Ginno’s Sound Investments
Ginno looks at ten sound libraries from SamplesFromMars, Loopmasters, Xils-Lab, and other fine audio purveyors.
by Ginno Legaspi, July 2017
Samples From Mars – VP-330 from Mars
With this huge collection of instrument samples (3.6 GB space required), Samples From Mars has done it again with this vintage-sounding release. As the title suggests, this sample pack feature the Roland VP330 vocoder – a string instrument from the 1970’s. VP-330 From Mars includes 57 multi-sampled instruments for software samplers such as Kontakt. It also includes 50 wild, melodic and percussive loops that were run through the SVC-350 (rack version of the VP330). Although there are some really great vocoder loops, this pack offers some excellent dark pads, otherworldly FX and modern robotic sounds that were processed through hardware FX units such as Eventide H3000, RE-201 Space Echo, etc. As I’ve come to expect from Samples From Mars, the quality of this sample pack is excellent – thanks to its 24-bit sample rate and the use of discrete Class A gear. Bottom line: Samples From Mars has done it again and delivered a fine set of samples for users involved with modern productions.
WAV, Kontakt, EXS24, REX2, Ableton Live
Loopmasters – Nu Wave & Disco
This offering from Loopmasters features over 1 GB of loops, hits, sampler patches and more. It is created by Fernando Pulichino who is a producer, DJ and musician. There are synth, bass, top, kick and snare, guitar, drum, perc and keyboard loops, with tempos ranging from 98 to 126 BPM. Over 250 one-shot samples are included with bass, drums, synths and FX – each with their own “Fernando flair” added. Along with the loops and one-shots, there are eleven multi-sampled instruments (included so you can play the parts as they were originally intended), nineteen MIDI files to transpose, edit and transform your music immediately. A good set of 75 sampler patches and 264 REX2 Loops are also included to bring you an ever greater collection of sonic diversity. Nu Wave & Disco is a massive library when it comes to its content and it’s clear that Loopmasters wants customers to get their money’s worth by packing in plenty of materials. Not only that, this is one great library that can help stir your creativity, the modern disco and new-wave sounds are authentic. Thumbs up.
WAV, Apple Loops, ReFill, Ableton Live
Xils-Lab – Analog Bag Vol. 1 & 2
Xils-Lab’s PolyKB III is one monster virtual analog software synthesizer. It has its own character, undeniable warmth and a distinct sound like no other synth. Like many commercial software synthesizers on the market, PolyKB III comes with plenty of stock presets. Analog Bag 1 & 2 aims to expand PolyKB’s factory sound library with quality sounds. But most importantly these might give you inspiration to your next track. Analog Bag 1 offers 128 presets made by sound designers Julian Ray, Kire, Luftrum and Tzadi, and Analog Bag 2 offers more than 160 presets made by Peter Schelfhout and Lotuzia. Both banks include sound categories such as keys, basses, leads, pads, atmos, arps, percussions, plucks as well as the usual subcategories such as brass, strings, electric pianos and organs, clavinet & stabs. I auditioned both banks in my home studio and went through the presets. There are some that are excellent and others I would call ‘backburners’ or ‘in case if I need it’ type of patches. But overall, we have a good variety of presets. I’ll put the ones that I like on the spotlight:
For Analog Bag Vol. 1, here are the patches that stand out:
- ARP Hotel Room – A moving, fast pace arp sound
- BE Bells 04 – Sinister bell sound, good for film scoring
- BE Clock Tower – Another sinister bell patch for scoring
- FX Mars Blizzard – Inspiring 50’s sci-fi sound
- KY Ballad Piano – Could be used for power ballads
- KY Sentimentale – Reminds me of digital EP from the 80’s
- LD 90s Lead – Good for 90’s trance
- LD Jupiter Detune Moon – A monster lead sound of yesteryear
- PA Ocean Pad – Pad with sense of calmness
- PA Sea Pad 02 – Great for ambient bed
- SQ Poly Arp – Good patch for instant ‘Stranger Things’ sequence
For Analog Bag Vol. 2, here are the patches that I liked the most:
- ARP Fat High – Inspiring arp patch for dance
- BA PWM Bass – Fat PWM patch
- BA Human League2 – Reminds me of Human League’s bass on “Don’t You Want Me”
- FX Engine E – Cool, unique FX
- KY 80s Epic Rock – Vintage keyboard patch
- KY PPG Keys – Bright digital sounding patch
- LD Juno Lead – Fat ripping lead
- PA Arctic Pads – Warm and lush pad
- PA Iceberg – Airy, heavenly and thick pad
- SY Depeche Synth – Nice 80’s vibe
Overall, these cutting-edge sound banks are pretty unique and inspiring. From film scoring to the most up-to-date EDM styles, Analog Bag 1 & 2 is suitable for any genre of music. And with each patch programmed with real-time controls, mod and pitch wheel assignments, you’ll love the expressiveness it brings. Highly recommended.
