You all probably know that I’m an avid Kontakt user. I actually don’t dig to deep into what’s been released by third-parties unless it’s something huge, for example: Heavyocity Aeon (review coming soon) or any of the monstrosities from 8Dio or Soundiron. But that’s not to say that the smaller stuff isn’t useful! I’ve seen a lot of new releases this week so I decided to sum them up for you. And oh, there’s some free stuff in there as well.
Starting off with one of the slightly bigger ones, Vibraphone sounds pretty sweet, judging from the demos.
Essentially a mechanised, 20th Century variation on the classic metallaphone, the vibraphone adds a constant modulation to its resonator tubes by the use of motorised fans.
The fans, or discs, cover the top of the resonator tube and spin in unison, allowing full or partial function of the resonator tube depending on which point of the cycle the motor is in.
The resulting tone is a type of tremolo effect – shimmering, golden, & very wobbly indeed; due to all resonators modulating together and thus aggregating the effect on the decaying notes.
They’re making use of something they call “true tremolo modeling.
Instruments that use this kind of global modulation (the Hammond C3/leslie is a similar example) are traditionally impossible to sample & model realistically, because if you record a single note with the tremolo active, it will be completely out of sync with all subsequent notes you record. Previous attempts to sample the vibraphone usually resorted to sampling the instrument with the motor/tremolo switched off, then approximating the effect later using filters modulated by an LFO to effect the change in timbre.
Soniccouture Vibraphone takes a completely new approach – by sampling the entire instrument twice. Once with the fans closed, once with them fully open, both times completely static – the motor switched off.
Once we have the full vibraphone sound sampled in both states – fans closed and fans open – we can then simply crossfade between them in Kontakt using a simple sinusoidal LFO. This gives not only the authentic, detailed timbre, but also full control over the speed of the tremolo, another essential element of the instrument missing from previous renderings.
I don’t know how close it sounds to the real deal, but as I said, I like the demos.
Bye the way, Soniccouture has a lot of free stuff available.
I don’t know if you know this about me or not, but I’m a sucker for harmoniums! It all started with Kontakt, actually, in that I was looking for an accordion in the library and while I found one, I liked the sound of the harmonium better. I’ve used that instrument in many, many tracks! Eventually I actually went out and bought a real harmonium. Well, Wavesfactory apparently like harmoniums too.
We sampled a little harmonium from the late XIX century. The harmonium, or pump organ, is a type of reed organ that generates sound with foot-pumped bellows.
It has 3 optional repetitions (round robin) and 1 velocity layer. The volume of the instrument depends on the amount of air that you put inside using your feet. If you go faster, you can hear the volume changes. That’s been modelled inside Kontakt and you can replicate that sound using the modwheel.
Attack, release volume, sample offset, EQ, flip stereo, spread (from stereo to mono) and octave voicing controllabe directly from the GUI.
Cheap too, under €10.
I have no idea when these freebies were released but dammit, the world needs to know about them! They’ve actually had the good taste to release a Commodore 64 instrument! In case you don’t know, the Commodore 64 is the best computer ever made alongside the Amiga. Typically you would use cassette as storage medium (which meant you actually had to fast-forward to certain places if you had saved something – imagine that) but you could also use these huge ass discs that would dwarf your MacBooks. I’ve had two C64′s.
They also have the Jacky (“the result of a small studio disaster: we had bought a fun-looking little transistor organ called the Luxor Jacky with the intention of sampling its sounds and onboard rhythms”) and Doctor 33 (“a metronome. Still, it creates a variety of little analogue clicks, blips and ticks which have a fun percussive style of their own”).
Toys are all the rage these days when it comes to recordings. I have no idea who started this trend but I see it everywhere. If you feel a bit embarrassed walking into a toy store or your daughter won’t let you borrow her stuff AudioThing’s got you covered.
Toy Marimba features a small tuned percussion instrument made of rosewood and rope. This handmade toy instrument was found in a distressed state and some work was required to restore its original functionality. It was sampled with wood and bamboo mallets, with 3 Round Robin repetitions and 3 velocity layers for the main hits. Slides and glissandos (up/down with 3 speeds) are also included along with slowed down samples crafted for wooden and airy textures.
I don’t know how common Elka’s are in the US but I see them pop up here from time to time. I don’t know if it’s the 505 or not and how rare it is, or the cost for that matter. Actually, I know nothing about the 505! Thankfully Synth Magic can tell me about it.
The Elka Solist 505 was a monophonic lead synthesizer, preset based with variations for added performance. It provided a nice alternative to the Moog Satellite ARP Pro Soloist. It had 11 presets, all which could be changed with freq/res, attack/release, vibrato and portamento. Notably, it contained the famous Moog ladder filter.
Killa Kits’ is a collection of 6,000 drum samples formatted into 96 presets for NI Battery 3 and Kontakt 4,covering genres from Rap and Hip Hop to Dance. Meaning a lot of drums. Some of the stuff included:
Scratch: sliced n’ diced scratch samples, chronologically mapped so as to provide you with playing realism. Unique and original and sampled live from a scratch artiste.
Layered: layered drum kits, mapped and edited to provide you with the extra ‘thump’ and ‘bottom-end’ in your mixes.
Percussive: from Latin percussion to manic Tibetan Bells, from club Cowbells to Tabla drones, these kits have hundreds of pristine acoustic and synthetic percussive samples. Fancy a Banya, or maybe a Tabla filtered to taste, how about some Shakers and Tambourines that simply eat up space, or how about the weird and wonderful like Orchestral Toms?
Hip Hop and Dance drum kits: specifically tailored for the genres. No gentle acoustic kits here, just mind numbing and spine rattling mega drums. From Kicks that burst your spleen to Snares that make your eyes bleed, from Claps that rattle the competition to Hi Hats that fizz the cones. Add acoustic and synthetic Toms and percussive elements into these kits and you have all it takes to fulfil any project you may have.
EFX: no drum library is complete without effects. Fancy some reverse Cowbells, or how about some electro grating sounds, or sounds from a factory? Maybe some huge resonating Toms run through an Eventide, or maybe some cricket crushed sounds, or sci-fi? They are all here.
It’s yours for 50 bucks.
I don’t know when this was released, I had saved it in my to read-list and figured I might as well include it here. After all, freebies are meant to be shared! It’s some sort of drum but honestly I don’t know anything about Ramwong.
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That’s it for today! If you’ve found any fun Kontakt instruments, just let us know in the comments.