reFX Nexus 2 Review reFX Nexus 2 Review
4.5
With 'edc' upon us, Nexus is now in it's seventh year and second incarnation. Does the original EDM bruiser still have the juice? reFX Nexus 2 Review 4.5
CLA MixDown

The Original Industry Firestarter Comes Of Age

It’s so fitting that with one of the biggest and funnest events in the domestic Electronic Music calendar happening in vegas right now, (the Electric Daisy Carnival) that we were just delivered the one instrument that perhaps ties almost all of the mega-producer/DJ’s together. The almost legendary, original hit-machine. Nexus 2. Nexus has long been the worst kept secret in the pro-producer’s arsenal. In fact, as far back as 2010 when the first iteration of this vsti initially appeared you could count it’s distin-

ctive sounds on literally, countless dance hits and billboard top 10 records. The sheer leverage this vsti and it’s infamous sound library have exerted on modern pop and dance music is almost unfathomable. It’s no surprise when you understand that the Vengeance-Sound team is behind much of the content. At this point there are some 109 expansions available for Nexus 2 and we will be exploring these at a later date. But first let’s take a look at Nexus 2 itself.

“The sheer leverage this vsti and it’s infamous sound library have exerted on modern pop and dance music is almost unfathomable.”

Setting Up

There is a lot of content, even with the standard version – about 13GB so make sure you have the room. With so many producers struggling with Tiny SSD Syndrome, APN have a solid tip for you. Now reFX recommend installing the Nexus 2 Sounds to the root of your local (‘c’) drive. However, if you like you can install all the content to an external or alternate internal HDD. When you first launch the plugin it will ask if you’d like to manually locate the library. At this point direct Nexus 2 to where you placed it and add the folder. If you don’t you’ll see something like this: 

Manual Library Installation

The GUI

Once installed it’s time to have a look around and see what Nexus 2 has to offer. The interface is ridiculously clean and futuristic yet comfortable and classic in the way that a hardware Virus synth is classic. In other words, it looks every inch the way you expect a $249 vsti to sound. There is a moderately roomy, ‘backlit’ window in the center of the instrument and this, along with the four buttons to either side is really the nerve center of Nexus 2. All the information and controls you will need to sculpt and effect your favorite patches can be found right here.


“The interface is ridiculously clean and futuristic…”

Preset Surfing


Let’s be honest. If you are smart enough to buy Nexus 2, you are smart enough to know that it’s true power is not so much in sonic generation as in the incredible, vivid sound content that is its very DNA. Nexus 2 has a riotously easy  to navigate Library that, whilst being somewhat old school in it’s scroll and shoot makeup – is still one of the best devised systems of that nature I’ve ever used. You can even adjust the size of the fonts if the struggle for yet another hit sound is too much to bare.

“…it’s true power is not so much in sonic generation as in the incredible, vivid sound content that is its very DNA.”

YouTube

Onboard FX


There’re a ton of brilliant FX onboard including phaser and chorus with a gigantic list of combined FX presets to pick from. Again, creation made easy. But it’s the stunning ArtsAcoustic  licensed convolution reverb that really steals the show and a lot of people on forums have been heard to ask if there’s a vst plugin that sounds as good. Huge and blusteringly subtle it’s the perfect accoutrement.


Verbiage

Even though it’s a convolution verb it runs with zero latency. Access the basics from the front panel but go into the FX page in the screen for deep configurability. In ‘EDM’ the pre-dly (pre-delay) control is gratuitously abused by all and sundry – and for good reason… It sounds great in the drop. It should also be mentioned that there is an extremely elegant envelope shaper for the reverbs’ volume which is extremely easy to work with. There is a huge list of presets for the 

“There is a huge list of presets for the reverb which are aptly named and well worth exploring.”


reverb which are aptly named and well worth exploring. From ‘Synthverb’ to ‘Vocal Reverser’ and ‘Warehouse’. Under the ‘FREQ’ tab to the right of the screen you will find an analysis section. The gorgeous fft analysis renderings, the oscilloscope and the Vectorscope are extremely useful when you are ready to dial in yet another amazing gem discovered in Nexus’ cavernous banks.

Nexus Gate

When playing with the insanely tight Trancegate you can right click to delete a note and left click to create one. The same applies to the brilliant ARP sequencer with both having a ton of timing and other options as well as the de rigeur preset libraries of excellent, ready made patterns.


CONCLUSION

There is just so much tweakability inherent within Nexus 2 that it seems almost ridiculous to hear it referred to as a simple ROMpler. In essence, it maybe, but in practice you may think of each preset as a supercharged wavetable or generator and then, when you look at the available options you’ll realise that Nexus 2 is as well appointed as any ‘real’ synth. And the sound? It’s like a million, crispy, hundred dollar bills raining down on a golden DJ booth. Nexus is so rich, so convincingly full and polished that it’s almost impossible not to get sucked into it’s perfect world. And herein lies its everlasting fascination. Nexus 2 is the definitive, post-modern firestarter and it has the new generation of DAW centric producers just as firmly in its grasp as it did the last.

“And the sound? It’s like a million, crispy, hundred dollar bills raining down on a golden DJ booth.”

Which One Should I Get?

This one shouldn’t be too difficult. How much money have you got? $250? You’re in the game. Check out all the packages below to see what’s possible with a little money or a great big bag full. Better hurry up and become a famous DJ if you want the ‘Complete’.

“Nexus 2 is the definitive, post-modern firestarter and it has the new generation of DAW centric producers just as firmly in its grasp as it did the last.”

Availability

For an extra $20 USD you can ad the hard copy (DVD) to your order as well as the USB eLicenser (can’t use Nexus without it). There is a demo version of Nexus 2 and to get it you must already own a USB eLicenser. Then, simply start a reFX account here, open a support ticket and request it here. Or you may purchase Nexus 2 directly here.

 

Compatibility

Compatible on Mac:

Mac OSX

VST, AU or AAX compatible host

32 and 64bit

Compatible on Windows:

Windows 7 or newer

VST,  or AAX compatible host

32 and 64bit

Simply a must-have for working producers in the pop and dance industry. As important a plugin for modern music as Autotune and just as popular - for good reason.
  • Industry leading sound design
  • Massive, expandable library
  • Incredible FX and flexibility
  • Large HDD footprint
  • No sound 'generators'
  • No resizeable GUI

4 of 5

5 of 5

5 of 5

5 of 5

5 of 5

Baby Brown Publisher & Editor

Baby Brown is a Grammy Nominated Composer/Producer and guitar player. He’s privileged to have written, played, produced and recorded some of the coolest artists ever from Eminem to Xzibit, Mickey Avalon to Deniece Williams the Lady of Rage and C Murder – to name a few. His technology swag is strong and he’s happy to make friends with you on Instagram.

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