Page 1

VOLUME III - ISSUE VIII


Editorial Wusik Sound Magazine www.wusiksoundmagazine.com Issue March 2010

Managing Editor: MoniKe Assistant Editors: Damion Johnston WilliamK Production Manager: MoniKe

Welcome to the March 2010 issue of the magazine. It took us a little longer than usual to get it ready, but that's because we've been

Articles by:

busy reviewing and interviewing to bring you

A. Arsov www.arsov.net Brian Bochicchio - aka Bobo www.seraphicpanoplymusic.com/ brian@seraphicpanoplymusic.com David Keenum david@wusik.com Ginno 'g.no' Legaspi www.myspace.com/gnomusic Mattias Näslund www.twitter.com/ryan_shitlipz http://soundcloud.com/dieseljesus dieseljesus@hotmail.com Squibs Tomislav Zlatić http://bedroomproducers.wordpress.com/ bedroomproducers@gmail.com Johnathan Pritchett - aka Trusty www.myspace.com/crosssoldiers Stickybeats@yahoo.com WilliamK

Proof-Reading by: Damion Johnston - aka EM Dave Clark Brian Bochicchio - aka Bobo Peggy

the creme de la creme of pro audio articles and reviews. I've been busy with David Keenum delving into the Microhammer libraries, and meeting some inebriated gnomes. We followed the reviews up with an interview to give you a glimpse into the minds of the folks responsible. There's a bumper collection of sample libraries this month, with something for everybody - I just hope you've got space on your hard drive! We've also rounded up some excellent effects plugins to review, including the creative Filtershaper 2 from Cableguys, and the groundbreaking Catanya - a pattern arpeggiator for Catanya. We also feature a review of the latest version of Sony's DAW - Acid Pro 7, and there's a retro version of Whats On Your Amp from yours truly featuring some ageing hippies

Pictures: www.dreamstime.com

you've probably never heard of... Squibs

Covers www.dreamstime.com

MoniKe


Table of Contents Table of Contents

Developers’ Corner: Tonehammer: Folmann and Mike Peaslee 04 Interview: Troels by Squibs and David Keenum Review: Microhammer 08 -

10

Iron Throne Water Percussion Vol. 1 Epic Room Percussion Kazoo Solo/Ensemble

32

Cinematic Edition from Nine Volt Audio by David Keenum

36

Soniformer from Voxengo by Ginno Legaspi

38

Toraverb from d16 Group by Ginno Legaspi

40

FilterShaper2 by Tomislav Zlatic

46

SampleTron from IK Multimedia by Ginno Legaspi

48

Catanya from 7 Aliens by A. Arsov

50

Epic Drums from Big Fish Audio by A. Arsov

52

Sakura from Image-Line by Bobo

by Squibs and David Keenum Review: Microhammer - Gnomehammer - Music Boxes

by Squibs

15

Review: Shake by David Keenum

Interview: 18 NOVAkILL by Trusty Review: Pro 7 24 Acid from Sony Creative Software by Ginno Legaspi

26

Black Magic Loop Generator from HG Sounds by A. Arsov

28

Redline reverb from 112db by A. Arsov

30

Quantum Leap - Silk by A. Arsov

Mini-Review: Round-Up 56 Soundware by Ginno Legaspi What’s On Your Amp: by Horslips 66 The Tain by Squibs


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+ plus +

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

developer’s

corner

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Tonehammer Interview

- Part Deux

Troels Folmann and

Mike Peaslee by Squibs and David Keenum

The last time we talked to the tools. That's what Microhammer is all production at once, all in different Dynamic duo of Troels Folmann and about. stages. Mike Peaslee, aka Tonehammer, was way back in February of 2009 WSM: Do you sleep? Eat? Take a WSM: Can you tell us a little about (http://issuu.com/wusik/docs/wsm_fe day off? Seriously, how do you what led to the decision to start b09_2/28). Since then they have release so many libraries? your Microhammer line? released a LOT of libraries! It seems that there is a new release every few Tonehammer: We sleep only at odd Tonehammer: We wanted to explore days. With the release of hours, irregularly and almost never. more unique sounds and instruments, Microhammer, a smaller less This is what we love to do. experiment with different formats and expensive line of libraries, we thought give users the option to go even more it would be interesting to check in on WSM: Can you come clean on the a la carte, at a price that allows them Gnomes? Where did you pick the fastest sample developers in the to explore right along with us. them up? Do they get days off? world! How hard do they party? WSM: From the looks of WSM: Hi guys! What ’cha been up Microhammer, you guys are really to? Tonehammer: We built them from trying to establish yourselves as a spare parts from Rust II. They have provider of SFZ libraries. What beer for blood, which means they led to the decision? Tonehammer: We've been getting never need to sleep. things going with our new Microhammer line and as always, Tonehammer: Microhammer libraries WSM: How long does it take to capturing a ton of heavier duty are small enough and generally develop a library? And how many conceptually simple enough to make Tonehammer content as well. We're really excited about Microhammer, libraries do you have in other formats more feasible. We use a because it lets us fully express our development right now? lot of Kontakt's more advanced true weirdness. We see the whole features in our Microhammer libraries world as one big instrument, with an Tonehammer: It really depends on and put the same attention and love infinite number of ways to play it. It's the instrument. Our heads and note into them, but the source material just a matter of capturing its different pads are full of an unending stream of tends to be a bit more straightforward, pieces, sifting through it and refining plans and ideas. We usually have at the sample pool smaller and the number of different projects in the gems into musical and playable interdependency of different sub-sets 04

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

corner

of samples is lessened, so it's easier takes time and energy to to reproduce a playable SFZ version reproduce many of our large than it is for most of our libraries. And libraries in SFZ. We want to because we don't need to wrangle a preserve playability and lot of rare opcodes to make them play musicality as much as possible. and sound right, there's less of a chance that each instrument will run WSM: What on earth into trouble when it's loaded into the possessed you to record wide variety of different sfzthe wonderfully bizarre compatible synths and samplers out Gnomehammer library? there. WSM: What problems or complications does SFZ provide? Tonehammer: SFZ is a working experiment for us. SFZ can - in theory - take advantage of most of the same core functionalities as any other sampler on the market. It deals with round robin better than any format I've seen and is text editable, making it very easy to work with. It has a lot of potential down the road, but each and every SFZ compatible player supports a different subset of opcodes or has different feature limits, streaming capabilities or memory capacity. Because we focus on deep sampling, even our Microhammer line tends to be rather deep and memory/disk intensive. That means that not all users of SFZ-compatible synths and players will be able to use these instruments as fully as others and may need to make sure they have plenty of ram. It also means that we need to focus on the most universal set of features for now and then build on that foundation as synth and sampler developers continue (hopefully) to expand their support for the format. We also have to carefully choose which libraries to convert. It

Tonehammer: A lot of our libraries are spawned by simple inspiration and a basic idea. We gather together with a collection of instruments or whatever items we've decided to get down with and then just go. The Gnomehammer library started out as a fun idea to give a little love back to our users over the Holidays. We gave away much of the content in Gnomehammer v. 1, in little bite-sized nuggets over the course of December '09. The theme was meant to be sort of a demented Elven ensemble, away from the watchful supervision of Santa, and fueled entirely by helium and a variety of lovely winter ales, all clocking in at around 10% alcohol-byvolume. As random as it might sound, it really wasn't. We do a lot of serious conception experimentation during sessions like that, and it gives us the creative space to do things that do really need to be done, like record the kazoo in absolute detail or capture a whole collection of balloon-related percussion and effects. As goofy as it might sound, it's also very useful to a lot of our users who do a lot of video games, commercial and children’s television-related work. And, of course, it's just plain fun to compose with sonic oddities like that.

March 2010

WSM: Was the recording of the Gnomehammer sessions as spontaneous as it looks in the promo video, or was it carefully planned? Tonehammer: Everything we do is carefully planned out in advance, but then nothing we do is actually ever done according to said plan. We start with a concept and a direction and then constantly adapt to stay on course. WSM: Did your buddies take much convincing? Tonehammer: Beer handles that part. We also tend to surround ourselves with like-minded folk. WSM: Is it possible to sing in key when on helium? Did you autotune any of the gnomes? Tonehammer: Not even close. The second the helium's in your lungs, your brain has no grasp on where the pitch is going to start and where it will go once you open your mouth. I'm sure a person could learn it with www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

05


developer’s

corner

+ plus +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

Troels Folmann and

Mike Peaslee

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

practice, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. We lost a lot of brain cells that day. As far as Auto-tune, we were all so wildly scattered around any sort of center pitch that all the pitch correction software we tried to use on it simply just barfed. WSM: Gnomehammer will be a tough act to follow. Can you give us any hints as to what its successor might be?

character that allows them to be used in all sorts of ways. The underwater sets in the Music Box library are a good example of that. We submerged the music boxes under water against a resonant surface and played them. The result was fascinating, as if you could "play" water drops melodically. The muted set is great for glitchy percussion and sound effect design UI menus in games, for example.

cranked the notes one by one, hundreds of times. WSM: It seems like found sound is coming back into fashion again - if you had an unlimited budget, what would you choose as the subject for a found sound library?

Tonehammer: That's really a big part of what we do every day - both with Tonehammer and Microhammer. We WSM: You must have learned a fair don't have an unlimited budget, but a Tonehammer: Naw, we never really amount about the boxes during healthy portion on our work taps into look at things that way. the recording. Do you feel it would that. Our large Antidrum, Rust and Gnomehammer was just one of many be possible to make a physical Mini collections are a good place to experiments and probably just a tiny playable keyboard instrument start, but every single one of our hint of what's to come. We'll be doing from a music box? mainstream instruments has a fair plenty of mainstream - but underTonehammer: Well, a player piano is amount of non-traditional articulations represented - instruments with a good example of just how far you included as well. Whether it be things Microhammer, as well as collections of can take that. Rotating drum or we find and record in the field or just stranger fare like Gnomehammer. It ribbon-based instruments go back a finding new ways of expanding the also allows us to capture, build and long, long way. I think it would be versatility of more conventional release new creations more readily complicated, but quite possible, to instruments, deep sampling means and quickly, rather than slowly build a large multi-octave keyboard capturing the known as fully as building large mega-collections like playable mechanical device, using possible and then simply taking the Antidrum I & II, Rust I & II or Mini. glass, metal or a large wooden next step and walking forward into the resonance chamber to amplify the unknown. We're not sure WSM: How did you source the sound. The trick would be making about what is or isn't Music boxes? Tell us about the the fine array of levers or teeth to musically fashionable, but "instruments" used in the making play the tines. I'm sure it's been there are infinite of the library. done many times, but I can't think possibilities waiting to be of an example in particular. explored and we aim to Tonehammer: The music boxes were keep at it. The notion of just a little obsession of ours for a WSM: Were there any found sound as while. We just kept collecting them challenges involved in something of a trend is wherever we found them. Gift shops, recording such an unusual also a little simplistic. flea markets, thrift stores, toy stores - "instrument"? Did you Unusual and you name it. Music boxes are just a sample entire passages and unconventional beautifully simple thing, but the chop out individual notes? sounds have been sounds they can make can be pretty used in mainstream profound when you work with them. Tonehammer: Hand cranked music for decades, They have a sound that connects with all the way. We did record most often in ways almost everybody instantly, on a some wind-up boxes, but that the listener is subconscious level. A nice bright soft only to capture the specific never even really melody makes you think warmth and aspects of that machinery. aware of innocence. A warbly, off-key dissonant For the most part, to get consciously. and halting melody invokes a sense of just the pure sound of the Sound is like pure fear or evil. They also have a tines themselves, we paint. New

06

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

corner

the following instruments: · The Smiley Drum is a tuned metal drum made from melting the top and bottom of a propane tank together and then carving playable "tongues" in the metal. The instrument was spray-painted yellow and has a huge smiley across it.

· Spirit Flute is one of the more serious instruments. The spirit flute is historically used to clean places for spirits and its one of the smaller flutes in the family of Native American flutes. The library contains a serious load of phrases - great for film scoring. · Train Flute is just one of those things we had to do. It is a flute pretending to be a train flute - it generates four notes at the same time, but naturally we isolated them so you can play it as a more normal flute or go FuuuuuuutttFuuuuuuuuuuuuuuTTTT!

· Berimbau is probably the most comprehensive · Clay Vase Drum was this part of this release. We impressive flower vase we found at a deep sampled a highquality Berimbau, which local market. It had an amazing colors are always welcome additions "OMPH" to it, so we sampled it is the most traditional string to any serious artist's palette. comprehensively and it really has a instrument used in the Brazilian nice bass tone to it. capoera. The collection includes tons WSM: I noticed you guys have this of deep-sampled multisamples, but monthly competition where also includes a very comprehensive · Kokiriko is an instrument people can guess and win an package of BPM-based loops using traditionally used in classic Japanese instrument? both the traditional stick and violin acting. The best way to describe it is bow. Sounds super cool. to take a variety of domino bricks and Tonehammer: Yeah. We have this strap them to a leather patch. It’s the monthly contest where we create a ultimate "clicky" instrument and · Road-Trip Vol. 1 may be the demo with upcoming Microhammer unique in its own capacity - if you are strangest part of the collection. instruments and let people guess what Essentially we went on a three day into domino-sounding percussion. it is. The person that can first guess road trip and recorded everything we what instruments are used will win the could from the reception bell in a · Surf Drum is a frame drum with entire catalogue for the month. It’s a hotel to somebody (aka Troels) having thousands of tiny balls inside of it. lot of fun, since people make some a three-hour hiccup attack after You can play the drum as a regular super cool suggestions that inspire us drinking beer too fast. The collection drum, which has a weird snare sound and just let their minds be open. We has tons of small instruments in it and because all the balls will bounce. But have never had anybody completely is really just experimenting. The the primary effect is to gently slide it guessing it all, which kinda makes us collection contains over 20 different from side to side, which creates a proud, since we really like to dive into instruments and is a good example of pretty life-like sound of the ocean. We the unknown when it comes to sounds. a $9 sample pack with just tons of deep sampled it both as a drum and weirdness. as a surf board. WSM: What's coming up in the next Microhammer releases? · Slide Flute ended up being a · Wind Chimes is just one of those remarkable session. We got this obvious things we had to do. We all Tonehammer: We actually have 10 children’s slide flute but experimented know what they sound like, so we got new Microhammer releases coming with it in multiple ways. The patch has both wooden and metallic wind chimes within the next week or so. All the the normal boring sustains and and played around with them as instruments are really unique and are staccato notes, but we did some really instruments. priced as low as $9 - and cover weird stuff by anything from different woodwinds to humming/screaming/singing through WSM:Thanks guys! tuned and untuned percussion - and it while using the slide at the same some things that you cannot even put time. It really produced some +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ a category on. The release includes interesting results. March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

07


developer’s

corner

+ plus +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

Microhammer Iron Throne Water Percussion Vol. 1 Epic Room Percussion Kazoo Solo/Ensemble

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

by Squibs and David Keenum Microhammer is the new line of sample collections by the developers of Tonehammer. Their goal is to create simple, focused, unusual, and less expensive sample collections, and to cover completely new and exotic materials. And while Kontakt is their main instrument platform, they have ventured into the world of SFZ… and for us that means Wusik Station. So we thought it would be a great time to take a look at the first installment of Microhammer, so without further adieu, let us present… drum roll please… Microhammer! Microhammer Iron Throne This is the largest Microhammer collection and the most expensive at $39.00. The origin of this library is a secret and, according to Tonehammer, will remain so. Tonehammer says, “This little beast is a very, very eerie and dark collection of metallic percussive and semi-melodic effects, ideal for use in horror and suspend scoring, sound design, trailer effects and post production, experimental and ambient music, or anything else you can think to do with it.” The sounds would generally work in a context where

08

tension would be represented by ambient sound. Some of the sounds are downright torturous! The collection contains three folders: Bowing – This folder is made up of sustained atonal sounds that exhibit a good bit of tension and suspense. There is a certain amount of room ambience in the sound. Effects – The sounds in this folder are mysterious. I would generally classify them as sound effects or ambiences. Some are as eerie as the bowing sounds. The preset names give a clue to how they were created. They use names like comb, brush, rasp drag, mallet rub. Strikes – This folder contains some really interesting percussion elements. Some sounds have the same mysterious quality as the other two folders, but some almost sound like “real” percussion instruments… or maybe “real” percussion instruments on another planet! Throne_Cajon_mw_mute, has become one of my favorite percussion instruments. It doesn’t sound like a Cajón, but it’s easy to play and it sounds musical.

