As we discovered when the elevator broke at the 6th-Floor Handmade Music party last month (ahem), actual analog gear is heavy, to say nothing of expense. There’s nothing quite like the real thing, in terms of sound, behavior, and tactile feedback. But the “next best thing” has some definite advantages. And competition for virtual alternatives is heating up. IK Multimedia and Arturia pack an unprecedented number of analog models into a single package for a pretty low price; Arturia now even throws in a keyboard to seal the deal.
Arturia’s Virtual Experience vs. IK’s Moogs: Fight!
The approach of each product is different. IK uses their sample engine, Arturia uses their “TAE” engine from their other virtual vintage products. IK has some additional multi-effects and sound-warping power; Arturia has arguably more hands-on control. IK is entirely focused on Moog and even endorsed by Moog Music; Arturia has a cross-section of classics. And, oh yeah, Arturia is also throwing in an actual hardware keyboard (pictured a little later on).
Hmm… if only we could read the spec sheets for these tools simultaneously. Wait — we can! Go, go, gadget HTML table!
|IK SampleMoog||Arturia Analog Factory Experience|
|Powered by SampleTank sample engine||Powered by TAE engine|
|Mac VST, AU, RTAS (Pro Tools)||Mac VST, AU, RTAS (Pro Tools)|
|Windows (+Vista) VST, RTAS (Pro Tools)||Windows (+Vista) VST, RTAS (Pro Tools)|
|Functions as plug-in and standalone||Functions as plug-in and standalone|
|1700 sounds from 16 Moog instruments||3500 sounds from 7 Arturia instrument models|
|32 built-in multi-effects, BPM sync, Mono/Poly/Legato modes with selectable Legato, 2 LFOs, 2 Envelopes, syncable filter section||Filter and LFO sections, 4 Key Parameters differing for each preset, Chorus & Delay mix|
|US$299; US$249 crossgrade||US$349, with a 32-key keyboard|
|Shipping now||Available “soon”|
That’s just an overview, naturally. See also:
What About Arturia’s New Keyboard?
Glad you asked. Arturia has sent us some shots of their new hardware. The keyboard is built by CME, the Chinese keyboard maker that impresses Thomas Dolby and inspires bizarre advertising music video involving paint. (Classic quotes: “I do not mind other’s eyesight / I am self-determined so be crazy with be / Do not say that I am aggressive / I am self-determined and that’s what I am!” Top that, Roland.)
Anyway, the CME keyboard naturally works out-of-the-box with the software parameters in the Analog Factory software, with 1 clickable encoder, 10 encoders, 4 sliders, 11 switches, 1 modulation wheel, and 1 pitch bend wheel. Now, I hear what you’re saying — couldn’t you do that with any keyboard? Yes. Yes, you could. Then again, hard to argue with it when it seems to be a free pack-in, and CME’s stuff is usually quite good. Could make a great gift to a synth lover for the holidays, I suspect.
Here are some shots of the hardware — just mock-ups; the real ‘board was at AES but I didn’t get a chance to snap any shots, so just enjoy this lovely virtual world.