Review – Purity by Luxonix



Looking for a large variety of sounds and effects all contained in an easy to use sixteen-part workstation that comes at a bargain price?  Maybe Purity is the answer.

 

by Rob Mitchell, Sept. 2014

 

In the May 2014 issue of SoundBytes, I wrote up a review on Ravity by Luxonix.  Just in case you didn’t read that one, I’ll get you caught up.  It is a sound module software plugin that originally was released in 2004.  It was re-released recently due to the many requests from people saying they’d like to buy it.

Ravity is great, but it’s a bit like a straight-ahead ’90s sample-based rompler with a few modern extras thrown in. I have to admit, I actually like those types of sound modules from the old days. Purity is basically an updated version of Ravity, and it has a lot of new features added.

Luxonix has another product called Ravity 16, which lets you control up to sixteen instances of Ravity at once. Why am I telling you all of this?  I am getting to it, don’t worry. One of the main differences between Purity and Ravity is that you don’t need Ravity 16 . Purity is as an all-in one sixteen-part workstation, so you have that functionality built-in.    

Purity is a 32-bit only plugin for PCs and Macs, which can either be loaded into a DAW (digital audio workstation) or you can use the included standalone version as well. Just like with Ravity, the system requirements are easy to take:  For the PC, you’ll need a Pentium 4 running at 1.6 GHz or higher, and XP, Vista, or a later operating system. On the Mac, you’ll need a G4 or G5 running at 1.6 GHz or higher, and OSX 10.4 Tiger, or a later operating system. The installation is easy, as it just uses a serial and authorization number.

As I was just mentioning the specifications needed for Purity, I also have to mention the manual.  I know that Purity was originally released around 2007, but the manual could use some updating. Just as an example, in the specs that are required, I actually excluded the part where they mention Windows 2000 as one of the operating system choices. The reason being is that I don’t know anyone who still uses that ancient OS. Also, the manual lists some various DAWs, and one of them is SONAR 4. Sonar is now seven generations beyond that with its latest version, which is SONAR X3. While writing this review, I was using Purity in the latest version of Reaper.

Since the manual wasn’t updated, it doesn’t mention what their site tells you: Purity will not work with certain hosts.  They state on their website that Ableton Live and Maschine will not work correctly with it. There is a demo version you can download to make sure it works with your system. I would definitely check out the demo first.  You might as well, as the demo only takes a few minutes to download anyway, and is a meager 50 megabytes in size.

 

Loading

When you first load Purity, you are brought to the Mixer screen. There are sixteen channels you can load presets into, and you’re able to adjust various parameters for each. On every one of the sixteen channels, you are able to control the volume, panning, amount of voices, transpose the pitch up/down, and change the output bus (main or sub). You can use either output bus to get the audio to separate tracks in your DAW. It also includes two effect sends, which go to a chorus and/or a reverb.

The numbered buttons along the left turn each part on or off.  In the next column over, it displays the name of the preset that has been loaded in. If you want to load up another preset, you just right-click on that display, and a menu pops up with tons of presets to choose from.

One feature I checked out that didn’t work for me was being able to use the computer’s keyboard as a virtual MIDI keyboard. They mention to hit caps lock, and then it should work, but I couldn’t trigger anything this way. Most people (myself included) will be using a real MIDI keyboard anyway, so it’s not a big deal.

Along the bottom of the mixer page is the keyboard section. This is where you can control the master volume, and see the levels for the master output. Patches can be saved from here, and you also have access to the selection buttons for the different pages of Purity. The keyboard in this section is velocity sensitive. When you click with a mouse towards the top of a key, it is quiet, and as you click lower down on a key, it will be louder.


After clicking the “Preset” button, it switches to that page, and you will see the preset categories along the right side. The individual presets for the selected category are in the middle of the page. Some of these you click on may just use one sound, while others have been crafted with three or four different types of sounds. You could have all sixteen channels trigger at once if you’d like, and so it’s possible to have a very complex, atmospheric layering of sounds. Some of the presets included sound very good, and I compliment whoever helped create them.

If you want the sound from two or more channels to play at once, you just connect the different channels together. All you have to do is click on the channel link (it looks like a bracket) on the left side. There is one link for every two channels in Purity. If all of them are enabled, all the sounds you have loaded will be triggered at once. If you want to trigger each channel separately using MIDI in your DAW, just make sure the links aren’t enabled.

The channels in Purity all output in sequential order to the MIDI channels 1 through 16.  The first channel in Purity will be triggered by the first MIDI track in your DAW, if that track in the DAW is set to MIDI channel one. The second channel of Purity will be triggered by the second MIDI track, and so on.

To start making music quickly, that’s no problem in Purity as there are over 1,300 presets ready to use. There are many categories to choose from, including drum loops and drums sets, pianos, organs, guitars, strings, brass, synthesizer sounds, GM sounds, and more.

Sequence and Edit Pages


After clicking the “SEQ” button, you will then be brought to the Sequence page. This is where you can setup a sequence of notes, and it is also possible to load in a MIDI file. The sequences you make can also be saved and loaded back in if you’d like.  You have many controls available to manipulate the sequence of notes, such as swing, a triplet mode, rate settings, sync modes, length of the sequence, not to mention the five lanes. Each lane can have a different pattern of notes on it, making for some complex sequences.


To change the actual sound itself, you click the “EDIT” button. On this page, you are able to load up different samples for the two oscillators, adjust amp and filter envelopes, change resonance and cutoff, and use an LFO. This is also where you can get at the insert effects, and there’s an arpeggiator that has eight different modes. One limitation for the arpeggiator is that you can’t use the Sequence function at the same time if it’s switched on.

The list of available sounds you can load into the two oscillators is impressive. It’s great that it has such a small footprint on the hard drive space and CPU usage, and yet there is so much to choose from. Besides the abundance of sampled instruments included, there are some basic synth waveforms as well, so you can easily setup a decent virtual analog synthesizer sound.

Effects

Purity ships with 24 different insert effects you can use in your own presets. These are located on the “Edit” page I mentioned previously, and include different types of filters, EQs, compressors, reverbs, delays, and distortion effects. They can be loaded in the two inserts that Purity has for each channel. Having just two effects for each part might not seem like much, but there are also two sends available for each channel that are wired to a Chorus and Reverb.   

 

Conclusion

The included effects sound pretty good, but they could use a few more controls, depending on which effect you choose.  They designed them so they will each fit within the same space on the GUI, and there are just three controls for each. For example, having three of them is great for the basic 3-band EQ, but it would be much better if the reverb had more choices to sculpt its sound.

Another improvement I’d like to see is in the amount of outputs. You are able to assign each channel to one of the four outputs; two for the Main output, and two for the Sub output. This is a decent amount, but I’d prefer a total of 16 separate audio outs to have the most flexibility in my DAW.

I like the workstation approach they have setup within Purity, and the sound quality is kicked up a notch from the original Ravity plugin. Some of the samples could have been produced a little better, but many of them sound great, especially for the file size. This also translates to quick loading times for the presets, and the CPU usage is low. 

Purity is priced at $49 USD. They do state on their website to try the demo and make sure it works with your system. Also, the site mentions that there are no refunds, so I would follow their advice. 

It is definitely priced right, and many of the presets sound very good. It’s tough to beat such a large variety of sounds and effects all contained in an easy to use sixteen-part workstation.

You can get more information on Purity and download the demo version from their site here:

http://sonic-cat.com/purity/

 

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