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

American named Alabama Vest in Macon, Georgia, United States. The first kazoo was manufactured to Vest’s specifications by Thaddeus von Clegg, a German clockmaker in Macon. The kazoo was introduced at the Georgia State Fair in 1852. The first metal kazoos were manufactured and patented in Eden, New York, where they are still made in the original factory. ]

corner

From The Tonehammer History of the Kazoo: The kazoo instruments have actually been used for quite a while, dating back for hundreds of years in Africa. The instrument was used to disguise the sound of somebody’s voice or to imitate animals, often for various ceremonial purposes. It was on such an instrument that the kazoo was based. The kazoo was invented in the 19th century by an African

Water Percussion Vol. 1

“Epic” collections (Epic Toms, Small Epic Percussion, and Epic Water Percussion Vol. 1 covers a Drol), and this collection is meant variety of percussive sounds to complement those instruments. purely made with water. There The sound is large and powerful. are percussion sounds made from And if you need a more dry sound, water drops, cymbals clashed you can dial out the reverb with against water surfaces, wet the mod wheel. concrete slaps, and even water human beat boxing. First of all, Kazoo Solo/Ensemble I’m impressed that Tonehammer was able to capture usable sounds Have you ever needed a sampled from water. In fact, they are Kazoo? Actually, I have. I know, consistently able to produce “Why don’t you pull one out and effective sounds from unusable record it?” I know, but I was in a objects, but this collection is hurry, and I didn’t want to set up special. a microphone. Well, I’ll never again be found without Kazoo Of course, there are the sounds of samples! splashing water, and they are edited and programmed as Tonehammer’s description of their percussion elements. But my Kazoo library is funny, but favorite sounds were the Human actually there are some Beat Box sounds and the wet interesting and useful aspects to concrete slaps. With all the the collection. There are folders sounds, the modwheel can be for Solo Kazoo, Ensemble Kazoo, used to get a “dryer” sound, or to and Vocal Backing, and each have shorten the sound. a number of presets. There are 4-times round robin on all Epic Room Percussion sustains and 4-times round robin on all release triggers. The sound Epic Room Percussion consists of is alive and fun. It is not pristine, high, mid and low toms, octabans, but it isn’t sloppy either. Of rototoms, and tom rims. This set course, it can be used for a has a really nice punchy sound humorous cue, but don’t sell it with that “Epic” room sound. If short. You never know when you didn’t know it already, you’ll need a Kazoo! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Tonehammer has several other March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

09


developer’s

corner

+ plus +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Microhammer Gnomehammer Music Boxes

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

by Squibs

I've just had the pleasure of auditioning the Gnomehammer and Music Boxes libraries from the Microhammer collection. The Microhammer project is a side-project from the folks who brought you Tonehammer. The collections are moderately sized to enable swift download and moderately priced so that they can be accessible to just about anybody. Both libraries I reviewed cost $19. The banks are provided in Native Instrument's Kontakt format, and in SFZ format (which means that the individual wave files are available for loading into the sampler of your choice). All my testing was done in Cakewalk Sonar Producer 6. I used Wusik Station and Dimension Pro to audition the SFZ banks. Unfortunately, I don't own Kontakt, so I wasn't able to audition the Kontact banks. I started with Gnomehammer, its concept fascinated me. The blurb about it runs as follows: "This strange collection of quasi-musical oddities was mostly captured in one epic recording session somewhere around Thanksgiving in 2009 at the Tonehammer studio, involving lots of Belgian beer, balloons, helium, oxygen deprivation, us and a few of our closest friends." The package consists of a number of mini libraries: Gnomish choir Holy ambience Luftballon PVC beatbox ensemble Snow drums Toy glockenspiel

10

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

corner

to stop you from getting your hands dirty and making your own SFZ banks from the supplied samples using sfZed, which is available at http://audio.clockbeat.co m/sfZed.html. I covered this tool last year, in an article which showed how to convert soundfonts to SFZ format for use in Wusik Station. The extra sound manipulation tools provided by Wusik This is not a sample Station and Dimension collection that lends itself Pro frequently took me to mainstream pop. You'll off on strange journeys. probably file it under While some of the "wacky", "weird", "out samples are pre-effected, there" or "miscellaneous". others present the This is a collection you'll samples with no turn to when you are processing, and these doing something make great candidates different; when you've for further sound got a blank canvas and mangling. Reverbs don't zero inspiration. always work well, as some of the sounds are The SFZ banks are captured at a distance mapped out in many and quite an amount of different ways. There are room ambience is present. banks such as gnome I abused the samples in choir effects, which is a many other cruel and series of one shots, each unusual ways; often assigned to its own key, rendering them and then there are the indistinguishable from the usual pitched banks, original samples. That's some with velocity the thing about this layering. Then there are library, it is so daft that the "bonkers" banks, like you are encouraged to ball choir ks-drunch, muck with it. It may which appears to use all seem irreverent to put a 72 of its samples on Multi-Gigabyte Steinway every key in the playable Grand Piano bank range; putting a veritable through a bitcrusher, but gnome army at your you'll feel nothing but joy disposal. Banks like this as you torture these get you thinking about delightfully mad little the power of the SFZ gnomes. format. There's nothing I fired up Sonar, ran an instance of Wusik Station and loaded up the Gnome Choir Effects from the Gnomes Choir library, secure in the knowledge that this was gonna be epic. I'd put myself in an appropriate state of mind, by consuming an earthy Dunkel and a fruity Weissbeer. I had a zesty glass of pils on the go as I reached for the keyboard.

March 2010

The Microhammer Collection Creator and Distributor: Tonehammer Web-Site: http://www.microhammer.com/ and http://www.tonehammer.com/ Price: Iron Throne $39.00 Water Percussion Vol. 1 $19.00 Epic Room Percussion $19.00 Kazoo $19.00 Gnomehammer $19.00 Music Box $19.00 Details: Microhammer Iron Throne specs: Dry sampled / convolution reverb included in the library. Core articulations include: Bowed Sustains Bowed Stabs and FX Brushed Fingered Rubber Mallet Mallet Strikes Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 32 instrument patches, 858 samples, 733MB installed, 445MB .rar download Microhammer Water Percussion Vol. 1 specs: $19 Articulations include: Water Drop Kit Water Cymbal Clash Kit Water Pouring Kit Water Concrete Slap Kit Water Human Beat Box Kit(s) in shower

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

>> 11


developer’s

corner

+ plus +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

Gnomehammer Music Boxes

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Other highlights of the collection come from the luftballon section, which houses a collection of samples featuring balloons in their death throes. The balloon pluck makes a great flabby pizzicato sound, and balloon pop is seriously industrial when played in the lower registers. The PVC beatbox sounds like it was lifted from an Art Of Noise album. The toy glockenspiel is the only conventional instrument in the collection, and for a toy it sounds great. It's in tune, has velocity layers and sounds consistent right across the keyboard. It shines in the higher registers where the bell attack and swift decay make it perfect for adding sparkle to a mix. The Music Box collection is a completely different kettle of fish, and certainly something I could see being used in pop, hip hop or any number of mainstream genres. It comes in a number of variants, including dry, clean, dirty, lite, muted, resonator and winding. I started with the dry, clean preset, to get a feel for the instrument. Five minutes later, I was still playing it and I'd bashed out every lullaby and nursery rhyme I'd ever known. There's a hint of dirt at higher velocities, presumably from the body of the toy resonating to the tines inside, and it's utterly charming. Played on low octaves, it sound likes a rustic instrument from some far flung country; although it quickly becomes brittle when played several octaves above the intended range. The treatment on the music box hall preset adds considerable depth to the instrument via a hall reverb. Think of The Velvet Underground's 'Sunday Morning', and you'll know exactly what this sounds like. The underwater preset kills most of the ring of the instrument and sounds like wood percussion - I was instantly playing The Violent Femmes' 'Gone Daddy Gone'. There seems to be some round-robin trickery on some of the presets that every so often substitutes the main sample for another or adds another sample on top. I must confess, I found some of these to be distracting, and I'd probably remove them from the SFZ if using them in a composition.

12

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

I can heartily recommend the Microhammer range of sample sets. They are concise enough to give you only what you want, and are cheap enough to be an impulse purchase. The website, http://www.microhammer.com, lists the complete range of libraries (and the range grows on an almost weekly basis). You can preview the sounds from the libraries so you'll know exactly what you are getting. The libraries cater to the obscure and the bizarre; meaning that many of the sounds here won't be found anywhere else. +++++++++++++++++++

March 2010

+++++++++++++


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

Shake Vol. 1 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

by David Keenum

I like things that shake! And being a musician, I can think of a lot songs that use the word “shake.” “Shake it up Baby, Twist and Shout.” "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty." I know where your mind went, and it’s only understandable. And being a red-blooded male I admit that one of those “shakes” can get my attention, but also being a happily married man I immediately start repeating the mantra, “I am a married spud. I am a married spud. I am a married spud!” (It’s a quote from the movie, Toy Story 2.) Of course that’s not what this Tonehammer library is about… but with Tonehammer’s ability to sample unusual things… oh, never mind….

Water Human Beat Box Kit(s) in glass Experimental patches Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 10 instrument patches, 605 samples, 101MB installed, 80MB .rar download

Okay, let’s try this again. So let me go back to my opening statement: I like things that shake. I’ve always been curious about shakers. I have collected a wide variety of shakers, and even made a few myself. In a former life I was a High School Band Director. On one song, during marching season, we decided to have the entire sideline percussion play homemade shakers made from soda pop cans with popcorn inside. The students even made their own shakers. Everything looked good until one student brought in a shaker made from a large malt liquor can! It obviously didn’t work in a school situation, but it was a great sounding shaker!

Microhammer Epic Room Percussion specs: Articulations include: Dual Octoban Dual Mid-Tom Dual Floor Tom and Rototom Dual Rototom Single Toms Rims Mega-combo patch Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 15 instrument patches, 302 samples, 183MB installed, 41MB .rar download

Tonehammer likes this DYI approach, and although they didn’t mention any shakers made out of large malt liquor cans, they did make some of the instruments sampled for this library. In fact, just making this library had to involve a DYI approach. So let’s take a look at Shake.

>> March 2010

corner

Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On A review of Tonehammer’s

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

13


developer’s

corner +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+ plus +

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

Shake

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Shake, Rattle and Roll The list of instruments is quite impressive! It is broad and unique. There is everything from Sleigh Bells, to a Goat Hoof rattle, to a couple of Rainsticks, to a shaker made from a pumpkin. The collection is divided into bells (with six instruments) and shakers (with seven instruments). The Rainsticks provide a variety of classic Rainstick glissando (when you tip the Rainstick and the beads slowly trickle down) and effects as well as shakes. Here is a breakdown of the bells and shakers:

14

-

Bells: - Large_Concert_Sleigh_Bells.nki > This jumbo sleigh bell tree has 29 large brass bells attached to a heavy wooden handle. - Small_Concert_Sleigh_Bells.nki > This small sleigh bell tree has 21 medium brass bells attached to a wooden handle. - Small_Hand_Sleigh_Bells.nki > This wooden and leather-handled hand bell features five large steel sleigh bells. - Wicker_Bell_Baskets.nki > This double-ended basket shaker is made of wicker and a loose collection of small steel bells in each chamber. - Wrist_Bells.nki > This is a small leather strap with small steel sleigh bells. - Bell_Garland.nki > This set is a large string of tiny bells.

-

Shakers: - Dual_Shaker.nki > A pair of hand-held double-ended egg shakers. - Gourd.nki > A home-made gourd picked from a cornfield on Halloween (really) and packed full of all sorts of bits and stuff for a very dry, chuffy sort of rattle. - Hoof_Shaker.nki > This traditional African instrument is made from goat hoof nails, strung to a wooden handle. It has a harsh, clacky tone and gets pretty freaking loud. www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

- Paddle_Tamborines.nki > These two tambourines are made of rows of steel tambourine rattles attached to square wooden paddles. - Pumpkin_Shaker.nki > This is actually a small pumpkin filled with very small bells. - Rainstick_A.nki > This is a large 4-foot-long rain stick, made of cholla cactus. It has a wide, open and deep sound. This sample set is all new and is unrelated to the small set found in Antidrum 2. While this new instrument does feature a wide variety of classic rainstick glisses and effects, it goes far deeper into the instrument's capacity as a large shaker, with a very wide stereo image and single-note strike and shake playability. - Rainstick_B.nki > This is a small 2-foot long rain stick made from capado cactus. This sample set is all new and is unrelated to the small set found in Antidrum 2. This rainstick is also very distinct from the other in this collection, with a tighter, higher sound.


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

corner

Shake a Tail Feather Each instrument in Shake contains single shakes, rolls and longer shakes, and grooves (a longer performance). There are a lot of single shake elements! First of all, there are something like eight different kinds of shakes and rolls (depending on the instrument), and then there is the Tonehammer method of multi-velocity hits, and 10X round-robin variations. Then there is the attack and release control with the mod wheel. The mod wheel, in effect, can shorten the sound, which will give you another variation. With the single shakes and the rolls and effects, the idea is that you can create any shaker part. The grooves grouped with the individual samples are not sliced. Their tempo is static. This is part of Tonehammer’s philosophy of performance phrases. If you want tempo matching loops, look elsewhere… like in the Tempo-Sync (also called Beatmatching) folder. In that folder there are three Beat-matching Grooves that use the Timemachine 2 engine in Kontakt 3 (or above) to provide automatic host tempo synching. In addition to this, there are two bonus instruments, an ambient drone and a synthetic percussive instrument. Shake Your Moneymaker I have always tended to use loops for shaker parts. I’ve not been able to get realistic parts using samples. But with this collection, it has become much easier. I would attribute this to Tonehammer’s velocity levels and 10X round robins, but I don’t know for sure. It could be nothing more than Tonehammer magic! I can say that when I received the Shake collection, I immediately put it to use in a project. It was easy to find what I wanted (in this case, the Gourd) and play a part that fit the track. As I said, I’ve always been leery of shaker samples. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve had a hard time creating parts with a live feel. They usually had a synthetic, “sample” feel to them. That’s why I have, generally, only used loops for my shaker parts. So I was interested in putting these samples to a test. For the test, I created loops with each of the Shake instruments. I was delighted with the result. I found that I needed to do a little editing of March 2010

Microhammer Kazoo specs: Articulations include: Solo Kazoo (modwheel controlled from steady > vibrato > tremolo) Wet Solo Kazoo (modwheel controlled from steady > vibrato > tremolo) Ensemble Kazoo Legato (modwheel controlled and 4x round robin) Ensemble Kazoo x-fade (modwheel expression control) Wet Ensemble Kazoo x-fade (modwheel expression control) Manly Solo (sustained) Voice (modwheel controlled from piano > forte) Manly Solo & Kazoo Duet (modwheel control) Manly Solo Gramophone (old-time sounding) Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 20 instrument patches, 456samples, 612MB installed, 457MB .rar download Microhammer "Gnomehammer" specs: Articulations include: Snow Drums (drums made from snow sounds) Wintery Pod (drums made from throwing stones on ice) Toy Glockenspiel Holy Ambiences Gnomish Choir (aka Helium Choir) PVC Beatbox Ensemble Luftballon Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 47 instrument patches, 1405 samples, 531MB installed, 313MB .rar download

>> www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

15


developer’s

corner

+ plus +

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++++++++

Shake

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

the MIDI files (remember that there are lots of sound options), but getting a “live sounding” part was simple. Even hard quantizing wasn’t a problem. I also tried the three Beat-matching Grooves, and I found that they work best when you stay close to their original tempo. As long as you didn’t stray too far in tempo they worked well, but, in my opinion, the strength of this library is in the single shake elements. They give you the ability to craft your loop and do it quickly.

