Native Instruments Razor Review

When the first teaser trailer for Razor appeared on the Internet, many users were hoping for the successor or similar powerful synth as the ever-popular Massive. But even though Razor is “just” a Reaktor internal synth, he’s an innovative heavyweight.

Lets start with the core, the oscillators. The sound generation is based on additive synthesis, which produces the sound by partials. A partial consists of a sine wave where the frequency, loudness and time can be modified. The high-end eninge of Razor is working here with up to 320 partials.

In addition, the product provides 11 different models osc, which all have their very own facet, like Duo Saw, Sync Dissonance, Primes, Sick Pitchbend, Synced Noise, Format.

Also the filter area, which includes two serially connected filters, is equipped with several innovative models. Filter 1 is primarily used to damp the signal from the oscillators and therefore offers a variety of lowpass variants, such as Broad, Dirty,Phaser.The second filter provides more contrast, more creative filter types, like Waterbed, Gaps & Unisono Noise.together with the many new and creative types of the modules – a El Dorado for sound designer.

As further core elements of the sound generation, are 3 effects slots available. Before the 3 main effects are 2 smaller effects placed, called “Save Bass” and “Spectral Clip”. What this Safe Bass effect does, easily to imagine. Spectral Clips allows you to limit the frequency spectrum, nearly as with a lowpass filter.

The first effect slot “dissonance effects” contains 6 types, which allow an easy creation of dissonant sounds. Then comes the “stereo effects” slow, which contains 7 types, and as the name says, mainly for stereo modulation. Also the reverb is placed there. As third slot comes “dynamic effects” with 5 types like dirty, limiter, saturator etc. Also the effects are provided in a superb quality.

Even if the product until now perhaps does seem quite complex, the GUI allows a very comfortable and easy to use workflow. Combined with the graphical display, which shows all the particals on different choice-able points of the signal-path you have also a great visual control.

Beyond all these good facts for a synthesizer, you can also use Razor as vocoder, a nice advantage. But such a heavy sound engine needs a lot of fuel. And with a lot, we mean a lot. On a modern Intel Core i7 cpu, depending on the presets, Razor eats with only 1-2 notes up to 30% cpu. As we said, a lot…

The library consists of over 350 sounds with a wide range of instruments, which showing the unique facets on the sound engine on a very good and inspiring way.
Due to the very distinctive sound, Razor is certainly not applicable for all genres. But for some genres, where you need this typcial Razor sound, or a new sound facet, Razor could be your new magic weapon. Especially for Ambient, Dubstep and electronica, it would be worth considering.

As mentioned above Razor is an instrument for Reaktor, which means, you definitely need Reaktor 5 or at least the free Reaktor 5 Player. The latter, which is probably used by the most users, since not everyone already has the full version of Reaktor. And special the Reaktor Player has one big disadvantage: you can`t save your presets. Inside the daw project the sound will be saved. But for saving the created sounds directly as presets, how it`s usual on all other synthesizers, you must have the full version of Reaktor 5 or Komplete 7 or higher, where Reaktor is already included.
We don`t know why Native Instruments has decided this, but we know, it makes no sense and it`s not user-friendly.


Razor offers you an instrument with a high degree of quality and inspiration, loaded with a relatively large library, packed into a nice and easy to use GUI. For some genres maybe a mighty weapon, but always for a high price of cpu power.Unfortunately, without the possibility to save your own presets if you using the Reaktor Player. So if you are owner of Reaktor or Komplete 7, you take really a look on this synth. For all which are not owner of Reaktor, than you should take a look, if you didn`t need to save presets except inside a project or song in your daw or if you just looking for a new and unique sounding synth which you want to use mainly as preset player.

+ high quality soundengine
+ unique and own sound facet
+ creative and inspiring
+ easy to use GUI
+ good sounding library
+ useable as vocoder

- heavy cpu load
- no preset saving while using Reaktor 5 Player

More information: (99.00 €, also included in Komplete 9 Ultimate)

Sound Quality - 100%
Features - 95%
Perfomance - 80%
Value for Money - 90%

Summary: Razor offers you an instrument with a high degree of quality and inspiration, loaded with a relatively large library, packed into a nice and easy to use GUI. For some genres maybe a mighty weapon, but always for a high price of cpu power.



Published on May 20th, 2013

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