Saturday, May 12, 2012

Accordion by Safwan Matni - Small but usefull

After featuring rather complex plugins in my first 2 postings, I will today feature a rather simple, but useful Plugin, namely the Plugin "Accordion" by Safwan Matni. Safwan, a musician himself, has published a good selection of rather simple, but special Plugins. Especially for musicians who are active in the Ethno branch of music, and here especially in the arabic/asian part, Safwan Matni's Plugins are indispensable. You do not find many, especially free, Ethno VSTs on the web. "Accordion" is, for example, the ONLY VST I found during my years of hunting for free Plugins all over the Web, which is especially designed for immitating the sound of an Accordion. You find vast numbers of Piano-, Organ-, Flute-, Guitar- and whatever specialized VSTs, but "Accordion" is the only one which is even remotely capable of reproducing the sound of an Accordion.
And here we are at the topic of the sound. About that, the opinions of fellow musicians differ. Some say, the sound is unrealistic and some say it is very realistic. My opinion? Well I am somewhere in the middle between those opinions. I do not think that the sound is absolutely realistic, but I do not think it is bad either. You can achieve quite good results, if you know for which kind of music "Accordion" is the right VST, and that's by far not every kind of music. If you know my music, you also know the song "Hamburg", which is on the album "Reggae?". Here you can hear "Accordion" in action, actually right from the start:
I must warn the fastidiously VST users: "Accordion" has not much settings to tweak. An effects section is also not there, but I couldn't care less, because I prefer to add effects in the mixer of the DAW. Most of the times I kill the builtin effects section of a VST entirely, to build my own effects stack. "Accordion" is what I call a "take it or leave it"-Plugin. It doesn't have a lot of sound variations. There are seven seperate voices, to which one can assign one of three octaves ... and that's it. The sound result without adding external effects is in my opinion quite flat. It is lacking dimensionality. But one is easily able to compensate this by a clever use of external effects and you can get some pretty good results by doing that. What is missing badly, is the lack of any control of the playing dynamics and the sound envelope. Whatever note velocity you play on a MIDI keyboard, it sounds the same. Accordion is absolutely not suitable for fast melodies, arpeggios or music like Zydeco, because the attack is simply to slow. Here some control of the envelope would have been a good thing.

Quality: Over the past 8 years I used "Accordion" and it never crashed froze or caused any other problems. RAM consumption and CPU load are EXTREMELY low.

Conclusion: "Accordion" is a very simple VST with not many possibility to alter the sound. The lack of control of the envelope is a minus, but the Plugin is really useful still. As I said, this is the only free VST which is specialized in creating the sound of an Accordion. And to create that sound manually using non-specialized synthesizers, is close to impossible. For that reason, this VST should be in the collection of each musician, who works with Ethno sounds.


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