capsule review

Plex

At a Glance
  • Steinberg Plex

    Macworld Rating

Steinberg is keeping the flow of new VST plug-ins fast and furious with its latest offering, Plex. The result of a collaboration with Wolfgang Palm -- the man behind the PPG Wave synthesizer from the early 1980s -- Plex is a VST instrument that features Palm's new Restructuring Synthesis and a neatly designed, easy-to-use interface

Plex separates your original audio into four parts: low frequencies, high frequencies, filter characteristics, and amplitude envelopes. The user interface has a circular palette of sound resources that you use to mix and match sound components. This palette is divided into 33 sectors that you can load any of the available sounds into. Plex comes with 97 predefined resources that can be used as starting points to create sounds, and there are 300 preset combination sounds derived from these resources.

But the fun thing is creating presets: the four components of each sound source can be combined and merged freely to create new preset sounds. The area to the right of the sound palette contains the controls; using the group of four buttons at the window's top right, you can page, or swap, this area to display your controls of interest.

The Preset page lists 16 presets and has four buttons that copy, paste, store, and recall. The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) and ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) pages both incorporate handy visual displays and let you make individual settings for the Base, Top, and Filter components. You use the Global page to access globally applied parameters, such as Pitch LFO, Pan, or Delay.

Macworld's Buying Advice

If you love the sound of a trumpet combined with an electric guitar, and you want the notes to decrescendo like the sound of a gong, look to Plex, which can create this in a snap. The plug-in isn't an essential purchase, but it is a decent luxury item that's definitely worth having.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Interesting new approach to sound synthesis
    • Neat user interface

    Cons

    • Needs lots of RAM and a fast processor
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