Chicken Systems Fantom Creator Software Review

Hi everyone,

I’m a big fan of the Roland Fantom X series keyboards. I currently own the YASE software and while it has worked well, I’ve grown tired of the activation process when moving to different computers. I also find it to be a bit clumsy in performance as it’s quite an old piece of software now. While I have had lots of issues with Chicken Systems software before with working as advertised, I often am able to get it to do what I need for most of my sampler needs. Recently the Creator series of software products was announced and being a user of the successful Motif Creator, I was excited to see the Beta version of Fantom Creator released. However, I’m sorry to say that it probably should not have been released as I don’t consider it to be ready at all for Beta stage.

It simply does not work at all.

Recently, I made the blunder ( although I knew it could happen from experience ), of buying into the Fantom Creator for MAC waaaay before it was finished. It’s now November 16, 2015 and while the sale is still going on, the Beta version is absolutely not ready at all for prime time. (More like still in Alpha ). Note I wrote the date because it will be interesting to see how long it actually takes for this software to get corrected. The original announcement of the Beta was back in August 2015. It’s now three months later and nothing new.

I found after purchasing that there is absolutely no difference between the paid and free versions other than the price. You cannot save samples, documents or anything in the paid version so don’t do what I did and buy the darn thing until it’s ready. In fact, I’ll update my post here when you can finally start saving patches. Right now, the only good thing is I got the software for half price, but I can do absolutely zero with it. It’s a brick sitting on my computer right now.

Yes, I perfectly knew it was in Beta and I expected it to work VERY little quite frankly with regards to format importing, editing, and a few other things. However, I didn’t expect that the software wouldn’t at least save a basic patch. I simply wanted to import a Wav file, create a multisample, then make a patch for saving to the Fantom. Nope! No can do I’m afraid, not even in Beta.

I have MVkit, Motif Creator, and Translator. They all work pretty well and I can recommend them so there is some hope here in the distant future.

Thus I cannot recommend Motif Creator for the Fantom yet. Save your money, and I mean even if it’s 50% off. You won’t get anything different than the free version ( I’m on Mac btw and it could work on Windows but I haven’t tested that yet. ).

I feel bad for anyone who bought this three months ago when this was originally posted. Hopefully not many did. Note that when this software is ready, it will definitely be worth the original price even. It’s a good idea and I know with my experience with the Motif Creator it will eventually work. It’s just not ready to even be in Beta much less sold to the public.

Again, I’ll update this post once my copy of Fantom Creator can actually do something. If anyone else has purchased this software and has it working, please let me know. I desperately am hoping I’m wrong about something setup wise. So far, no go though.

Jim

Note I know this is a tiny bit of a rant, but when we buy software we at least expect even in Beta to have the product start and finish with problems in between. That seems reasonable to me. To have a product start but not finish with making a simple patch is crazy. I’ve never had that happen before.

UPDATE #1:  I tried installing and registering with my Windows 7 computer.  Unfortunately I can only install and run one instance of the program.  So I’m back to square one.  The program simply doesn’t work on a Mac yet and probably Windows as well.  We’ll wait and see.

UPDATE #2:  Chicken Systems Fantom Creator Version 0.9 Build 25 now allows for saving documents but literally breaks everything else.  You cannot edit, import, audition (via midi), or key map anything in the program.  Yay, I can save now, but it seems easier to just import directly to the Fantom X or G.

UPDATE #3:  I have all but given up on this software.  It simply does not work at all and I’m tired of submitting bug reports that should have been found and fixed from the very beginning.  At this point, Fantom Creator is a waste of money.  We’ll see what 2016 brings.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE #4:  Version 1.2 Build 27 has been released on 12/18/2015!  What’s new is posted in the comments.  I’ll run through the fixes and let you guys know if things are working better.  Hopefully this update will at least allow me to use the software in basic form.

UPDATE #5:  After some additional lengthy testing with Build 27 over the Christmas holidays, I can now say with 100% the following:
It simply does not work at all.  Sorry folks!  Fantom Creator is still a waste of money.

Update #6:  Here  we are in January! 1/18/2016.  It’s been exactly one month and Fantom Creator Build 28 was released.  It’s now broken!!  Hopefully you saved the Build 27 update, because the multisamples are no longer attached at all to the patches.  It’s just one more thing you have to do manually.  Plus nothing stated above has been fixed either.   Whatever you do, don’t update to Build 28.  It will break the multisample section.

Update #7:  I received my Fantom Creator CD Rom in the mail on 2/8/2016.  The CD Rom contains Build 28 so I’m glad I kept the Build 27 to revert to.  I’m still using Build 27 as Build 28 breaks things.  No new updates yet.  I’m anxiously awaiting Build 29 that hopefully will fix Build 28 issues and more.

