Review: Rob Papen Predator PL

The Predator-PL developed by Rob Papen is an analog style virtual synthesizer that features 3 oscillators, 3 fx units and 2 filters. The neatly arranged parameter section is relatively small in size, yet its library of over 4,000 sounds is not to be overlooked. From Drum & Bass to hip hop, this VST is ideal for anyone with little experience in synthesis, but has a desire for a large range of sounds.

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What it offers

When first launching the Predator-PL, one cannot help but wonder if that’s all there is. Instinctively, experienced users would tend to search for a button that collapses the main ‘browser’, but then realize that there really aren’t many settings to adjust compared to your traditional synthesizer.

The three oscillators that the Predator-PL has to offer hold a wide variety of waveforms and of course the standard sine, square, saw and triangle are all present. Each oscillator comes with an on/off switch, a volume knob and dedicated octave up/down switches. The useability of the second filter is limited, because it purely consists of a cutoff filter knob. Filter one however, is more advanced and allows for dedicated Q-control (resonance) and has three modulation settings including envelope, velocity and a built in LFO. Both filters are standard 12db low pass and these can not be adjusted.

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The amplitude is controlled by the main envelope amp which has the standardized A,D,S,R controls plus an additional velocity knob, which depending on how hard the notes are played, affects the master volume. While 3 fx sections are normally a pleasant addition to any synth, the problem is that in the Predator-PL they cannot be changed. At all. In fact the only time the effects are used is when they are given to you in a particular preset. In other words if you build a sound from scratch, it is not possible to add any effects.


Play Modes

The Predator-PL allows you to access various play modes, such as mono, poly, legato, arp and unison. When selecting unison, the dedicated amount knob lets you choose how much detuning is applied between oscillators. The arpeggiator is small, but powerful, and lets you decide the arp mode, rate and the number of semitones when pitch bending both up or down. Finally, the synth has a built in chord mode that allows one to assign any combination of chords whilst playing a single note; a great solution for those with little keyboard experience.


Conclusion

All in all, the Predator-PL is a powerful little synth that has many sounds to offer. Another useful addition that receives plus points is the included search function that lets one search through all the presets by key words. The negatives however are of course the fx sections where effects cannot be changed/selected and the overall limitations of the synth itself (which if you’re a beginner is a positive). Overall it’s a great synth that is highly advisable for those not yet comfortable with synthesis. Its large range of sounds make it very useable and its basic structure can be a great learning tool.

Predator-PL can be exclusively purchased and directly downloaded as a Mac- and PC- compatible (AAX, AU, VST) virtual instrument from Sweetwater Sound (USA) for $59.00 USD and Music Store Professional (Europe) for €49.00 EUR via the following web stores:

Sweetwater
Musicstore