UVI Falcon (Quicker Review)
The UVI Falcon. It’s a synth we’ve heard so much about, but never really had the chance to put it to the test, until now…
In this UVI Falcon review, we’re going to discover what Falcon is, what it does, how it sounds, & learn everything you’d want to before deciding if it’s worth your hard earned cash.
If you’ve ever used UVI products, you’ll have most likely come across their incredible, free UVI Soundbank plugin.
This is a sample based plugin that has some absolutely jaw dropping sounds. Their latest instrument UVI Falcon, is no different, and adds to the complexity of controls you can play around with.
Let’s dive into it and see what it’s all about.
What Is UVI Falcon?
UVI Falcon is a hybrid synth VST plugin, that’s pretty much a sampler and a synth combined together. It has a number of analog, FM, samplers wavetable, phase, additive & even physical modelling oscillators, alongside some modulators, effects, samplers & event processors.
It’s one of the more beasty synths, and includes incredible room for customisation. The amount of options you have when opening Falcon is literally obscene, so if you’re into tinkering with synths, then you’re going to love Falcon.
One of the most unique things with Falcon, is that you can add custom scripts for the event processors. And, these can be downloaded online for free in some places, thanks to people being generous and kind.
It’s just the most insanely deep, and customisable synth out there. If we were to write about everything Falcon does in this article, it would be a book.
It’s extremely similar to Omnisphere & Kontakt, and has some of the most authentic, and real sounding instruments under the hood. And, if you’re not much of a synth designer, you have a tonne of presets included too.
However, if you don’t design synths, you may need to purchase their extra soundbanks, and that can get pretty expensive.
For instance in Falcon you’ve got:
- 8 different oscillators modes
- 7 Sampler modes including granular & stretch modes
- Analog, FM, Wavetable, Drum, Physical modelling oscillators & more.
- 90 effects included
- 1200+ presets with the Falcon factory pack
And that’s just touching the surface of what Falcon offers.
How Does Falcon Sound?
UVI have done an incredible job on this hybrid instrument, and it sounds absolutely phenomenal. The sound design you can do with this thing, is absolutely obscene and we can’t shout about Falcon enough.
But, it’s difficult to explain sound with words, so we’ve left some of our favourite presets from the Falcon factory pack below, for you to take a listen.
Falcon is such a deep synth. There’s too little words here to describe everything that’s included, but we’re going to go over the most important features.
The UI is pretty pristine, clear and is also resizable without pixilation but, due to it’s incredibly deep nature, it’s pretty hard to navigate at first and can be a little overwhelming.
This is completely fine if you have the manual handy, or a good YouTube tutorial by your side, and all your overwhelming thoughts will be easily calmed after spending the time to get to know the plugin more.
Like with most plugins this is the case, but due to the nature of Falcon, don’t expect to load it up and get to work straight away, without a little manual reading or YouTube research first.
It’s not as easy as Serum to get going with for instance, but it completely sh*ts on Serum in terms of what it does.
When opening the interface, you’ll be presented with a number of options, we’ll go over what each does now.
Starting on the left, you have a sidebar with 3 different options:
- Parts – this is an area where you can add and subtract instances of Falcon. This means you can stack multiple synth patches on top of eachother.
- Tree – will show you your list of different parts, and number of host automation lanes and what they’re connected to.
- List – allows you to add different layers, mute & solo, change the colours, the polyphony, transposition, key ranges & all the utility type stuff you’d expect to be able to control. Using this you can have different parts set to sections of the keyboard, which can be useful for playing in live pieces.
Moving over to the middle section of the plugin host, we come to the main attraction of Falcon. This is where you’re going to be doing all your designing and tinkering with patches.
You have 4 options across the top.
Here you can build an interface for your custom patch. With presets you’ll be presented with an already built one, but with a new patch this will be empty.
You’ll notice a script button to the top, by clicking this, you open the edit area, and can click the wrench to add new controls inside your patch.
Think of this area as a quick control area, where you can set up multiple macros to change things on the fly in your music. You can map these to MIDI knobs really easily by right clicking and MIDI CC learning as well.