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27 thoughts on “Chicken Systems Fantom Creator Software Review

  1. You can see that the Chicken Systems Software makes no mention that you can’t save documents and samples in the purchased version. It’s very misleading.

    Also, check out all of the different dates. Interesting.

    Fantom Creator Software

    Fantom Creator Software

  2. In the screenshots below, you can see that the program attempts to save the patch or project I am working on. However, in the next photo you can see that while there is a “fans.svd” file, there are no samples in the Smpl folder. Then in the third screen you can see that the sample files and multisample are missing. Wow! Didn’t this get tested??

    Fantom Creator Software

    Fantom Creator Software

    Fantom Creator Software

  3. The Motif Creator Software works awesome for me so I’m very hopeful things will get cleared up. I’m just dumbfounded as to why Fantom Creator was released when it clearly wasn’t ready for Beta. Now if the samples save and I could load up this extremely basic patch to my Fantom, then all would be well. The other editing features will come in due time. I’m not asking for the world here, but just something to get by with until the big final product splash.

    Anyways, I’ll update my article here once I get the program actually working. I’m going to test out and try a few more things which I usually have to do with Translator products…chuckle.

    I’m a happy customer, but just not with this particular Fantom Creator Product right now.

  4. Oh an in case anybody needs some technical info:

    I’m on a Mac Computer running Yosemite 10.10.5.

    The Wav files I’ve been using for testing have a Sample rate of 44,100 and are at 16 bits per sample. Audio Channels are 1 meaning the file is Mono. These are the requirements for importing samples into the Roland Fantom X series workstations. Still Fantom Creator will not output the sample files.

    Also, if I import an existing multisample files from other samplers that are supported, the Fantom Creator application will crash every time.

    More updates later. Thanks everyone!

  5. Here I found the first and perhaps only mention of the Saving function being disabled in the Fantom Creator Software. This is present in the Free version, but it’s also in the purchased version. Only you have to FIRST purchase the paid version in order to see this message. It’s not stated BEFORE you buy the software as seen in the screen shots posted above. It’s very misleading to say the least. Also again notice the dates which are indicating early November 2015 as a release for the Fantom Creative Software. It’s actually mid November now.

    Fantom Creator Software

  6. UPDATE:

    I received an email today that a new build was scheduled for release today or tomorrow. I am currently awaiting for the update to pop up in my update notification center in the Fantom Creator program. Until then I can’t update to test the new build. Hopefully the save function will now work. We’ll see.

    Current Version 0.9, Build 25

    Listing of features/fixes implemented in version 0.9 Build 24
    ————————————————————-
    Fixed some saving issues
    Added Open Recent support
    Optimized column content
    Fixed listed Tone Ranges
    General Maintenance

  7. As you can see from my screenshot, the new update Version 0.9, Build 25 does not fix the problem. Indeed the “Cannot Save Documents” statement has been removed on startup, but the program now crashes when trying to save data.

    Apparently Chicken Systems is working on their software, but it’s still not working folks so I wouldn’t grab it just yet. I’ll keep everyone posted. Thanks!

    Fantom Creator Software

  8. After making some permission adjustments in OS X Yosemite 10.10.5 I was able to successfully get Version 0.9, Build 25 of Fantom Creator to save samples and data.

    However, I now encountered another MAJOR problem. If you check out the screen shot, you’ll see the “LoKey”, “HiKey”, and “RootKey” columns. Those columns cannot be edited. So if you want to spread a sample across multiple keys you’ll have to do that directly on the Roland Fantom.

    Also, I have yet to have any success importing ANY sort of multisample from another maker such as Native Instruments Kontact. I’m afraid that importing samples other than WAV is not possible. It will just result in crashing the Fantom Creator software. Thus Fantom Creator still has a LONG way to go to be functional even just a little. Make sure you understand that basically nothing works with Fantom Creator other than saving files now. Thats it!!

    Hopefully there will be future updates soon.

    Fantom Creator Software

  9. A couple of additional things do NOT work on the latest version of Chicken Systems Fantom Creator.

    1. You cannot audition the samples with a midi keyboard. I hooked mine up and nothing works. You have to physically click the play button on the computer to audition anything. Sucks!

    2. If you drag and drop samples onto the keyboard section and try to spread across several keys, the program will crash.

    3. You cannot select OPTION and drag/drop samples to the Sample bank to bring up the edit menu. It has been removed since Build 24. For some reason in Build 25 you can no longer access the sample edit menu. This is probably due to the fact that it’s not possible to save your edits yet.

