Rob Papen RAW Review

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There are a few names that come to mind when you mention software synths. At the top of many keyboardists and producers lists would be Rob Papen. His latest undertaking is an original digital soft synth design with a focus on more distorted sounds. I’ve had a little over a month to really put it through the paces and experiment with its capabilities. Does it hold to the typical Rob Papen lineage?

It’s no secret that Rob Papen has a deep appreciation and knowledge of the analog synth sound and design. So, my first thoughts were positive in seeing a synth design offering some real grit and bite. At first glance you can see it is feature packed offering tons of effects, multiple oscillators, and tons of grimey distortion! If you aren’t used to a lot of options with your synth then it can be overwhleming at first. You’ll be pleased to find a lengthy manual to help you along your way, though.

When I orignially installed V1.0.0 I had a few sticking CPU and RAM issues within Pro Tools. Not long after an update was out and everything stabilized for my particular setup. I played with the presets as I usually do when exploring a new synth and was happy to find a lot of useful starter presets. Tweaking the synth’s parameters esecially with the x/y pad on the oscillators produced some interesting creative results. Tailoring the EQ and distortion sections can create some downright nasty sounds. Throw all the modulation options in there and you can come up with some completely bizarre sounds! The distortion section is very tweakable with a great low-fi section. If that isn’t grungy enough for you then jump into the amp section and waveshaper section to mangle the sound until your heart’s content. Madness!

If you’re looking for mellow synth sounds and airy pads then this synth may not be what you’re looking for. I think this is an instrument folks are either going to love it or hate it. You can create some extremely grimey sounds with this synth, but I understand that wont be for everyone nor synth purists. As for me I like having a different tool for every situation. So, I will fall in the category of liking this synth a lot. For a USD retail price of 179.00 (On Sale During April 2015 For 119.00) it’s hard to go wrong with a synth that offers tons of modulation options, multiple oscillators with x/y pads, a great distortion section, eq, waveshaper, low-fi section, and a hosst of other quality goodies.

I would like to see a more user friendly ARP section. I found everything else to be very user friendly including a lot of solid presets to help you learn the instrument’s capabilities. If you’re looking for a soft synth you can get some gritty sounds from then I do recommend you give this a go. If grit, grime, and wobble isn’t your thing then you may give it a pass. Either way Rob Papen as always designed another synth with class.

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Rob Papen