LuSH-101 from D16 Instruments – Review
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When the D16 Group first announced this plugin I remember feeling very happy. The SH-101 is a classic hardware synth and up until now nobody has yet managed to create a convincing soft synth version.
When I got the beta I remember being impressed with the gorgeous GUI and very easy to use interface. First impressions were that this was a fantastic synth. As much as I love producing electronic music, without good raw synth sounds a plugin wont really hold my interest. I love raw electronic sounds and synths like Lush get right back to the basics. They make you appreciate the characteristic differences between Square, Sine, Triangle, and Saw waveforms. Too many soft-synths sound dull, flat, lifeless, and sterile, until you engage at least the filters. Not so with the some of the best on the market, Largo, Diva and LuSH-101 have some of the best sounding raw oscillators around.
Changing a filter on a synth should change the character of the sound in a musical manner, on many plugins the filters seem to merely change the timbre, not so with LuSH-101. LuSH-101 is a synth which yields real changes with every tweak. There are so many great sounds to be found just by randomly modifying the controls. This is what you want from a synth as it invites creativity.
Staying on the subject of the filter(s) on the LuSH-101, there are two models here (Normal and SH-101), each with LP, HP, and BP modes. The SH-101 of course being the model of the Roland filter which sounds a lot rougher and less even. To get LuSH-101 sounding faithful to the original SH-101 there are some important hidden features in options which you should know about including sound quality and envelope behavior, which by default is not set up. Make sure to change that if you are looking for absolute faithfulness.
Speaking of faithfulness, the LuSH-101 can sound exactly like the original SH-101. If this is what you want it to to then that is great but you should realise that this synth has so much more to it than simply emulating a classic. Where LuSH-101 really excels is when you begin experimenting with its layer function, effects, mixer, polyphony, unison and so on. The effects are top notch by the way, above what most other synths out there are capable of which is great for patch design. The 8 layers can hold any preset timbre you make and combine them in the mixer (featuring EQ, FX sends and a compressor with adjustable ratio). Everything is so well implemented and really does add value to this synth.
I won’t run through every feature, almost everything is accessible from the front panel and one glance at the GUI will inform you the synths potential, but I will mention it has a great supersaw emulation, a hidden sync oscillator, and a great unison mode.
You get the feeling D16 really took their time with this synth (three years I think) because the whole thing feels solid with clever features throughout. As you can tell I really like LuSH-101. There are some drawbacks however. There is no mod matrix, (which for me is actually a nice change as it forces me to be more creative with the basics) and it can get quite heavy on CPU draw with effects and unison enabled.
I think LuSH-101 is a great all-rounder and really excels at pads, plucks, keys and interesting analog style sounds. It is one of our go-to synths in the Minimal System Instruments studio and we would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is serious about producing electronic music.
9 Stars out of 10
Try The Demo – HERE
Visit the LuSH-101 product page over at Plugin Boutique – HERE