Arturia’s FX Collection 4 proves once again that it’s an indespensible plugin library
Arturia’s comprehensive effects collection has grown again but, this time, the price has grown – is it still good value?
Arturia FX Collection 4. Image: Arturia
⊕ Four new plugins that perfectly complement the rest of the collection br>
⊕ Modelled plugins look and sound authentic br>
⊕ Well judged, modern enhancements that don’t impact classic character br>
⊕ Accessibility features to assist visually impaired users br>
⊕ The value remains excellent but… br>
⊖ Significant leap in price from the previous version
In an event that has become as synonymous with summer as Wimbledon, Glastonbury, and lying awake half the night wondering how it can possibly get hotter after the sun’s gone down, Arturia’s new version of FX Collection has arrived in FX Collection 4.
When we looked at FX Collection 3 last year, we were blown away by the value of the offering. At €399 for 26 plugins – that’s just €15.35 per plugin – the value is almost unbelievable, especially given the quality of each plugin. Unfortunately, inflation is biting and Arturia is not immune, so its new FX Collection 4 has jumped up a hefty 25 per cent in price to €499.
Four new additions to the roster bring the collection to a nice round 30 plugins. It still works out at less than €17 per plugin, but the decision on whether or not to buy FX Collection 4 could be complicated by that extra €100.
Weighing on the other side of such a decision is the sheer breadth of effect and processing bases that are covered. Preamps, dynamics processors, EQs, reverbs, delays, filters, distortions and modulation effects are all here in abundance. Put it this way – if these were the only plugins you ever bought, you would rarely feel like your studio was lacking on the effects front.
FX Collection has always been primarily made up of models of vintage and classic hardware, with a handful of original Arturia creations included. The new plugins in this latest release follow the same pattern with three modelled classics – Rev LX-24, Filter MS-20 and Rotary CLS-222 – and one Arturia original in Dist COLDFIRE.
We looked at Dist COLDFIRE in detail in September 2022, so won’t dwell on it here. In brief, though, the plugin is a flexible, twin-engined distortion generator with six built-in modulation sources that allow you to delve deep into creating fascinating rhythmic and evolving distortion effects.
Modelled on the vintage Lexicon 224 reverb unit, REV LX-24 sits perfectly between Arturia’s analogue-modelled Rev PLATE-140 and SPRING-636 reverbs, and the entirely original and modern Rev INTENSITY.
The plugin models the 224’s classic algorithms, its limited sample rate and bit-depth conversion, and (in Basic view) the hardware’s iconic remote control panel. The result is a convincing recreation of Lexicon’s masterpiece, replete with quantisation noise and the characteristic 8kHz low-pass filtering used to keep the signal’s highest frequencies below the Nyquist limit.
Arturia has included various options to make the plugin sound more up-to-date. The AD/DA conversion emulation can be switched to 24-bit mode to eliminate noisiness, or can be bypassed altogether for a pristine, full-bandwidth sound. The Mode Enhance button introduces a subtle pitch shifting in the reflections to create a richer-sounding wash of reverb, and Decay Optimisation engages a more natural decay by modifying the reverb in response to source signal level.
Switching the plugin into Advanced view dispenses with the skeuomorphism of the Basic view in favour of a modern and interactive visual editing environment. This gives a whole new way to work with the classic Lexicon algorithms, allowing fine-tuning of the Mode Enhance and Decay Optimisation features, all without compromising the iconic sonics of the original algorithms.
Filter MS-20 delivers the flexibility, character and in-your-face aggression of the ever-popular Korg MS-20’s distinctive filter, all in a convenient plugin form. The main star of the show here is, of course, the paired high- and low-pass resonant filters modelled on Korg hardware, to which Arturia has added a master cutoff dial to control both filters in unison, making band-pass/reject filter sweeps super-easy to perform.
The plugin also features an overdrive stage with filters at each end of the spectrum. This can be placed pre or post the main filter module for radically different results. There’s also an envelope follower, a step sequencer, plus a function curve generator that can be mapped to the plugin’s parameters to create movement and animation.
As with the original synth filter, Filter MS-20 is buttery and smooth at low resonances, rising to a fearsome intensity as resonance increases, and ends up screaming (or booming) in self-oscillation at high resonance. We love it!
The final addition to FX Collection 4 is a digital model of an analogue emulation of an electro-mechanical effect. Unravelling all of this, Arturia has modelled the Dynacord CLS-222 – a highly regarded emulation of vintage Leslie rotary speakers.
The classic Leslie design is beautifully emulated in the CLS-222, from the ability to adjust the volume balance between the bass and treble speakers, all the way down to simulating the different speeds and inertias of the two rotating speakers as well as the perceived distance through which speakers rotate. To top things off, the input stage can be switched to emulate either a valve or op-amp distortion when overdriven, and includes a useful high pass filter.
The rotary speaker sound is, of course, synonymous with drawbar organs, but the CLS-222 is so much more useful than that. It sounds awesome on guitars, ethereal on synths, and just plain mad on vocals, and is an excellent addition to the FX Collection.
The existing members of the FX Collection gang have not gone without a bit of tweaking too. Efx FRAGMENTS has received an updated modulation workflow and 40 new presets to show it off, whilst all plugins can now have their windows resized freely. Also, in what will be very welcome news for visually impaired musicians and producers, Arturia has taken the text-to-speech accessibility features of its V Collection and added them to all of the FX Collection plugins.
Is all of this worth €500? It’s a lot of money to pay up front – but that might be the wrong question. The correct question is “are each of these plugins worth €17?”, to which the answer is a resounding “hell yes!”
Learn more at arturia.com
Price €499 (with the option to spread payment over two, three or four monthly instalments) / €69 upgrade from FX Collection 3
Comprehensive suite of 30 audio plugins
AAX, AU, NKS, VST and VST3 compatible
Plugins modelled on vintage and classic hardware, and Arturia-developed originals
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