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Subject: FW: [AH] Preliminary Virus/Jupiter Comparisons: Skip This if it B ores You!!

From: "Verschut, Ricardo" <ricardo.verschut@...>
Date: 2000-05-10

-----Original Message-----
From: Royce Lee [mailto:rlee@...]
Sent: Tuesday, May 09, 2000 9:03 PM
To: analogue@...
Subject: [AH] Preliminary Virus/Jupiter Comparisons: Skip This if it
Bores You!!


Well, I promised I'd write a comparison between the Jupiter8 and Access
Virus. . . but the Jupiter 8 deal has hit a few snags. So as to keep my
word, though, I'll write a brief comparison of the Jp6 and the Virus.
I'll skip the specs since these are available else where.


Jupiter 6: I paid 700$ used. Not worth inflated 1200$ prices.
Virus A: I paid 500$ used. I would NEVER pay 1200$ for this or any other


Jupiter 6: Fantastic interface with great aesthetics. I replaced all the
sliders and knobs, which helped things tremendously. Synth responds well
to slider changes and has filter and VCO control inputs in the back.
Responds to arpeggiator clock input. I use the second channel of my JKJ
midi-cv converter to control the filter cutoff with mod-wheel, which
allows for dynamic sequencing.

Virus: No complaints. Hidden parameters are a real pain in the butt, but
they probably keep the cost down. Responds very well to parameter
changes, with no stepping. Flexible modulation routings. Although the
Virus is very much multitimbral, you have to make multi-timbral setups in
advance. So, interface wise, it's basically mono-timbral. Thus, that's
how I use it. Fantastic multiple out and input options.



Jupiter6: Good variety, with multiple combinations of square, triangle,
pulse-width, and saw. Also with various osc sync combinations which lead
to dramatic, but pleasing changes in timbre (ie two synced triangles).
Pretty much perfect sounding waveforms.

Virus: Also with a good variety of waveforms. Triangle and sine are high
points. Pulsewidth mod sounds good. Nice variations are possible. Saw
wave is a bit underwhelming. Especially at high frequencies-- the
waveform begins to sound kind of like a triangle or sine wave.


Jupiter 6: Not bad. . . but not wonderful. To my ears, the Jp6 filter
sounds the best when it's almost invisible (resonance set to 0, and
cut-off somewhere in the middle). As you turn up the resonance, all of
your bass response tends to simply disappear. Even so, fat, liquidy,
rubbery sounds come fairly easily. Filter self-oscillation isn't a high
point, as it sounds somewhat squeaky. Some subtle and very nice
distortion effects are possible, lending a "creaminess" to the tone at
high frequencies. Bandpass filter and high pass filter are nice additions
but lead to somewhat generic results.

Virus: Probably the high point of the synth. Nice double filter action.
When you turn up the resonance, you actually fatten up the sound, which is
really cool. Self-oscillation is perfect but not extremely useful, as you
can already use sine waves as oscillators. Bandpass filter sounds good
but not as good as the Jupiter 6's. Play a bandpass sweep on the Jp6 and
you start wondering how to build a track around it. Play a bandpass sweep
on the Virus and you are wondering how it would sound with some tube
compression and multi-effects.


Jupiter 6: One LFO with several waveforms. Can modulate filter, volume,
pitch, pulsewidth. One performance LFo for squiggly efx. So you have
kind of 1.5 lfo's.

Virus: 3 LFO's that can be assigned to anything. Virus wins here. The
Jupiter could make better pads with more LFOs, but the Virus has the


Jupiter 6: Fast envelopes with an annoying click at the end. Sometimes
there is no good workaround. The click isn't a subtle thing and with
delay efx, sounds like a moth is stuck in the synth, flapping around. By
having turning up envelope to filter, and setting the filter eg to 0,
while keeping the VCA release time up, you can get rid of the the click at
low filter cutoff frequencies. But at higher cutoff frequencies you'll
get a little tail of sound. The click at the beginning of notes is either
a plus or a minus. . . who knows.

