Review: Go2 by Rob Papen

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Whether you are a beginner or are thoroughly adept at programming soft synthesizers, Go2 has something to offer everyone. Running the spectrum from cinematic thunder to EDM to enigmatic soundscapes and ambient drones, you can find it all inside this neatly packaged single interface synthesizer.

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Jump to the Demos of Go2 by Rob Papen

Review: Go2 by Rob Papen

Go2 by Rob Papen sells for $49.00/€49.00 from Time & Space

Thoughts

I have to admit that when I learned that the new Rob Papen synthesizer was a single oscillator, single interface synthesizer hosting all of the controls and a smaller than traditional number of presets (by the standards of what Rob Papen usually includes), I was more than a little bit skeptical. After releasing so many major masterpieces, why this one? why now?

In reality, the answer is pretty straightforward – there are a number of competitive products that have hit the market in the past 12 to 18 months that are slim versions of their more complex parents. The difference here is that Go2 is a totally new synthesizer that is not a stripped-down progeny, this is a new synthesizer that draws on the experience in the development of some of the other classic Rob Papen synthesizers taking best-of-breed functionality and presenting it in a single simplified interface at a price point that quite frankly seems like a no-brainer.

All that aside, I needed to take Go2 out for a test drive and find out if it lived up to the hype. I have long been long time user of the entire Rob Papen product line and a “little brother” follow-up to classics like Blue II or Predator 2 seemed like a tall order or at best case, over-simplified for my needs.

After spending a little bit of time (okay more than a little bit of time!) with Go2 I have to admit that I was easily blown away. Once you start reviewing a product and you get lost in the product to the point where you forget to go back to the review, it’s evident that you may have a real winner on your hands. I certainly had two new tracks well on their way to completion.

My initial impression was that it was structured to use very similar constructs like those used in Blue II or Predator 2.

My initial impression was that it was structured to use very similar constructs like those used in Blue II or Predator 2. If you have used either one of them, jumping into this will be immediately intuitive and if you are a new initiate to the product line or synthesizers in general, there is a gentle learning curve that allows you to quickly get up and running, find sounds that you want and then tweak away.

Go2 is designed around a single Morph Oscillator that morphs between two different Waveforms. For the purposes of a review, I won’t go into deep detail on each section of Go2 because even though it is a simplified synthesizer with a single interface, there is a great deal of functionality hiding under that veneer.

The interface has a nice clean discreet design with a workflow that is very intuitive to follow. The very top section of the interface has the traditional preset and bank selections along with a description of XY Pad destination and Filter type. There are distinct sections designed for the Oscillator/XY controls as well as LFO, Envelope, Modulation Routing, Filter, Filter Envelope, HPF, Play Mode, Arpeggiator, AMP, and controls for Chorus, Phaser and Reverb.

For a single oscillator synthesizer, Go2 has a huge sound thanks to the Morph Oscillator and the alternation between two different waveforms. This is one area that you can get extremely creative with sculpting your sound. One key feature is the Spread control that lets Go2 mimic a dual oscillator synthesizer. By using a combination of automated and manual control in the XY, it creates opportunities to develop extremely sophisticated sounds that you would not typically expect from a low cost single oscillator synthesizer.

There is a lot going on under the hood despite the simplistic approach.

Even though this is a single interface synthesizer, diving into describing all of the functionality starts to come out looking more like a copy of the user manual or a spec sheet. There is a lot going on under the hood despite the simplistic approach. That’s all a good thing as it definitely gives you quick creative control. Some of the things that I think are really focal points here are the Play, Arpeggiator and the Modulation sections making them extremely key to the overall sculpting capability found in Go2.

The Play section houses the controls for voicing, up to four unison voices and up to 16 voices in poly mode along with a Drift control which ultimately mimics the slow tuning changes that occur naturally in analog synth oscillators. This was definitely not something I expected to find in a $49 synth. The Arpeggiator sports two features that I really found to be inspiring – unison and chord control per step and the sequencer mode. The more I dug into the controls here, the more amazing this little beast got. The Modulation section offers eight way control over the modulation utilizing the typical internal controls but also allowing you to insert MIDI control messages from external devices. Again something that I didn’t expect to find in a synth at this price point.


If you click on the logo it takes you to the back panel controls. The back panel houses the global controls for MIDI device interactions and also supports the use of tuning files, again something I was surprised to see. Other than the overall credits, there is not a lot to see here. This is where the simplicity of Go2 stands out.

I really didn’t expect a $49 synthesizer to contain the functionality that Go2 has and I didn’t expect to be able to get the kind of sounds out of it that I did

I really didn’t expect a $49 synthesizer to contain the functionality that Go2 has and I didn’t expect to be able to get the kind of sounds out of it that I did. I have a substantial arsenal of soft synthesizers that I use on a regular basis and I would never expect to be saying that this is going to be holding a prominent place in my workflow because of the ability to get such immediate results in sculpting a sound. It’s definitely not a three-oscillator-beast with all the bells and whistles of its larger competitors, but when you stack Go2 up against the simplified and scaled-down synthesizers that some developers have released of late, this one wins hands down for sound and workflow.

To answer the question who is Go2 for?

At $49, it is for everybody!

If you are a musician that is making almost any kind of music (maybe not Polkas), Go2 is something you should look at. Whether you are composing for film, media, doing EDM or performing live, Go2 covers the spectrum. Some of the presets are definitely more targeted around EDM but that does not mean that they need to stay that way or that you cannot quickly create your own presets. Sculpting a new and interesting tone is quick and straightforward once you spend a little bit of time with it. When I did the cost-benefit analysis on Go2, the net result was awarding it the SampleLibraryReview.com Fantastic Buy award! I don’t often strenuously recommend purchasing products without thoroughly checking out all of the demos and the online documentation but I’m willing to make an exception in this case because I am just blown away by this little beast.

Facts

Go2 is a VST available in 32 and 64-bit versions for Windows (Vista, 7, 8, 10) and Mac OSX (10.6 or higher). NI NKS is coming in the near future. It comes with over 600 presets, external MIDI support and is centered around a Morph Oscillator and supports 4 unison voices and 16 voices in poly mode. Please see the official website documentation for a complete list of features and refer to the user guide for complete information on functional use.

Go2 by Rob Papen sells for $49.00/€49.00 from Time & Space

Demos of Go2 by Rob Papen

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Videos of Go2 by Rob Papen