UVI PX Apollo by Diogo C
- Product: PX Apollo
- Developer: UVI Sounds & Software
- Formats: UVI Workstation/Falcon Instrument (VST, AU and AAX plug-ins for Mac and Windows)
- Price: $79 MSRP (Workstation is free of charge, Falcon is priced at $349 MSRP)
- DRM: iLok - up to 3 activations computer and dongle
- Website: UVI PX Apollo - Forebear of the Polyphonic Analog
The scope: PX Apollo is a new concept from the virtual instrument masters at UVI and marks the start of the PX series, according to their own words has the goal of exploring “exploring the oft veiled world of unique, fringe and unreleased electronic and acoustic instruments”, which is a very enticing premise for anyone interested in synthesizer lore and electronic music production in general. Instead of sample-based cloning, Apollo is a polyphonic synth only roughly based on a rare piece from the 70s from where UVI sampled the basic sounds to arrange them under a modern-day architecture. Apollo is one odd piece, starting with its three different oscillators. First one is the “Bass”, a hardware-sampled sub sound maker with LP cutoff control. What makes this one unique is that it splits the keyboard so it’s only played from the lower octaves, which quite a cool feature and allows for some cool “bass and lead” playing with both hands (if you’re a good keyboard of course). Then we move to OSC A, which is really the heart of this little synth with fourteen sampled instruments. Last but not least there’s OSC B, which is phase distortion oscillator has twelve different waveforms that adds a rough edge to the sound. OSCs A and B have dedicated volume, filters (HP, LP and BP, all with resonance control), pan and envelope generators. Apollo also features an arpeggiator, a couple of LFOs (with four shapes) and a step modulator that can be assigned to the two main OSCs and a nice effects section with drive, chorus, phaser, delay and reverb. Apollo has its heart and sound character set to the past but the feature set and layout are definitely very current, making it a very interesting piece to explore.
Sound quality: Apollo sounds absolutely lovely. It’s warm and characterful with its odd oscillators and creamy sounding filters. It can really be called unique, very distinct from pretty much everything else done by UVI or other developer, be it sample or synthesis-based. Speaking of sample versus synthesis, Apollo sounds so organic that it can’t really be told what method it deploys under the hood to generate its sounds. UVI has so much sampling experience and their instrument-creation skills are second to none and Apollo is another prime example of their excellence. In terms of “quality” both Workstation and Falcon delivers awesome results (and they both sound equal), but if you own the later there’s a whole universe of extra possibilities to be explored, vastly expanding Apollo’s range.
Ease of use: This is a straight-forward and mostly uncluttered instrument, with a clean interface that is well organized with tabs to host each section. Apollo isn’t a modular patch monster (that’s Falcon!) or a cutting-edge contemporary synthesizer with tons of features, so although there’s some good ground to cover this is quite an accessible and friendly to use instrument.
Features: As I’ve stated above, Apollo primes for its simplicity so the feature set is pretty focused on delivering a well rounded without overcomplicating things. For a vintage-themed synth it totally delivers and goes way beyond its inspirations, taking good advantage of current day tech. In that regard, Falcon adds a ton of features that will greatly extend any instrument but using Apollo on the free Workstation is not a less rewarding experience by any means. Also worth mentioning are the excellent documentation, the range of formats supported and UVI's commitment to their products, which are constantly updated and well maintained.
Bang for buck: I’d say that Apollo is basically a no-brainer/must-buy for any synth addicts and I’m sure that for such crowds even a heavier price tag wouldn’t be much of a problem given how cool and fun Apollo is, but fortunately UVI has set a very fair and affordable price. At $79 Apollo absolutely delivers and it’s a ton of bang for relatively few bucks.
Recommended for electronic musicians and producers, fans of vintage synth sounds and all synthesizer enthusiasts in general.