Once again it’s been a long time since I’ve posted an entry in my THIS THING RULES series, but what with finishing my new album An Unseen Sky and composing jobs and trips out of town (am I starting to sound like a broken record? and is that a bad music-pun?), well, I’ve just been busy. But I’m glad to be back with a really cool new synth from u-He, the makers of the also amazing Zebra2 (which I used a lot on my new album). Lets dive right in…
I’m of course talking about Hive, the brand new synth from u-He. You knew this coming into this blog not only because it’s in the title, but because I did a little preview blog post a month ago (if you haven’t read that one, you might as well check it out too). According to u-He, Hive was made to be “fast and simple.” That’s absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean it’s not deep. Man is this thing deep. And wow does it sound good. It’s kind of amazing that such a plugin that uses so little CPU could sound so big and full. This is no thin, lightweight synth…
If you haven’t already, give a listen to the demo track “Infiltrate” above. I wanted to go for a really synthy piece of music with this demo since, well, that’s what people are going to mainly be using something like Hive for. Everything in the song “Infiltrate” is coming out of 10 instances of Hive, except for the main drum beat which is coming out of a different drum program (I just wanted to get a beat going really quickly so I could build around it). I could have just kept adding layers and layers of synths but I felt like it was at a really good point for the purposes of this review.
Some of the sounds I’m using include “HS Gitanoid B fast” which is that cool hypnotic arpeggio synth and “BA Blue Tone” which is the main bass line. The crazy, funky, filthy breakdown that comes in half way through is called “AZ HIVE in GOA II Dirty.” The names on these things can be all over the place, but there’s a reason for that… Hive has an absolutely insane user base already, even though the program is only in beta. I have more presets just from downloading collections from the official forums than most synths have on the purchased disc. Of course having a ton of presets means having a lot of stuff to browse through. Luckily the browser is nice and snappy.
The fun really starts though when you start digging in and making your own sounds. Two Oscillators, two Filters, two LFOs, two Amps, and two Mods are all available. It’s laid out in a way that shows you everything all in one screen so you can dive right in and start messing with the sounds. It’s definitely a little overwhelming if you’re not a huge synth fiend, but most likely if you’re interested in Hive and u-He’s other plugins, you know what you’re looking for already. And those controls are just the beginning. There’s a full FX section with Distortion, Chorus, Reverb, Delay and more, and you can save and load presets from one to another. Then the ARP & SEQ is where Hive really shines for me, personally.
I already have tons of great synth sounds in some of my other plugins, so it’s not like I really need another synth… But this is where things get set apart. I think the Sequencer is the best I’ve seen in any plugin. First of all, it’s all laid out really clearly as to how to make a sequence work the way you want it to. This feels like one of those easy to learn difficult to master situations as there’s a lot of power behind this thing. My favorite part of the arp sequencer is the Record feature that lets you play out a pattern of notes on your keyboard to simply create the pattern and then go from there. Some of the sounds I used that feature an arpeggiated sequence were kept with their default patterns, but some of them I definitely took advantage of this feature and made new patterns myself. It’s really cool and something I could definitely see myself using a lot in the future.
I actually managed to sneak a little bit of Hive into one of the last tracks I finished on my new album An Unseen Sky (which is available now at http://davidrosen.bandcamp.com). The song “Into The Black” features two instances of Hive and it sounds awesome (if it sounds like I’m being redundant here, I am… this paragraph was covered in the preview, but I had actually started writing this review way before the preview, back before I got all crazy busy, but I figured I’d leave this paragraph in since it has a plug for my new album haha). I am sure that this program will be used a lot on my future releases.
u-He Hive comes out June 2nd for $149 but is available for purchase now for a special introductory price of $99! If you like synths, you seriously can’t go wrong with this purchase.
David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.