Review – Ravity by Luxonix
Luxonix’s Ravity was a VST plugin synth discontinued to the dismay of many. Now it’s back. We take a close look at this rompler in this review.
by Rob Mitchell, May 2014
Ravity is a VST plugin sound module by Luxonix. It was originally released in 2004, but it was discontinued in December 2005. Luxonix had decided to start producing a similar product which had some additional features and so Ravity, unfortunately, was left by the wayside. Recently they have been receiving many requests to sell Ravity once again, and so they have decided to re-release it.
Ever since it was first released back in 2004, nothing has changed feature-wise, except the price. I have to admit; I had never heard of it until a few weeks ago. As you’ll gather from my review, I am glad they decided to bring it back.
So, what is Ravity? It is a rompler, meaning it is sample-based PCM sound module, so there’s no actual waveform generation going on here. However, you do have control over the filters, LFOs, envelopes, and many effects.
There are two other models in the Ravity lineup: Ravity R, and Ravity 16. Ravity R is a drum sound module, and Ravity 16 lets you load up to 16 modules (of S or R) to use independently, or you can link them together. It can utilize up 16 stereo outputs.
For this review, I will mainly go over Ravity S. It is a 32-bit plugin, and only works in Windows. There is no 64-bit version, and it is not available for the Mac. I tested it out while writing this review using a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Pro. Installation was quick and easy, as it uses a key protection scheme. It has a compact 32 megabytes of WAV data that translates to quick loading times. Luxonix has included a good variety of presets, with over 400 of them to choose from.
The plugin has four layers with two oscillators in each. Each of the four layers can have up to three effects, and there are three more effect slots that can be used for the master output. Each layer has its own transpose setting, as well as key and velocity range settings.
One nice addition is the Edit button, which lets you show or hide the editing screen as needed. This can really help when you already have a lot going on in your DAW, and will save space on the screen.
Clicking on the Ravity logo at the top right brings up the back panel. This shows the credits for Ravity, but also has some handy additional functions tucked away. From here, you can clear MIDI assignments, set the default panel to the Main, Edit or Preset screens, set the MIDI velocity curve, and get quick access to the user manual.
For each layer, there are two oscillators. For each of the two oscillators, you can load in waveforms such as saw, square, sine, and many others. There are a large number of sampled sounds in Ravity, so I can’t really list them all here. I will say that some of them include woodwinds, vibraphone, pianos, fretless bass, synthesizers, brass, and sound effects.
There are controls for adjusting the octave, semitone, and fine tuning. In this same section, there is also a mix control for the output of the two oscillators, and an LFO amount control.
There is no shortage of effects to load in Ravity. Some of them include an amp distortion, overdrive, stereo delay, reverb, flanger, and many others. Two of the effects are actually filters, which add to the built-in filters already included in Ravity.
In total, Luxonix have supplied with 24 different effects. As I mentioned before, you can load up to three effects on each of the four layers. They have also included a handy switch to turn all the effects on or off.
LFOs and Filters
In the upper left, there is a switch to select between the filter controls, filter envelope, and amplitude envelope. The filter setting can be switched between -12dB and -24dB per octave. There is an LFO for each layer, and it has six waveforms available. The LFO has the usual rate and amount controls, as well as key and BPM sync controls. Both the LFO waveform and filter envelope have an invert switch.
The arpeggiator has eight different play modes, including settings such as up, down, up/down, up/down2, down/up, down/up2, as played, and random. There is a Gate setting for the arp, and the Key sync control synchronizes the midi notes with the arpeggiator. The Latch control will keep playing the last note that is played. The arp has a good number of controls and settings, but I’d like to see a Swing function added.
The Preset Browser is easy to use, and has the varied categories along the left side. When you click on one of the categories, it then shows what presets are included for it on the right side. One feature I like about the browser is that when you skim through the presets, you can hear how they sound without actually loading it up. For example, your song can be playing in your DAW, and as you click on each preset in the browser, it will change to that sound without actually loading it. If decide you don’t like one you just auditioned, just click Cancel in the lower right to get back to the original preset.
Ravity can be thought of as a “bread and butter” synth module, as it has all the basics you’d probably need. Using its many layers, filters, and effects, you can get a great variety of sounds from this nice rompler. I really like the interface, and the quick loading times. It might not have gigabytes of sample material to draw from, but it does have that great, classic sound of synth modules of yesterday.
Another thing I just have to mention: It just “works”. I know that might sound silly, but in these days of highly complex synthesizer and workstation software, this is one that I could easily work with, and the layout is a breeze to navigate. The only issue I had was that I had to run Sonar X3 as an Admin first, as it had issues finding a certain file when saving presets, and when closing out of SONAR as well. Besides those minor issues, it worked just fine.
As it was originally released about 10 years ago, the minimum computer specifications are very low compared to today’s standards. This translates to a very light load on your PC. You can get away with many instances loaded up and there will be no problem. Try that with some of the more modern plugins these days!
One of the best features of Ravity is its price. You can get it bundled with Ravity 16 for just $34.00 USD. They also offer it with Ravity R and Ravity 16 for only $45.00 USD. The only two drawbacks are that it isn’t available in a 64-bit version, and Mac users are out of luck. I have a 32-bit PC setup, it worked fine for me.
They do recommend downloading the demo version first, and to just try it out with your own DAW. In my opinion, this is a definite keeper. Ravity and the other Luxonix products are available from their website here: http://luxonix.com/