Opinions on Arturia Softsynths?


There’s been a lot said by many regarding Arturia synth plugins on many forums by many people with as many opinions both good and bad.
I’m curious to know from those with serious experience how the physical hardware and the software simulations stand up.

Ade, if you are reading this, I’m particularly interested in your opinion of the CS80, having read you are using the Arturia offering and knowing your history with the real deal (and all its required maintenance and unreliability).

I have previously not really had much interest in their software emulations but I’m seriously starting to rethink that stance. I recently took advantage of them offering their Minimoog ladder filter plugin for free and have been pleasantly surprised by how good it sounds. I don’t have a model D or a Moog modular to compare it to but I do have a Voyager and the software emulation is surprisingly good.

Anyway, I’d love to hear from those who are using Arturia synth plugins. If they are worth the $ despite some of them now being quite long in the tooth, I might just add some to my arsenal.

Talk About Hardware Synths!

I’ve never played a real CS-80 but I’ve listened to a heck of a lot of Eddie Jobson albums and I’d say the Arturia CS-80V gets a B+ or an A-… nothing closer out there that I’m aware of. Eddie himself uses it for his rig with UK now. The MiniMoogV was my goto for years but lately I’m giving u-He’s Diva an edge. The Synclavier is one of the greatest things I have tried in ages. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. And most of the other synths in the line are nothing less than serviceable; the Oberhiem Matrix in particular is also good. I’m also using the Vox Continental organ quite a bit.

Now the not so good: IMHO the bV organ is, basically, garbage. I don’t think much of the piano. And the electric pianos are ok but pale in comparison to other options from say, Scarbee, Lounge Lizard or Keyscape.

So all in all most of what Arturia does is on or near the top of the heap, apart from the stuff that isn’t lol


Thanks heaps Fred. Sounds like their analog emulations are a cut above their organs, pianos and electric pianos which is fine by me. I’m pretty much covered for the latter between Scarbee, Waves, AAS, VB3 and Grandeur for Kontakt.

I might have to take a look at their Synclavier too.

The main bases I don’t have covered at this stage are Sequential Circuits (I’m closely eyeing off u-he Repro 1 though and I have a $25 voucher that expires at the end of the month), Yamaha analog (hence the CS80 interest), Oberheim, ARP and Moog Modular.


To play a CS-80 emulation you need to start with the basic prerequisite of a keyboard with poly aftertouch.
You need to play a real CS-80 to understand the visceral experience. IMO, the emulation can provide the experience.
It has the characteristics of a CS-80 in its filters and envelopes.
But it’s the ‘touch’ that defines it.
No two CS-80s were the same but it communicates within in a certain spectrum that no other synth had done up until that time.
For me, it was ‘wow - they’ve done it’.
That may not have been my response had I not been playing it with an ELKA MK88.


I’d agree with everything Fred and Ade have said. I really like the CS-80v, and I don’t think there’s a plugin that gets closer to the original. That said, it’s still not 100% there, but it’s very close. An alternative is Memorymoon ME80, which sounds pretty good, but I think CS-80v has the edge.

As for the other Arturia stuff, I really like Prophet V (Prophet 5 and VS combined), and use it quite a lot. It certainly gets pretty close to the VS sounds, and the Prophet 5 emulation is fairly good (although if you just want good analogue polysynth sounds, and aren’t too bothered about cloning the Prophet 5, there are better plugins I think, such as Diva).

I quite like Mini-V, as a Minimoog clone, but I think I prefer Minimonsta, only because it runs at a lower load on my setup. Jup 8V is nice, and really nails some of those classic Jupiter 8 sounds (if you ever need to do Duran Duran covers, get this plugin!).

Synclavier is awesome…but you need to devote some time to learning how to program it (although the presets are cool, and very unlike most other plugins).

But as Fred says, some of the other vintage plugins such as B3v, Stage-73v etc, are rather average.


The Repro-1 is another total “holy crap” soft-synth. u-He rules!


Well, here you go, a fix for the poly-aftertouch situation! Just, er, not a cost effective one lol


I constructed a hasty reply which demonstrates the foolishness of watching only 10 secs of the youtube LOL!
That TouchKeys has some real potential - at first glance.