Shake It Up and Go I would describe the sounds in this library as having a “vibe,” as opposed to being clinical sounding. By that I mean that you can hear the rattle of the instrument. These instruments have a different sound from other sampled shaker sounds. They sound more alive, more “played.” When you use the samples to create a loop, there is live feel to it, and that is a big plus for me. There is also a large variety of choices within each sound, so you can create different and varied parts. So my conclusion is that if you need to create shaker parts, here is a good place to look. In the words of BB King, just “Shake it up and Go!”

16

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

Tonehammer Shake Vol. 1

Large concert sleigh bell tree (1 shake / strike combo. 13 Creator and Distributor: sustaining rolls and grooves) Tonehammer Small concert sleigh bell tree (3 types of single shakes and Price: $49.00 strikes. 16 sustaining rolls and grooves) Details: Small_Hand_Sleigh_Bells (3 Studio (dry) recorded shakers, types of single shakes and strikes. rattlers and bell tree percussion. 13 sustaining rolls and grooves) > All single shakes and Wicker basket bell shaker (5 strikes feature multiple velocities, types of single shakes and strikes. 10X round-robin variations and 13 sustaining rolls and grooves) precision attack and release Wrist sleigh bells (2 types of single shakes and strikes. 5 control. sustaining rolls and grooves. 19 > All sustaining rolls and single-shot strike and spin grooves feature long loops for effects) greater realism, individual Long bell garland (3 types of release-trigger samples and single shakes and strikes. 13 custom dynamic crescendo sustaining rolls and grooves) control. Dual egg shaker (4 types of > All single-shot effects and single shakes and strikes. 26 glisses feature start position and sustaining roll loops and grooves) attack / release control. Gourd (3 types of single > Also includes Kontakt 3 shakes and strikes. 12 sustaining groove instruments with Host rolls and grooves) Tempo Synching, tuned single Goat hoof rattle (2 types of strike and shake multi-sample single shakes and strikes. 33 instruments and lite patches. sustaining rolls and grooves. 32 > Core articulations: single-shot glisses / effects)

March 2010


developer’s +++++++++++++++++++++++

++++++++++++++++

corner

Paddle tamborines (2 sets, 5 - Extensive README (.pdf) types of single shakes and strikes. install, patch and hint 26 sustaining rolls and grooves) documentation Pumpkin shaker (3 types - 46 Kontakt patches, of single shakes and strikes. 2 including one patch with sustaining rolls) everything / 2.321 samples Large cholla rainstick (3 - 1.24 GB installed, 942 MB types of single shakes and strikes. .rar download 11 sustaining rolls and grooves. 45 single-shot glisses / effects) Sample Resolution and Small capado rainstick (2 types Source Format: 44.1Khz/24-bit of single shakes and strikes. 12 / stereo .wav format sustaining rolls and grooves. 20 single-shot glisses / effects) Formats: Native Instruments Shaken Ambi-drums (custom Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3/ 4 (the full designed like acoustic sounding retail version of Kontakt is 808) required), EXS24 and .wav Shaken ambiences (custom sound-designed ambient droning Note: Free Kontakt Player will instruments, with modwheelonly work for 30 minutes with based filter expression control) this product. Full version Bonus ambient droning required to remove this Instruments restriction. Bonus custom sounddesigned / “synthetic” percussion Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 Custom articulation and 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, performance controls Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo Also includes: Tempo-synching, MiaMIDI Audio Card] Tuned and Lite instrument programs

March 2010

Microhammer ”Music Box ” specs: Note: All Microhammer Music Box samples are derived from Tonehammer Anti-Drum 2 and Mini sample libraries. Articulations include: Dry music box Room/studio music box Hall music box Music Box FX Intelligent editing and programming Read me (.pdf) install, patch and hint documentation 42 instrument patches, 1405 samples, 700MB installed, 400MB .rar download Sample Resolution and Source Format: 44.1Khz /24 bit / stereo .wav format Formats: Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3 (the full retail version of Kontakt is required), SFZ, and WAV. Note: The free Kontakt Player will only work for 30 minutes with this product. The full version is required to remove this restriction. Test Computer: David Keenum - AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Audio Card Squibs – AMD Athlon 64 5000+ 2.61GHz, 2Gb RAM, Windows XP Media Edition SP3, EgoSys WAMIrack 24 Audio Card

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

17


NOVAkILL by Trusty

It has been two years and a month since Wusik Sound Magazine last spoke with the Australian duo NOVAkILL. (WSM Vol. 1 Sept. 07) When we last spoke with BONES and SiK, they were working on a new album. Long overdue, but well worth it, the group's latest album, I HATE GOD, has finally arrived, and with the expectation of a good push from the marketers to help elevate their profile. Of course, for many, they are already notorious. To be sure, BONES, while only half of the group, serves as the full mouthpiece and then some concerning the online presence of the band in many musical circles. Along with the music, the Killerz line of software instruments are mainstays in the arsenals of many producers in many genres. In fact, many producers turn to those instruments time and again for sounds in musical pieces ranging from pop and hip-hop to the hard core electronic genres for which they were intended. These Killerz crop up on many recommendation threads on various forums as well. On occasion, even the names of the presets are good for a laugh. And of course, at this point anyone who knows anything about this group can not mention NOVAkILL at all without mentioning the software sequencer

18

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

Orion from Synapse Audio. In fact, the Challenges and criticisms to the status quo and the upheld establishments of next official version of Orion will society are nothing new for the genre receive a GUI facelift from BONES sandbox NOVAkILL plays in, but what himself. can be appreciated about the lyrics in SiK does not maintain the same public this group is the no-nonsense, noncryptic manner in which they are presence as BONES -- online at least. delivered. There is no searching for Nonetheless, he is a prolific musician the hidden message, the messages that lets his work do most of his are always blunt, front and center, talking for him. He has various side and in your face. It is refreshing projects where his output remains fairly steady, and is well worth a listen. when a group such as this does not get bogged down in lofty notions of Be sure and check out STIFFY! and artistic integrity (i.e. artsy-fartsy) Evil Against Evil on MySpace. minutia. Rather, the music and the message is pounding, pulsating, and If you want a refresher on NOVAkILL, relentless. Regardless, you will, at read our prior article online at the best, dance, and at worst, nod your magazine website, but more head. Such is the case whether one is importantly, be sure to check out in agreement with the message in the http://www.myspace.com/novakill and http://www.novakill.com/ to get music or not. This is especially better acquainted. This interview is refreshing because the simple things not so much about the past, but more like “good song”, “thumping bassline”, about the present and future. “tear your head off synth riffs” and the NOVAkILL deserves your attention like are all that really matters for the when it comes to their music, so be musical medium. All that selfsure to give it a listen. One thing is for indulgence crap is for other people. certain, whether you like their style of For NOVAkILL, the music they create music or not, the substance of it from is both what they like, and what you the lyrics to the musical styles and should like, and even if you don't, you structures, offer something for every better pay attention anyway, because musician and music fan to engage and you shortchange both your mind and be either inspired or challenged by it. your ears if you do not.

March 2010


The latest album picks up on some of the religious themes found in earlier works, but puts the issue front and center. The title says it all, I HATE GOD. WSM: First off, what were the ingredients for this album? Orion (of course) plus...what? Has NOVAkILL stuck with “the simpler the better” motif in their tools, or has the arsenal expanded significantly from previous albums? NOVAkILL: Not at all, we are still chanting the same mantra. All the latest little killerz feature on the new

album, along with Orion's native generators. Wasp is probably the instrument that defines our sound and we use two or three instances of it in most of our songs. Instruments like BALLTEARER do the grunt work, providing harsh pads and rhythms, as well as the occasional bassline, but it's Wasp's creamy filter that drives it all.

WSM: Has the popularity of the new atheist “movement”, for lack of better word, had any impact on the direction of the themes explored in this album? Did the coalescence of all that has come about in print, TV, debates, etc.

March 2010

from the oft-called “Four Horsemen of Atheism” and so on trigger any signals that now was the time to tackle this subject in a more album centric focus? NOVAkILL: Not really. It's obviously provided us with some great samples to plunder but it didn't really have any influence beyond that. We have both read The God Delusion and seen all the YouTube clips but they simply align with our own long-held beliefs. Our first album had several songs that were thematically similar, like PREYtoYOURgod and SAkRIFICE, the latter have been written in the 90s.

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

19


NOVAkILL

WSM: Given the album title, it is on the one hand every bit as confronting as could be hoped for, and on the other, a bit off putting. Do you think that the title may distract more than gather attention to the album? Does God serve as the general idea behind religious concepts, which is the focus of the hatred?

always existed rather than a creature as complex as God. I distinctly remember asking my Sunday School teacher about it and receiving an answer that was unconvincing, even at that age. Religious people will point to the Big Bang theory as being full of holes and all the rest of it but it is still much more believable than Genesis. If someone was able to prove that the NOVAkILL: So far that hasn't been Big Bang was set off by some being, the case. We've copped a bit of flak like a scientific experiment or in a couple of reviews for including something like that, I would be "arbeit macht frei" in the lyrics for perfectly happy to accept that, and weWORK but the album title itself is even to think of him as our creator. something I think the majority of What I could not bring myself to people, especially in our genre, accept is that such an entity would be already agree with. If you watch the so intimately concerned with the day news it's hard not to see the misery to day affairs of one tiny portion of and suffering religion spreads such a vast experiment. There is throughout the world. simply no logic to it whatsoever, yet believers cling to every tiny shred of WSM: Of all the arguments against scientific doubt as though the nonthe existence of God, which existence of certainty was some kind argument do you find most of proof. compelling? Likewise, of all the On the other side, if I were to be arguments for the existence of convinced of the existence of God, God, which do you find the most dogs would be the most likely avenue. compelling (mind you, compelling When you think about it, it is amazing does not mean convincing). I ask that the symbiosis between man and for both, because only simpletons canine could come about by holding any position on the coincidence. Then you think a little existence of God one way or the deeper and realise that for tens of other would not find any opposing thousands of years we have been arguments at least somewhat breeding dogs to cater to our needs compelling. better and then it all begins to unravel. It is the same with every other NOVAkILL: Having a lifelong interest argument for the existence of God, in science, I realised at about 11 none of it bears up to any logical years of age that it was much easier scrutiny. The anthropic principle to believe that the universe had explains most of it away and it makes

20

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

perfect sense. I won't go into detail, people can google it if they are interested. WSM: In the past interview with Wusik, it was mentioned that NOVAkILL has a dislike for people. Interestingly enough, Kierkegaard (a Christian) seemed to share this position concerning people. Once people have denied their individuation and followed the masses, what is it about “people” that makes them so unlikeable? Surely exceptions are made for individuals, but what do you think is the underlying factor that makes individuals lump up and become a “people” in which the herd mentality takes over and turns the human condition into something rather unpleasant once examined critically? NOVAkILL: "People" is most definitely a collective term. Religion is a good example of how mob behavior allows individuals to throw logic out the window. If you go to a "born again" church service, it's like some form of hypnosis or mass hysteria. Normally sane individuals literally lose control. They will tell you it is the spirit of God or some such nonsense, but I believe it is a remnant of the same herding instincts that sheep or wildebeest exhibit, that causes them to abandon individuality for the safety of being part of a herd. It is in no way logical in a modern setting, it is simply an obsolete part of our evolution. The problem is, it is not something that


can easily be extracted from our nature as it ties in to reproductive instincts and all the rest of it. Maybe over tens of thousands of years it will disappear but for the immediate future, it is an inescapable fact of human existence. Society itself is yet a larger example. It uses up individuals in order to maintain it's total dominance. No-one questions it, few resist it yet it controls all our lives completely. It succeeds because it knows us intimately, it knows exactly how to manipulate us to do it's bidding without us having the slightest clue we are being subjugated to it's will. In fact, people actually feel that they are free, which beggars belief (believe?) when they have a 25 year mortgage which requires them to work 50 hours a week for the rest of their lives. WSM: What is the NOVAkILL process for writing an album? Do you guys work separately, build off each other's ideas? How does it work? Are there any differences from this album and the others in terms of putting it together? Also, do you guys chart out the album before hand and work from a template, or do you guys just start writing and whatever good stays and whatever doesn't work gets tossed? NOVAkILL: We almost always work separately. Sik will send me things he has been working on and we will decide on likely candidates for

NOVAkILL songs, usually on the phone or via email if I am overseas [I used to travel a lot with my old job] and I will take his ideas and run with them. The first two albums also included a lot of songs I wrote but this one is almost all songs that Sik instigated. That's down to me not really trying to write anything new and Sik being about 10 times more productive in recent years, since moving from Fruityloops to Orion. It's a much better way for it to come together, as it means there is a lot more involvement from both of us. Even on songs like DEMONIZER, where the finished song is very similar to Sik's original idea, I still do all the production and write most of the lyrics, so there is plenty of both of us in there. OTOH, when I write a song, there is zero opportunity for Sik to have more than a small amount of input. WSM: What is the most positive message the listener can take away from I HATE GOD? NOVAkILL: It may appear otherwise but we are not really pushing any message. It's just that we figure if we are going to write some lyrics, they may as well have some meaning. If there was a message we wanted to convey, it would simply be for individuals to question everything and accept nothing at face value. To think about every aspect of their lives, especially all those things everyone takes for granted.

March 2010

WSM: With the hopes that this latest release gets the push promised from the label, are bigger and better tours planned to go along with the release? Any tour plans outside of Australia? Also, which is a better situation for NOVAkILL, the music getting played regularly in the clubs, or performing live in the clubs? NOVAkILL: We would really love to tour more but it is too hard to organise. We only do this part time and we have other commitments [demands of society, I suppose] that make it hard to get things up and running. The other issue we face is that our genre is not what it once was. Even though the music has become a lot more accessible overall, it has not really grown at all over the past decade or so. The internet is mostly responsible for that, I believe, as it has fragmented alternative genres and created a massive gulf between them and the mainstream. Here in Australia, you will never, ever hear anything non-mainstream on radio or TV, which makes it hard to get the word out. 25 years ago you could find any kind of music you wanted on TV and radio, today it's all been homogenised and the internet is so vast and uncoordinated, everything else gets lost. WSM: Is the live set-up consistent for these songs as the previous efforts, or is there more cross dynamics between you guys in the live performance than in the past?

