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 Yamaha AN1x 

Remarkable for being: Poor man's substitute for whatever-synth-he-desires.

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With other synths, you often need to mess around a while to control its sound so that it's convincing. They need more or less "polishing", let's call it. A sound that sounds good in the lower part of the keyboard gets too crappy when you play the higher frequencies on the right-hand side of the keyboard. So you need to rearrange the filter tracking, the treble / bass in EQ unit, etc. You play cat and mouse. You get tired faster. You lose faith in the world and the meaning of life. you... ok, enough.

But with AN1x... it's great here and now, after twisting a knob, everywhere. This synth rarely sounds bad and the FX unit is one of the best I've heard - and for what a price! Gorgeous, sensual reverb. Just bear in mind that the start-up tone of this synth (and its factory presets) is more glassy than analog, so if you're after the latter, just be patient and keep tweaking until you reach your analog wonderland. And, like every virtual analog synth, the AN1x replictes only a specific kind of (or "area" of) analogueness - in my ears it's the one of swishy Oberheim FVS basses, clear CS-80 leads, textured MS-20 fuzzes, stabby JX brass and toxic Polivoks screams as opposed to beefy ARPs, sturdy Matrix 6/1000 Oberheims, sweet Junos, crystalline Nords or whistling Akais.

The engine depth is hardly spectacular, yet at the same time there's hardly any sound this synth is not capable of making. And they all have this special appeal; a sublime quality that I cannot describe with words, just like the mood in the movies of Sam Mendes or Paul Thomas Anderson. The AN1x timbre is like the best balance of Nord's brightness, Virus'es lucidity, JP8000's low-end, OB-X's organic-ness, and ION's peculiarity (although bad plastic traces of Korg Radias could be found too). And speaking of Virus, it needs to be said that Yamaha are the masters of FM; the Frequency Modulation section sounds so good on this synth, gives very musical results and reminds me why I didn't become friends with the TI. The FM section on the TI, in comparison, is just a fart maker.

The knobby panel on the left side is semi-cozy and semi-quick, but much more time is needed to dive through the button panel on the right side. So if there is any downside to this synth, it's the UI. Compared to other synths it takes quite some time to get through. But trust me and rest assured - it's quite intuitive. "All things are difficult before they become easy", to quote a classic.

This is one of the greatest cheap VA synths; I guess it's even the greatest one when taking its price into consideration. I recommend it wholeheartedly if you need quality & adventure for low price. I just hope it doesn't get bought up by "electronic music" performers to play those effing solos. It would be a shame, because this synth seems to be destined for beautiful & creative music in general. Yamaha, please get back to the game with a new VA synth. AN1x is still the best cheap analog emulation on the market.



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