Virus: Perfect envelopes. Very fast and punchy. There is an addtional
control called "punch" which sort of exaggerates the envelope parameters,
giving sounds a little click in the beginning. LFO wave shapes can also
be used as envelopes.


Square wave bass (a la Juno 106) with moderate resonance:

Jupiter 6: Very nice, transfixing sound. Clicks can be annoying. Can be
somewhat gritty and grungy. Not huge on the bottom end, but good enough
and can be boosted with compression and eq. At highter resonance values,
filter sweeps lead to the bottom end virtually disappearing. Kind of

Virus: Technically perfect sounding. Not quite as pleasant harmonically,
and not quite as "hollow" as one might wish, but very usable. Can sound
"fat" (sorry) at varying cutoff frequencies. Still, I don't think
trance/techno would have become so attached to the sound if all people had
to work with were virus's. It sounds like real analogues, and yet it
itself doesn't draw you in.

303 type basslines

Jup6: has some trouble here with the poor bass response and funky vca
noises. Also, midi response is a bit sluggish.

Virus: much better. . . oscs and filters aren't perfect, but the good bass
and the fast envelopes set the stage for the good-enough filter sweeps to
sound okay. Distortion sounds. . .cheezy, but some people might be after
that, so I'll skip that.


Jup6: has some trouble here. Maybe pouring some prune juice in the heating
vents would help.

Virus: No problem with low end, dub, d&b, glug-glug type sounds.
Actually, these are perfect for the Virus, as its high end shortcomings
don't apply down here. Distorted bassbombs sound plausible. I'm no bass
scientist so I'll leave this one to you d&b experts. Definitely the Virus
is better than the Jup6 at these.

Basic Pad, String and Chord Type Sounds (Sorry for the vague category)
a la Vangelis

Jup 6: fantastic. At low filter resonance settings, with combinations of
sawtooth and pulsewidth waveforms you get very nice creamy sounds with
subtle distortion, very detailed and swirling high frequency mush. . .
Probably doesn't hold a candle to Oberheim type synths, but I wouldn't
know. For simple pads, the lfo can be set to a slow enough rate to lead
to subtle changes in sound over time, and is freerunning, to give patches
variation. Sometimes I wind up cutting some low frequencies, which can
actually "fatten" up the sound a little.

Virus: Not so good. Again, the high frequencies sound very digital to me.
Kind of bell-like rather than string like. I would say that some of these
basic analogue staples actually don't sound good at all on the Virus,
which would explain why the presets stay away from them.

Complicated Pads:

Jup6: Not really an option, given the single LFO. Some interesting
effects are possible with osc sync, but these are limited.

Virus: Fantastic. Not really marketed as a pad machine, but actually,
this is where it shines. Bell like sounds, smooth sine waves, nutty lfo
routings. . . almost fs1r territory. The analogue modelling technology is
put to good use with the sounds, lending them a complexity that synths
like the fs1r have trouble with.


Jup6: nice but silly sounding

Virus: no problem. Very warm sounds are possible, as are little tiny tin
bell sounds.

My humble opinion:

If you made it this far, I suppose I can say pretty much anything. I've
tried not to do any bullshitting, but you know how hard that can be to
avoid. I got a good price on the Virus, which makes me like it. I
wouldn't recommend the Virus to analogue lovers out there looking for a VA
solution to there analogue headaches. It's good, but not better than
something like the JP6 for most analogue staples. The JP6 is sometimes
presented as a good "do everything" synth because of it's bandpass filter.
But really it's not THAT flexible, and winds up sounding like. . . a JP6
no matter what patch you use. The Virus makes for suprisingly good pad
and bell type sounds, which is probably NOT why most people are interested
in it, but IS probably while I'll wind up keeping it. . . at least for a
few months.

Hope this helps. If you want to flame me, please do it privately, as I'd
love to read any criticisms. I don't mean this to be a VA vs. Analogue
article. Just a comparison of two comparably priced (used) synths.