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

21


NOVAkILL

NOVAkILL: It's pretty similar, really. will get a good run on our next album though it has taken us a long time to We're both comfortable with the way it for sure. As for a skin, it's already get this one out the door, we have works and it allows us to practise pretty well laid out and has a handy been working just as hard as always. individually, as we don't get a lot of small footprint, so I cannot see the We have a lot of new material in good opportunity to rehearse together imperative that would drive it, as I shape and even performed a couple of before a show. One or two runmostly make skins for practical [not new songs at our last gig. throughs together is usually all we get aesthetic] reasons. But we never say Label support definitely affects our before a gig. I also think the way we never. profile and provides us with are set-up for the stage gives us opportunities but it doesn't really plenty of opportunity to put on a good WSM: Has growing older had any affect our own efforts. We were show. Sik's live drumming is excellent impact on the music? Do you guys around for a long time before we had and I am not stuck behind the see yourselves continuing a label and I think we will be around a keyboards, so I get plenty of indefinitely? Does the age factor long time after labels are consigned to opportunity to make a dick of myself, contribute much to the approach history [which is not far off]. One jumping around the stage, while to either the music or the thing I can tell you though, is that we making sure that we never descend performances? Is the idea that will never release new songs on the into karaoke territory. i.e. If there is a only certain genre's are suitable internet, we'd rather keep it all to solo part or an obvious melody, then I for musicians over a certain age ourselves than throw it away like that. think it's important that it is played merely another bogus societal Albums are important things for both live on stage. convention that is worth ignoring? of us, if we lose the ability to release them, we will not release anything. Our PC replaces a few parts of a NOVAkILL: "Age shall not weary My solo career before NOVAkILL ran traditional band, it is not simply a them, nor the years condemn", as the from 1985 to 1996 and in that whole backing track for a vocalist. So Ode to the Fallen goes. If I was going time, only about 10% of the songs I instead of having to wrangle a few to mellow out in my old age, it would wrote were ever released and I was extra band members, we use a PC. have happened a long time ago, I perfectly happy with that state of It's really the only way it can work for think. If I don't buy as much music as affairs. So far, NOVAkILL has been us. If we could afford the time to have I used to, it's because it's so much lucky enough to release about 90% of 5 people on stage instead of just the harder now to find good music than it the material we have written, so I two of us, we wouldn't need a used to be, not because I've lost think we can afford to keep writing sequencer but that is simply not interest. without releasing anything again. practical, nor do I see it as necessary. Hopefully though, it won't come to WSM: Where does NOVAkILL go that for a while and we will get to WSM: Now that Wusikstation is from here? Is there a plan for the release another album or two before skinable, is there a chance that it future and other albums? Does albums cease to exist. may get the NOVAkILL treatment NOVAkILL's existence depend in and the instrument itself even find any way on label support? There it is. We'd like to thank the guys a place in the music down the from NOVAkILL for the awesome road? NOVAkILL: We are already well into interview, and wish them all the best. the next album and could have it NOVAkILL: Sik has been using ready early next year if we can Wusikstation quite a bit recently, so it convince the label to release it. Even

22

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


Sony

Creative

Software

Acid Pro 7 by Ginno Legaspi

Ten years ago when I bought my first desktop computer (a paltry 600 MHz AMD Duron), I never thought making music on that computer was possible. I was a late comer when it came to music computer technology. This was the first computer I had ever bought and loved it to death despite of its average specs. The thing that I liked the most about my computer was I could run Acid version 2 with no hiccups. To think of it now, it puts a smile on my face. Yes, I've been a big fan since the early days of Acid. Not because it can do so many things, but it was so easy to create music with it...in no time. With version 7, there

24

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

are both a slew of improvements and and once you have activated the new added features, along with a program with the key code, its use is comprehensive set of tools. This is the unlimited. Other programs that have most powerful Acid yet. Acid Pro just to be installed are the new Acid Pro keeps getting better and better with Effects Rack (by Izotope), Garritan every release. Aria, which is a bit big sample-wise, Submersible KitCore, and the Native Installation Instruments Combos. There shouldn't be any problem installing Acid Pro 7. It is pretty straightforward, a piece of cake. Copy protection is in the form of challenge/response system. You have to register Acid 7 in order to obtain a key code, otherwise it will run in demo mode. You have 30 days to do this,

March 2010

Details and New Features As a far as the GUI goes, Acid is still has the same looks. Kudos to Sony for keeping the workspace pretty simple and not cluttered. The layout has one screen with a timeline. Here you can find the Loop Sequence, Track List


Contact/Web: www.sonycreativesoftware.com Price: $319.95 (packaged) $299.95 (download) Copy Protection: Challenge/Response System Requirements: Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP2 or later), Windows Vista™, or Windows 7, 1.8 GHz processor (2.0 or faster recommended), 1 GB RAM (2.0 GB or more recommended), 150 MB hard-disk space for program installation (8 GB of hard-disk space for installation of all optional components), Windowscompatible sound card (ASIO driver support recommended), DVD-ROM drive (for installation from a DVD only), Supported CD-recordable drive (for CD burning only), Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (included on DVD for use with optional Media Manager component), Internet connection (for Gracenote MusicID Service).

and Properties, Media Explorer, Chopper, Mixer, various menus and a customizable toolbar on top. Whether you're an amateur or an advanced user, you'll feel right at home with Acid's easy layout. Since I don't' have much space here, the new features/enhancements are too extensive to explain. But to me the most important improvement to version 7 is the addition of the audio and MIDI mixer console. Users can now control all the tracks and busses with ease, just like with other DAW's. Since Acid was designed to be a great looping sequencer, version 7 now employs Zplane's Elastique Pro engine for dramatic stretching and pitchshifts especially when working with Beatmap tracks and, of course, loops.

Other new additions and enhancements include: - Input busses - Real-time Rendering - Audio, MIDI and Bus Track Meters - External Control Surface Channel Tracking - Tempo Curves - Enhanced Beatmapping - MIDI Track Freeze - Bundled software from Garritan (Aria), Izotope (Effects Rack), Native Instruments (Guitar Combos) and Submersible Music (KitCore)

overnight. There's plenty to play around with even if you just make loop-based music. Conclusion

Personally, I think this version is a leap in terms of features from version 6. I can say that Acid has finally matured! The various new features and additions solidify Acid as solid and capable DAW, although it still has its quirks. Kudos to Sony Creative Software for giving it a major update, especially the addition of the mixer console and the enhanced timestretch Also, Acid Pro 7 has been expanded to and pitch-shift engine. If you're an support (import/export) audio formats Acid user, version 7 is well worth the such FLAC, AAC, AC-3 and MPEG-2. attractive upgrade price. Over 3000 multi-genre loops are included with the package. That's a lot of start-up loops to play with and I don't think you can exhaust these March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

25


Loop Generator from HG Sounds

by A. Arsov

This is a pretty bizarre and interesting “banging the beats� tool. It's a drum loop generator which looks like an analog synthesizer and offers some new approaches to drum programming. Its strong point is the loop randomizing algorithm. The end result that cames out, is similar to that which comes from casino's black jack machines: pretty unpredictable, but thankfully there are a lot of ways to cheat and get something that will suit our needs. Generating the loop is only a starting point. Black Magic Loop Generator is filled with an arsenal of good sounding effects and easily reachable general controllers; and this is where most of the fun begins. On a lot of other instruments, effects are there just for spicing up the sound but here, on Black Magic loop Generator, effects are one of the most exposed and important parts of the instrument. One way or another, I'm almost sure that you will not use it as your main drum sampler, but it can easily serve as a life saver for those silent nights without inspiration or even for adding some crazy moments to your arrangements.

26

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

Random Magic Again, Black Magic Loop Generator looks more like an analog synthesizer and not so much like some of the drum tools that we are used to using. But, on the other hand this uncommon approach could be a good selling point; because who in the world needs another rhythm machine? In the main graphical interface there are plenty knobs which are divided into three main groups: Section, Master and Effects. With all those knobs we could tweak plenty of controls in real time; drastically changing the whole loop or just a particular part of it. In the Section group we can change the shape or character of the sound with various attack, release, distortion and similar controls while in the Effects group we find various gate, delay and other effects. The best sounding, at least to my ear is flanger. It really adds some difference to the loop. In the Master group there are a few similar effects like in the Section group, but with March 2010


one significant difference; they effect the whole loop and not just a part and there are also a few specific controllers such as humanize, swing and effect mix. Along with those three main groups there is also one small modulation matrix type window with all the additional controls for fine tuning some of the samples included in the loop. At the right side of the main graphical interface are ranks of small buttons representing the included samples. This allows us to chose and control which part of the loop will be edited. That is almost all. The only

some additional options that are not so common within this sort of editor. The next one is a mixer window for adding various amounts of the elements from the Section group to each of the separate samples.

presume that this is just the beginning. He constantly improves his products and offers various discounts from time to time, and as time passes by he will be adding some new loop libraries and effects to the main product. Make fun not love.

There is also an option to randomize It only has a couple of drawbacks, and the whole loop -- just a section or just with Black Magic Loop Generator the effects. That's it for the functions. being such a unique tool, I'm pretty In reality you can tweak almost well sure that it will survive in this everything and you can get some tough VST market, as there will be pretty cool and also some weird always be a place for new and fresh results. The main problem that I can approaches. Feel free and download a see is that most of the loops somehow stripped-down free version (Black sound a bit similar. I presume that Magic lite) and try it for yourself. this could be solved with a different Making music should be fun, and if randomizing algorithm. The only other your working with this magical thing that is a bit pesky is a fact that instrument and you're not having while you can import third party any... well then I really don't know samples, you must put them in a what else it could be. Perhaps you sample directory of the Black Magic need counseling or a psychiatrist? Loop Directory first. Other than that, thing remaining, is a thin row everything is fine and ready for fun. It 80 euro VST windows only. containing the main menu buttons for is a pretty unique tool and maybe not http://www.hgsounds.com/shop/instr uments/black-magic-loop-creatordisplaying additional editing windows. for every taste, but if you want VSTi-windows-create-instant-wavsomething special that can add some loops The first one is a sequencer showing new aspect to your music; then 80 various elements of the loop. Every euros is not such a big price. Yes, By Black Magic Love Generator Arsov row is for one sample window which loops sound similar, but the way you could be a bit bigger and less crowded, can manipulate them is pretty but the good thing is that it offers amazing and knowing the developer, I March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

27


112db Redline Reverb by A. Arsov

Why? Why? Why? Because it is small, superior-sounding and it uses less processor power than most of the competitors. That's why I've decided to ask for this little fellow for review. Sixth sense I have plenty of really good reverbs. Yet I find that 2AC Aether maybe sounds a bit better -- especially on acoustic material. It is somehow more rounded and airy. But, at the same time, it uses much more processor power than Redline Reverb. Comparing it to others, Redline Reverb sounds much cleaner and has a really nice, natural, tail. If adding just a touch of reverb, you'll get the impression that all reverbs are good. But, if you push them harder, you will

28

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

notice big differences between bad, The first five good, and excellent ones. 112db's Redline Reverb added a nice amount Now that we are done with abstract of space without adding that terms, it is time for the facts. Redline unnatural metal-like fuzz at the tail. I Reverb has a small graphical interface. tried it along with my best convolution Usually, that sort of thing bothers me. reverbs as well as with my best But in this case, it is a benefit. It has algorithmic ones. After many trials, I just a few knobs and even less reopened all my songs and changed buttons. It is without any hall, plate, all general reverbs to Redline Reverb. room or similar algorithms. After I know it was risky business doing tweaking around a bit you will soon that without redefining the amount on notice that it really doesn't need those. every particular sound, but somehow Additionally, there is a "Preset Heaven" it worked. I did this for two reasons. where you'll find almost everything One, simply because Redline Reverb you'll ever need. ( emulations of sounded noticeably better. Two, it PCM91, 480L, 960L and model 300 uses less than half the processor along with original 112db presets ) power of both my convolution and Almost everything , because I know algorithmic reverbs. there are plenty of people that grumbling about everything. I can hear someone saying, "There is no preset for putting your sofa in a small studio room with a low ceiling!"

March 2010


For the grumblers (not you, of course)

damping sections with high and low controllers, settings for controlling early reflections, and a big decay knob So, you have found a preset for your for all weak eyed people. Addtionally, sofa. But, it still doesn't sound right there are dry, wet and volume knobs, when you sit on it. There is not an equalization section and a late enough space around the “Whoumph!” reverb knob. Last, but not least, is the your bottom made during the sitting preset menu and a place for storing process. No problemo, we can fix that. your favorite presets -- that's it. As Before you lose yourself in those you might expect, everything can be button-knobs, you should know that driven by MIDI, along with a few other double-clicking on them will reset small touches that 112db usually add them to their previous values. to their products. (changeable knob Knowing that, you can start finemode ,, learn, forget etc... etc..) tuning until you find the right “Whoumph!” for your sofa. For this task you have a pre-delay and modulation knobs. There are also

March 2010

For rest of us (not you, of course) That's all. I could be up until dawn writing more details. Perhaps even adding even some bits of source code -- just kidding. However, everything you need to know about Redline Reverb is summed up in the first sentence. It's small, superiorsounding and uses less processor power than most of its competitors. http://www.112db.com/redline/rever b/ 149 Euros in all shapes Mac versus PC VST contra Audio Units etc etc...

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

29


Quantum Leap – Silk by A. Arsov

‌ is smooth, my dear friends. It What is so unique? sounds really, really smooth. It is a unique-sounding sample player buffed O.K. Let's start from the beginning. up with most of the known exotic There are many sound libraries instruments from China, Persia and containing instrumental loops and India. licks recorded with all the instruments that are also represented in the Silk library. Usually those banks are filled with excellent loops and with a few additional multisampled instruments, 30

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

aimed mainly just for correcting some notes inside the loop or adding a note or two. You need to be a hell of a good musician to get some realistic results with those multisampled instruments. The main problem is that most of those exotic instruments are played with some strange sounding glissando notes or they will drastically change character and pitch during


long notes or when it played legato. It is a pure programing nightmare, and if you are not skilled programmer (no, we are not talking about C++ ) you could easily get a headache, even when you merely try to bring some life to an ordinary, plain, classical string section.

what he should sing, and used it with that I haven't had to change anything Silk. Glancing through a few presets, I - but it is good to know that if you do decided to try Qanun and Tar strings need anything, it is all there at the and was amazed with results, so reach of a hand. much so that both lines ended up in this song I recorded some time ago There are also plenty of well suited for my new CD. I even used those effects, and as I discovered later in lines without any additional edits. A the manual, the “real time touch of delay and a bit of equalizing, performance analysis detects legato I listened the demo clips before I that's all. Qanun on the left, Tar on and repetitive playing and responds ordered Silk and was pretty confused. the right and the vocal line straight accordingly� which solved the mystery They claimed that those lines are down the middle. You can smell the as to why we don't need any of those played through the keyboard and are aromatic sticks and feel the spirit of additional effects or controllers for not recorded live, but everything belly dancers. A wet dream for all of hiding any abnormalities. sounded too authentic to be true. I've us bus and railway conductors. decided to give it a try just to find out Der Vogel where the catch is. Die Facts Xiao, Dizi low and high Bawu, Erhu, No catch There are no free lunches on this Zhonghu, Jinhu Pipa, Guzheng, planet (only breakfasts) so this one Yangqin, Sheng, Suona low and hi, No, there is no catch. The technology will cost you 25 GB of your disk space Diruba, sarod, Tanpure, Bansuri, of sampling and programing finally and 535 US dollars along with the Kemenche, Nay, Duduk, Tar, Quanun. reaches a standard that was price of the iLok key if you don't have All these instrument names sound like inconceivable just a year before – one already. I presume that disk some magical prayer or names of realistic-sounding multisampled space and iLok will not be a problem, exotic birds, but thankfully they all Eastern instruments with all the but for that asking price you should sounded much more gentle and kind weirdness they produce to our flat be at least be a semi-pro musician than their names suggest when Euro-American ears. Even my lousy or unmarried person (Don't ask why - played. I imagine that this library is a piano knowledge generated more than you'll know when you'll reach that must-have for all studio professionals, satisfying results. In the past, I've had bridge!). while for the rest of us it will be just a plenty of problems making classical wet dream. But who knows, string libraries sound vivid and After you've sorted out those disk, sometimes those dreams comes true. realistic. Sometimes it seems as wallet and iLok things, you'll get a though you need to be a real solid number of perfectly sounding The Play engine is supported by all conductor, and not just a bus or instruments from Persia, India and major systems, so it is both Mac and railway conductor, to get something China. The best of the best from the Windows compatible, 32- and 64-bit out of these perfectly recorded plucked strings and bowed arsenal. versions, standalone or VST. libraries. Everything is packed inside the Quantum Leaps Play engine, with a by Mr. Smooth Arsov Das Experiment nice and clean graphical interface, and with all the controls you need --- or I wasn't so keen on making some new maybe not! During my test period I've lines, so I loaded a MIDI line that I never needed anything else because had made for a vocalist to show him the samples are already so well-sorted

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

31


Nine Volt Audio’s Action Drums:

Cinematic Edition by David Keenum

32

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


Orchestral and Cinematic drums have been in demand for the past few years. Products like Storm Drums 2 by EastWest Quantum Leap seems to be standard (although some would argue differently), and a number of Tonehammer’s products would certainly fit into the Cinematic classification. If you need “free,” there is the G-Town Church Sampling Project if you are able to find it. There are other products, but you get the picture. The sound is big -sometimes bigger than life! And the samples themselves usually contain the sound of the room. Even if there is EQ and layering, there always seems to be stage reverb included as part of the sound.

the beginning. The REX2 loops are also supplied as Stylus RMX and Kontakt programs. Stylus RMX is somewhat of a standard format for Nine Volt Audio’s releases. They supply videos on how to import and use the loops in Stylus RMX. And, of course, you can use REX2 loops in Propellerhead’s Reason and Record. But with this release they also include the REX2 files incorporated into Kontakt programs. I don’t own Stylus RMX, but I do own Kontakt. So this was a great addition for me!

ranging from simple to complex performances, and 2 Tom hits. The Big Hits folder contains an assortment of mixed hits. These are mixed from some of the Beat Theme folders and titled as such. And they deliver as advertized -- big hits! The One Shots folder contains some extra sounds to help you customize your track. It contains sounds such as a Gong Roll, Cymbal Scrape, Chain Drop, and Brake Drum. Two of the most interesting sounds in this folder are Bass Drum Thumb Rub and Cymbal Choke.

