Today I will take a look at Falcon, UVI’s flagship synthesizer, one of the most complex virtual instruments I met so far.
Falcon is from the category of multitimbral hybrid instruments, being available in VST, AAX, and Audio Unit plugin formats, as well as stand-alone software. The activation goes through iLok Manager client app – no dongle required, just the software, which is included in the installation files. You can have Falcon installed on up to three computers at the same time, which is perfect for those using multiple setups.
At the core of Falcon are 15 highly-optimized oscillators in the zone of modern sampling and synthesis techniques. These 15 oscillators can be combined and layered as you wish, or rather, as much as your computer allows. Your CPU is the only obstacle that stands in the way of this monster synthesizer, otherwise, the sonic possibilities would be virtually limitless. Synthesis oscillators include Analog, Analog Stack, Drum, FM, Noise, Organ, Pluck, and Wavetable. Sample-based oscillators include IRCAM Granular, IRCAM Multi-Granular, IRCAM Scrub, IRCAM Stretch, Sample, Slice, and Stretch.
But Falcon’s hybrid capability means (in an extremely sketchy description) you can also add samples and effect processors to generate its sound. Speaking of effects, it comes with over 80 high-quality effects, such as reverbs, delays, modulators, equalizers, filters, stereo enhancers/shapers, distortions and much more.
The factory sound library is circa 650MB – a fantastic showcase of Falcon’s performances. But keep in mind that Falcon imports all UVI-Powered soundbanks, making it as a powerful portal for all your other sound libraries which, until now, were loaded into UVI Workstation. Also, there are many other UVI sound libraries for purchase, as well as tons of third-party libraries, due to Falcon’s fantastic scripting support. You can also test you sound designer abilities, because Falcon has a built-in visual editor for creating fully customised macro-driven interfaces.
Of course, the complexity of this synthesizer translates into its interface too. At first glance, Falcon is intimidating, but after a short time spent with it, you will find that it is well structured and brought to a good level of accessibility, even for those who are new in this wonderful area of sound synthesis.
Its interface consists of three pages, Main, Mixer, and Performance, as well as several windows. By entering the “Edit” tab from the Main page, you can access and edit the oscillators, programs, layers, key groups, effects, keyboard mapping and modulation parameters. The “Info” tab is a simple interface, offering some quick controls perfect to be automated. This tab can be customised, meaning you can add knobs, delete selection, copy/paste the layout etc.
From the “Effects” section you can add any combination of effects from over 80 processors. A good starting point is the use of multi FX’s which are split into 7 categories depending on the instrument type used or the situation: aux_FX, bass, drums, guitar, master, miscellaneous and special FX. But of course you can build your own effects rack/chain, by adding effect processors one by one (these are split too into categories). It goes without saying that you are allowed to save multi FX’s and single presets, this way you create your own effects library for later use. The effects can be applied as inserts or sends.
Next in line is “Events”, which displays all of the MIDI event processing paths, from master event processors down to event processors on an individual layer. This section features arpeggiators, chord generators, rhythmic line processors and other similar tools, allowing you to achieve amazing sonic movements and rhythmic soundscapes.
The last tab of the Main page is “Mod”. It displays all of the modulation sources, and you can choose from 8 modulator types such as Analogue ADSR, LFO, Multi Envelopes, Step Envelopes and more. Every modulator type comes with tons of presets to choose from.
In the left hand of Main page, we have quick access to the soundbanks, sample generators & synthesis, effects, multi-effects, events and modulators. The left browser accesses parts in a multi and displays all its components in two modes, tree and list.
The Mixer page is actually a global mixer with inserts and four auxiliaries, perfect to balance and mix the layer parts. The bottom half shows channel strips for each of the part, aux, and master outputs. Add and edit effects for each channel strip, they will be displayed on the top half.
The final page is Performance – a simple view of all parameters, specially designed for live performances. It shows the parts, keyboard range, and velocity range.
Falcon is a great synthesizer, able to create a huge range of sounds. Labelled as a hybrid synthesizer, this beast of software breathes new life into the world of music creation, and open doors to a new generation of virtual instruments.
Falcon offers advanced synthesis and sampling, add quality effects – all these makes it an advanced creative tool. It comes with a great factory soundbank that highlights all its capabilities but also it loads all the other (old and new) UVI soundbanks. You will have all the sounds concentrated into a software. It is an instrument that urges at creation, one of those products that will have support from independent soundbank creators/designers many years to come.
If you want to edit everything in the smallest detail, you’ll be delighted to know that you can get down to the basic point of the sound. Falcon is for any music producer, be it amateur or professional.
Falcon is an ambitious project that grows. Perhaps what keeps this bird still is the price (€349), but considering its modernism and clear promise of a bright future, it should be viewed as an investment.
What I like is that Falcon can be used in any genre, and when I say this, is not an exaggeration. It sounds exciting and lively, a gorgeous look, it behaves beautifully and transmits power in the hands of the user. I just love it!