CinemorphX by Sample Logic
Sample Magic has packaged three of their libraries into one brand new instrument, adding technology for a fourth, thus creating one of the most impressive tools in the cinematic market.
by A. Arsov, Jan. 2016
CynemorphX from Sample Logic is a virtual instrument built around three discontinued Sample Logic products, A.I.R Extended, The Elements and Synergy. All three products are very well-known among the cinematic-oriented public, offering a wide range of diverse sounds that combine various live sources, like traditional ethno instruments with electronic elements, giving very recognizable atmospheric, sincere and almost mystical out-of-this-world results, where a large number of the instruments and sounds have a very clean, resonant attack that fades in some rhythmically unique, echoed and arpeggiated pattern. Percussion loops and hits, meanwhile, come with some sort of tribal touch mixed with high energy orchestral percussion. Off course, all sounds, loops and percussions on all three products, actually on all Sample Logic products, are preprocessed, being really well-balanced and high quality, so implementing them in an arrangement is a piece of cake. It is not so clear, why Sample Logic decided to discontinue those three products, but one way or another, we get them back, packed into a great graphical interface which brings the best of all three libraries, offering a wide range of tools as a bonus. Sample Logic decided to implement the arpeggiator from their most desired new product Arphology. All you need is a Kontakt player, 30 GB disk space and patience during the download and installation process (Contiunata downloader will take care about both processes, so a good book and cup of coffee could help).
At $599.99 USD CinemorphX is not cheap, but considering that it brings over 6000 presets that can be heavily manipulated in real time and offers great manipulation tools that allow us to morph between four different elements producing quite unique results even from a standard preset, it is quite fairly priced. Three libraries in one with advanced Arph technology from an additional fourth one, joined with a powerful graphical interface that opens up totally new possibilities, that is something that makes this library / instrument quite appealing. Anyway, I have to admit that I was a bit scared by the price, but truth be told, if you are into cinematic music, with such a tool you will easily earn back this money in no time.
So, How Does It Work?
The whole engine is built around four independent players, where every player can use up to two sound sources. Each sound source, chosen through a dropdown menu, can be further manipulated inside the main – a very advanced graphical interface. Sound sources are divided into five essential categories: Atmospheres, Instrumentals, Loops, Percussive and Waveforms. Atmospheres are then divided in subcategories: Bizarre, Dark Mysterious, Electronic Effectual, Mixed Emotions, Stingers and World Organic. I presume you get the general impression about the sounds from these names. Instruments are divided into Organic Pads, Synths and Traditional categories. While the Percussive category is divided into four basic directories: Impacts, Kits, Traditional and Transitions. Loops are divided into six different categories, from action, melodic, through world to the electro. Inside any subdirectory are more than enough elements to spend another three lives combining. Actually, this is only the beginning since we have an option, actually a controller, that allows us to morph in real time between two sound sources inside one of the four players and then to morph between all four players with a joystick that is positioned in the center. Maybe the general concept sounds a bit complicated, but it’s not. All elements and controllers are very well-organized inside the main graphical interface, so once when you get to grips with it it’s quite simple to manipulate a preset in real time.
At the top of main graphical interface we have a preset browser, being divided into single and multi core sections. Single core Instruments, Loops, Atmospheres or Percussive presets are opened in just one player window, being compiled from one or maximally two sound sources. Multi core covers similar groups of elements (subcategories are not the same as they are in the sound source section), but there we can find four players that are combined with up to eight sound sources, two for player, that can be further manipulated inside every player. Let’s stick with a phrase from the manual, describing that Single core presets are made up for focused sound development.
