Review: Native Instruments Razor 1.5

The latest update to Native Instruments' Razor adds some big features, including the excellent new modules and Maschine 2.0 integration. G. W. Childs gives it a closer inspection in this review.  

If, either, you own Native Instruments' Razor, or you’re thinking about purchasing it, now would be the time. Native Instruments recently updated the very popular Reaktor-based, additive synth to 1.5. And, with this update, there are some wonderful new additions on many fronts.

New Modules

The most exciting part of this update would have to be the new modules. 12 in total, the Razor now has even more tools in its tool belt. My favorite new module would have to be the Resonant Reverb. This new Reverb addition can be somewhat darker than what we heard previously. Now sporting a Cutoff knob, you’re able to easily get some ‘moody’ into your patches, making the Razor a much more emotional synth than it was previous... If that’s even possible. 

Air, is also a lot of fun to work with, as it just applies Reverb to quieter partials, while still leaving the louder partials alone. As a whole, it adds a strange kind of spontaneity to your patches that are both subtle, and effective.

The Dissonance modules got seriously updated. If you’re into FM, metallic sounding patches, you’re going to be all over Metal. And, P and F Grid are instant gratification for glitch jockeys. There’s even a new 2 Osc module that, you guessed it, adds technically a third ‘mini’ oscillator (Razor has 2 already!). Granted, it’s very scaled back, and only affects the lower partials, below the first. But, it’s still wonderful for getting a little more beef. 

Oh, and before I forget, there’s even a new filter! The Multimode Dirty filter is a gnarly new filter that blends HP, LP and BP with distorted filter curves. The Razor was already capable of being noisy as hell. Now, it’s even harder. Thanks NI!

Macros

The Razor has now had all of its presets updated to include mappings to 8 different macros. With this addition, Razor is now easily integrated into Maschine 2.0. However, even those who are not using Maschine can still benefit from this. Macros allow for some very sick tweaking to an already prized sound bank. Try going over to the B Panel and adjusting the FX on the Big Cinema patch, alone. It’s crazy!

Maschine 2.0

Yes, you heard me mention Maschine 2.0 integration, now. You can now fully control Razor through its eight macros directly from the 8 control knobs of Maschine, should you so desire. It’s even got a performance view for the Maschine 2.0 plug-in strip!

Conclusion

Not all of the modules are amazing. Though, I don’t want to be too quick to judge. After all, modules are very much like filters, or colors. You don’t really know if you’ll need them, but they are really nice to have. As I mentioned earlier, the Resonant Reverb is incredible, and I’d pay for an upgrade that included that... But, wait.. It’s a free update! So, in reality, what’s there really to complain about. Razor 1.5 adds a lot, and didn’t cost a dime.

Pros: Lots of new modules and some very welcome macros, and Maschine 2.0 integration.

Cons: You have to download it, yourself?

Price: $99

Web: http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/synths-samplers/razor/

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More

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