Before I dive in and start on my official review of Hexeract, the synthesizer by Auddict, I am going to simply share some of my experience with it so far. If any of you have been following this space, you may know I posted a “first look” article about it, and a couple YouTube videos walking through all the presets and samples and offering some impressions. I’ll try to be as professional as I can here, but I’ll warn you up front, not much about my experience with this product has been positive.
Hexeract was released around Black Friday 2017, and it was absolutely rushed. It was very hyped up in forums, marketing, and on the official website. It promised a “new generation of synthesis” and told us wonderful claims such as:
“Hexeract is a limitlessly powerful software synth, which has vastly expanded the potential musical palette for all artists. Create sounds with Hexeract that you never before believed possible, with the resources and functions to create, indefinitely and infinitely.”
Now, I understand all companies must fuel the hype train and market themselves, but these are very bold claims, however I was genuinely excited about it, and come on, the interface and design just looks awesome. I purchased this product shortly after it released and, sadly, immediately ran into problems. This is purely my experience but I have read about many, many users reporting similar experiences.
My DAW of choice is FL Studio, and Hexeract simply didn’t work with FL Studio initially. Any time I changed the tempo of a project, it crashed. I ran into countless error messages and crashes, the magnitude of which I’ve quite honestly never experienced with any other product. I would get it to load up initially, and play around with the sounds, some of which were very cool, but ultimately it would crash, or upon loading the project again after saving and exiting, I would run into multiple error messages and the entire project wouldn’t load.
I contacted support, heard nothing for a while, contacted again and they replied after about a week. I got a reply not from the official support email, but my initial email had been apparently forwarded to the developer of the product. After explaining what happened, he told me he would take a look at it. A couple weeks went by and I sent some follow up emails which seem to go ignored, so I took to the KVR forums to kind of vent a bit on a thread about the product, and see if anyone had similar issues. I stated the product was simply unusable and wished I could just get a refund, honestly not thinking anyone from the company would read it. I got an email the next day, apologizing for the wait, and offering a refund if the problem didn’t get fixed. I felt better after that. He eventually sent me a hotfix that fixed the issue. Now I could finally test out the product!
When you load up Hexeract, it really is quite beautiful to look at. I love the design, the color scheme, everything about it visually hits all the marks. Initially there were only two banks of presets, but the have recently released an update to version 1.1.0, so I figured now was as good a time as any to revisit this product and write my in depth review.
The core of this product consists of three oscillators, which allow you to load up samples as well as standard synth waveforms. I found this to be quite interesting and unique, and kind of exciting to explore the potential sounds you can create with that. Knowing that Auddict is a fairly established and well regarded developer of orchestral samples for Kontakt, I was expecting some great quality samples to be included with this product.
I began by scrolling through the presets, checking them out one by one. They come organized in to different categories, which vary depending on which preset bank you are currently using, For instance, in preset bank 1, you have Bass, Bass Sequences, Bursts and Blares (similar to the beloved Hollywood trailer “Inception” sound, The Braam.), Ensembles (orchestral in nature, with some added synthesis), Hits/Kicks/Etc, Leads, Pads, One Note Pads, Sequences, Shorts, and Tailored Instruments. My personal favorites were the Bass Sequences, One Note Pads, and some of the Sequences out of the second preset bank. The sounds were spacey, yet mostly organic in nature. For the most part, the presets where movement or rhythm was involved were where this product really shined. The kind of sounds that you can find on other synths, like leads, pads, etc, were simply underwhelming. There was nothing cutting edge or groundbreaking about any of these sounds, largely sounding worse than what I could achieve with any of the soft synths I own.
While some of the presets are quite good, the quality of the samples is fairly bad overall. It all sounds very midi. This is especially disappointing as Auddict has very good orchestral libraries, and it would be nice to have some included here. Now I know this product’s focus is synthesis, but it’s simply another marketing boast that failed to live up to expectations.
Most concerning were the performance issues and overall flakiness and instability of the engine. Even after the 1.1.0 patch and update, I continued to run into quite a few issues. Sometimes when loading a preset and testing it on various keys in different ranges, the sound just cut out, and then the plugin would output nothing but silence no matter which preset you loaded. It had to be deleted from the project and loaded again, which would sometimes simply result in a crash. When this happens a few times, it get’s insanely frustrating. Note, this happens even with the 1.1.0 update. I also get pops and clicks, and harsh glitchy noises sometimes, as if trying to load a corrupted sample. (To be sure, I have uninstalled and reinstalled this plugin and re downloaded all content a few times.) I noticed on my previous machine, that loading around 6 instances of Hexeract caused some truly insane lag and slowdown of my DAW. Now that I have a more powerful machine, and the update promises better CPU utilization, I of course wanted to test this out. I have a project with around 15 instances of Hexeract, and during a part where about 10 are playing at once, my system again experiences the worst slowdown and lag I have ever witnessed. Note: I have a Core i7 8700k at 3.7 ghz, and 64 GB of RAM. This kind of performance is laughable and simply inexcusable.
I really held off on writing this review for many months, as I am an understanding person and I really just wanted to believe in this product and have faith the company will come through and deliver on all the promises. I realize however, that by being a reviewer of products, I would be doing a disservice to everyone if I was not completely honest in my review. Auddict released an unfinished and broken product, there simply is no other way to put it. While I commend them for trying, quite frankly they failed, and I believe they are in over their heads, resulting in lack of support and long delays in getting back to customers, if they get back at all.
While some of the presets sound awesome, there’s nothing to really LOVE here. There’s nothing this product does I can’t do MUCH better with any soft synth or a vast number of better sounding (and consistently stable) Kontakt libraries. More importantly than how it sounds, is how awful the performance continues to be even after a big patch/update. Don’t expect to get any sort of usable performance with more than a few instances loaded, whereas in any other project I can load 30-60 instances of Kontakt with absolutely no hiccups.
Like I mentioned earlier, I was really excited about this product, and it was massively hyped as groundbreaking and something that could do cinematic synthesis like no other. I can honestly tell you, in all my years of producing and composing music, I honestly have never been more disappointed in a product. I think it comes down to this : Auddict over hyped, over promised, and rushed the release of this to coincide with Black Friday 2017. The released a buggy, unusable mess, and almost a year later, and many, many dissatisfied customers chiming in on forums all over the internet, they finally released an update and new presets and promised to fix the issues. Mind you, the dev emailed me a hotfix for users of FL Studio back in June. There was NEVER an official release of this hotfix. I have had at least three FL Studio users see my videos or reviews and ask me for the hotfix, because they said they contacted support and hear nothing. I gave them all the fix that was shared with me, but honestly consider this: these users got better support from a random guy on the internet than they got from the actual company who released the product.
I don’t even care if the new presets offer the most mind blowing sounds imaginable. One thing remains : it still seems to have serious bugs and performance issues and I simply can’t consider this a reliable product at this time. I hope it continues to improve, but as for the recent patch, it was simply too little too late.
+Some great rhythmic presets, pads. Presets with rhythmic tendencies or evolving sounds really shine.
-It’s simply a broken product. Bugs, Crashes, Poor Performance, even after waiting almost a year for a patch.
-Sub-par sample quality.
-Very Limited Amount of presets compared to other synths.
-Does nothing new for me, despite all the claims and hype.