Thanks heaps for the detailed replies guys. This certainly gives me plenty of food for thought. Now I just need to prioritize. There are so many good plugins out there right now and my budget is much more limited than my imagination!!

I have a couple of hardware projects I’ve been planning so I might devote some time to them. They’ve been in the works (in my head more like it) for quite a number of years and I reckon it’s time to make some reality.

The CS80v and the Synclavier are very tempting though!

I have Jupiter 8 sounds sorted in hardware now too Neil. I purchased two Roland JP08 Boutique synths not long after they were released and I have a MIDI hardware box to alternate notes between two channels to spread polyphony properly between the two synths. That way, I get eight voices even on solos with long release times.
Roland have pretty much nailed the JP8 experience with these little boutiques and I’m more than happy with them. The only thing they don’t emulate is the slight offset between the oscillators in a real JP8. I can get close to that though by slightly detuning one of them.


Which shifted BIG TIME as soon as you hit the ‘tune’ button.


I had been on the fence about the Arturia V Collection myself, but noticed tonight that Zzounds.com had it for $399, so pulled the trigger.


I don’t think you will be dissatisfied. I use the Prophet V and CS-80 on several tunes. This package is quite large and, even tho I upgraded as soon as it came out last year, I still haven’t touched on many of the possibilities of this library. CONS: Takes too long to load, which I understand is not helped by the GUI. I definitely have to pre-load these in Cantabile. On the fly produces dirty looks from other band members. The MIDI setup can become a hairpuller as no two instruments seem to share a global familiarity. The GUI’s are pretty, but hard to read the many settings and tabs. A few of the instruments are worthless as there are better cheaper or free options available.
Once you get past the hurdles, you will still be glad you have it.




Use the loading time to give the band members a short speech about how wonderful it is being a keyboard player and never having to put bandmates through the ordeal of listening to the instrument tuning process. :innocent:



Hi Terry

LOL, I certainly agree! This actually happened this past Saturday. A setlist change on stage resulted in me pulling up the Prophet V, and the waiting began. Being a guitarist and bassist as well, I understand that side of the stage also. Don’t think, for even one second, that I didn’t want to respond to the looks and comments that were being directed toward me. I never put other people through the endless leads, over use of tremolo bar, and stage acrobatics that I have endured from some guitarists through the years. Thank God for silent tuners!





I’m a little late to this discussion, but have used Arturuia for ages and have the V-Collection. Love the Mini, CS80V and Prophet V. I used the JP8V a little. The Farfisa is very good (to my ears). I used the Farfisa and a Line 6 Echorec emulation when doing some backing tracks for Welsh Floyd (before I left recently) and that was instant “early Floyd” once you got the right organ registration setup. Solina is not bad either, but I prefer GForce VSM. I have not played with them much yet, but I like the Matrix 12 and Synclavier.

The rest I have because I have the V collection, but it is a mix bag and quality over quantity may suffer due to the quantity? E.g. The Hammond sucks, and I can’t say there is much in the rest that inspires me personally. But mileage may vary for different people.

But I also concur with a lot of the sentiment expressed above. I am loving the UH-E synths so much that I think they knock the Arturia synths off the block. I started with Zebra as my Christmas present last year :slight_smile: quickly moved onto Diva, and have just pressed the button on Repro-1. They all sound awesome. I love them so much that I have been recently seeking advice from pros like Neil on what is needed to run them live. My studio music computer is fine, but my current music laptop chokes on Diva. But once you have heard Diva warble, you will be asking what is needed to run her live like I have been! :slight_smile:

If you like CS80 and Vangelis, just go over to Sounds Divine and listen to their director’s cut demo for Diva. That will have you smiling in a way that the CS80V never quite did it for me.



That synth…what is it about that synth that gets right inside you?
Never felt that kind of feedback from another vst synth.


Unless you’re playing the CS80v from a keyboard with poly AT.


Ah, I have never tried that. I need to get a keyboard with Poly AT. :slight_smile:


She sounds gorgeous to my ears! :slight_smile:


Ade, you’ve just summed up my thoughts and experience with Diva perfectly. Well said!
Diva actually feels like part of my hardware setup.