This is where you’ll find all your oscillators, samplers, and things of that nature. You have the ability to add a number of different samplers, wavetables, and just a tonne of amazing stuff (which we’ll explain in the wavetable section of this article).
This is where you’ll find the whopping 90 effects that come with Falcon. You can choose from Delays, Reverbs, EQ, Compression, Stereo widening, and pretty much anything you’d expect to find in your DAW.
This is where you can add different events processors like: arps, chord triggers, strum patterns and more. There are loads of events processors to choose from to mould your sound.
The arp preset menu is absolutely insane, and you can also add microtuning, harmonisation, arp & performance modules, just to name a few.
Here you’ll find all the modulation settings for your sound design. Things like envelope, multi envelope, LFO, step & a number of different modules can be used to map your sounds.
You can also add loads of macro controls here, which can then be used to control other things inside your main ‘edit’ tab.
This is where Falcon really shines… we mean there’s not really anywhere where it doesn’t shine, but the sheer amount of sound source choices you get within Falcon is jaw dropping.
Inside Falcon, you get:
- 9 pure synthesis oscillators
- 7 sampler modes
- As many oscillators in 1 patch your CPU can handle
- As many parts as your CPU can handle
With 9 different pure synthesis oscillators to choose from, and as many in a patch as you like, you can make some pretty tasty synth stuff, but with the added ability to also have as many different instances/parts of the synth, you can really expand on the depth of this.
Now I love making sounds, and you can make some incredibly in-depth sounds in just Serum’s 2 oscillators alone, so this is gonna melt your damn ears off.
It’s literally like a mini DAW just for synthesis.
More isn’t always better though, and we’re not too sure how useful this many oscillators at once would be, and after a point, we can imagine that it’ll just create a wall of sound.
That said, it’s a breath of fresh air to have a synth as customisable and interchangeable as Falcon is. You can literally do anything with it (apart from modular).
Making sounds in this thing is extra complex, but is also so much fun to dive into once you get your head around the GUI.
Falcon’s 9 pure synthesis oscillators are:
- Standard wavetable oscillator – basic digital wavetables, and 28 different categories of different digital and analog wavetables to choose from.
- Analog wavetable oscillators – 7 basic analog wavetables to choose from, phase modulation, PWM and more controls
- An Analog stack oscillator – lets you (analog) stack 8 of the oscillators above, in a single module.
- A drum synthesis oscillator – a synth module crafted for the making of electronic, crunchy drums.
- FM oscillator – an FM module with 11 different algorithms, and 4 oscillators
- Noise oscillator – 15 different noise sounds to choose from
- Physical modelled organ – exactly what it says it is, an organ
- Pluck – a sampler/synth module that is soley for plucks & has some of the cleanest sounding, organic, electronic plucks we’ve heard.
- Additive oscillator – a module for additive synthesis.
All of these modules sound incredibly clean, and the analog sound quality is up there with the likes of uhe Diva.
Like we mentioned above, you get 7 different sampler algorithms inside Falcon. The coolest one (in our opinion) and the one we used the most for sound design, was the multi granular IRCAM sampler.
It works by dragging in samples from the right hand side browser. From there you can pretty much manipulate it however you like, and the workflow in this sampler is a thing of beauty.
One thing that might go unnoticed that we found extremely useful was the normalize function built into the sampler.
The amount of times we’ve had to push the gain, or normalize something is too many to count and having a simple, easy-to-find button is much more pleasing that you might think.
But that’s peanuts compared to what this can actually do.
The 7 sampler modes in Falcon include:
- IRCAM Granular – a granular sample synth
- IRCAM Multi-Granular – granular sampler with the option to add multiple voices
- IRCAM Scrub – a sampler that scrubs through your audio. Creates extremely interesting results when playing around with the speed knob. Also allows you play your sample at very slow speeds without sounding awful.
- IRCAM Stretch – stretches your samples to the max. If your CPU can handle it you can take it as far as paul stretch.
- Sample – a simple sampling mode with minimal controls
- Slice – an automatic slicer for your samples. Chuck a song in there and get it evenly sliced across keys.
- Stretch – a simpler stretching sampler mode.
Each sampler mode has a plethora of controls, and customisability that makes this synth worth it even just for the sampling capabilities.
