Geared toward experts, Usine Hollyhock is a comprehensive software utility that enables you to create live music, mix songs, apply a wide range of effects, and record tracks.

It doesn't require setup and features about 180 new modules, 60 new sampler banks, Arnet/DMX support, OSC (Open Sound Control), and a physical engine.

Since there is no installation involved, you can save the program files anywhere on the disk and just click the executable to launch Usine Hollyhock.

Otherwise, you can save it to a removable storage unit to directly run it on any PC with minimum effort and no previous installers. It doesn't change Windows registry settings.

The GUI has a flat look and it consists of a large frame that contains several templates, demos and buttons, in addition to numerous settings. Less experienced users are likely to have difficulties in trying to figure out what each option does. However, there are several video tutorials on the developer's Youtube channel.

The application includes panels for devices, master, synchronization, mixer, playlist, toolbox, and others, together with an audio player that lets you mount and chain audio Midi patches, audio samples, FX, VST and AU plugins.

It's possible to adjust the volume level, pitch and tempo, apply reverb, check out the CPU load, activate a solo, restart the synchronization from the beginning of the cycle, set the video frame rate, switch to full screen mode, enable the SMPTE engine, as well as save the layout as a snapshot to use it later.

Furthermore, the tool gives you the possibility to record audio and manage recordings, share patches via LAN, create your own library with patches and workspaces, or download add-ons. These are just part of the features powered by Usine Hollyhock.

It used low CPU and low-to-moderate RAM in our tests, so it didn't hamper system performance. No error dialogs popped up, and the program didn't freeze or crash.

Taking into consideration its rich features, Usine Hollyhock should please many seasoned users looking for an all-around audio mixer, synthesizer and recorder. The interface is cluttered, though, so it's not very intuitive.