Action Drums: Cinematic Edition is Many use big drums for their power, but the 125-Luster folder uses a lot of organized as 12 project folders called higher-pitched elements. Three Beat Themes, a Big Hits folder, and a folders are in 6/8 time, and the 150One Shot folder. Each of the Beat Exploit 3_4 folder is ethnic-sounding Theme folders is organized as a as well as being in 3/4 time. It uses Nine Volt Audio’s Action Drums: performance, or more specifically, as instruments like Udu, Log Drum, Cinematic Edition fits firmly into this several related performances. They Djembe, and the Bata drum. area of sound design: big sounding come in tempos ranging from 90-170 drums recorded on a stage with the BPM Flex Series is the trademark term BPM and in time signatures of 4/4, sound of the stage included in the Nine Volt Audio uses to describe their 3/4 and 6/8. Each Beat Theme folder samples themselves. But Action .rex2 editing, and it is, to describe in a contains a number of full mix loops Drums: Cinematic focuses on Loops. There are plenty of one-shots for word, impressive. I tried the REX2 and the respective individual loops endings and hits, but this collection is that make up that pre-mixed loop. loops in Reason’s Dr.Rex loop player mainly about loops. and in Native Instrument’s Kontakt. For example, there would be several In both programs I was impressed at Bass Drum loops, each slightly Loops, especially drum loops, are how far I could stretch the loops. You different and varying in complexity usually helpful if you need to work can truly stretch the REX2 loops over and intensity. That way, you can fast, and I’ll say up front that these an amazingly wide range. loops would work great for any kind of build a complete performance. action music. Nine Volt Audio has a reputation for quality loops that are I also used the Acidized loops and One As an example, the 100-Prowl folder well-played and well-edited, and this Shots, and I have nothing but has 86 loops and hits. Twenty of collection certainly lives up to that these are full-mix loops and hits. The compliments for the editing in this reputation. So let’s take a look. rest are loops of individual instrument area as well. The loops played as loops and the One Shots played as performances. There are multiple The Details One Shots, which is a big deal for me! loops and hits for Tom, Surdo, It may seem like a small thing, but if Bamboo, Shaker, Cowbell, and Goat Action Drums: Cinematic Edition you are in a hurry it can become Toes. There are 18 Tom loops, contains 850 loops in Acidized WAV, important quickly. Apple, and REX2 loops, but that’s just March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

33


Cinematic Edition

An Abundance of Choices As I said, Action Drums: Cinematic Edition contains 850 loops. That’s a lot of loops! And for me, the strength of this collection, besides the playing and the sound, is the variety of choices you have. And having so much variety in each instrument’s performance is a big plus! You can customize your performance or build tension by gradually increasing the complexity of the parts. You can also use the combined, premixed loops “as is.” I guess that defeats the purpose of the library, but if you are short on time you do what

you have to do. And you can mix loops from different folders. Again, the REX2 loops open up a lot of possibilities. Choices are a good thing! The Sound and the Fury

First of all, let me say that the loops and one-shots sound great! But to be So will this collection be helpful for your music? It depends on the type more specific, they sound orchestral, of music you create. And it obviously meaning they sound like they were depends on your view of using loops. recorded live on a stage. There is an You’ll have to decide that. But I can obvious reverb from the stage that say that I was impressed by the was used for recording these loops. It quality of playing, the quality of isn’t over-powering, but it’s there. editing, and the abundance of choices Personally, I have no problem with in Action Drums: Cinematic Edition. this approach, but I want you to be

• Forty-four patches/multis for Kontakt are supplied. The patches and multis are organized into three Creator and Distributor: Nine Volt Audio different styles for three levels of mix, performance and RAM usage. The Kontakt Web-Site: http://www.ninevoltaudio.com/ patches/multis utilize the REX2 format (compatible with full versions of Kontakt 3.5 Price: $99.99 and up. Not compatible with Kontakt Player). • Action Drums: Cinematic Edition includes 304 Details: Stylus RMX multi presets that allow the user to • Action Drums: Cinematic Edition contains 850 pull up full mixes of individual loop parts for loops in the REX2, Stylus RMX, Apple Loop and quick and easy customization of the mix. ACIDized WAV formats. Uncompressed .wav file Presets are presented in both single and multicontent is 1.84 GB. channel versions. • Nearly 200 single and ensemble hits are included • Suggested tempos have been given to each suite, for endings, breaks and dramatic impacts; plus but as part of the BPM Flex Series™, every an additional 20 unique one shots (bowed gong, loop can be used at an unusually large tempo metallic impacts, cymbal rolls, etc.) range while retaining their feel and groove (not • Action Drums: Cinematic Edition is organized into applicable to the ACID wav and Apple Loop 12 “Beat Themes.” Each Beat Theme contains files). between 6 and 26 full mix loops (152 total), as • Full-mix loop performances are offered at two well as the individual parts used to make the different tempos for the ACIDized WAV and full mixes (698 loops). This allows the user to Apple Loop formats for an additional 152 loops. easily edit and mix-and-match parts to create custom passages. Sample Resolution: 24-bit/44.1 kHz resolution • Action Drums: Cinematic Edition contains Beat Themes in time signatures 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8 and Formats: REX2, Stylus RMX , Kontakt patches, covers a tempo range of 90-170 BPM. Apple Loop, and ACIDized WAV • Using the Action Drum: Cinematic Edition within Test Computer: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, Stylus RMX requires the user to drag-and-drop 4GB RAM, Windows XP Pro SP 3, Echo MiaMIDI Auonly one folder into RMX’s included S.A.G.E.™ www.WusikSoundMagazine.com March 2010 dio Card Converter. Action Drums: Cinematic Edition

34

aware of it. On the continuum from Storm Drums or Tonehammer Epic libraries to dry accurate studio recording, Action Drums: Cinematic Edition lies somewhere in the middle. The sound is big, but not hyped. The reverb is audible, but not obvious.


Wusikstation

Improving by the minute.

www.wusik.com


Voxengo Soniformer by Ginno Legaspi

Voxengo is a well known company offering good-sounding plug-ins for both Windows and Mac at a very reasonable price. They have a wide range of good choices when it comes to bread and butter processors, but for this feature, we'll take a look at Voxengo's Soniformer - an advanced spectral compressor. According to the info page, Soniformer is a compressor suitable for mastering and sub-mix purposes. This compressor is full of surprises though. Very unique on it's own....innovative, powerful yet easy to tweak, it offers both compression and expansion at the same time. It can be used for that classic warm analog compression, expansion for bass parts and daily general compression duties. Soniformer has the usual compressor controls and then some: Threshold, Attack, Release, Wet Mix, Out Gain, Stereo Link, Width and Pan. There are also buttons for Monitoring, MS Mode, CompMode, Fluffy, Detector and Weighting. The other buttons on the bottom modify the order of processing. You can choose either comp, output gain, width and pan. On the left side of the screen resides the Input Slope and Main Out knobs. A Clip reset button is also in place should you need to use it. There's not the space to explain all these options but Soniformer has tons of control under the hood - to suit your needs. The first thing most users will notice about Soniformer's GUI is its large 32-band spectrum analyzer. It is an analyzer which shows the spectral curve of any source material fed to it. This is where it gets tricky. Voxengo

36

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

states that generally as a rule, if a stereo mix is well balanced, Soniformer will show a "smoother spectral curves with minimal number of peaks and notches" on its display. If not, Soniformer uses compression to balance the mix. You can tweak a mix's sonic structure by defining the graphic envelopes which can contain up to 32 control points. Here are some of the other great features that make Soniformer a neat compressing/expansion tool: - Mid/Side processing - Stereo Width, Stereo Pan and Stereo Linking envelopes - Envelope-driven Parameters - Gain Change Meter - A/B comparison button - Two level detector types and etc. Like most of Voxengo's plug-ins, Soniformer supports sample rates of up to 192kHz, zero processing latency and a mono>stereo & stereo>stereo processing option. A handful of startup presets are available to display its capability. They are well programmed and very usable presets. Soniformer costs $59.95 and it comes as a VST effect for Windows only. I'm hoping that Aleksey Vaneev will work on the Mac AU/VST version and release it because I believe this would be a big hit in the Mac audio community. Most of his other plug-ins have been updated and ported the Mac platform.


Contact: www.voxengo.com Price: $59.95 Format: VST (for Windows-only) Demo: Yes (output occasionally muted) System Requirements: Windows XP (and later 32bit compatible versions), 2GHz multi-core CPU, 1GB RAM

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

37


d16 Group

Toraverb by Ginno Legaspi

The audio software plug-in market is flooded with new effect releases every day, literally. It's a good thing - an exciting time. Producers are spoilt with choices, have a wide selection of tools available for them (to fit in their workflow) and have access to just about any software for their disposal. I admit, I'm a nut when it comes to esoteric effects, delays, and reverbs. I love having a roomful of them. I'm not satisfied with just one or two reverbs in my arsenal. Having many will give me a variety of sound and provide for different choices. I just use the appropriate one that'll fit for the particular mix. Now, with Toraverb's release, "choice-wise" at least, the reverb market just got better. Is this new kid in town ready to win the producers' hearts, or will it be just another reverb?

tone of source material - either dark or bright - going into the reverb. The Early section is then followed by the first parametric EQ with Frequency (20Hz-22kHz), Gain (+/-24dB) and Bandwidth or Q (ranging from 0.5 to 4 Dubbed "Space Modulated Reverb", octaves) knobs. It's a very simple EQ Toraverb has a lot to bring to the table but it helps shape the sound. in terms of control. It is based around two sections: Early and Late, each The Late section has the same with a dedicated single parametric EQ. controls as the Early, plus two more. The Early (also called initial reflection) Feedback generates feedback and can controls include Size, Diffusion and prolong the length of the reverb when Attenuation. The Size refers how short cranked. Bass Cut enables users to or long the emulated space is. The low-cut frequencies from 22kHz down. Diffusion controls the shape and tries It's a neat little feature to decrease to match the reflective surfaces. The muddiness if too many lows are going more you increase diffusion the more through the reverb. As with the Early the early reflection closes together section, the Late section is then making the sound source 'thick' or followed by its own EQ for further 'smooth.' However, stringed sound sculpting. instruments such as the guitar for example, can benefit from less Furthermore, we have a mixer section Details diffusion to give a nice reverberant for the Early and Late reflections effect. d16 states that the diffusing along with other necessary Poland's d16 Group has a reputation algorithm in Toraverb is based on high parameters. The objective here is to of releasing vintage-inspired plug-ins quality modified all-pass filters and have a balance control between the at an unbelievably low price. Toraverb properly tuned parameters; thus two (X-Fader), set the time to start is their shiny reverb unit. In fact, it's resulting in a more natural sound that the reflections (Predelay), to add the 5th plug-in released under the is free from flutter and echo effect. On motion to the reverb's tail Silverline series. Since this is part of the other hand, Attenuation is a (Modulation), to have an overall effect the Silverline effects line, it is damping feature that controls the level (Wet Gain) and set the dry/wet

38

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

plastered with the same sexy GUI like its other siblings we all have grown to love. It's very old-school looking: reminiscent of 70's and 80's consumer hi-fi stereo equipment.

March 2010


FX control. This section is then fed to the output which has a Volume knob and an LED meter.

a lot of CPU resources with highest-quality setting enabled. Nonetheless, it sounds very good.

Finally, Toraverb ships with a handful of stock presets that Impression are nicely programmed, although it gives you the option to store your own. Even if you're not a tweaker, it doesn't Kudos to d16 for creating such a good sounding reverb. take a rocket scientist to come up with good sounds. As The addition of the 'Modulation' parameter is a nice touch. simple as this reverb is, just start messin' with the dials Toraverb is great and musical. It has a character of its own and you'll discover its beautiful sound. Toraverb also gives - undeniably 'unique'. I can see it as a reverb dedicated to you a user-definable quality setting. You have the option give a good, nice wash to 'EFX' type sounds. It would be to switch from low-quality to high-quality (SINC32 suitable mostly in ambient and experimental tracks, in my interpolation) settings - depending on your CPU. Note that opinion. It's not a one-stop reverb unit but Toraverb high-quality demands a lot but you'll get a very good hugely compliments the other reverbs I have. With its sound. On my 2.4 GHz Quad DAW, Toraverb was hogging sound and cheap price you can't go wrong. This is a must buy!

Contact: contact@d16.pl, www.d16.pl Prrice: â‚Ź35 (Silverline Collection and Total Bundle are available) Copy Protection: Key file Format/System Requirements: PC:Windows 2000 or later, 2.0 Ghz CPU minimum, 512 MB RAM and VST host Mac: OS X 10.4 or higher, Intel based 2.0Ghz minimum, 512 MB RAM and AU or VST host.

