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VAPOR Review - Keyboard
ProSamples Vapor Virtual Synth
By Craig Anderton
Bottom Line: Luscious pads are the heart of this carefully programmed, highly cost-effective collection.
I'll get the obilgatory joke about reviewing Vaporware out of the way immediately. Okay, it's not vaporware, but Vapor, a "virtual sound module" package.
Vapor uses Native Instruments' Kompakt playback engine for the 2.35GB sound library, which is provided on a single DVD-ROM. It works with Windows 98/ME/XP and Mac above OS9.2., supported formats are VST, DXi, ASIO, SoundManager, RTAS, AudioUnits, CoreAudio, and DirectSound- although the web site recommends against using RTAS. Minimun system requirements are a 500MHz G3, P3, or Athlon with 256MB RAM.
The Vapor name is well chosen. The 506 pads are the collection's highlight; they swirl like...well, vapor, with richness and depth that I'm sure we'll begin to hear in a lot of soundtracks (not surprisingly, programmer Mark Van Bork does multimedia and film work). I wouldn't call them "fat" as much as I would "broad", as they cover a lot of sonic space.
Even the 52 bass and 96 lead sounds are somewhat different from the norm, thanks to a bit more "swirl" than usual. There are also 58 "arp" patches (presumably, they're meant to be arpeggiated), 126 FX and 316 multi patches if you wan to step over the line from big to obese. The arp stuff has its moments; many patches contain a "surprise" where if you sustain a note, low-level, bubbly effects come into play. FX is a mixed bag, although there are some cool sounds in there.
Vapor gets a lot of mileage out of Kompakt's processing options. And of course, being able to tweak them is a strong point, particularly as many patches are heavy on tempo-synched LFO effects, which aren't always appropriate.
I've auditioned several EastWest "mega-libraries" and overall, they offer truly great value. But they may be too much of a good thing: Sometimes I'd rather have a 600MB CD of the "greatest hits"- hard disk space not infinite. Nor is there an easy way to audition presets using, say, arrow keys to go from one preset to the next. But there's also no denying that with this huge array of sounds, you won't be left wanting, either. For futuristic, vaporous pads with extra goodies thrown in to sweeten the deal, Vapor is money well spent.