Review: Microrgan by Soundiron

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Soundiron’s Microrgan can serve either as a faithful recreation of the Farfisa 49 Key Reed Organ, or as a fun little synth and sound design tool, depending on your needs. But it’s most useful when that signature reed organ sound is needed.

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Review: Microrgan by Soundiron

Microrgan is a part of Soundiron’s “Vintage Keys” series  and this installment captures the sound of the Farfisa 49-key Electric Reed Organ. This rare and odd organ has a reedy sound that calls to mind a clarinet or oboe, and Soundiron has fully sampled the instrument’s range while also adding some fun synth elements to play with. It’s definitely a niche instrument that isn’t for everyone – but if you’re in need of a specific reed organ sound, or even just sound design/synthesis with that particular characteristic, this library will have you well covered.

Microrgan sells for $29 from Soundiron

Thoughts

Much like its fellow small organ library, Bontastic Organ, Microrgan’s interface is features only some basic controls at first glance. Volume, Attack, Release, Offset, Vibrato, and Octave knobs line the middle and cut the interface in half, with a glide slider and a dropdown menu directly below. The dropdown menu contains the “Sustains”, “Staccato”, or “Sound FX”, which change what’s mapped to the keyboard below. If you click on the top half of the interface featuring the library’s title, it vanishes to reveal some more synth-esque controls.

This is where most of the fun is to be had in the vintage keys series. With an LFO, Filter, and Arpeggiator, you can basically turn this into a simple synthesizer. The LFO offers sine, square, triangle, saw, and random waveforms, with controls for time, intensity, and fade. The padlock icon also toggles DAW tempo sync. A dropdown menu for “Target” makes it easy to route the LFO to almost any of the parameters on the interface.
A few filters are available with controls for resonance and frequency. Those can also be set a few different ways with the “source” dropdown menu. The Arp is very simple functionally, but has a decent amount of control considering the small interface space. Basic rhythmic loops and patterns can make this simple instrument a lot more insteresting.

Soundiron’s usual 10 slot FX rack is on also present, offering 12 different effects to spice up this little guy even more. These are all just basic Kontakt effects, but you can save your chains as presets and reuse them later. These FX are heavily used in the included “Custom” patches.

Sure enough, this library sounds just like a Farfisa Electric Reed Organ!

Sure enough, this library sounds just like a Farfisa Electric Reed Organ! There isn’t much to say about the sound, other than that it is a very basic reedy sound. Imagine if a clarinet and an oboe had a baby. It’s a very flat, expressionless woodwind sound, so the use of the vibrato knob is essential to add some life to it. This also has a slower attack than other organs in the Vintage Keys series, so I found myself using the “offset” knob to tighten up the attack for faster playing. There are also sampled staccatos, but once you use the offset knob a bit, they become pretty obsolete.

On the other side of this library, there are quite a few patches in the “Custom” folder that fully utilize the synth controls and FX rack. There is also an “ambience” patch with a whole bunch of atmospheric soundsources and the same controls overall. Both of those categories of patches are useful for electronic, modern, or cinematic music, but I wouldn’t advise buying the library just for those. They’re basically just more limited versions of what you can likely already do with a stock synth that came with your DAW. These can be a great pool to dip into when you’re tired of going through the presets in your other synths, though. The majority of the custom presets don’t sound like they came from an organ at all – there are plenty of gritty sustains and plucks, as well as a few arpeggiator patterns.

I think the most important thing to take away from this is that Microrgan is a great purchase if you want that reed organ sound, or even if you want to do sound design that has hints and characteristics of a reed organ. If you’re looking for more electronic sounds, I would pass on this and perhaps spend the $30 on a preset bank for an existing synth that will give you more tweaking options. However, the electronic sound design in this product is definitely worth using if you have it!

Facts

Soundiron Microrgan is a sampled vintage Farfisa Electric Reed Organ, recorded by John Valasis. Sustains, staccatos, and various ambience samples are included. There are 398 total samples recorded at 24 bit / 48khz , 22 Kontakt patches, and a full effects rack in this package, weighing in at 652 mb installed.

Microrgan requires the full retail version of Kontakt 5.5.2 or higher.

Microrgan sells for $29 from Soundiron

 

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