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

39


FilterShaper2 Total Movement Control by Tomislav Zlatić

Automating stuff in modern DAW's is an amazing and fun experience, NOT! Adding proper movement to various elements of a mix certainly adds more interest to a track, but it also adds more gray hair to the poor producer's head, because, more often than not, some serious fiddling with little dots on a computer screen is needed to get

40

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

the job done right. Of course, one can always choose the fun way and simply record an automation sequence using knobs on a MIDI controller, but such affair won't necessarily come out with satisfactory results. In fact, every time I choose this method, it actually ends up with me re-tweaking the recorded performance countless times

March 2010

in search for a perfect automation sequence. The more complex those automation curves become, the more I wish my plugins had the power to automate themselves. Well, maybe some day we will have such intelligent plugins at our disposal, but for now let's check out FilterShaper2, an advanced filter effect with unique


modulation capabilities which seem to make the automation process less stressful and more fun.

type of a breakpoint, is achieved by clicking or dragging the breakpoints around the screen using the mouse. Left-clicking on empty First impressions, whistles space inserts a new and bangs breakpoint, while right-clicking an existing breakpoint will Once FilterShaper2 is loaded, toggle the amount of the first two things that attract curvature it adds to a attention are its clean and waveform. This way, we can sleek design, and of course a define whether the specified big waveform editor, which breakpoint will create a sharp takes the whole upper half of saw-like curve, a soft the screen. This modulation sinewave-like curve, or a third envelope editor is the most type of curve which is unique feature of FS2, making somewhere in between the it stand out when compared to two already mentioned. There other filter plugins with builtare ten memory slots available in LFO's, so let's take a look at for storing different it first. The editor workflow is waveforms. A quick toolbar based around using a desired located in the lower-right number of breakpoints to corner of the editor offers define the shape of a useful functions such as waveform, which is a concept reversing or expanding the similar to the one usually existing waveform, generating found in vector graphics basic waveforms like sines, or editing software. Up to 20 of squares for example, and also these breakpoints can be taking a snapshot of the applied to a single waveform, current waveform for later use. allowing anything from Sadly, there is no quick undo creation of the most simple function available in the shapes, to high-detail waveform toolbar, which is envelope tweaking. Modifying quite a surprise considering the shape of a waveform is the large number of other quite a simple process, as all available features. In some the action that takes place cases though, changes made inside the editor.Adding, inside the editor can be deleting, and modifying the undone using the host's undo March 2010

feature, but not all hosts support this. Thus, a built-in undo function would be a nice addition to the feature list of some future version of FilterShaper. The movement machine Once a waveform is ready for use, it can be linked to one or more different LFO's. There are four LFO slots available in total, each with individual waveform, speed and synchronization settings. If set to operate in free-running mode, an LFO can be pushed from 0,020 Hz up to 5,24 kHz, while the synchronization ratio ranges from 1/128th notes, all the way to 32 bars. The LFO engine always stays in sync with the host, even if we skip a part of the song or modify the song's sample rate. There is no option to retrigger an LFO using midi notes, although the desired effect can be achieved using a bit of in-host automation. Still, a key-retrigger option would be a nice addition to speed things up, especially when using FilterShaper2 to create complex wobble-style basslines often found in genres such as dubstep and DnB.

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

41


FilterShaper2

Proper party needs proper sound All these in-depth envelope shaping and modulation possibilities would be rather pointless if it turns out that FilterShaper2 can't offer filters of high enough quality to rival their standalone counterparts. But thankfully, the built-in filters sound great, and they don't disappoint even when subjected to serious abuse by multiple LFO's. FilterShaper2 offers 10 filter types, all of which are the standard LP, HP, BP and NP filters with varying slope settings. There are two filter slots available, both offering standard cutoff, resonance and volume controls, with an interesting addition of a pan control knob. A dropdown menu positioned below the two filter slots allows us to choose if the selected filters work in serial or parallel mode. When parallel mode is engaged, the filters will be automatically panned to the opposite sides of the stereo image, resulting in an instant perception of extreme width being added to the processed sound. This, of course, can be changed if the user wants to use the parallel mode for different purposes, but the described instant stereo effect is indeed a nice touch. The serial mode on the other hand, arranges the filters in a serial chain. This way, the filter selected in the second slot will be receiving the signal that has already been processed by the filter in slot number one. This can be useful for various creative

42

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

purposes, but can also come in handy if we wish to clean up the low frequency rumble from a signal, by applying a HP after it leaves the first filter.

Final thoughts

The plugin is stable, it did not crash during this test, and the CPU load is really low – around 5% on a modest processor such as the Intel Atom. It Connecting the pieces takes some time to load on slower machines though, but nothing to be So, now that we have all the basic concerned about. FilterShaper2’s vast modules covered, it's time to see how modulation capabilities and userthey work together. All the friendly workflow, make it a great tool connections are managed inside the for adding movement to static sounds, modulation patchbay located in the but it can also be used as a glitch lower right corner of the GUI. The way effect, capable of completely mangling in which this patchbay is designed can the audio on the input. only be described as "simplicity at its FilterShaper2 is priced at €49, and a finest," since there are no generous nag-free demo allows you to unnecessary buttons and knobs completely test the plugin before present, nor anything that could purchase. Also worth mentioning are detract and cause confusion. To FilterShaper’s two younger brothers, activate a connection, all we have to VolumeShaper2 which offers the same do is to select the appropriate functionality minus the filters, and source/target slot and enter the PanCake, which is a free plugin that desired modulation percentage. We can be used to modulate panning. All can use up to ten modulation targets three plugins are available for in total, including each filter's cutoff, purchase at the official Cableguys resonance, volume and pan settings, website. and also the global volume and pan. All of these can be modulated at the same time, even by using multiple LFO's for the same target. Finally, to take things even further, every component of FilterShaper2 can be automated in the traditional way, which means that we can use MIDI automation to control all of the knobs, LFO settings, and even movement of a waveform's breakpoints!

March 2010


A quick test Here is a simple and quick example of FilterShaper2 workflow. Let's imagine that we've just started working on a new track. We have a powerful pad sound playing in one channel, and a standard four on the floor type loop going on in the other. Now, let's insert one instance of FilterShaper2 in the pad channel. Draw a simple ramp waveform as shown in the image below, add a 12 dB LP filter and connect it to LFO1. Here comes the fun part.

In LFO1 settings, choose Wave1 and set the beat synchronization to 16 bars. This results in an instant evolving pad type sound, perfect for 16 bar buildups. That was pretty neat and quick, right? Note that this setup can be saved as a preset and loaded up every time a quick buildup is needed. Now set LFO1 sync to 1/4 notes. The evolving atmospheric drone instantly transforms into a classic sidechain-style pumping sound. When compared to classic sidechain compression setups, using FilterShaper2 to achieve this “ducking” effect allows more control over the sound, as the envelope is not controlled by the kick, but completely customizable instead. Finally, let’s really test these filters out. Set LFO1 sync 1/128 notes and lower the cutoff frequency if needed.

This makes the pad sound like an unusual saw waveform. Notice how, even though the filter is pushed to it limits, it doesn’t add strange artifacts to the sound, and still sounds liquid. This new sound can now be bounced, and loaded into a sampler for further tweaking.

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

43


Get Your Wusik Membership Today


and Download This Magazine in High-Quality PDF Format plus, a Full Copy of Wusikstation and Tons of Sounds

Visit: www.subscribe.wusik.com


IK Multimedia

SampleTron by Ginno Legaspi

Italy's IK Multimedia has been active in developing all kinds of audio tools for the daily producer since it was founded in late 90's. They have the reputation of constantly releasing awesome guitar/bass processing softwares and mix/mastering software products. Let us not forget that they were one of the first companies to produce a large sample-based instrument in SampleTank. IK Multimedia has continued that tradition in SampleTron - a virtual instrument with the most complete collection of Tron instruments ever. GUI, Details and Content SampleTron's interface is pretty straightforward. Since it uses the same playback engine as its other ROMpler siblings (SampleTank and SampleMoog), and although there are slightly subtle differences between the layout GUI-wise, producers will feel right at home with its interface. The GUI mainly consists of four sections; Mix, Instrument Browser, Synth-Sampler and Effects Unit. The Mix window allows users to create mix parts of up to 16 layerable instruments. Splits across the keyboard range can also be created. The Instrument Browser enables the user to select sounds in an instant...fast. The content is very well organized and each instruments has its own list of patches. You can also customize your 'sounds' search by typing in keywords. The Synth-Sample part gives the user a sophisticated section capable of manipulating, processing and stretching sounds with its 50+ parameters. The controls are divided into 9 sections that include Synth, Range, Macro, Envelope 1-2, LFO 1-2 and Velocity. Other notable controls include two AHDRS envelopes, velocity-sensitive, LP, HP and BP filters in 6-, 12-, 24 dB choices and polyphonic and monophonic key modes. If you're a patch tweaker or sound designer, from the ground up these controls are very handy for new

46

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

sonic creations. Considering the simple GUI layout, making your own presets takes no time at all. SampleTron also allows users to switch between 3 different types of sampling engines; the newly enhanced STRETCH, Pitch-Shift/Time-Stretch and Resampling. Additionally, the Multi-Effects section offers 32 powerful effects for sweetening up sounds. These effects are chainable, and there are enough dials to sculpt the presets to your liking. The Effects Unit covers mostly bread-andbutter effects (reverb, delay, chorus, flanger, etc.), but there are some really cool ones that will morph an easily recognizable classic sound into something never heard


Contact: www.ikmultimedia.com Price: â‚Ź169.99, $229.99 (crossgrades available) Copy Protection: Challenge/Response Format/System Requirements: PC: 2.3 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 2 GB RAM, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, VST, RTAS Mac: 2.3 GHz Intel Core Duo processor, 2 GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.4.4 or later, AU, VST, RTAS.

include Mellotron M400, Mellotron MK5, Mellotron MKII, Powerhouse, Novatron, Vako Orchestron, Optigan, Talentmaker, Chamberlin Music Master 600, Chamberlin Music Master 400, Chamberln Model 200, Chamberlin M1, Chamberlin M4, Chamberlin Rhythmate, 360 Systems Digital Tron, Stylophone and Roland VP-330 Vocoder. The Mellotron M400 was the original instrument that used the tape-playback system. Other Tron releases after the M400 were just variations of the original. However, three instruments included in this collection, namely the Optigan, Talentmaker and Vako Orchestron, used an optical disc for sound playback. The 360 System Digital Mellotron, one of the earlier digital ROMpler, was an 8-bit sample-playback keyboard known to many as the 'Digital Tron'. My favorite of the list is probably the Roland VP-330 because it was a quality instrument in its time. It's capable of producing choir sounds, which was nice, and known to be one of the early vocoders. Impression Kudos to IK Multimedia for creating such a goodsounding virtual instrument. I'm pretty sure there was before. I love the synth-based effects, such as the AM and a lot of planning and research involved in producing FM modulation, Crusher, Multi-filter and Slicer because SampleTron. Not to mention the recording and sampling of they add interest to the stock sampled sounds. I also love each instrument, editing the samples had to be a laborious the Phonograph and Lo-Fi effect for that instant 60's task. It takes time to sample each of the 17 instrument classic dirt. and IK Multimedia did a great job because it sounds terrific. The patches are very playable and musical to my The 1.8 GB core library of SampleTron sound is housed in ears. If you've been wanting a Tron instrument before and a special customized version of SampleTank player in VST, you couldn't afford to buy the real thing, this definitive RTAS and AU format. It ships with 694 sounds (415 Tron collection is the way to go. Not only is it affordable, presets, 279 sample-based) from 17 rare and vintage but you can't go wrong with the rare instruments included. collectible instruments of yesteryear. With plenty of Own a modern piece of vintage instrument in SampleTron. instruments in this collection it is supposed to be the onestop anthology of 'Trons'. The sampled instruments

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

47


Catanya

7 Aliens

Catanya by A. Arsov

but in this case I'm afraid that the end result will be a bit Kylie Minogue-ish. The first reason is that all patterns are heavily quantized, and the second reason is that there is not an unlimited number of patterns. For this Catanya in general latter reason it could easily happen that someone makes something This is a pattern arpeggiator – sort of – similar to what you did. as it is not the one you have and use. It is more a sort of MIDI helper. One Nevertheless, whenever you get stuck which will help you find some in a song, it might be that you just interesting and cool rhythmical need a little push from the outside. patterns to go along with your chord Something to get you away from your progressions. It will also help you to old habits. And, this is exactly what find some interesting bass lines you'd you'll get with Catanya. One of the never think about. Catanya is not well-known DJs from my country represented as an almighty composing surprised me some time ago when he tool that will make a whole song for said that he usually starts his songs you. Of course this is not impossible, by looping small parts of publicly No, this is not just another equalizer, nor just another reverb or filter, or whatever we already have in a dozen recreations while still searching for another better one.

48

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010

available MIDI files until he finds something interesting. Basically – that is Catanya – a handy tool for helping you to start a song or finding your way out. Use your drum loop, produce a keyboard part with Catanya, add your bass and you are more than halfway there. You will get something original combining pre-programmed parts with your recorded ones. I always have problems to compose those fast trance bass lines, and now I can easily find appropriate patterns with this little fellow. All you need to do is to record few simply chords, or just a few long notes in your sequencer. Then, because Catanya is still essentially an arpeggiator, add Catanya as an input to your sound source.


Catanya in details There are 1,200 pre-programmed patterns for all sort of instruments covering most of the popular genres. They are all neatly arranged in groups and subgroups. It is dead easy to make your own. The editing window is big enough and pretty straightforward. So, you have to be an unlucky person to lose yourself in such a simple and straight-to-the point interface. At the bottom is a row of velocity sliders whose settings are usually preprogrammed and saved along with patterns. There are also two additional

sliders, one for general volume and a second one for expanding or reducing the velocity level. The arpeggiator window can be also expanded or reduced from one to thirty-two sequencer steps. One click away is a nice, big browser with all the patterns ranked by genre and instrument. Browsing and changing the patterns is a one-click wonder, and it works like a breeze. The price is also right – 45 Euros. So, all in all, Catanya is a pretty affordable and innovative musical tool. It could be that this is not a "must

March 2010

have� for everyone. But, feel free to surprise yourself and go visit the 7Aliens web site, watch the presentation videos and decide on your own. Whether it suits your particular needs or not; Catanya will still remain as one hell of a good idea which bring some fresh ear in this virtual musical market. http://www.7aliens.com/productcatanya.php 45 Euro, (video tutorials are free of charge ;-) )

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

49


by A. Arsov

Hollywood in a Box!

so on. I presume they are intended for instant use, so everything is pre-recorded with solid doses of reverb. I 40 construction kits filled with “Tarzan is coming, hide the was not so exited about this fact but thankfully the reverb gorilla, Jane” sort of high energy epic drum sounds. From they use is not a cheap one, so with a touch of a gate Odyssey 2001 type big drums through, “attention, everything could be solved and successfully incorporated attention” snares and everything that is in between. You into a different sort of non-cinematic arrangement. As you will get files containing full mixes along with files of all the can imagine – my golden rule is: never use the thing for layers or should we say: "all the separate elements used what it was intended. So, I've used a big drum layer as a in the mix." Big drums, snares, background for some of my pop songs and it works very extra snares, tom toms, well. shakers, hats and Ordnung ( order ) Over 1200 loops and phrases. Every construction kit is signed with the tempo used -- from 65 to 180 bpm -cleanly recorded and sorted. Plenty of good and useful material, even for non-cinematic producers. I can easily imagine some of the included elements in a Trance or R'n'B production. These days it is hard to find really good big drum sounds, and these are really big. Happy Ending 2.7 Gigabytes for 87 euros. It is up to you, because this is a really, really specific library. I ordered it and have no regrets. The full dvd weights in at almost 7 Gigs of material, but that is mainly because you get the same material in various formats: Acid, Apple loops, Rex, Rmx, Wav and also as Kontakt patches. The last one contains all samples mapped along the keyboard waiting for you to stretch, squeeze or smash them to suit your needs. Happy Alternative? At the very least you can use any of these full mix phrases as a special ring-tone to let you know your mother in-law is calling. Listen to audio demos or buy at: http://www.bestservice.de/detail1.asp/big_fish_audio/ep ic_drums/en Big A. Arsov from Epic Wusik Sound Magazine

50

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


by Bobo

Before getting into the review of Sakura let’s have a multiple choice quiz and a little bit of humor. Okay, quiz first. Sakura is:

