Review: Arturia Experience “The Factory” Hybrid Synth
For a long time, keyboards were a blind spot for me. I’d played a bit of piano as a kid, but over the years as I became more comfortable with a stringed-instrument fret board, my understanding of and comfort with a keyboard diminished. Then my daughter started taking keyboard lessons and we got a basic keyboard at home. Slowly but surely I became interested, then picked up a really nice keyboard for a steal on eBay (a Roland FP-7). Every now and then I’d use it as a midi controller but it’s on the other side of the room to the computer and it just never quite worked. So I went midi controller shopping!
I sussed out a few but one day came across the Arturia Experience “The Factory” hybrid synth on sale at a local music shop. I’m a sucker for musical equipment that looks good and given it was in the same ballpark price as the kind of entry-level midi controllers I’d looked, I snapped it up. Embarrassingly I didn’t really know what a hybrid synth was – it was just a flash midi controller to me.
The basics first: this unit is really well made with a solid metal case and faux-wood ends. It’s pretty heavy which may not work for some who want to cart it around, but is fine in the studio for me. It features 32 full-sized, semi-weighted keys that have a really nice feel (not as piano like as the FP7, but not too plastic or light either). It’s very easy to set up – plug in a USB cable and you’re good to go using it as a controller. But that’s just the start. Load up the 3500 presets from Arturia’s ‘V’ series synths: ARP 2600V, Minimoog V, Moog Modular V, Prophet V and VS, CS80V and Jupiter 8V onto your computer, then register the product online and a whole new synth world opens up.
Now I’m not the best one to talk you through this as I’m a complete rookie still exploring its features (for a more comprehensive review go to http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul08/articles/arturiafe.htm), but I can say that this is one of those products that makes music creation fun and challenges you to try things differently. I couldn’t ask for more.