Um... excuse me. I'll see you in February or so.

Um… excuse me. I’ll see you in February or so.

Simple, lightweight, minimal.

No, not really.

This is a total monster, the grandest synth yet from plug-in maestro Urs Heckmann, aka u-he. ACE, aka “Any Cable Everywhere,” already introduced us to computer plug-ins with massive tangles of virtual cables – in a good way. Bazille, then, is the plug-in that ate the plug-in that ate Chicago.

And after first making an appearance in 2009, it’s finally here, like a beast foretold in legend.

Its oscillators are digital, with FM (frequency modulation) and phase distortion and the wild-sounding fractal resonance. And then it has analog-style filters. And then it has effects and processors up the wazoo. But, most importantly, it has insane parallel outputs all over the place and the ability to patch anything to anything without ever running out of cables.

It’s not just a bunch of connections and oscillators and effects, though. There are clever wave shapers called mapping generators with drawing tools and the like. There’s a 8x 16-step “morphing” sequencer. When you combine all those oscillators and filters and wave shapers and effects and sequencers, you really have a complete modular sound design environment. There’s not a whole lot of software I want to test at the moment – just being plenty busy with what I’ve got – but this just made the short list. You can test it, too; there’s a free demo download for Mac and Windows.

It’s also on sale for US$89 (before VAT, Europe), which I think is about a third of what users of physical modulars pay for their cabinet, if they’re lucky. (Or, perhaps the IKEA desk it sits on.) Yes, there are advantages to digital and software (ducks). After the intro, it rises to $129.

Watch:

The specs alone will make your eyes bleed:

4 digital oscillators with simultaneous FM (frequency modulation), PD (phase distortion) and FR (fractal resonance)
4 multimode analogue type filters with up to 6 parallel outputs each
4 modelled effects: stereo delay, distortion, phaser, spring reverb
2 LFOs with 3 parallel outputs each
4 ADS(S)R type envelope generators
signal processors: Inverter, rectifier, sample & hold, lag generators and quantizer
2 mapping generators (waveshapers) with a variety of drawing tools and controls
8 x 16-step morphing sequencer
multiplex modules for signal mixing, RM (ring modulation), AM (amplitude modulation)
single-page alternative skin included
microtuning support (.tun files)
multichannel MIDI support
user interface zoom in 10% steps
over 1700 presets…

Bazille @ u-he.com

Bazille_1_tweak

  • Mercury

    How exactly do you effectively use something like this in Live? For example I have a Novation lain control xl with tons of knobs faders buttons and 8 user presets. But Live doesn’t save the configuration except of macros. Are we all supposed to use a mouse with this or another host? Not sure how anyone is using it otherwise.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      I don’t think the nature of the synth in any way makes it easy to program it without a mosue, as zebra.

  • Mercury

    How exactly do you effectively use something like this in Live? For example I have a Novation lain control xl with tons of knobs faders buttons and 8 user presets. But Live doesn’t save the configuration except of macros. Are we all supposed to use a mouse with this or another host? Not sure how anyone is using it otherwise.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      I don’t think the nature of the synth in any way makes it easy to program it without a mosue, as zebra.

  • Mercury

    How exactly do you effectively use something like this in Live? For example I have a Novation lain control xl with tons of knobs faders buttons and 8 user presets. But Live doesn’t save the configuration except of macros. Are we all supposed to use a mouse with this or another host? Not sure how anyone is using it otherwise.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      I don’t think the nature of the synth in any way makes it easy to program it without a mosue, as zebra.

  • agent0047

    I save plugin settings all the time by grouping them into a rack, and saving the rack to my user library….I presume you could do the same with this?

    • mercury

      In a rack, you only have access to 8 macros, right? Also, you have access to 128 parameters but have to re-assign them every time you open live or save as a template and start every song that way, or am I missing something?

      • misho

        If you wrap a plugin in a Live instrument rack, then save the rack into Live’s library, all plugin params are saved along with the rack. You don’t have to have anything assigned to macro controls. Great for organizing many plugin presets into a central library. Only drawback is that when loading racks that use the same vsti, Live has to unload the load the plug back in. So a bit slower than using the plug-ins native preset selection.

        • mercury

          Actually this is what I do, but then the MIDI controller you are using has to have a MIDI script for Ableton Live. Many do not, such as the Novation Launchpad Control XL. I think this synth is awesome but I think the best use is integrating it with a MIDI controller that automatically links up to the 128 parameters the second it is loaded. Although maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t know how to code in python.

  • agent0047

    I save plugin settings all the time by grouping them into a rack, and saving the rack to my user library….I presume you could do the same with this?

    • mercury

      In a rack, you only have access to 8 macros, right? Also, you have access to 128 parameters but have to re-assign them every time you open live or save as a template and start every song that way, or am I missing something?

      • misho

        If you wrap a plugin in a Live instrument rack, then save the rack into Live’s library, all plugin params are saved along with the rack. You don’t have to have anything assigned to macro controls. Great for organizing many plugin presets into a central library. Only drawback is that when loading racks that use the same vsti, Live has to unload the load the plug back in. So a bit slower than using the plug-ins native preset selection.

