UVI Electro – groove machine extreme
If you are contemplating getting involved in EDM but were unsure about what software to buy, or were even looking towards hardware synths and drum machines, UVI has an offering that just might be up your alley.
Utilising the amazing UVI Workstation interface, Electro Suite is another title in a growing catalogue of impressive titles from the developer. The free UVI Workstation is a container for the UVI instrument not too unlike Native Instruments Kontakt, in that you can load up various UVI synths and basically make up a virtual studio. It comes with some free instruments too, check out our full review back in 2014 here.
The Electro Suite is a collection of 5 individual units that are related and function together forming a perfect tool set for creating any forms of electronica you can imagine.
Though definitely aimed more at David Guetta-style club-bangers, Electro Suite offers pre-made rhythms, patches, and the ability to scratch-build beats in your own DAW using construction kit individual instruments and samples.
The 5 included units are all sample players with cleaver synth controls layered over the top. Not being true synthesizers doesn’t distract from the sound they create, though technically you are limited to the boundaries of the samples supplied. This approach is brilliant for newcomers to the synth scene and old hands alike who simply don’t have time or interest to start scratch-building tones from the ground up with modular synths.
Here’s a quick run-through of what you get in the collection.
DrumShaper – A 4-channel drum machine (Kick, Snare, Clap and Hats) with a pattern sequencer. Very simple to operate but surprisingly complex arrangements possible for the included sample collection. You can sculpt each section of your kit and with the pattern, the arranger comes up with some very useful stuff. Probably the highlight of the collection as it’s the easiest drum machine we’ve used as far as quickly building a usable drum pattern.
CarminePoly – a 2-oscillator lead synth with ADSR filter and amp, LFO and simple mod wheel-controlled LPF. Four simplistic FX controls – Drive, Phaser, Delay and Sparkle, are all tailored to suit in-your-face synth lead sounds through to soft bells and organs. Vintage sounding and perfect for dance music, it covers all the standard poly synth sounds you’ll need, just don’t expect it to do much more.
DirtyMono – Hard-hitting mono arpeggiated sequence synth deriving from a VCO Sample, digital VCO, sub-oscillator and a rather basic noise generator. Perfect for bass and more aggressive lead patches. Has a built-in step sequencer and more FX controls than CarminePoly. DirtyMono is actually a bit of a gem in the rough, even though it’s not a true synth you can really get some great results.
SweepMachine – Creates noise swells and fall-offs. A surprising amount of flexibility including noise, sub-noise, and metal. Includes an LFO and 3 FX, flanger, Delay and Sparkle. The first time I have seen such a synth, and very usable for EDM, but not so much for other styles.
MissonControl – Sort of a one-finger DJ player using individual samples and patterns from the construction kit to create full mix loops.
Also included is the above-mentioned Construct Kits, a collection of all the instrument samples used in Elctro Suite available as individual wav samples one shot, loops and full patterns with individual instruments mapped to your keyboard. This will be where you’ll spend most of your time as all of the samples are draggable to your DAW arrangement screen as full waveforms, allowing you to create endless loop-based patterns – pretty amazing stuff.
As a whole Electro Suite is a bit of a mixed bag of treats and booby prizes. I feel it leans towards beginners or perhaps live performance use mostly, however, the construction kit section I found extremely useful for building tracks from scratch. Individually each of the elements is very basic and not overly inspiring, however, the strength is combining all 5 as a production tool. Each element has its place in most forms of EDM, though it does heavily lean towards club hard floor rave and remix production. Electro Suite is most definitely a handy tool for creating a solid bed to further build on, but you might have to look further at other synths in the UVI lineup to start pushing new boundaries in sound.