Before digging in - sorry, did it again - The instrument allows for the control let’s cover “tech specs” and pricing. At of things like how the strings are hit, string tension and damping; also, how press time, Sakura was $99. Compatible Windows versions are XP, the strings interact. You can define Vista, and 7. Compatible OSX versions what the instrument body is like in terms of shape and material. Beyond are 10.4 and 10.5. The plug-in A) Japanese for Cherry Blossom the instrument itself, there are tools formats are FL Studio, VSTi 2.4, B) String physical modeling to shape the sound of the space that AudioUnit (OSX only) and Standalone instrument by Image-Line the instrument is in. There is also a for Windows or OSX. Hardware-wise, C) Oriental Buffet Restaurant in generous set of instrument presets your Windows system needs a 2Ghz Illinois that includes Bass, Keyboard, Guitar, Intel Pentium 4 compatible CPU with D) All of the above Pad, Percussion, Sound Effects and, of full SSE support and your Mac needs course, Strings. You could easily use an Intel CPU or G4 PowerPC with full the presets as starting points for your Altivec support. In either case the own sounds. computer needs 512MB RAM and 30MB of disk space. You can check If you said D, you are CORRECT! Now, let’s explore Sakura more inout current pricing, specs and grab a Nicely done! Ok, now for a bit of depth starting with the interface. demo at http://www.imageline.com/documents/sakura.html. humor. How is Image-Line’s Sakura While pretty, the Sakura interface can better than A and C? Sakura, the be a little overwhelming at first-glance. For the review, the VST version of virtual instrument, can be enjoyed I thought that I was looking at the Sakura was tested in Acid Pro 7, year-round and, it won’t leave you VST equivalent of the backseat of an FLStudio 9, and Live8. The VST hungry after 30 minutes of using it! F-15. Fortunately, once you learn a version was used by itself and with little about the interface’s design it The official description of Sakura is, “... multiple instances open at the same becomes less intimidating and very time. Each instance played back a the string physical modeling intuitive. different midi file and instrument instrument, to express the delicacy sound with no noticeable degradation According to Image-Line, the interface and beauty of stringed sounds.” of performance. The test system was Sounds like a fancy description for design and workflow follow a 5-stage a desktop PC running Windows 7 one of many downloadable string“hamani-process” - Hamani meaning synths, right? Well, yes, but Sakura is Home (32-bit) with a dual core 2.2 the custom of enjoying the beauty of a lot deeper than your average string- GHz Intel CPU and 3 GB of Ram. Sakura. The 5 stages are Contact, synth. Sakura isn’t just about making Vibration, String interaction, Now that the geeky stuff is handled harps and guitars. You can create Resonance and Acoustics. Before let’s talk about creative stuff. Starting getting into the five stages, take note percussion, keyboards, pads and with an overview of the creative sounds that haven’t even got a name of the master control panel at the top control provided by Sakura. Then we’ll at the which contains controls for yet. Maybe even some that should see in greater detail just how fine the never be heard again. With that said, preset loading, tuning, volume and level of control is when we start Sakura, is by no means a "one-tricksuch. For now, have a look at the left exploring the interface. instrument." Please for give the pun, of the middle section where the but I prefer to refer to it as: An Exciter is located. This is where Endless Buffet of Sounds. workflow starts. Workflow progresses

52

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


left to right as you shape your new sound. By the way, if you haven’t downloaded a demo yet it might be more fun to mess with it live vs. peeking at the screenshots while we go though the 5 stages. It’s Mac and Windows friendly and you can get it here http://www.imageline.com/documents/sakura.html. All set? Let’s make Contact!

Stage 1 of making sounds in Sakura, or Contact, refers to the Exciter. As you may have guessed it controls the actuation of the strings. Moving the slider up toward click creates a plucking and picking sounds. For bowed or scraped sounds, slide down toward noise. To the right of the Exciter are the Hi Cut and Low Cut which refine the output of the exciter; allowing you to shape the sound from plucked to finger-picked for example. We have contact!

Stage 2, also called Vibration, is where you set the dampening, tension, string decay, rate of decay and ratio of the strings. Ok, now that we have some good vibes going, let's head to Stage 3.

Stage 3, or Interaction, is where you can tweak the stereo-spread; the balance between string 1 and 2 and add some saturation. There are also ADSR controls that affect the overall output of both stings. Now that the strings are plucked, what about the body of the instrument and its effect on the sound?

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

53


Stage 4, the Resonator, defines the shape and material of the instrument being created in the same way the material or shape of a physical instrument helps define its volume or tonal quality. The Resonator in Sakura gives access to 8 different frequencies. Each has a slider to tune the frequency and a feedback knob to determine how much the frequency affects the sound. There are also on/off buttons for each frequency. With the strings plucked and the instrument body defined, it’s time for Stage 5: Acoustics.

54

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


For the purposes of illustration, and because this a review not a tutorial, our Stage 5 begins below the Modulation Matrix. The Acoustics controls are at the bottom of Sakura’s interface. This is where you modify the acoustic space around the instrument and finalize your sound. Here you will find Delay, Chorus and Reverb controls. As with the Resonator frequencies, each has an on/off button.

See, not so intimidating. Hopefully, your appetite has been whetted to explore Sakura on your own to see how truly dynamic this instrument is. For more indepth details on the interface, Sakura’s help file is succinct enough that you won’t pass out reading it. And, hopefully by press-time, or shortly after, Image-line will have posted Sakura tutorial videos on their website. In summary, as with many other Image-Line products you get a product that is worth far more than its asking price. In the case of Sakura, for $99 you get a wonderfully dynamic instrument that can create its advertised sound. But also, includes a tremendous amount of fine control to create new and unique sounds. The interface is designed to move you through the process of creation with a very good workflow. It sounds great and is easy on your computer resources.

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

55


Soundware Round-Up by Ginno Legaspi

Sample Magic Sunrise Sessions Sample Magic is back with another treat for producers called Sunrise Sessions. As the name suggest, this library aims to cover the mellow-type genres, i.e. downtempo, chill and all sorts of laidback music. Just like the first volume, Sunrise Sessions picks up where Sunset Session left off; offering lots of slow grooves, lazy pianos and eps, soothing strings, tasty guitar licks and inspiring saxophones. This sample pack offer lots of organicbased sounds, although sifting through the different loop folders I found that there are a bunch of synthetic sounds, too. You'll find 982 loops/samples (1 GB) in WAV, Apple AIFF loops, REX2 and Stylux RMX formats grouped in tempos of 80, 90 and 100 BPM. Different samplers are also supported with patches for NN-XT, Halion, Kontakt and EXS24. The patches mostly cover percussion instruments, but the choices of sounds supplied on the DVD is astounding - really useful material. If you're a producer looking for live instrument sounds to augment your electronica production, Sunrise Sessions is a good investment. Head over to Sample Magic's site and listen to the audio demos yourself. CONTACTS: www.samplemagic.com 56

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

www.soundstosample.com FORMAT: - 2.70 GB CD/DVD multipack (2,771 files), includes Audio, 24-bit WAV's (982 MB, 982 files), Stylus RMX compatible REX2 files (413 MB, 579 files), Apple Loops (712 MB, 581 files) plus EXS24, Reason NNXT, Kontakt II and Kontakt Monolith and Halion patches. LIST PRICE: ÂŁ58.67 DVD/CD, ÂŁ49.95 (download from SoundToSample) Best Service K Size Minimal Edition This debut sample DVD from K Size Audio is geared towards producers, DJ's and live acts looking for loops and sounds for their next club March 2010

smasher. It features over 2800 samples that were created with great detail; they're all very well done and have that authentic minimal feel. When I auditioned the "ACID WAV" folder, drum loops are broken down to 4 sub-folders; 'Add-on' would be your kick-free loops, 'Full' are complete drum loops ready to drop in your production, 'Hihat' are loops with just sizzling highs and 'Percussion' are, you guessed it, percussion elements. The loops are recorded in 44.1kHz/16-bit (all at 127 BPM) but K Size Minimal Edition also offers oneshots such as vocal cuts, FX's, synths and basses. If you fancy making electronic drum kits of your own, drum hits such as percussion, claps, snares, kicks and cymbals are also provided. The choices are astounding. Not to mention that these sounds


were recorded in a state-of-the art facility, so you know that the materials you're getting are of high quality. Bottomline: Get ready to be inspired. CONTACT: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2/Apple Loops - 5.4 GB content, 44.1 kHz/16-bit stereo format - Live, Halion, Battery, Kontakt, EXS24, Reason & Stylus RMX/SAGE

instruments folder sounds amazing Zero-G and are very well recorded with just Nu Jointz II - Droppin Like Its the right amount of sheen on top. I wish there were more of these on Nu Jointz II is the follow-up to Zerooffer. Also included are really useful G's Pro-Samples Series called "Nu wind instrument loops that can stir Jointz" release a couple of years ago. creativity when making a composition. A special version of Native A nice addition of vocals folder and Instruments' Intakt sampler powered various instrument multi-samples the first volume for loop playback. round out the material on the CD. This time Vol. 2 is offered in different Although The Legend of China has audio formats (WAV/AIFF/REX2) as been out for a couple of years this is a well as a lot of patches for EXS24, library worthy of having. NN-XT and Kontakt samplers. CONTACT: www.discoverysound.com www.loopmasters.com

LIST PRICE: FORMAT: $125 Discovery Sound The Legend of China Being from the Far East originally (I now reside here in the US) it's good to review an ethnic sample library such as this one, and discover (no pun intended) the superb Eastern instruments used in making it. Discovery Sound's The Legend of China contains samples, loops, phases, oneshots and effects from classic Chinese instruments, Chinese opera singers and variety of everyday sounds made by everyday people. All the performances contained herein faithfully recreate the essence of Chinese folk music. There are many exotic percussions including ban gu, luo and zhong, as well as beautifully recorded traditional string instruments, like, pipa, gao hu and yang qin. The zheng loops and one-shots under the stringed

- ACID/WAV (387 files)/REX2 (198 files)/AUDIO (62 tracks) - Audio CD for auditioning - 44.1 kHz/16-bit format LIST PRICE: $55

Nu Jointz 2 is fat on the content and includes 1.7 GB of samples (over 1300 24-bit files) of fresh hiphop beats, funky grooves, tasty lo-fi delicacies, one-shots and various drum hits. The bulk of this collection are the slammin' 38 construction kits, which come in a variety of keys and tempos ranging from 83 to 122 BPM. Each kit is

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

57


Soundware Round-Up

comprised of several loops for an electronically glaced pop with a touch Unfortunately the samples themselves instant song template or of urban flavor thrown in. The 1.5 GB can't be loaded into other samplers, accompaniment - just add vocals or of material has everything you need say Kontakt or ESX24, but Elastik is rap and you're good to go. to produce your next hit. The 20 more than capable of simple mangling. Additionally, you'll find diverse, radical construction kits (900 loops) comprise Overall, this is one hot release from and adventurous content here..not plenty of great samples, including Ueberschall - truly a good library for just strictly hiphop. The 'Dance Loopz' urban grooves, synthesizer licks, aiding producers to start up projects. are perfect for dance productions and rumbling bass lines, guitars, tasty contains 152/160/170 BPM loops with percussions, dramatic strings, choir, CONTACT: drums and bass style. There are also horns, diverse atmospheres, special some funky-style drums but the live EFX and lots of massive one-shots. www.bigfishaudio.com drums featuring Steve La Cerra are These samples have to be loaded into also useful for pop productions. FORMAT: the supplied Elastik Player (a special Overall, this is one massive library in zplane-developed player, - Audio Units/RTAS/VST/StandAlone terms of content. The samples are www.zplane.de) in order for them to - Mac OSX 10.4 and higher, PC aplenty...offered in different styles. be played. Once the samples are loaded, you can tweak them according Windows XP, Vista 32 CONTACTS: - Elastik player to taste with a set of controls for - 1.5 GB timestretching and pitchshifting. The www.soundsonline.com samples are flexible under the Elastik LIST PRICE: engine and you can use them as is or FORMAT: save the modified version in your $99.95 production or for later use. Better yet, - ACID WAV, AIFF Apple Loops, export them as WAV's for further Stylus compatible REX2 Big Fish Audio processing. - Kontakt, Reason NN-XT and Earth Tone: World Percussion EXS24 Earth Tone aims to provide - 44.1khz/24-bit format world/ethnic percussion loops to as wide a variety of music styles as LIST PRICE: possible. Everything from hiphop to jazz, to rock and electronic music sub$99.95 genres such as house, DnB and tribal, can be mashed-up with this library. Ueberschall The diverse and wide range of classic Pure Fire ethnic percussion instruments included can add a spicy flavor or Ueberschall's Pure Fire sample pack 'earthy rawness' character to your was conceived, designed and track. Coming in at 6.1 GB of material, produced by Pure Kaozz, aka Kahlil Earth Tone is a huge library with loops Feegel - one of Germany's top-flight made from; bata drum, frame drum, producer whose work can be heard shakers, triangle, angklung, brushes, on Kraftwerk, Dru Hill, Swizz Beats, Chinese opera gong, cymbals, Anastecia - among others. This ain't dumbek, hadjini, hydraulic triangle, no house nor electro - this sample steel slip drum, djembe, timbau and library focuses more on modern,

58

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


Sounds-of-Revolution Kick Free Revolution Vol. 1 and 2 There are a lot of drum loop libraries that offer great drum patterns. They are useful, they sound full and are ready to use by themselves no doubt, but the problem sometimes is that it's hard to integrate them into your hecko hecko - just to name a few. The own drum mixes. Enter Kick loops are broken down to 12 Free Revolution Vol. 1 and 2, a performance folders with tempos collection of drum loops crafted ranging from 72-200 BPM. Each folder with very little or minute lowcontains different instrument loops end. The idea behind a kick free that were recorded and designed to library is nothing new, yet it is work seamlessly with each other. clever. It's intended to give Therefore, it is possible to mix and producers a mix and match match loops for countless option for building new and combinations. Big props to Big Fish for unique drum patterns. doing this. Sound-wise, the recording is very impressive. Most of the The first volume includes 684 samples are useful for mixing in with loops all recorded at 127 BPM. other percussive elements, say, an Most of them would be suitable electronic drum loop. With 922 WAV for electronic music such as files on disc, this is a library to Techno and House, but consider if you want percussions from depending on your creativity, different parts of the world. A true you can use these sounds any gem. way you see fit. The samples are broken down to three main CONTACTS: categories: "Experimental" will give producers effects and www.bigfishaudio.com "something different" sounds, "Main" contain samples that are FORMAT: more of your typical everyday loops and "Perc" would work - 922 Acid WAV, AIFF Apple Loops, perfectly if you need realistic Stylus RMX compatible REX2 percussion elements. While Vol. - 6.1 GB on disc 1 is delivered in DVD disc - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format format, Vol. 2 is a downloadable product at Sounds-ofLIST PRICE: Revolution and Sounds/To/Sample sites. $99.95 Continuing where Vol.1 left off,

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

59


Soundware Round-Up

this library of 611 loops has basically the same formula as the original but it includes 70 deep, round kicks as a bonus. Oliver Schmitt, the man behind SoR, has sprinkled this collection with more diverse-sounding materials than the the first one. You'll find a bunch of hi-hat patterns, 140 club-oriented sounds, tonal loops with 52 melodic beatlines and 100-plus glitched-out loops for experimental enthusiasts. They say that sequels are supposed to be better than the original, and Vol. 2 delivers. Although both libraries are kind of pricey, they are superbly programmed with many usable sounds. CONTACT: www.sounds-of-revolution.com www.soundstosample.com

caters for the 'house' crowd, but subgenres such as ghetto electro, jackin', electro breaks, tech, minimal and punked-up fidget funk are covered as well in this great package. More than 1 GB of bass, drums, effects, music and synth loops (125-128 BPM) are presented in different formats with the inclusion of patches for popular software samplers such as EXS24, Halion and Kontakt. Judging by the packaging and content of Alternative House, the duo are dead serious about their work. A lot of creativity and effort was put in assembling this library and it's evident in the samples themselves - they are properly designed, very fresh-sounding and the drum loops have a unique character (maybe due to the extensive outboard gear used). You can definitely rely on the fact that this library will guide you

www.loopmasters.com FORMAT: - 1 GB+ content - 970 MB Acidised WAV, REX2 Samples, AIFF Apple loops, Reason ReFill, Ableton Live pack, EXS24, Kontakt, Halion and SFZ - 44.1kHz/24-bit LIST PRICE: - ÂŁ39.95 (also available as download)

If you loved Dancehall Madness 1 by Ueberschall, you're going to love Dancehall Madness 2 even more. In terms of size and content (1.7 GB) this sequel is bigger than its predecessor. This collection of 628 loops is grouped into 34 construction kit folders that includes a lot of danceoriented sounds. There are basses, chords, drums, percussions, synths, effects and vocals (two male and one female) - should you need to grab quick authentic dancehall vocals. The sounds are of a high quality, expertly programmed, and have that 'synthetic feel' - well, the banging beats mostly are. It's a multi-style affair with island, roots and Jamaican-influenced party floor fillers. The samples can be easily slipped into any dancehall productions

- WAV/REX2/AIFF Apple Loops/EXS24/Kontakt/StylusRMX REX2 - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format LIST PRICE: 79,99 â‚Ź for Vol.1 and 46,96 Euro for Vol. 2 Loopmasters Marc Adamo & Tim Healy: Alternative House Created with an array of mouthwatering studio gear, Alternative House is a sample pack by the production team of Marc Adamo and Tim Healy. This high-quality 24-bit sample library not only

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

CONTACT:

Ueberschall Dancehall Madness 2

FORMAT:

60

and provide you with samples to kickstart creativity. Highly recommended.