        • mercury

          Actually this is what I do, but then the MIDI controller you are using has to have a MIDI script for Ableton Live. Many do not, such as the Novation Launchpad Control XL. I think this synth is awesome but I think the best use is integrating it with a MIDI controller that automatically links up to the 128 parameters the second it is loaded. Although maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t know how to code in python.

  • agent0047

    I save plugin settings all the time by grouping them into a rack, and saving the rack to my user library….I presume you could do the same with this?

    • mercury

      In a rack, you only have access to 8 macros, right? Also, you have access to 128 parameters but have to re-assign them every time you open live or save as a template and start every song that way, or am I missing something?

      • misho

        If you wrap a plugin in a Live instrument rack, then save the rack into Live’s library, all plugin params are saved along with the rack. You don’t have to have anything assigned to macro controls. Great for organizing many plugin presets into a central library. Only drawback is that when loading racks that use the same vsti, Live has to unload the load the plug back in. So a bit slower than using the plug-ins native preset selection.

        • mercury

          Actually this is what I do, but then the MIDI controller you are using has to have a MIDI script for Ableton Live. Many do not, such as the Novation Launchpad Control XL. I think this synth is awesome but I think the best use is integrating it with a MIDI controller that automatically links up to the 128 parameters the second it is loaded. Although maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t know how to code in python.

  • Charles

    You’d need a mouse to drag the wires when creating presets, but the knobs can be assigned just like any other knobs on a plugin (the midi learn is pretty easy to use).

    This and ACE are ripe for iOS versions though.

  • Charles

    You’d need a mouse to drag the wires when creating presets, but the knobs can be assigned just like any other knobs on a plugin (the midi learn is pretty easy to use).

    This and ACE are ripe for iOS versions though.

  • Charles

    You’d need a mouse to drag the wires when creating presets, but the knobs can be assigned just like any other knobs on a plugin (the midi learn is pretty easy to use).

    This and ACE are ripe for iOS versions though.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, i’ve been using this monster for several months now and i can attest that is has a lot of sonic bite..besides being very versatile, probably one of the best sounding soft synths.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, i’ve been using this monster for several months now and i can attest that is has a lot of sonic bite..besides being very versatile, probably one of the best sounding soft synths.

  • heinrichz

    Yes, i’ve been using this monster for several months now and i can attest that is has a lot of sonic bite..besides being very versatile, probably one of the best sounding soft synths.

  • edisonSF

    just tried the demo for a few… sounds amazing!

  • edisonSF

    just tried the demo for a few… sounds amazing!

  • edisonSF

    just tried the demo for a few… sounds amazing!

  • Ycros

    Love this synth, I’ve been using the beta for a while now and have made almost 40 patches. I highly recommend trying out the alternative skin (right click on the interface, not on a knob, select “GearPorn”), it puts everything except the FX on one screen.

  • Love this synth, I’ve been using the beta for a while now and have made almost 40 patches for myself. The release of 1.0 brings with it the factory presets which I’ve been listening through, and wow are there some amazing patches in there.

    I highly recommend trying out the alternative skin (right click on the interface, not on a knob, select “GearPorn”), it puts everything except the FX on one screen.

  • Love this synth, I’ve been using the beta for a while now and have made almost 40 patches for myself. The release of 1.0 brings with it the factory presets which I’ve been listening through, and wow are there some amazing patches in there.

    I highly recommend trying out the alternative skin (right click on the interface, not on a knob, select “GearPorn”), it puts everything except the FX on one screen.

  • Jim Aikin

    One key difference between Bazille and ACE (for more details, read my review in Keyboard in a couple of months): In ACE, all signals run at audio rate. Bazille does relegate some signals to a slower control rate, presumably in the interest of not overloading your CPU. In other respects, it’s twice as beefy as ACE.

  • Jim Aikin

    One key difference between Bazille and ACE (for more details, read my review in Keyboard in a couple of months): In ACE, all signals run at audio rate. Bazille does relegate some signals to a slower control rate, presumably in the interest of not overloading your CPU. In other respects, it’s twice as beefy as ACE.

  • Jim Aikin

    One key difference between Bazille and ACE (for more details, read my review in Keyboard in a couple of months): In ACE, all signals run at audio rate. Bazille does relegate some signals to a slower control rate, presumably in the interest of not overloading your CPU. In other respects, it’s twice as beefy as ACE.

  • DPrty

    This is one great sounding plugin …. and it doesn’t need a synthbath.

  • DPrty

    This is one great sounding plugin …. and it doesn’t need a synthbath.

  • DPrty

    This is one great sounding plugin …. and it doesn’t need a synthbath.

  • Derp

    How’s the CPU usage compared to ACE or even DIVA?

  • Derp

    How’s the CPU usage compared to ACE or even DIVA?

  • Derp

    How’s the CPU usage compared to ACE or even DIVA?

  • mmm not so impressed. oscillators are showing some aliasing. I prefer Reason Thor.

    • Foosnark

      “oscillators are showing some aliasing”

      Which it mentions in the manual within the first few pages. It’s not necessarily meant to sound like an analog modular.

