XX-Large Analogue Dreams is a collection of synthesiser samples in Akai, Roland and Sample Cell formats.

This sample CD starts off badly, with over sixty "classic" patches that sound suitable only for producing cliched rave tunes. Each of these patches contains only a single sample which spans several octaves, and to make matters worse, the sample is usually of a whole chord, making it impossible to use the sound to produce your own major and minor chords.

After that embarrassing false start, the CD improves so much that you quickly lose any doubts you might have first had about its quality. The vast majority of the patches are in this much better main section of the disc.

While only a few synthesisers are covered, they include several highly sought after classics such as the Moog Memorymoog, Oberheim Matrix 12, Yamaha CS-80, Roland MKS-80, and Sequential Circuits Prophet 10. These synthesisers, and several others, are well represented on the disc, with each synth contributing between about seven and twenty different patches.

Unlike the opening "classics" section, each patch in the main section of the disc consists of ten or eleven samples, each sample spanning six notes, giving you a total of five octaves covered. The sounds are all of single notes rather than whole chords, so you can play melodies and your own chords. The looping is well done, just as the label claims, and many of the samples are solid, usable sounds.

Analogue Dreams features a wealth of genuinely useful sounds. Leads, pads, strings and basses are all covered, and the disc even features a handful of drum machines including the TR-808's underrated sibling, the CR-8000. The patches are so numerous and varied that you could make a lot of good electronic music using only a sampler and this single disc.

One advantage Analogue Dreams has over some similar sample CDs is that it tells you exactly which synthesisers most of the sounds are from. If you discover that a lot of sounds you like are from the same synthesiser, you could just save up and buy the real thing.

Then again, with a sample CD this versatile, you may find it even better than having the real things. Analogue Dreams offers you the convenience of having all these different sounds grouped together and ready to play in a single instrument. Of course, this is no substitute to having the real synthesisers if you want complete control over every parameter of the sounds produced. If, however, you only ever use the presets on synthesisers, this CD could save you a fair amount of money, space, time and effort.

I'd recommend XX-Large Analogue Dreams to anyone looking for a single, convenient source of classic synthesiser sounds.

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