UVI is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down as we head into the end of the year. With PX V8, they have resurrected a truly esoteric and rare American synthesizer. The Voyetra Eight was a nearly eighty-pound rack-mounted beast that could take an assortment of voice cards to augment its pages and pages of parameters to program. Having never even seen one of these synths in person, I was excited to hear what UVI was able to come up with using the Voyetra as their inspiration.
The sounds of PX V8 are rich and wide, and immediately give you an 80s synth vibe without any tweaking at all. There are over 400 presets utilizing the 25,000+ samples, and those presets are extremely well thought-out. In fact, the paradigm UVI has been utilizing lately in organizing presets for their last few instruments is really something the rest of the keyboard/synth world should stand up and take note of - more on that later.
Sampling was done on a per-note basis for every patch, and the original instrument was clearly restored to a pristine state. These sounds absolutely shimmer with character. The raw waveforms are also provided, so you can build patches from the ground up utilizing the exact sounds from the original synth. It’s really the best of both worlds. You get thoughtfully crafted patches inspired by the original hardware, and at the same time, the untouched original waveforms of the hardware. It’s a real ‘win-win’ for the end user.
The aesthetic design of PX V8 is what I expected it to be after looking at photos of the original hardware. I have come to really appreciate UVI’s desire to make it ‘feel’ like you are using the original synth, while at the same time offering the conveniences of modern synth design. There are 2 layers built right into the instrument, so most patches already start out with a combination of 2 waveforms. It really helps the sounds of PX V8 feel big and wide, plus the patches that utilize the step modulator or arpeggiator really move. The layers can utilize step modulation and arpeggiation independently OR in tandem. This is really cool, because you can have one layer holding a pad while the second layer has motion - that lets you create some really cool soundscapes and it really makes this instrument shine.
One of the best features of modern UVI instrument design is the Templates category, and it makes you wish everyone did this. There are presets that are crafted from the ground up to fit a certain ‘mold’. Let’s say you want to create a cool mono bass patch. Certain parameters are going to be similar no matter what waveform you use. You’ll probably be in a lower octave. You’ll likely have ‘mono’ mode engaged in the polyphony section.
Your filter will likely be open enough to let the low frequencies through. These things are all set in the ‘mono bass’ template, and then you simply rotate the available waveforms and cycle through them until you have the sound you’re looking for. A minute or two of tweaking and you can really create something interesting in that category. They’ve provided a bunch of templates for you to design sounds with - everything from mono bass to lush pads. It’s super convenient and really helps with sound design.
PX V8 is a truly fantastic instrument from end to end. The sounds absolutely sparkle, the interface is simple, and the presets are great. You don’t have to be a fan of, or even have heard of the original synth to enjoy this one. You get 3 licenses for iLok use, which is another really ‘consumer friendly’ feature that I have always appreciated about UVI. This one is an excellent addition to any sound library, don’t skip it.