Access Virus TI Discontinued, After Years of Limbo


It looks like the Access Virus TI 2 has been discontinued: is this the end of the line for one of the greatest synths of the 21st century?

Looks like the Access Virus synth, once the gold standard for virtual analogue instruments, has been discontinued.

There’s no official announcement from Access, but a report on Amazona.de cites an interview with Christoph Kemper of Kemper Amps fame, who was also the mastermind behind the Virus. He confirmed that the Virus TI2, the final model in the range, has been out of production for a few months. The Access Virus line has been in limbo.

The Access Virus TI, introduced 20 years ago at the 2004 NAMM Show, is a DSP-based virtual analog synthesizer, with 80-voice polypyhony, 16-part multi-timbrality, three oscillators per voice, dual multi-mode filters, expansive modulation options and a deep effects section. But the TI also goes beyond virtual analog, with supersaw, wavetable, granular & formant oscillators.

The TI’s key feature, “Total Integration”, hasn’t been fully supported for years. Total Integration is designed to connect the Virus to a Mac or PC, letting your hardware synth appear as a multi-channel VST/AU soft-synth in your DAW. The last mention on the Virus Facebook page, in 2019, said to avoid updating your Mac software.

Even with these issues, the Virus TI remains one of the nicest synths ever made.

The TI 2 was released back in 2009, the last in a long line of Viruses that included the likes of the Polar, Snow and Darkstar. There were both keyboard and desktop models, and for a long time after the release of the first version way back in 1997, the Virus seemed to be the synth that every producer wanted in their studio.

Synthesist and producer Joey Blush, aka Blush Response, reviewed the TI in 2022, and called it “one of the greatest synths of all time”.

And San Francisco visual artist and musician Scott Hansen called the Access Virus TI synths “incredibly beautiful and well-crafted machines”, and an alternative to “the festering pit of mediocrity that is the music technology industry”.

That said, a new version could still have been a winner. These days, the closest you’ll get to a ‘new’ Virus is probably Waldorf’s Kyra, but the Amazona.de story also indicates that Kemper hasn’t totally discounted the idea of producing a TI3. However, as things stand, he’s focusing exclusively on his successful profiling amps business.

The Access Virus is one of a number of synths that can be recreated in software via a Motorola DSP56300 chip emulator – others include the likes of the ​​Clavia Nord Lead 3, Waldorf Q, Microwave II and Novation Supernova – but there is a catch. As is in the case in the video games market, the emulator itself is legal, but sharing the ROMs required to make it do anything definitely isn’t.

While synth buyers have more options than ever in 2024, there are still few synthesizers that can match the Access Virus TI from 2004.

Share your thoughts on the end of the Access Virus TI in the comments!

 

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