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Software, Windows, outdated
BitHeadz Retro AS-1 VST ZONE screenshot
WiN | 2MB
The Retro AS-1 is a full featured programmable analog synthesizer for Macintosh and PC computers. Taking a modular approach you create and link modules of oscillators, envelopes, filters and LFO sections. The results can create stunning analog synth sounds in a clean 44.1kHz digital environment. The AS-1 is fully MIDI equipped and works with sequencers and MIDi controllers. However it has an on-screen keyboard and can also be triggered from the computer keyboard.

New patches can be stored on your hard disk for a virtually unlimited amount of user patches! The AS-1 has such extensive and complete editing and parameter control that it could intimidate, even baffle some users. Be sure and try the FREE DEMO version and see if the professional Retro AS-1 polyphonic synthesizer is for you!

This is an old release by ZONE, surprisingly this works on Windows 10, without any issues.
I tested it by bridging it with JBridge and using FL Studio 21 and it worked fine.
(Note, it only works if the DAW you're running is in administrator mode, if you run it without any administrator permissions, the VST will freeze and show a empty window.)

Instructions are included inside on how to get it working on modern computers.
JBridge works on the VST without any issues

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comments

  Contributor 3.05.2011 646 4536
+35906
such a classic release.
If you want to supply something, you can. PM is open for that.
  Member 29.10.2020 40 73
+1298
agreed, still sounds great to this day
hello
  Resident 26.08.2013 888
+141
Is this free or demo?
  Resident 25.09.2010 310
+117
Blast from the past. This was a very early VST? if I'm remembering correctly. I could never get it to work on (Win98?). I actually thought that this was stand-alone.....I'm getting old and confused :-/
  Resident 4.05.2011 932
+390
This might be a silly question, but the instructions for getting this old beauty to work is "...run ZoneAuthoriser as admin with xp sp2 compatibility...." Do I actually have that option in this, the modern age of computation on a WIN 10 beast or do I need to find an old P4 machine to use it if for nothing else than nostalgia's sake?
Music is always a commentary on society.
Frank Zappa
  Member 27.10.2021 176
+59
It works on Windows 10 if you got persistence, as it can be a pain. The whole "it needs XP" stems from the fact that you don't run into issues on XP.

Here's a run-down of the important bits of how to get it to work:

1) You must run the Authorizer (keygen) as admin for it to work; it's a bit finnicky. But all it does is copy a hidden file called QuickTemp.dll in Windows\SysWOW64, which the VST relies on. If you do it right, it will create that file. IIRC, this file contains system-specific keygen info; so it can't just be copied from one PC to another.

2) Analog Engine.dll and Analog Objects.dll must be copied to Windows\SysWOW64 as well. This holds much of the plugin's sound engine and protection code.

3) You must run your DAW or VST host as Administrator. This is probably the easiest thing to get wrong, because you can do everything right and it still doesn't work and it's not obvious that you have to run as admin because nothing else requires you to. The plugin just does things that require full admin access.

4) The presets are designed to be copied to C:\Windows\RetroAS1\. Very non-standard. Won't break the plugin if you don't do it this way, but Load/Save defaults to "Windows" with no way of changing it, so I just keep them there.

Then finally, you got the Retro AS-1.dll itself, which goes into the VST folder, as you'd expect. It's 32-bit, so you have to use a DAW that supports 32-bit VST2 such as:

Bitwig
REAPER
FL Studio
energyXT
Renoise
OpenMPT

Or you can try jBridge but I got no clue if it works there.

Oh yeah, I think the installer itself is a 16-bit stub; so it won't work on 64-bit Windows 10. So I believe I used Uni-Extract or some other tool to extract all the files from the installer (as if like a zip file).
  Member 27.10.2021 176
+59
I've been playing with it from time to time...

I don't think it has aged as well as people think (never had it in its time, so no nostalgia here). But I wouldn't write it off either. This thing sold for like $400+ though back in the day, ridiculous...

It has more aliasing noise than other synths of the era like Pro-52 (which has aged better IMHO). So I find myself fighting just to get a sweet spot.

It's great for distorted sounds though; you can do all sorts of gnarly noises, by using Sync, FM, filter cross-modulation; it's surprisingly richly featured for audio-rate modulations. Can do some fairly subtle timbre sculpting. Just way too aliased.

It can be semi-tamed, though. Like it fits in for 90s edm stuff (house, dnb, jungle, techno, breaks), where a bit of aliasing can add some grit to sell the lo-fi aesthetic. The filters aren't too great, fairly standard IIR filter implementations for the time, but I've seen worse filters too.

But it can be a bit unintuitive; it's semi-modular (technically fully modular since you have to assign envelopes to use them?), the envelopes are a page away and have to be manually assigned, and the way you have to edit them is archaic to say the least. Almost as bad as doing DX7 envelopes on the tiny display.
  Member 24.10.2013 273
+34
I have it for Mac, Classic, PowerPC. Super!
  Resident 12.10.2016 385
+71
Someone should make a truly analog emulation of a digital synth just to get even.
  Resident 2.03.2019 5 192
+295
why? I still have old bitheadz junk sitting around (in their original boxes) that never did work correctly. Retro AS-1, Unity DS-1... neither of them worked worth a dam as I remember quite vividly cursing bitheadz up one side and down the other... Unity was a dog of a sampler and crashed quite frequently on win98 SE. Bitheadz never could offer any solution and these products were rather pricey in their day. No wonder they went out of biz not too long after.
  Resident 14.01.2014 6 786
+205
yeah i used to like this one,forgot about it,
cool to see it mentioned again!

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