Hello my friends... it is me again... Hydlide. Today I want to give a second look at the VK-2 Viking synthesizer. Since in my initial thought I was quite negative about this synth. To be honest, I give my own opinion about these type of rack extensions. If I would just name every feature of a device, it wouldn't make much sense to write an article about a device. Since well... all those specs are already presented on the shop page. You might have heard my complaints about this synthesizer (on either my vlog, or somewhere else on my blog...).
Anyhow, this isn't going to be one of those 'let us wipe the developer ass with a feather' type of article. This is going to be more those 'I do not give a fuck what they think' type of article.
The VK-2 Viking synthesizer and bad marketing
Lets start with the part where this device took off with a bad start:
- CPU issues
- the first marketing sentence
- yet again another Sine, Saw, Triangle, Pulse device
While trialing this device it had some CPU issues to begin with. I could only use 2 instances of this device on my I7 computer with hyper threading enabled. Problem with hyper threading is that Reason doesn't take much advantage on HT when it comes to using multiple times the same device (VST or Rack Extension). I even had one single patch that could overload the CPU while playing a single chord. I know that this thing is CPU intense, because it was also handed out in the specifications on the shop page:
With industry leading DSP and audio rate modulation, VK-2 can be quite CPU hungry. There are several switches that allow you to turn down the quality of individual algorithms. VK-2 is designed for recent desktop computers.
Ok, we gotcha on this one. There are several switches on the back. Still this thing is still being cpu intense even on my recent developed I7. But ok, the I9 is on my to get list very soon. So maybe, this will work a bit better on that one (I doubt it because the clock speed of the I9 is slower than the I7, but hey it is going to be a newer desktop. So right of the bat... one marketing sentence that does not compute heh).
The second problem is the first marketing sentence made by Blamsoft (I believe they provide the content for throwing it on the prop shop, I don't think that prop HQ would define the text for the shop entries since that would make no sense at all). The sentence is as followed:
VK-2 brings you the power of a modular synthesizer, without the hassle of cables
Wouldn't this kind of take away the whole idea away from modular synthesis? Or am I stupid? It's like someone made an all in Euro Rack device and sold it as a module for a Euro Rack device. Hello! Here we are with our brand new Euro Rack device, it contains oscillators, filters, envelopes, amplifiers, knobs and everything you would normally buy as modules. Ehm... isn't that supposed to be the point on making a modular synthesizer? These should be separate modules to begin with? Or am I stupid?
Anyhow, the part I really love about the Polymodular systems is because that system works as a modular set up. You have a building block for an oscillator. Then a building block for an envelope and so on. I would guess at this point that Blamsoft is realizing that selling modules as building blocks does not really sell well. Otherwise why else come with the strategy of building yet another synthesizer that has all these modules embedded yet sell it as a "modular synth".
Another problem with this device is that it is yet again another Saw, Triangle, Pulse thingy ma-bob. Which is all fine by me to sell it as another Saw, Triangle, Pulse thingy bob. But if you do... get ready for some negative thought processing. If you compare this device with for instance the Legend, I would vote for the legend instead. Simply because I already own the VK-1 synthesizer and the Legend. And to be honest here, the later isn't as power hungry as the VK-2. The only reason why I would prefer to use the VK-2 is because of the back panel.
But a lot of this does not make much sense to have it here. Because most of it can already be programmed without the wiring (as they marketed it by themselves).
On a personal note, I hope one day they would release this thing as separate blocks like they did with the VO-1 (the VK-1 oscillator). But I am going to be sceptic about it and say that this will most likely not happen in the near future.
So in the end, this is just another synthesizer based on sine, saw, triangle and pulses. Which kind of brings me to the last argument on why I don't think I will use this device. Simply because I also own Expanse from Blamsoft. It can do much more then the VK-2 can do. So if you can afford the additional 50 euro / 50 dollar I would most likely go for Expanse instead. Since to be honest here, Expanse has way more to offer than the VK-2 Viking Synthesizer. And if you think about it, you can go pretty modular with Expanse too. Sure Expanse is much more expensive I will give it that, but it is worth it.
So if you want my renewed opinion on VK-2 Viking Synthesizer as an honest review. Here you go. I would get The Legend or Expanse instead. Get the VK-2 when it goes on sale for 9 euro / 9 dollar or something.
Written by hydlide