Gear reviews

review: U-HE Diva Synth

Hi guys, normally I focus on hardware. This plugin sounds like hardware, so I decided to write a review. Oh and Urs likes beer and white russian, another great example of why there should be a review as he shares the same taste then I do.


What’s in there
“The oscillators, filters and envelopes closely model components found in some of the great monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers of yesteryear. Modules can be mixed and matched so you can build hybrids, but what sets DIVA apart is the sheer authenticity of the analogue sound. This comes at the cost of quite a high CPU-hit, but we think it was worth it: Diva is the first native software synth that applies methods from industrial circuit simulators (e.g. PSpice) in realtime. The behaviour of zero-delay-feedback filters when pushed to the limit clearly demonstrates the advantages of this groundbreaking approach.
Check out more than 1200 presets. If your computer can handle it, try them in “Divine” mode.”

So it’s a VST/AU (and soon AAX plugin) that models an analog synthesizer. Their new technology called “zero-delay-feedback” works wonders on the attack time of this synth (explained to me at Musikmesse 2012 by Urs).

Diva is a collection of synthesizer parts like oscilators, filters and envelope curves arising from the famous Minimoog, Jupiter-8, MS20 and the Juno-60.
At the end of the plugin-tunnel we got 2 LFOs, an effect section with a modulation-section and a tuning “unit” (a German magazine mentions “similar to an MS20”).

Urs mentioned on gearslutz that he doesn’t like all the features of an MS-20 or the sounds you can reproduce (the same applies for the other synths as well) so what he did was taking all the synths and section of the synths to modify them to his taste.

A special function (explained in detail in the U-HE DIVA Amazona review) is the “trimmer”-section where you can detune a sound (I call it wobbly).

In use
I am right now composing some tracks for SaraMaria, an upcoming artist from Switzerland. I struggled with the Cubase built in synths and my old collection of virtual instruments (Rob Papen Albino3, Yellow tools). Most of the leads fit into a trance track or very electronica sounding music. Also the sounds are kinda weak and not defined, the lowend is big but muffled, you can’t make the synths stick out of the speakers right into your face without a lot of work (and external hardware processing).

I installed the DIVA in 1 minute (really, 5 clicks, 10 megs and it’s installed) and put up a track in Cubase for DIVA. I loaded the first preset and start pressing the Korg K49 keys. BAMMMMM…


after the dark I opened my eyes again and there it was: the wonderful sound of analog coming out of a plugin, played with my 100 euro midi-interface keyboard. I went trough the presets and enjoyed most of them (which is not the case with all the other synth-plugins I own). The lower mids have a very heavy weight to them, the synth-topend got this shimmer and the modulation-section is one of the best I’ve heard so far.

The attack of the plugin is indeed something you will remember. The sounds fly out of the speakers, trying to kill you. They sit next behind the membrane and not somewhere lost in the DAW soundscape. The lowend is defined and full but shares room with the kick or any other percussive instrument playing in the lowend.

In my opinion you should run and get one right now!

2 Responses to “review: U-HE Diva Synth”

  1. Mira says:

    I will definately try this one ASAP.

  2. lsc9x says:

    Diva is nothing short of AMAZING! I got it 2 nights ago and haven’t stopped playing it. Oh, man do the sounds bring back a lot of 1980s memories for me, and Diva sounds fantastic. Yes, this tool was sorely missed in my VST synth set. Absolutely worth it if your computer can run it.

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