  10. Today I received an updated Chicken Systems Newsletter highlighting their 50% off Sampler Weekend Specials. I noticed they mentioned Fantom Creator will be formerly released on Wednesday, November 25th, 2015. Note that formerly probably means “formally” and also notice that it doesn’t mention any updates. So what does this mean? Will any corrections be made to the issues stated above? From my experience with past software, likely not. Chicken Systems RARELY releases updates during a special. Rather they just update the software when they have finished coding and testing it seems which is quite random. This is ok as things do eventually get updated, but if you are expecting a Thanksgiving Holiday update this week, I highly doubt it. We’ll see though.

    Fantom Creator Software

  11. One more thing….

    On a lot of links, such as “Sneak Peak Video Here” I get the following error:

    [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    It seems a lot of Chicken Systems links have this error. Just FYI in case you think it’s your computer. It’s not. The problem is a website or server issue where the website resides.

  12. Cool! New update: November 28, 2015.

    Listing of features/fixes implemented in version 1.2 Build 26
    ————————————————————-
    FIRST RELEASE
    Once over for the new release
    Updated import formats to match Translator 6.1 release
    Fixed some saving issues
    Added Open Recent support
    Optimized column content
    Fixed listed Tone Ranges
    General Maintenance

    I’ll update this post later when I get a chance to download, update, and play with the new version.

  13. The new update seems to better, but there are still a couple of problems.

    First I successfully tested the ability to drag and drop NEW samples onto the keyboard to a specified key range. This worked and I could even save the data. However, when I selected a specific sample a new edit dialog box appeared, but any edits I did would not save. Also, still can’t audition the samples from the keyboard either via midi or on the software keyboard itself.

    The following fixes:

    Added Open Recent support. ( This already worked with the earlier Build 25 version ).

    Fixed listed Tone Ranges. ( This is still not fixed. You can’t edit the tone ranges. )

    Fixed some saving issues. ( Indeed you can save in some new areas, but it’s still incomplete. )

    Also, GREAT NEWS! I have been able to successfully import a multisample file from Kontakt format into Fantom Creator and save the data. It all works fantastic now.

    The last two things I’d love to have fixed are editing the tone ranges and testing them via a remote midi keyboard. Then Fantom Creator would be perfect. So far though, I’m impressed with the improvements and updates.

    Now I can finally do something with the software, so that is definitely cool!

    Thanks.

  14. CORRECTION!

    I read the updated manual for Fantom Creator and it seems I can now audition multisamples via my midi keyboard controller. I have to right click the multisample I wish to audition and select “PLAY”. This then activates the keys down below and I am then able to play the keyboard with the controller. With Kontakt for example you can just plug and play, but I guess with Fantom Creator you had to do an extra step. No problems now. Excellent!

  15. As of 12/01/2015, the Fantom Creator software build 26 has been working well with the only big exception of not being able to adjust the LoKey and HiKey Sample ranges. Thus it has become quite difficult to edit where you want your samples to be on the keys. I have found it better to use Kontakt and then export to later import in Fantom Creator. I can then create patches and import into the Fantom from there. Kontakt is basically doing all the work while Fantom Creator just imports my Kontakt result into the Fantom. Not an ideal solution, but it’s better than Nexoe Yase right now. Hopefully a new update will come out soon to fix the lack of editing samples in Fantom Creator.

  16. As of 12/05/2012

    Found a couple of additional major problems with Fantom Creator.

    1. The initialization of patches doesn’t work.

    2. When you save several patches at once, only the first multisample is attached to all of the patches. You now have to go into the Fantom X and correct patches 2 onwards with the correct multisample.

    The conversion of kontakt instruments to the Fantom X is good, but you have fix the multisample problem.

    Stay tuned!

  17. Still no updates since as of 12/15/2015.

    The software is increasingly difficult to work with as there are so many things not working with it that it’s amazing it was even released. I keep getting told to file a bug report, but I’m actually scratching my head more about why they can’t catch these mistakes themselves. They are obvious! I don’t file bug reports anymore, rather I just say test the software yourselves!!

    Quite frankly, this software just doesn’t work as advertised. It’s faster just to do everything with the Fantom X itself and bypass this software altogether.

    If things get any better, I’ll update my post. As it stands, save your money. Not recommended.

    Time to move on!

  18. Listing of features/fixes implemented in version 1.2 Build 27
    ————————————————————-
    Fixed creating new Fantom-G projects/banks
    Fixed new Multisample assignments in Tones
    Fixed initializing Patches
    Fixed setting Ranges on Samples and Tones
    Fixed renaming Documents, allows for ampersands
    Fixed number displays on Imports and Changes

    I’ll test these new features and fixes. Stay tuned!!