Players (or Cores, As They Say at Sample Logic)
Every player has an additional set of controllers for setting the Convolution reverb source along with adding reverb amount. Then we can set envelope, filter, pitch along with adding various effects. You can also change the general mood of all players in one go by selecting one of the effect presets that change the whole set of presets available at the bottom of the screen under the four players. Also, every player has a record button that allows you to record any mods or morphings that you make inside a player. There is also a record function in the main joystick window, to record morphing between all four players. There are also four small buttons between Pan and Velo Sensitivity knobs that open new windows where you can find FX animator, where we can set the amount and steps for each effect along with the LFO pan section to select step, speed, fade and strength in percentage. Those are independent controllers for the left and right side of the stereo image. Actually the whole player is made for morphing being, bolstered with all sort of hidden gems, small symbols and tiny buttons that open new windows where you can control the pulsation of effects (as many of them are connected to the mighty Step Animator, the one that is taken from Arpology) or to control morphings between various elements. As we mentioned, everything is very well-organized, but this one is definitely not one of those that you can master without the manual. You can try by clicking everything that is not blue on the main graphical interface, but I highly recommend at least one scan through the manuals, at least to see what else can be controlled or changed in addition to the obvious visible things. To not fall into too many details, you can’t mess with sound source directly, but you can do wonders by manipulating each of the controllers that are connected to the sound source, changing and morphing effects that give life and movement to every sound source, pushing it to a totally new level. Actually, it is almost impossible to find a static sound on CinemorphX. Everything is moving and constantly pulsating.
Under the main graphical window you will find a selector for switching between the main graphical window with four players plus joystick and Step Animator. It is actually a very powerful arpeggiator that can be linked to many sources. Actually, it is the most advanced arpeggiator on the market at the moment, taken from Arpology, allowing us to do pure magic, starting maybe with one of the many arp presets, selecting which step will control which player. All of them or just specific one. With this arp you can control LFO, Pan and Velocity, being connected with the main window where the brush symbol inside the player window (placed near the central joystick window) will open the step sequencer window where you can draw the amplitude for every player to implement the Step Animator pattern. In Step Animator we can even find a MIDI drag and drop button that allow us to drag and drop arpeggiated patterns directly to a DAW.
The whole Step Animator is so advanced that we could spend the whole article just describing all the details. Maybe one day if we cover Arpology, but until then let’s just say that, with the pencil, you can draw pan, duration or velocity controls or you can set them for every step through sliders Then you can set if a step will be played normally, or will be triggered and subdivided by Stutter rate, or will use the glide function to slide to the next note. I know, it sounds complicated again, but actually it just opens the whole universe of possibilities. Step Animator heavily determines the end result, making the whole instrument sound very vivid, original and unique. Add all those morphing possibilities between the sound sources inside the players, then morph between players, and with this mighty Step Animator and you will get the impression why I wanted this instrument so badly immediately after I saw the first few seconds of the presentation video.
At the top of all this, there is also an independent section of general effects that can be added to the engine, bringing Compressor, Equalizer, Saturator, Phaser, Delay and Reverb along with a morph window where we can set the relationship between four of those effects in real time. Every effect comes with its own window with a set of additional controllers for taming and fine-tunning the end results.
I presume there’s no need to stress that all sound sources, consequently also all presets along with implemented tools and effects, are on a very high level. CinemorphX is an absolute killer offering enormous number of very playable cinematic loops, percussion, instruments and textures. With this one, in tandem with Spitfire Albion One orchestral library and Impact from Heavyocity that covers various risers, falls, hits and textures, you can recreate more than 90% of all movie scores from current Hollywood productions. It is not just a collection of three discontinued libraries combined with the advanced technology from the fourth one. It has a very flexible and innovative main interface where all sound sources can be compiled, morphed and manipulated in an advanced way, providing very contemporary, rich cinematic collection of sounds. In all, it proves that the result can be much more than just the sum of the parts. It is a dream-come-true cinematic tool. It definitely goes into my essentials category for cinematic music.
More info and demo video and audio clips on Sample Logic’s website:
$599.99 USD. It requires 30 GB of free disk space and Kontakt Player 5.5 or above. All other limitations are determined by your imagination (not included in the download pack).