There really aren’t that many serious marimba sound libraries out there, are there? Being a fan of the instrument, I’m happy to see that Soniccouture decided to do something about it with their latest release – Grand Marimba.
If you’re going to do a marimba, you might as well do it big, at least that appears to be the thinking at Soniccouture:
When we decided to sample a marimba, we knew we wanted to find a 5 octave concert model. There’s something very special about the enormous bass notes of a full sized model. The Yamaha 6100 model, which was designed in collaboration with world-renowned marimba legend Keiko Abe, seemed to be the natural choice.
The instrument is massive, almost 3 meters across, which makes recording it a challenge.
Speaking of recording it, three mic pairs were used: AKG414s (with CK12 capsules), Shoeps cardioids, and AKG ribbons further back in the room. These mics were mixed down to a stereo signal in post production.
Recording in progress.
Soniccouture also decided to make use of a separate tremolo module.
Tremolo is such a common marimba technique we’ve designed an original Kontakt module to mimic this type of performance with unparalleled accuracy. It comfortably handles 1 to 4 voices of harmony (since marimba players rarely use more than 4 mallets), and will intelligently remap the tremolo in real time based on the incoming MIDI or your playing. The speed and velocity of the Tremolo can be modulated in real time using a MIDI controller.
Grand Marimba features five round robin layers, 15 velocity layers and four articulations which are as follows.
Mallet : The main articulation, and the most common marimba sound. 5 different mallet types were used during the recording, to ensure a consistent timbre across the entire range of the instrument.
Roll : A played Roll, sampled and looped from the marimba player’s actual performance. Don’t confuse this with Tremolo. In fact, marimba players rarely use Rolls, so this is a special effect of sorts.
Stick : Made by hitting the marimba with the handle of the mallets rather than the head. This is a kind of special effect you find in contemporary marimba repertoire, so we included it here. This sound is sometimes called “Rattan”.
Bow : The marimba bowed with a cello bow. Produces a sustained, pad-like sound.
Grand Marimba is available now for €99. An introductory offer (good until March 8) gives you a €15/$20 off. Use the following coupon code: MD837T6F
Note that you will need either Kontakt 5 or the free Kontakt Player to use Grand Marimba.