UVI UVX80 by Diogo C
- Product: UVX80
- Developer: UVI
- Format: UVI Workstation/Falcon instrument
- Requirements: Windows 7+ and Mac 10.7+
- DRM: iLok (3 activations, optional USB dongle)
- Price: $79 (US Dollars, MSRP)
Sound quality: As usual UVI has done a great job on the sound quality department and the UVX80 is a very good sounding soft-synth. In terms of sound character I’d put it more towards the Juno 106 and JX-3P with some Dave Smith Instruments hints on the filter and envelopes. It reminded me vaguely of the digital waveforms on my Evolver, so in this regard some patches don’t exactly scream “analog” - it feels more like a modern hybrid than a vintage analog, with its own 80s feel that makes it quite charming. It’s definitely a bit limited in terms of patching, there are no overly complex modulation schemes to play with but it has more than enough to make some rich leads, captivating pads and powerful bass lines. One pleasant surprise was the quality of the “drive” effect, which great to crank up the distortion when things needs to get rough. The chorus is also quite good sounding, albeit a bit too dramatic, and the other effects are good enough for most sounds. Overall it’s another hit for UVI that sound at least as good as their previous offers in this “obscure and rare synth revival” line of products.
Ease of use: A relatively easy to use instrument once you’re familiar with the oscillators and how each option sounds, but after that it should be a breeze. It’s not a complex instrument in terms of internal routing or patching options, so it’s quite straightforward to program. Pick the OSCs, set the amplitude envelopes, filters, a bit of LFO or mod sequencer to give it some action, mix effects to taste and you’re set with a nice patch. In case you’re not on a mood for synth programming or if you’re more of a preset-person (there’s no shame in that!) then UVI provides almost three hundred presets for your convenience, and since tweaking is quite easy achieving the desired sounds shouldn’t be a problem. In this aspect UVI always scores high and it’s no different this time around — the interface is clean, neatly organized with tabs for the core functions for easy access and there’s nothing beyond that unless you have Falcon and want to get creative with it. Computing performance is also good, with fast loading times even on my aging 7200RPM HDD, and it’s also super light in terms of system resource consumption, just a bit more taxing when used with Falcon but that goes without saying it.
Features: Overall a nicely featured, self-enclosed synth that brings it all together with effects, some modulators and enough flexibility to do a good variety of sounds. A few things I missed were mostly about the hands-on/usage aspect, such as visual cues for the mod sequencer action, a linking function for the layers would also be nice and similar reasoning applies to the arpeggiators - I wouldn’t mind a link or a “copy/paste settings” for copying settings from one arpeggiator to the other. And the gearslut in me wouldn’t mind extra (and freely assignable) envelopes/LFOs and dedicated outputs for each OSC, but the current feature set is satisfying and fun to play with thanks to the great ease of use.
Bang for buck: A sensibly priced instrument at $79 (MSRP - $49 intro offer) that delivers some good bang for reasonable bucks as we come to expect from UVI. Needless to say that bang for buck will increase exponentially increases if you’re a Falcon owner, since it adds a whole new world of depth and a ton of flexibility with all its modulators and effects, but on its own the UVX80 ranks as high as the previous PX Apollo and UVS-3200, offering yet another good taste of a rare and quirky synth from a bygone era. If you liked those two you’ll probably like this one as well, but I’m also willing to accept that it’s precisely why one decides to skip it, and perhaps go for a different approach such as the one taken on Synth Anthology 2 that covers more vintage synth ground instead of focusing on one particular machine.
Recommended for: virtual synthesizer fanatics and electronic music producers looking for odd synths to further their options.
Click below for full-resolution (1080p) screenshots.