Arturia FX Collection 4: What is it?
Mac OS 10.13+. 4GB RAM. 4 cores CPU, 3.4GHz (4.0GHz Turbo-boost) or Apple Silicon CPU. 6GB free hard disk space. OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU.
Win 10+ (64bit). 4GB RAM. 4 cores CPU, 3.4GHz (4.0GHz Turbo-boost). 6GB free hard disk space. OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU. ARM processors not supported on Windows.
VST, AAX, Audio Unit, NKS (64-bit DAWs only).
Buy at Plugin Boutique
Arturia might be famous for hardware synths like MatrixBrute and PolyBrute, or the vast suite of software instruments that is V Collection – surely everything you could wish for when it comes to vintage keyboard emulations. But what the company is perhaps less well known for is their software effects. They did make headlines releasing bundles of them called (and you either love or hate the name) ‘3 Effects You Will Actually Use’, but those fab threesomes seem to have fallen by the wayside in favour of the FX Collection bundle; the latest here being v4. And while it might not be stealing as many headlines, it deserves the plaudits that the Brutes and V Collection get. Like them, it’s huge.
Yes, it’s ‘huge’ as in V Collection ‘huge’, because FX Collection has every effect that Arturia has ever done – 30 of them – including all of those ‘3 Effects…’ collections and a whole lot more. Savings, as with V Collection, are pretty big too. The price tag of €499 might look steep, but buy them individually and you’re looking at €2,970.
Arturia FX Collection 4: Performance and verdict
When you dig into the collection you get five each of compressors and spatial (reverb) effects; four filters; three each of delays, distortions and preamps; two turtle doves (sorry); and the remainder being made up of modulation and filter effect plus the odd EQ.
The highlights of the collection thus far have most definitely been – again, see V Collection – emulations of absolute studio classics. Who doesn’t want a Roland Space Echo delay, Urei 1176 compressor, and EMT 140 plate reverb in their plugin arsenal? But we also like it when Arturia dig deep into a more modular world, allowing us to use the filter from a Moog or Oberheim synth with Filter MINI and SEM, or the famous Juno chorus effect (Chorus JUN-6). These are neat and specific additions that have rarely been emulated by other companies, well, not as much as the synths in V Collection anyway. And we’ll make our last V Collection reference now (promise) as that title’s latest update has had to focus a little more on newer plugins. There are simply fewer classic synths to emulate – and we’re seeing that trend continue with the latest FX Collection. A little, anyway.
We’re used to Arturia adding around four plugins to each of their bundle updates and here we get three emulations and one newbie which we’ll start with. Dist Coldfire is a very flexible distortion plugin that features distortion, delays, modulation… actually a vast range of effects, from subtle to crazy. It has a great interface that jigs in time with the effects and makes you feel a little drunk. Coldfire is, frankly, superb.
To the classics and Rotary CLS-222 is a Leslie speaker simulator, the kind of modulation made famous with an organ but now used to grunge up any sound. It’s a plugin with a surprising flexibility even over its few presets.
LX24 is a wonderfully easy (but probably very complex) recreation of a Lexicon reverb and again there’s more than you’d expect sonically here, with everything from slightly airy to mountainous and huge – but mostly we want to use the word ‘lush’. Filter MS-20 is the abrasive filter you don’t want your mum to meet but one you always want to use. Again a good number of varied sounds but you’ll be reaching for the distortion control more than you should.
Is it worth upgrading?
So far it’s very much a case of ‘buy the bundle, save the cash’ – and if you do the maths it only works out at €17 a plugin, which is great news for newcomers to the Arturia effects world. But what about upgrading from previous versions? Well, FX Collection 4 actually delivers quite a bit more over its previous incarnation too.
Firstly there are several updates for other plugins. EFX Fragments is another one of the non emulation plugins and this granular processor gets a modulation workflow overhaul, while other plugins get added presets. That said, previous FX Collection owners get some of these for free anyway. All effects can now be resized on screen – although we didn’t manage that with some – and all the plugins now support Apple’s latest chips and Native Instruments’ NKS.
Upgrade pricing from previous versions is a little vague but seems to be between around €29 from FX Collection 3 to €99 from previous versions. Either way, it’s worth doing.
One for your collection?
You can tell we have a lot of time for – and will spend a lot more time with – FX Collection 4. But it will be the more focussed plugins where we (and probably you) might get the extra benefit. These very specific titles can give you a creative edge that your DAW plugins might not offer. While not a massive hike from v3 – but the update price from v3 to this latest one is not exactly massive (see above) – this is a hugely detailed and creative beast of a bundle. You’ll worry about plugin bloat. And then install them all anyway.
MusicRadar verdict: A massive set of creative effects, classic mix plugins and essential production tools that deserves as much praise as the Arturia big guns. But do you really need another 30 plugins? Of course you do.
Arturia FX Collection 4: The web says
"It’s a lot of money to pay up front – but that might be the wrong question. The correct question is 'are each of these plugins worth €17?', to which the answer is a resounding 'hell yes!'."
Arturia FX Collection 4: Hands-on demos
Nu-Trix The Synth Guy
Arturia FX Collection 4: Specifications
- Mac OS 10.13+. 4GB RAM. 4 cores CPU, 3.4GHz (4.0GHz Turbo-boost) or Apple Silicon CPU. 6GB free hard disk space. OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU.
- Win 10+ (64bit). 4GB RAM. 4 cores CPU, 3.4GHz (4.0GHz Turbo-boost). 6GB free hard disk space. OpenGL 2.0 compatible GPU. ARM processors not supported on Windows.
- VST, AAX, Audio Unit, NKS (64-bit DAWs only).
- Buy at Plugin Boutique