Archive for July, 2008

New Toy! Access Virus Classic.


As fans will know, Reborn are all about fusing synth/electronica with traditional rock guitar. Something quite commonplace now, but back in ’99 when we started, it was unheard of. Choosing the right equipment is paramount, and we’ve had a fair amount of gear. Our staple synth for some time was the Yamaha CS2X, but this soon departed to be replaced by some rather tastey virtual synths. A brief u-turn resulted in the addition of a Yamaha RM1X, which while good fun, hasn’t been all the CS2X has been. I’ve been experimenting with a few virtual synths, but nothing really comes close to a real synth in the studio. The old CS2X was a wavetable synth, so not really a true “analogue” synth. This was a bit of a disappointment when Walker and I started to get into the details with the CS2X, and is part of the reason why we weren’t too upset to see it go. That said, full blown analogue synths can be quite a handfull. So some moderation is required!After some (alot) of deliberation. I decided to get a decent analogue/virtual analogue synth. This means you functionally get an analogue synth, but you have presets and memory to save your patches. I read a few reviews, and checked out Harmony Central, and it seems the best by far are the Virus synths from Access. These take the form of a desktop/rack module, or a small 2 octave keyboard, or a full size keyboard.

Functionally, the Virus range has changed very little since it’s inception. There have been a few base versions, namely the Virus A, Virus B, Virus C and latest is the Virus TI. The TI is the first to show signs of real innovation since the Virus A, and now features direct Synth to Sequencer interaction via a VSTi. They call this “Total Integration”. This is pretty damn clever and means you have the best of both worlds, a hardware synth which uses no CPU, but a VSTi meaning it’s easier to mess with settings and record changes on-screen.

All that said, the TI is just too damn expensive, so I set about finding a second hand Virus. While on my travels I also considered the likes of the Korg Triton, Alesis Andromeda and Novation Supernova. But after hearing some audio clips of each synth, and checking the specs. It seems the Virus is much more geared towards that “Reborn” sound.

I finally found a rather crisp and clean Virus Classic for sale. The Classic is essentially a re-release of the Virus B with a different paint-job. If you shop around you can get these from as little as £250 for a scruffy one, or £450 for a clean example like this. That’s one hell of a saving over the original RRP of £999.

I’m still waiting for delivery, but will be posting up some audio clips as soon as I can get my grubby hands on it!