not, I do need multiple sessions in order to create something that sounds like what I wanted with those synthesizers. VSM IV, however, turned out to be a welcome exception, and I can see two reasons — the first being that you start out with an existing base sound that doesn't necessarily generate a pure sine wave; and the second, that you have only one filter and two envelopes per sample slot to worry about. Once you got your "dry" sound exactly where you want it to be, you can start tweaking the filters and adding effects that include the traditional ones, like chorus, delay and reverb, but also some more exotic ones, like flutter and wow. Verdict The most difficult part of creating patches with VSM IV is selecting two base samples that work well together — or exactly the opposite if you're creating avant-garde, experimental sounds. From that point onward, your workflow is so simple that you won't believe the plug-in being capable of so many different sounds that enable you to keep on experimenting, in spite of the seemingly simple interface and the seemingly few parameters you can change. GFORCE SOFTWARE'S VSM IV BY ERIK VLIETINCK ERIK@ THECONTENTGAME.COM A VIRTUAL STRING MACHINE FOR CREATING MUSICAL & CINEMATIC SOUNDS G VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Gforce Software PRODUCT: VSM IV PRICE: $89.00 (approximately/US) WEBSITE:

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - March/April 2024