Review: UFO-61 by Soundiron
A vintage, five-octave, simple synthesizer with some remarkably modern sounds.
None that I could find.
The basic sound is distinctly vintage, but the UFO 61 achieves some very useful modern tones and ambiences for pop, trap, hip-hop, 8 bit and retro-game-sound. With a very affordable $29 retail price tag, Soundiron’s team has developed a no-brainer for anyone working in TV, Film, podcast and music production.
Jump to the Videos of UFO-61 by Soundiron
Jump to the Demos of UFO-61 by Soundiron
Review: UFO-61 by Soundiron
Soundiron has been at the forefront of developing quality sample libraries since 2011. They’ve developed sounds and libraries for brands like Native Instruments, Korg, Presonus and Propellerhead’s Reason, as well as many other well-known sample centric audio creation, loop and instrument products. With meticulous attention to sonic detail and a product catalog that spans from the eclectic to the authentic, even human body noise, the company continues to push boundaries and develop unique products for musicians and sound designers.
UFO-61 is the latest edition to Soundiron’s Vintage Keys series. It is a five-octave, highly authentic electronic, suitcase-style organ from the 1970’s that offers true original sounds and some well-crafted modern ambiences.
UFO-61 sells for $29.00 from Soundiron
When the UFO 61 electronic organ was originally released, the universe was rife with a proliferation of suitcase-style instruments. The Italian manufacturer, Viscount, had only been officially established in 1969 but it’s founder, Marcello Galanti, had long been at work in the family business making musical instruments. His Viscount brand would go on to develop synthesizers, accordions, electric guitars, home organs and other electronic instruments, many of which were marketed later under the Oberheim name. Though many suitcase-style keyboards were developed during the 70’s, the UFO-61 is one that seems to have flown under the radar.
Paraphrasing Craig Peters, of Soundiron, from his video walk-thru of the product: this single speaker, simple synthesizer checks all the boxes for Soundiron’s kind of instrument – It’s rare, weird and mysterious. It has a warm, fuzzy tone, a simple rhythm box and simple user interface.
There are 2 primary .NKI instruments and a folder with 20 additional Custom FX Instruments for a total of 63 preset sounds. The first .NKI set is labeled UFO 61 1 – Organ and it contains 13 presets, accessible by clicking through the green arrows in the labeled display, just above the keys or via a drop-down menu that appears when you click inside the display window. These are the original preset instrument sounds such as Flute, Horn, Melody, Strings, Trumpet & Wah-wah. In the 2nd instrument, labeled, UFO 61 2 – Ambiences, you’ll have access to 30 quite usable ambience presets. Most of the ambient sounds feel more modern, indeed, thanks to meticulous sound design.
Experimenting with the UFO 61 is just fun! The organ presets feel quaint, warm and fuzzy but moving beyond them offers a surprising amount of versatility. The dial controls quickly add character – while the glide, LFO, Filter and Arpeggiator controls offer movement and rhythmic effects. If you’re working on anything in the Sci Fi or horror realm, there’s an inherent “fromage factor” that fits nicely but that doesn’t mean this little suitcase synth can’t be taken seriously. The basic sound is distinctly vintage, but the UFO 61 achieves some very useful modern tones and ambiences for pop, trap, hip-hop, 8 bit and retro-game-sound. With a very affordable $29 retail price tag, Soundiron’s team has developed a no-brainer for anyone working in TV, Film, podcast and music production.
As depicted in the screen shot, navigation through the instrument user interface is simplistic but powerful. The well labeled knobs adjust what their label suggests: Volume, Attack, Release, Transient Offset, Vibrato and Octave. Even the Glide fader is fully functional and the display window actually does change when you click the arrows, or it can display a drop down menu giving you fast access to 13 preset sounds in the “Organ.nki” and 30 presets in the “Ambience.nki.” Clicking the articulation menu [or green instrument voice display window] reveals a drop-down menu for quick selection of instrument presets.
Clicking the image of the UFO-61 poster on the wall behind the keyboard, reveals all the controls for the included arpeggiator, filter and LFO. Clicking the small upside-down, triangle, (like the one depicted next to the wave-form images,) reveals a drop-down menu with even more controls. Though deep diving into menus is not my favorite past-time, the svelte design aesthetic helps to keep the user interface free from unnecessary clutter.
Once again, a click into the white lettering here reveals a drop-down menu that corresponds to these controls.
If you’ve worked with Soundiron libraries, you’re probably familiar with the layout of their effects rack by now but for the unindoctrinated, simply selecting the FX tab button, located just below the instrument and above the Kontakt keyboard (and next to the Performance button) you’ll gain access to 18 powerful effects to manipulate the sound even further.
Again, clicking the Preset menu reveals a drop-down menu of presets.
So, is this an instrument you simply have to own? In my opinion, well, maybe not have to – but you can’t go wrong! You’d be hard pressed to beat the value of this quirky little spaced-out electronic organ. While billions could be spent amassing a collection of “Authentic Vintage Synths,” the UFO 61 has plenty of character for that retro SCI FI sound and at a cost that’s far less than a real space helmet. (Ask me how I know!) Plus, Soundiron’s development team has given us a few excellent presets to spark many modern ideas. With this in mind, I wholeheartedly recommend this little gem. But don’t take my word for it. Pay careful attention to the excellent demos and videos available on the Soundiron Website. Only you can decide if this is the organ you want in orbit with you.
…Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a flight to catch.
UFO-61 is downloadable only through Soundiron’s proprietary installation tool. Once downloaded and installed, it occupies 1.74 GB of hard disk space. UFO-61 includes 2 primary .nki instruments and 20 custom, sound designed FX and Ambient presets. There are a total of 544 (unlocked!) stereo samples encoded as 24bit/48k uncompressed, stereo PCM .wav files
No little green men were harmed in the writing of this review but that doesn’t mean my desktop hasn’t been invaded by them. Like any self-respecting adult child of the seventies, I’ve amassed a collection of strange and collectible plastic figurines that would eclipse even Grandma’s collection of Hummel’s. But our editor’s desk, is sadly devoid of these elegantly detailed works of art. I’m not saying your donations would be frittered away on Star Wars toys and tiny tin spaceships but, having your support might mean it could happen. Think about it. Isn’t it time you help caused an alien invasion? https:/Pateron.com/SLR.
UFO-61 sells for $29.00 from Soundiron
Contributor Steve Blizin reviews UFO-61 by Soundiron
“The Soundiron team has developed a no-brainer for anyone working in TV, Film, podcast and music production. Distinctly vintage, the UFO 61 achieves some very useful modern tones and ambiences for pop, trap, hip-hop, 8 bit and retro-game-sound. Very affordable at only $29!”