  19. After some testing over the weekend I can confirm that the latest Build 27 update is a mixed bag of success and failure.

    1. Indeed the initialize new patch has been fixed.

    2. Multisample assignments in tones has been fixed however it’s still broken. Wav files are assigned to the R channel from the first patch which results in all patches having different L and R Wav files. You STILL have to manually fix every single multisample after import into the Fantom X. This means if you alter your file in Fantom Creator you have to AGAIN fix all of the patches manually. Crazy, Chicken Systems does test this stuff before release. This problem is OBVIOUS!

    ( It doesn’t matter if you import Wav files in MONO or STEREO either. Fantom Creator shoves the first WAV file into the R channel and layers the multisample automatically. It’s clearly a bug or as I said above was not tested. There is no way to miss this if tested…grin. )

    3. Setting Ranges on Samples and Tones has been fixed. This is probably the best fix of all. Thank you!

    4. Renaming documents is better, but I found it only works if documents and folder have the same file name. Otherwise, saving does not work. Strange.

    5. Number displays on imports and changes are fine, but in the case of Loop and Oneshot, those values are not changes upon saving documents. It’s one thing to “VISUALLY” change the data value, but quite another to not be able to save it. Thus rendering the change useless. This still needs to be fixed.

    ( One work around is to use Sample manager and batch save all Wav files with either Oneshot or Loop ).

    Finally some good news perhaps. I was just notified that a Build 28 will be released before the end of the year. We’ll have to remind them as I did with Build 27 but at least we “might” have another fix as we’re batting 50/50 at the moment.

    Nonetheless, Chicken Systems is working on the problems and that’s fantastic regardless.

    Happy Holidays!

  20. This is the most irritating software I’ve ever purchased. NOTHING works and each new build is like a big tease. You get all excited thinking Chicken Systems fixed the problems, but in actuality you’re just wasting time on software that doesn’t work. Nothings fixed and all bug reports do is get “Can’t replicate problem” replies. Unbelievable! I’ve decided that until ALL OF THE PROBLEMS are fixed, the verdict on this software is that it DOES NOT WORK! I will not be updating the comments or post until Fantom Creator works as advertised.

    If you NOT Chicken Systems, but an actual customer who has this working with their Fantom X6/X7/X8 using Mac OSX, I look forward to your comments about your experience. Thanks in advance.

    Until further comments…..Buyer Beware! Save your money! Bug reports are useless!

    Happy New Year!

  21. Update #6: Here we are in January! 1/18/2016. It’s been exactly one month and Fantom Creator Build 28 was released. It’s now broken!! Hopefully you saved the Build 27 update, because the multisamples are no longer attached at all to the patches. It’s just one more thing you have to do manually. Plus nothing stated above has been fixed either. Whatever you do, don’t update to Build 28. It will break the multisample section.

    I highly doubt Chicken Systems is testing on an actual Fantom X6 with Mac OSX. If they were they would have immediately seen the issues stated in my blog post. Unacceptable!

    Again Buyer Beware and save your money!

    Note – I don’t submit bug reports anymore because it’s useless. I don’t even email direct either because I just get the run around. The Fantom Creator forum is locked. It’s better to post on other forums and blogs to help people make a more informed decision about this product.

    Hope this info helps somebody out there.

  22. I noticed there are now two updates which both came out at the same time. There is also no Build 30, so I’m not sure how the build process is calculated. Nonetheless it will be interesting to see if any of the issues I’m having are solved. We’ll see as the listings below don’t indicate much.

    Current Version 1.2, Build 31

    Listing of features/fixes implemented in version 1.2 Build 31
    ————————————————————-
    Fixed document Close dialog
    Fixed several foreign import issues
    General Maintenance

    Listing of features/fixes implemented in version 1.2 Build 29
    ————————————————————-
    General Maintenance

  23. As of the latest version 1.2 Build 35, the Chicken Systems Fantom Creator software does not work at all. It crashes on just about every format import and I now can’t even import regular WAV files. I do not recommend this software at all for the Fantom X series workstations. I’m also now having problems with the latest Translator software as well. Honestly, everything I’ve purchased from Chicken Systems has never really worked at all. I will never buy another product from that company. I wish I could say after these past few months that things worked, but they don’t.

    One thing I do know is that you should NEVER update your Motif Creator software if it works even half way decent. I keep all of the updates and make sure to roll back on any bad updates. I use a very old version of Fantom Creator ( a few updates past the DVD ) because the latest versions simply crash and do not work. I don’t know what they are doing over there, but it just doesn’t work in a production environment. I now just use the Fantom X direct import and bypass Chicken Systems altogether. Much fewer headaches.

    Just save your money and import manually.

    Happy Holidays!

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