What would you say if I asked you about Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 Vintage Synth emulation ? Most of you would probably point me at Native Instruments website and their Pro-53 virtual synth for 199 EUR. Others would say – pick SCI Prophet 5 or Prophanity, they’re freeware.
But, is there a third option – cheap / average priced, commercial, quality soft synth ? Fortunately, there is. It’s called Messiah, it’s created by Gunnar Ekornås (remember Minimogue VA ?) and after 3-4 hours testing session I’m really wondering why this synth seems hmm forgotten. To be honest, even I, vst instruments freak ;), had problem to notice it. Actually it was one Vst Cafe user who recommended me this softsynth and it convinced me to give Messiah a try.
First I started with the presets. Factory bank contains 128 presets – there are leads, arps, basses, effects, chords, guitars – it’s almost everything. I was surprised because many presets sounded very nice. At this moment I didn’t know anything about the whole concept of Messiah. All I saw was an upper gui part which looked quite similar to Pro-53 (or maybe I should say Prophet5 VA 🙂 ) and the keyboard at the bottom.
Messiah has three very innovative oscillator types:
1. Morph oscillator – you can morph between 4 waveforms (11 waveforms to choose such as: sine, saw, square, triangle, ramp, soft ramp, peak ramp, peak, octava, cluster1, cluster2)
2. Unison oscillator – 7 voices (and you can put this oscillator into 5 voice unison for 35 voices) for creating fat detuned sounds.
3. Flexi oscillator – two separate waveforms that can perform PWM, Ring Mod, Phase distortion and more
Messiah development took over one year. An author has been analyzing Prophet5 soundfiles (for example at filter design stage) to reach the best effect. Sure, it’s not 100 % accurate emulation but it’s actually more than just an emulation. These oscillators are really doing the great job and they’re NOT killing the CPU – Messiah is very low CPU hungry.
Is it worth ? To be honest I don’t remember the sound of Pro-53 but one thing I do remember – I didn’t like the unison – the more detuned sound (and since I’m much into trance, I like to detune everything 😉 ) I had, the less brightness and more noise I heard. Fortunately, Messiah unison sounds as it should – fat, detuned (if you want to), but still pretty bright and without noise.
The most important thing – it’s very hmm creative synth. I was giving myself about three hours to write this short review but I failed miserably. “Tweaking knobs” part just took too long 🙂 I managed to create few nice presets ranging from Usher – Yeah, Deadmau5 plucks to trance pluck. Factory presets are very nice too – especially I like presets called “Depeche” – I spent half an hour playing “just can’t get enough” 😉
Don’t forget to check the demo – you shouldn’t trust the guy you virtually know nothing about 😉 The demo is fully functional + silence effect, which to be honest is too frequent. At first I thought that there’s some bug in Messiah hehe
Last word – Messiah needs more attention. It’s an amazing, powerful synth. Sure, there are tons of free plugins – some (for example Synth1, Outmeal, Atlantis) are as good as commercial. But if you have them all and you need something new – Messiah will give you that new feeling. It’s pretty unique synth – good enough to be a commercial product. Great work Gunnar! 🙂
Here are some examples I did during Messiah testing (there’s tiny amount of external reverb – rest is Messiah)
Price: 30 $ (or 40 $ with Memorymoon – plugin inspired by Memorymoog polyphonic synth).
More info: http://memorymoon.com