It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and supports drag and drop as you’d expect it to in 2021.
The possibilities are almost endless, you can link up 2 different granular modes, layer some analog wavetables underneath, add some modulation, FX and events processors & you’re well on your way to some wickedly good warping sh*t.
The effects unit is as if you installed your very own new DAW. It has pretty much everything you’re going to want, housing over 90 different effects you can apply to your patches right out of the box.
The events processors are another area of Falcon that really makes it stand out from the other synths on the market.
Inside Falcon, you have a number of different arpeggiator modes, and options that help you make incredible runs, chord triggers & other beautiful sounding things that just wouldn’t be playable with 2 hands.
This can result in the most lush sounding pads, sound FX, weird warping arps and whatever your heart desires.
There are over 100 different arp presets to choose from, there’s a micro tuner if you want to play different scales, and something they call the script processor.
With the script processor you can either use the built in scripts, or you can find even more interesting scripts people have specifically coded online for Falcon. This uses the LUA scripting language if any of you are interested.
It’s even got some extremely useful analysis tools for when designing your patches, such as the chord analysis and the virtual pitch. These are great for sound designers who want to make chord/melody patches and work with samples.
Inside the Events processor window you’ll find:
- Chord strum algorithms
- Crazy warping arps
- Chord script processors
- Analysis tools
- Ensemble, Timbre Shifting, Unison & other cool FX
- Drum Sequencers
- Harmonisation Tools
- And a whole lot more
Falcon is really one of the most in-depth virtual instruments on the market.
Like with everything else in this soft synth, it can pretty much do anything you want it to, and it’s hella customisable.
Inside Falcon, you get:
- Multiple LFO Modules
- Parametric LFO
- Step Envelope
- Analog ADSR
- DAHDSR Envelope
- Something called drunk which we’re not sure what does, but makes everything sound wonky
- And a few other modulation devices
You can map absolutely any control to anything you want, and can get some wildly interesting results.
We did most of our work using samples and you can turn them into something so unrecognisable from the original song, but they still sound amazing.
You’re able to alter all these in the “Modulation” tab, but it appears most of the real nitty gritty customisation is done in the bottom part of the synth.
This is one downside of Falcon, but you really can’t complain considering the amount of stuff you’re trying to get your PC to run.
And the CPU hit is pretty minimal when comparing to other power synths on the market (Kontakt, Omnisphere).
However, even with an 8 core 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen, this is extremely slow. It’s sometimes painful waiting for the wavetables to load up, and it seems like they could’ve used a less power hungry interface.
The images take a while to load and it seems like it would be better off without them, but that’s minor in the grand scheme of things.
If you want to get this synth, you need the power for it. There’s no point getting Falcon if you’re not running a beasty machine. And, fair enough… a synth that has this much capability needs the CPU, there is no getting around that.
How Do I Install UVI Falcon?
This was a downfall of Falcon. We understand that iLok and product portals help protect developers, but there must be a better way. Every time we’ve used a 3rd party installer, it just doesn’t work, or files end up in the wrong places, and it’s just annoying.
So we decided to put a more thorough, in-depth explanation than what’s provided online.
If you’re using Windows, it will install the dll file to the standard C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins
So, if you have your plugins in a different folder, then you’ll need to find this folder and copy the dll elsewhere.
It doesn’t mention this in the UVI installer, and doesn’t actually show in the preferences where the dll files install.
Here’s how to install UVI Falcon:
- Register your account
- Download the UVI portal
- Put your activation key in
- Click install next to your product
- Click activate afterwards, and activate using iLok
If you can’t find Falcon in your plugins folder after installing, you’ll need to check C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins for the dll file. Then you’ll have to move it to your custom VST plugins folder.
UVI Falcon (Quicker Review)
If you’re a sound designer looking for a power synth that does it all, Falcon is the absolute hands-down best, most versatile synth you can grab. Considering its price point when comparing to the likes of Omnisphere & Kontakt, it’s better value for money and probably does more.
The only real downside is the GUI and workflow. Even after extensive use, it just feels like it could be thought out/laid out is a more user-friendly way.
But we’ve never been good at maths or things that require great detail, so for some it might be like riding a bike.