        • Foosnark

          Okay, so you’ve demonstrated aliasing. Which I repeat, the manual says it does.

          I’ll keep that in mind the next time I write anything that uses completely unadorned oscillators, bending high-pitched notes, and there is nothing else going on in the mix that would mask it anyway.

          Seems like a bit of a waste of a modular synthesizer just to go “peep peep peep peep peep” with plain waveforms though. πŸ˜‰

          • yeah sorry for the “peep peep peep” I am an extreme sound nerd.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      You didn’t got the memo is not an analog emulation.

  • mmm not so impressed. oscillators are showing some aliasing. I prefer Reason Thor.

    • Foosnark

      “oscillators are showing some aliasing”

      Which it mentions in the manual within the first few pages. It’s not necessarily meant to sound like an analog modular.

        • Foosnark

          Okay, so you’ve demonstrated aliasing. Which I repeat, the manual says it does.

          I’ll keep that in mind the next time I write anything that uses completely unadorned oscillators, bending high-pitched notes, and there is nothing else going on in the mix that would mask it anyway.

          Seems like a bit of a waste of a modular synthesizer just to go “peep peep peep peep peep” with plain waveforms though. πŸ˜‰

          • yeah sorry for the “peep peep peep” I am an extreme sound nerd.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      You didn’t got the memo is not an analog emulation.

  • mmm not so impressed. oscillators are showing some aliasing. I prefer Reason Thor.

    • Foosnark

      “oscillators are showing some aliasing”

      Which it mentions in the manual within the first few pages. It’s not necessarily meant to sound like an analog modular.

        • Foosnark

          Okay, so you’ve demonstrated aliasing. Which I repeat, the manual says it does.

          I’ll keep that in mind the next time I write anything that uses completely unadorned oscillators, bending high-pitched notes, and there is nothing else going on in the mix that would mask it anyway.

          Seems like a bit of a waste of a modular synthesizer just to go “peep peep peep peep peep” with plain waveforms though. πŸ˜‰

          • yeah sorry for the “peep peep peep” I am an extreme sound nerd.

    • Sin Sentido Comun

      You didn’t got the memo is not an analog emulation.

  • Nick Shepherd

    Sorry Marco, but really this a Apples and Oranges comparison, slightly seasoned with some reason fanboy talk…
    If Thor is your go-to-synth then stick with it… Bazille is something else and comparing the two would have never crossed my mind to be honest….

  • Nick Shepherd

    Sorry Marco, but really this a Apples and Oranges comparison, slightly seasoned with some reason fanboy talk…
    If Thor is your go-to-synth then stick with it… Bazille is something else and comparing the two would have never crossed my mind to be honest….

  • Nick Shepherd

    Sorry Marco, but really this a Apples and Oranges comparison, slightly seasoned with some reason fanboy talk…
    If Thor is your go-to-synth then stick with it… Bazille is something else and comparing the two would have never crossed my mind to be honest….

  • Michiel Papenhove

    To my ears, this synth sounds wonderful and some sounds have easily made it to my favourites list, no doubt about it. There is one but, however: the CPU hit with some sounds is massive. There are some presets that allow me to play three notes at once. CPU usage jumps to about 80% and pressing a fourth key results in excessive drop outs and other nastiness. Might be due to the modular nature of this synth (I’m wondering if some presets have connections that create a gigantic amount of loops) but it is something to consider. For tech reference: I’m using the latest model MacMini.

    • rimwolf

      Did you enable Multicore? (switch to the left of the oscilloscope). On my MB Air, enabling this fixes the problem for all the presets I’ve tried.

      • Michiel Papenhove

        This totally fixed my issues. Thanks!

  • Michiel Papenhove

    To my ears, this synth sounds wonderful and some sounds have easily made it to my favourites list, no doubt about it. There is one but, however: the CPU hit with some sounds is massive. There are some presets that allow me to play three notes at once. CPU usage jumps to about 80% and pressing a fourth key results in excessive drop outs and other nastiness. Might be due to the modular nature of this synth (I’m wondering if some presets have connections that create a gigantic amount of loops) but it is something to consider. For tech reference: I’m using the latest model MacMini.

    • rimwolf

      Did you enable Multicore? (switch to the left of the oscilloscope). On my MB Air, enabling this fixes the problem for all the presets I’ve tried.

      • Michiel Papenhove

        This totally fixed my issues. Thanks!

  • Michiel Papenhove

    To my ears, this synth sounds wonderful and some sounds have easily made it to my favourites list, no doubt about it. There is one but, however: the CPU hit with some sounds is massive. There are some presets that allow me to play three notes at once. CPU usage jumps to about 80% and pressing a fourth key results in excessive drop outs and other nastiness. Might be due to the modular nature of this synth (I’m wondering if some presets have connections that create a gigantic amount of loops) but it is something to consider. For tech reference: I’m using the latest model MacMini.

    • rimwolf

      Did you enable Multicore? (switch to the left of the oscilloscope). On my MB Air, enabling this fixes the problem for all the presets I’ve tried.

      • Michiel Papenhove

        This totally fixed my issues. Thanks!