But why so?
(here in this self celebrative pic, you can admire me playing the Virus on stage)
The Virus TI2 has been for a while, and still is, the latest installment in the now classic series of synthesizers from Access. It comes with an incredible pedigree; appeared on countless stages, tracks unnumbered, and some of the most incredible artists from the most diverse genres have been singing it praises. It has always had its detractors; hordes of people have been calling it cold, blunt, digital, or overly complicated; but in my humble opinion, these people are idiots.
No self respected synth geek would dare denying the Virus is a masterpiece, and unquestionably a piece of the history of the synthesizer.
The one I had, and recently sold, was a TI2 polar, Darkstar edition.
It is a magnificent piece of hardware to behold and to touch, the knobs are grippy and nice, feels and smells of quality, its LEDs on the panel made the night in the studio less dark, its sound greeted me every morning with grit, lushness, warmth, whatever flavour of synthetic sound I could desire, right there at my fingertips,
so, why did I sell it?
is I think its time is gone:
Longer and overexplanatory answer:
There are some people who still are software racists, but really, as far as digital synthesis is concerned, when you play a synthetizer, the sound is computed in the digital domain; a series of mathematical operations determine the value of the bits of the audio sample which will be sent to its converters, there are good synths and bad synths, but the fact that is runs on a consumer processor isn’t a factor in that.
When the first Virus came out… 18 years ago or so, computer processors sucked; on the dedicated signal processing front, we had barely started to have decently sounding resonant filters on dedicated DSPs; the idea of running in realtime a proper synth on a late 90s or early 2000 computer processor was either unfeasible or just not ripe yet, it was the “golden age” of Virtual Analogs :D.
The first Nords, the Korg MS2000, and its very succesful little sibling, the Microkorg, The Alesis Ion, the Novation Supernovas, the Roland JP8000, the Yamaha AN1x, the mighty WaldorfQ, even Oberheim was sort of resurrected by Viscount to make a digital OB. That was the time when the firs Virus appeared, and notwithstanding the dire competition it was an instant success; and the same was for the subsequent revisions, the virus B and the C, the last Virus not to have a dedicated plugin from Access
in 2005, the possibility of really running a synth on a PC was there or so, though computing power was the issue. Most plugins had to trade some quality for usability; a hardware DSP synth that could at the same time be controlled as a plugin as the Virus TI, was pure genius; It allowed almost unmatched synthesis power in a DAW, giving at the same time a dedicated hardware to control it and some amazing effects, there was really nothing like it… and still nothing better was there in 2009, when all Access had to update was the processing power and the exterior design, staying the machines mutually compatible. yes, it has always been a bit buggy, terribly picky as far as USB ports go, but it was still totally worth it, and every piece of it sounds just as beautiful today.
In 2015 a machine which was born for USB1.1 has compatibility issues with an endless series of USB controllers, There are high quality microscopically modelled analog synths in VST format, and processors that can run them poliphonically in realtime at 192Khz sample rate with a 64 samples buffer for a few hundred euros each, and soundcards which converters put the ones on any Virus to shame. Unfortunately the Virus was clearly designed more for the studio than for the stage, as walnut and Panzer tiger II derived steel plate, aren’t the kind of material you like on your live gear, and the lack of an onboard step sequencer kinda keeps it out of the current “live electronic renaissance” that is happening with AIRAS, Elektrons, Volcas, the new Electribes and the like, so….
If it had done worse on the market, I’d have probably kept it, but considering I could sell it for the money I had bought it 3 years ago well…. Farewell Polar, welcome Elektron Analog Keys… and quite some spare cash
Before sending it to its new owner though, I had to make a last little jam on it…