March 2010


Bigfish Audio BollyHood Beats

and work perfectly well with Dancehall Madness 1. Like the Pure Fire library (review above), this is powered by Ueberschall's own Elastik player which allows users to mix, match and layer loops, as well as time-stretch and pitch-shift them. Again, a very convenient, integrated little program if you want to play around and tweak stock samples. CONTACT: www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: - Audio Units/RTAS/VST/StandAlone - Mac OSX 10.4 and higher, PC Windows XP, Vista 32 - Elastik player with 32 construction kits - 1 DVD, 1.7 GB LIST PRICE: $99.99

all 24-bit, 930 files is awesome. The dynamically-played percussion elements and hiphop drum loop seem to meld together beautifully. Think of this as a two-in-one library. Overall, this is a fantastic collection worthy of a look.

If you've seen the movie Slumdog Millionare, you'll notice that Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman spiced up the film with an 'ethnic meets hiphop' score. Not only did the soundtrack have CONTACT: an enormous impact on the film but it gave it a more blockbuster, www.bigfishaudio.com energized Hollywood feel. I've FORMAT: been looking for a typical drum loop library augmented with world - ACID/WAV/REX2/RMX loops but they are hard to find. - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format Finally, Big Fish Audio has put out a solution in BollyHood Beats - a LIST PRICE: refreshing library with urban-based beats, topped with Indian percussion $99.95 elements. BollyHood Beats is produced by Dinshah Sanjana with Sankey Athale (one of India's top percussion player) performing all the instruments. This collection of 92 construction kits, with tempos ranging from 57-110 BPM, contains a full mix of drums and percussion together, a full percussion mix (with or without duff) and individual instrument loops. Although the tabla and dholak get plenty of use here, other instruments recorded include duff, manjira, ghungroo, clay pot and shakers. The recording, performance, editing and mastering of

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

61


Soundware Round-Up

Discovery Sound This is Vietnam Vietnamese music has a history of being heavily influenced by countries such as Japan, Korea, France, Mongolia and mainly by China. The music is as diverse as it gets. It's very unique, flavorful and is made with traditional instruments - both local and foreign. This library from Discovery Sound tries to captures the spirit and vibe of classic Vietnam folk music...for the demanding producer. This is Vietnam, the aptly titled disc, is comprised of 413 files in Acid, WAV, REX2 and Battery, Kontakt and MachFive sampler formats. It includes loops, one-shot phrases and samples of stringed (Dan nguyet, a 2-stringed fretted moon lute), percussions and wind instruments. There are interesting vocal pack (under 'Vox' folder), with male and female voices singing and doing spoken word. I'm not sure how you can integrate this into your productions but they do sound good and the quality is excellent. Since the new generation of Vietnamese embraces rap, 17 loops (80-120 BPM) are thrown in for your hiphop pleasure. Overall, This is Vietnam might not suit everyone but this is one hot collection that is comparable to a large bowl of succulent Pho soup. CONTACT: www.discoverysound.com FORMAT: - ACID/WAV/REX2 62

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

production-ready material. The emphasis seems to be more on the house side of things, but it covers a wide variety of genre especially if you're into more of the dirty and dark side of electronica. Overall, I like this library because of the massive content, the samples are inspirational and uplifting and it's good value for your money. CONTACT: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - Audio CD for auditioning - 44.1 kHz/16-bit format LIST PRICE: $55 Zero-G Progressive House

- ACID WAV/WAV/REX2/AIFF Apple Loops - Reason ReFill/EXS24/Kontakt/Stylus compatible REX2 files - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format LIST PRICE: $69.95

From Zero-G comes this collection of riffs, beats, basslines, FX loops, sub basses, kicks, snares and percussion, one-shot and even patches for the popular softsamplers out there. Progressive House has a lot to offer and the loops are broken down to three different tempos; 122, 125 and 125 BPM. There is also an FX folder with no BPM info on it. The included 560 samples sounds are very polished and the production and recording is top notch. I really like the synth riff's (under 'Riffs' folder) aggressive nature because they provide a good foundation of making electro, progressive and minimal house tracks. Sonically, the samples are very solid and punchy - thanks to its pristine 24bit audio quality - you've got a March 2010


Loopmasters Coldcut Sound Science Coldcut, aka Matt Black and Jonathan More, are successful in the music scene for popularizing cut-andpaste music. They've also been recognized as touring DJ's and for managing their own Ninja Tune label. As if that wasn't enough, they have released their own sample library for Loopmasters. Talk about attainment! Well, this sophomore release called Sound Science is an all-new, freshly recorded sample library. Lifted from their vault, this collection features previously unheard and unreleased material that can make its way into the Drum and Bass, House, Breaks and Hip Hop genre. The loops are split into four tempos - 70, 88, 100 and 133 BPM - with all-inspiring dance-based sounds that cover synths, basses, drums, and vocal and EFX. The sounds are undeniably Coldcut but they are very up-to-date, making them easy to adapt to many styles. I wish there were more samples in the 'Musical Loops' folder, though, as these were very nicely programmed. CONTACT: www.loopmasters.com FORMAT: - 620 MB DVD - Acid WAV, WAV, RMX, REX2, Apple Loops, Reason, Cakewalk, ReFill 147 Patches for Reason, Kontakt, Halion, EXS24, Emulator X2, Ableton Live, SFZ

orchestral hits (stabs, swells, stings and short clips). The 858 loops and samples offered have key and tempo (ranging from 80-165 BPM) information. I love the quality of the loops/samples and the overall performance of the orchestra is delivered in a big, dramatic way. For cinematic, orchestral, TV and film score and other soundtracks, this is one high-quality sample library. Symphonic Manoeuvres 2 is a good buy. This is one library I would recommend to aspiring producers who can't afford to hire an entire orchestra. LIST PRICE: CONTACT: - ÂŁ39.95 (also available as download) Big Fish Audio Symphonic Manoeuvres Vol. 2 Big Fish Audio is back with a sequel library called Symphonic Manoeuvres 2. This 3.5 GB library is an allcinematic affair, focusing on orchestral sounds. Like the original, SM2 is comprised mainly of 10 massive construction kits covering a wealth of fine, real instruments. It is recorded and produced by Stephan Sechi along with Kostas Varotsis at the conducting helm. The kits are broken down into folders that includes a wide variety of orchestral instruments such as; string section, brass section, woodwind section, percussion, piano, harp and a choir. All of these are recorded in total isolation so that producers could have better control of remixing or rearranging parts. To capture every detail of each section, room and closed mic techniques were applied during the recording. Additionally, there are very useful sounds in the bonus category, which includes choir chords, orchestral drones and March 2010

www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: - 6.1 GB on a dual-layer DVD - 3.5 GB Acid WAV, 3.5 GB Apple Loops LIST PRICE: - $99.95

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

63


Soundware Round-Up

mechanical in a very organic way - if that makes sense. They rock, punchysounding and the use of subtle saturation/distortion make them standout. Also, the percussion loops are very tasty as well as the dirty basses. If you've ever wanted to add heavy and pounding feel to your dn'b tracks then this sample library is a must have.

Sample Magic Tribal Tech House This sample pack from Sample Magic covers the modern tribal side of house. Tribal Tech House has 850+ MB of loops, single drum hits and various one-shots in WAV, Apple AIFF loops, and Rex2 formats. Instrument patches for Kontakt, NNXT, EXS24 and HALion are also on offer. As with all other Sample Magic libraries, the production of this library is stunning, nothing mediocre. Most of the material offered are plug and play (ready to use) in any dance production. You could easily drop these samples in an arrangement with minimal adjustments or tweaking. Contentwise, the loops are separated into folders of 125, 127 and 130 BPM many of which are highly useable. There's plenty of groovy drum loops, low-end madness, tasty synth fills, creative FX's, awesome percussions, combi and tops loops that will sure inspire your creativity. This one sure will light up the dancefloor for its authenticity and freshness. CONTACTS: www.samplemagic.com www.soundstosample.com FORMAT: 2.29GB CD/DVD multipack (2,454 files), includes 24-bit Wavs (850+Mb, 796 files), Stylus RMX compatible Rex files (361Mb, 476 files), Apple Loops (534Mb, 476 files) plus EXS24,

64

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

CONTACT: www.loopmasters.com Reason NNXT, Kontakt II and Halion patches. FORMAT: LIST PRICE: £59.95 DVD/CD, £49.95 (download from SoundToSample)

- 850 MB DVD - Acid WAV, REX2, Apple Loops, Reason NNXT, Kontakt Halion, EXS24, Ableton Live LIST PRICE:

Loopmasters Full Cycle Drum and Bass Collective I've always loved live drums and bass sample libraries. There's just something about them that captures my attention. Maybe it's the live performance, or the organic feel to it or the humanised breaks. This 850 MB sample pack from Loopmasters features all that and more. Produced by D Product and UV Ray, Drum and Bass Collective was the result of live recordings at the Channel House Studios using high end vintage gear and the creative use of digital processors. The highlight of this library are the 83 live drum loops recorded in 170 and 175 BPM found in the "Breaks" folder. They're

March 2010

- £39.95 (also available as download)


Soundborder Production Tools Vol. 1 Soundborder's Production Tools Vol. 1 is a sample pack for producers serious about making dance music, such as electro, progressive and tech house. This title offers 35 construction kits with tempos ranging from 123 to 135 BPM. The kits are broken down to individual instrument and drum loops, along with single drum hits and instrument samples folder for your conveniece. The files are in WAV and Apple Loops - all in prestine 24-bit format. Since Soundborder is known to offer professional sound design sound design and commercial soundsets they've included on this 3.5 GB DVD some multi-sampled instuments (premapped for Kontakt sampler), synthesizer presets (for Albino 3, Vanguard, V-Station) and MIDI files (of the audio loops) should you need to rearranged the loops. This is a nice touch from Soundborder. This little neat feature surprises me because I've not come across a library offering so much content with the ability to edit and modify the contruction kits to your liking. Sound-wise, the audio material is high quality and there's plenty of starter loops to inspire you...making this a good buy. CONTACT: www.soundsonline.com FORMAT: - ACID WAV/AIFF Apple Loops - Kontakt instruments and synth presets for various softsynths - 44.1 kHz/24-bit format

recording's top notch. I love the 'Spectrum' and 'Good Feelings' construction kits. I enjoyed auditioning and listening to the individual loops. Some great usuable stuff here. Now, put on your club gear and head straight to the dancefloor where Mirrorball is waiting. CONTACT: www.bigfishaudio.com FORMAT: - 4.36 GB on disc - 699 WAV Loops LIST PRICE: - $99.95 LIST PRICE: $125 Big Fish Audio Mirrorball A large assortment of silky smooth house loops divided into 39 construction kits with a touch of urban flavor. The contruction kits have the usual elements that make up a song eg. drums, keys, bass, etc., but there are also an additional drum hits folder included. Nice! Mirrorball is offered in WAV, Acid WAV, Apple Loops, Rex2 format, and an RMX installer is also available should you need it. The kits have tempos ranging from mild 100 to banging 135 BPM. The 4.36 GB of material is not strictly house but this pack offers some radio-friendly, poppish loops good for creating disco house. It's got cool content enough to satisfy even the most demanding hiphop producers. Quality-wise, the March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

65


what’s on your amp

The Tain by Horslips by Squibs

This is a retro edition of “Whats on your amp.” It’s another one of those stories that I start with “Back in the 60's when I was a teddy boy.”.I’ll be waxing lyrical today about a concept album called “The Táin” by an Irish band called Horslips. The 70’s were an odd time for music. Guitars got heavier, hair got longer, drugs got stronger, morals got looser and the synthesizer became ubiquitous. Prog rockers were responsible for grave crimes against music in those troubled times. You see, synths cost an arm and a leg in those days, and they were hugely complex. This meant that the keyboard player had to start recouping the cost of the investment before they had properly mastered their modular monster. Programming these beasties involved moving patch leads around and twisting knobs, until the local dogs stopped howling and a sound emerged which was audible to the human ear. If a sound designer was to recreate the sound today, they would probably name the patch “Badger Flatulence”. The keyboard player called it art, and subjected fans to 15 minutes of art solo in the middle of most songs. Once the keyboard solo was done, the vocalist, keen to reassert his authority over the keyboard player, would resume with gusto. Most prog rock concept songs

66

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

March 2010


seemed to involve various fragments of history, myths and acid-trip flashbacks combined into an improbable storyline. While Merlin and Winston Churchill battled a horde of rampaging biker Orcs at Stonehenge, the keyboard player would be transcribing a particularly obtuse piece by Rachmaninoff backwards, in preparation for the outro section. And so concept albums, justifiably, got a bad name. I’d only heard of Horslips on a grey day back in 1987, when I took a chance on the discounted album in my local record store. Had I known it was a concept album, I would have steered clear. I’m glad I didn’t know. Horslips melded traditional Irish music with rock and managed to do it successfully. They were a landmark band. Filling the dancehalls in the 70s and stealing the thunder of the show bands. Ultimately heralding in a new era in Irish music. “The Táin” is based on the story of Táin Bó Cúailnge or The Cattle Raid of Cooley. It is an Irish legend dating from the 12th century, but based on the first century A.D. The story revolves around a queen intent on stealing a prize bull from a hero warrior.

Horslips managed to capture the The album also has some dark essence and atmosphere of the tale introspective moments, such as the remarkably well. It is one of those desolate “Cu Chulainn's Lament” rare albums that is greater than the where the verse words are sum of its parts when played from accompanied by a plaintive flute: start to finish. The songs are tuneful and emotive, mixing traditional Irish “You felt the chill of midnight ice instruments and songs with classic As I broke your heart in two. rock riffs. Some pieces are entirely And I felt the kiss of emptiness instrumental, and beautifully As I watched your life turn blue orchestrated. All members were, and still are, fine musicians. The inevitable Life was a game. synthesizer part pops up from time to Now I miss your name; time, but is generally used for Your golden hair. background pads. No more in your eyes is the blue of skies The standout track on the album is Only shame.” undoubtedly “Dearg Doom”, with one of the most outstanding guitar riffs of Following a court battle, Horslips all time. If you have ever heard it recovered the rights to their back you’ll recognize it instantly. If you’ve catalogue a number of years ago, and never heard it, you’ll remember it subsequently remastered and reforever after listening to it once. The released it. They’ve even played some lyrics are evocative, if a little gigs in recent times, to huge acclaim. indulgent: When most people think about Irish “My love is colder than black marble by rock, they’ll probably think of U2, Thin the sea. Lizzy or Rory Gallagher, but all these My heart is older than the cold oak luminaries would have drawn tree. inspiration from Horslips. If I’ve I am the flash of silver in the sun. piqued your interest at all, “The Táin” When you see me coming you had is the essential Horslips album to buy. better I guarantee you’ll never have heard Run, run, run From Dearg Doom. “ anything quite like it.

March 2010

www.WusikSoundMagazine.com

67


March 2010  

Wsm March 2010

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you