Access Virus A
The Virus A by Access Music was a fantastic desktop digital synth module born in the 90's which gave rise to the success of the Virus series. The A's modus operandi was to digitally emulate analog circuitry as a means of packing a whole bunch of punch into a very flexible and easy to operate unit. Lets see how that worked out!
Firstly, yes. YES... Ahem, if you want thick, gnarly and aggressive this synth does it, in abundance. The word "Moog" comes to mind often enough while tweaking this synth. It's got a few different saturation/distortion emulations which really help bring things to life. I have to say it doesn't do pads and such very well. It tries, and maybe it's possible to program some in, but then I'd just reach for another synth.
The Virus A looks fantastic. Red, with wooden sides, black knobs... It looks like it sounds! 32 knobs and 27 buttons, 12 note polyphony and 16 multitimbral parts. Two LFO's, Dual oscillators, semi-infinitely variable waveforms from Sine to Pulse with PWM, plenty of filtering options, programmable patch levels, 6 outputs, a Vocoder, and dual filters with flexible routing and options.
Virus A is pretty sturdily built as evidenced by the fact that it's still around today. Knobs are rubbery which is actually pretty useful on stage with sweaty hands. Buttons are kinda flimsy, and hard to find replacements for which I've unfortunately discovered when two finally broke.
All in all
The Virus A is a pretty fantastic synth. It's nice to have as a retro piece, but perhaps if you can get your hands on a newer model like the Virus TI that might be a better option.