I have continued to dive into Atmosphere. And I must say, there's a surprisingly powerful synth under there. The filter is actually quite usable (I once thought it was crap), and while there are limits to the available modulation, there's enough to inject a little expression into your patch. It's the underlying samples, of course, that make it shine. There are some absolute gems in there. I actually went through and auditioned every single one, and discovered over 200 singles that moved me. That's 200 quality patches in a synth, without counting the layers. I didn't even have close to that on my EX5. Atmosphere is a spectacular synth.
As I suggested earlier, even though many (almost exactly half) patches aren't clearly labeled, there seem to be a few trends in the names of synths that come up most in the patches I like.
First, it's not a JP-8000 I meant in the last post, it was a JP-8. Oops! That's a pseudonym of the powerful (and hard-to-find) Jupiter-8. I shan't be buying one of those any time soon! I did download Arturia's Jupiter 8 V, and I'm sorry to say I was unimpressed. It's probably not fair to compare Arturia's soft-synth to Spectrasonic's samples. The samples are probably piped through some of the best compressors/reverbs/EQs on the planet, so they come out all punchy and full. And "fat" isn't always good is it? Is it? I dunno. At the moment, I'm jonesin' for the punch, so I passed the JP8V by. I don't need it.
The Moog came up a lot, once I got out of the pads and into the synth patches. But I knew I liked Moogs. I also know I can't afford them. Atmosphere covers the few bases I would want from a Moog, anyway.
The Virus came up more than any other identifiable synth. This doesn't surprise me on two levels: one, Eric Persing clearly makes very (!) heavy use of them, so there were more Virus patches to pick from. And second, I know that the Virus is my favourite line of synths. Period.
Most surprising was the number of CS-80 patches I had on my short list. Almost as much as the Moog! I remember trying Arturia's CS80 V way back when it first came out, and I was at once over- and under-whelmed. The sound seemed thin and old-school to me, and the interface was HUGE and intimidating. I considered grabbing the demo, but I was reminded by the JP8V that there's no need: I have what I need in Atmosphere.
So, in short, I fell back in love with Atmosphere. It's expensive, sure, but I think it's the biggest bang for the buck in my arsenal.