Every year, when we review the latest version of Arturia's V Collection - the company's flagship library of classic keyboard emulations - we conclude that it's the best yet, and then ask, 'what can possibly be added in the next version?' And every year Arturia manages to pull off a decent upgrade. The latest, V Collection X, is very decent indeed, with six new instruments, expansion packs and Acid appeal.
The problem Arturia faces with V Collection now is that there are only a finite number of decent keyboards and synths worth emulating, and pretty much everything has already been covered. In version 9, then, Arturia added a new 'Augmented' range of instruments, as well as a smattering of older emulations.
The latest V Collection X continues this trend with three new Augmented titles - Woodwinds, Brass and Grand Piano - and some more old stuff, while simultaneously refreshing some of the bundle's classic plugins.
The new two classic instrument emulations are CP-70 V, Arturia's take on the Yamaha CP-70 electric piano, and Acid, an emulation of a classic bass synth which clearly has TB-303 aspirations. This made its debut earlier this year.
CP-70 V uses both samples and modelling to create the "intimate stage sound" of the original piano, while Acid V has more features than the original machine to create "ever-evolving lysergic grooves and mutated sequences."
'Lysergic' is a kind of acid, before you ask.
A third instrument emulation is more up-to-date, and based on one of Arturia's own hardware synths, the MiniFreak. The software MiniFreak V version already comes free with that hardware, or you can buy it separately for €199, but is now a great asset to V Collection X, too.
It emulates the multi-engined approach of the excellent MiniFreak, which we described as "a versatile-sounding hybrid synth that’s a joy to get hands-on with". MiniFreak is also an expanded version of Arturia's popular MicroFreak.
Too many Freaks? Let's move on.
Arturia has also refreshed a couple of V Collection classics in the 'X' update. Both Mini V and Wurli V have been "completely rebuilt from the ground-up", so now come with new sound engines, and some unspecified extra features.
The Augmented instruments were a neat addition to v9 and the Brass, Woodwind and Grand Piano extras that arrive in X are not totally unexpected – the Augmented range was always an obvious one for V Collection to expand on.
Each of the titles in the range focuses on one instrument, but hands-on controls enable you to massively expand on that sound, resulting in surprisingly diverse presets, and the capability to create more. The new Grand Piano, for example, has loads of hands-on effects to help take its sound way beyond the norm.
Finally, Arturia has added three expansion packs to V Collection X: Evocative Ambient Spaces, Innovative Underground Sounds and Modern Soul Essences.
There's a special introductory price on V Collection X running to January 7. Registered Arturia users simply need to log into their accounts and "unlock their exclusive discounts". The standard price is €599.
You can get more information on V Collection from the Arturia website.