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Arturia V Collection X

Software Instruments By Gordon Reid
Published June 2024

With the instrument’s image clipped by the sides of the window, the CP‑70 V GUI is a rather plain affair that doesn’t hint at the quality of the sounds that it can produce.With the instrument’s image clipped by the sides of the window, the CP‑70 V GUI is a rather plain affair that doesn’t hint at the quality of the sounds that it can produce.

With new and improved instruments, Arturia’s one‑stop synth shop is better value than ever.

The inexorable expansion of Arturia’s V Collection continues unabated, most recently from 2021’s V Collection 8, to 2022’s V Collection 9 and, now V Collection 10... umm, I mean V Collection X, which continues the company’s tradition of including some new instruments, some upgraded ones and, on this occasion, a bunch of new sounds contained within three expansion packs. The new instruments comprise CP‑70 V, MiniFreak V, Acid V, Augmented Brass, Augmented Grand Piano and Augmented Woodwinds. ‘Hang on,’ I hear you say, ‘Wasn’t MiniFreak V reviewed in Sound On Sound in April 2023, and wasn’t Acid V reviewed in November?’ Of course they were, or I wouldn’t have mentioned it. Augmented Brass and Augmented Grand Piano were also released last year, so only two of the instruments in V Collection X are actually new. This doesn’t make the Collection any better or worse value, it’s just that, when Arturia claim that six new instruments have been added, they mean new to the Collection, not new as in... well, new.

New: CP‑70 V

The first of the two new instruments is perhaps the most important addition to the Collection, so let’s start with CP‑70 V, a recreation of the Yamaha CP‑70 piano. You might wonder why Arturia didn’t emulate the Holy Grail of the CP series by sticking an 88‑note keyboard on the GUI and calling it CP‑80 V, but that would be to overlook that the two original pianos are rather different: the CP‑80 has a larger harp with longer strings so its tone is rounder and deeper, and — notwithstanding the extra notes — it feels subtly different to play.

CP‑70 V isn’t physically modelled; the initial sound generation is sample‑based. This wouldn’t have surprised me 10 or 20 years ago but, today, I suspect that might have been a decision made if the company found that they couldn’t get the results they wanted from physical modelling. Nonetheless, modelling was used to emulate the original’s electronics, and Arturia claim that the combination of the two approaches “allows for a truly expressive sound that perfectly recreates this remarkable instrument”.

Of course, no two CP‑70s are the same, so the company have added an Advanced panel to CP‑70 V which offers 14 parameters that allow you to tweak the emulation to obtain the characteristics that you want. Once programmed to taste, the resulting sound — which can be mono or spread across the stereo field with bass notes to the left and treble to the right — passes through an effect section that contains four slots hosting 13 freely assignable effect types, plus two dedicated slots that contain an amp modeller and a reverb.

Creators of CP emulators tend to iron out the worst idiosyncrasies of any specific instrument in order to produce a more polite and well‑behaved sound; this makes the emulation more widely useful, but can reduce its character when compared with an original instrument. So if there’s an immediate difference between CP‑70 V and a vintage CP‑70, it’s that the tuning — even when you dial in a bit of detune — is more accurate than anything other than a recently tuned original. Furthermore, the experience of playing it from your MIDI keyboard is unlikely to be the same, because the original’s keybed is that of a Yamaha acoustic grand piano. Nonetheless, you’ll get very close with a bit of tweaking and, when playing it from an expensive, fully weighted controller, the differences are unlikely to matter unless you’re a true CP‑70 fanatic.

Before moving on, there are two further points to note. The first concerns the GUI. Unlike many previous Arturia soft thingies, the...

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