Full version of PolyKB II, III, Player synthesizer
€17.00 EUR for Vol. 1
€21.00 EUR for Vol. 2
Freaky Loops – Heavy Dubstep
This dubstep sample library from freaky Loops is a selection of dubstep loops running at 150 BPM. The quality of this 1.61 GB library is good and the samples are spot-on for its intended purpose – that is, to provide every producer a variety of dubstep and wobble-inspired loops, one-shots and drum hits. Additionally, six construction kits (includes six full mix and 30 stems) are included you get you started in your compositional adventures. Heavy Dubstep is perfect for dubstep, drumstep, drum and bass, neurofunk, techstep, future bass, breakbeat, glitch-hop, EDM and electro genre. It includes synths, beats, bass, rhythmic chords, drums, FX and more. Most of loops have that heavy, in-your-face feel, making it appropriate for anyone producing heavy electronic music. My favorites are the basses because they are absolutely cone-shattering, and the synth loops are a delight to use.
Reveal Sounds – Spire Trance Essentials Bundle 2 in 1
In our last issue, I reviewed Into the Deep Vol. 1 & 2 from Reveal Sound and gave both sound banks thumbs up for their excellent quality. Both banks include plenty of useable patches that were professionally made. For this issue I have yet another sound bank for the Spire software synthesizer. This bundle sound bank is comprised of Trance Essentials Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 packed into one big bundle. Volume 1 includes 100 Spire & ReSpire presets plus 8 construction kits (also compatible with the Reason 9.5 format) along with MIDI files and WAV files that were recorded in 44.1 kHz/24bit format. Volume 2 includes 112 Spire & ReSpire presets plus 5 construction kits (also Reason 9.5 compatible) along with MIDI and WAV files. These banks serve as a tool for DJs, electronic musician, desktop producers and trance artists wanting to expand their Spire preset list. They are equally as impressive and the patches are very useable within the trance/dance context. I explored the both sound banks by auditioning them using my studio headphones. I find that the patches were carefully crafted and tweaked to showcase Spire’s features and capability. What’s nice is that you’ll get a varied selection of patches. No basses sound the same, for example, as well as the lead sounds.
Overall, both sound banks/sound packs are great. If you’re looking to expand Spire’s presets with a more specialized uplifting trance sounds, you can’t go wrong with these. Thumbs up.
Full version of Spire v1.1.12
Samples From Mars – CR-78 From Mars
CR-78 from Samples From Mars is a 244 MB sample library comprised of drum hits and drum patterns. Samples From Mars sampled two CR-78, one clean sounding and the other tuned lower – for a variety of unique sounds. The first CR-78 was processed though tube DI and recorded to tape and was added distortion a vintage 60s Ace Tone Mixer. The second CR-78 was tracked through an SSL console – applied with EQ, compression, etc., went straight to tape and the samples were re-pitched for that unique deeper sound. All in all, you’ll get 165 single shots and 51 drum patterns in clean and processed versions. In addition to the samples, there are 34 Ableton and MIDI Groove files from the preset patterns. Sound-wise, the samples sound clear, especially the distorted ones they have plenty of “bite” on them. Although they sound very 80s to my ears, these would fit perfectly on “glitch electronica” productions. I love how Samples From Mars sampled this one-of-a-kind Roland instrument to make it relevant in today’s modern productions.
WAV, Ableton Live
Cinetools – Otherworld
In the previous issue of Soundbytes Magazine, I reviewed Disturbia from Cinetools and was much impressed by its content. Otherworld fills the gap in Cinetools’ already impressive FX library lineup, offering modern cinematic sounds. As the name suggests, Otherworld is a 750-plus cutting-edge cinematic sci-fi sound effect library geared for use in trailer, game, TV and film music. It can also be used to create experimental, ambient and electronic music. It covers a wide range of scoring elements such as cinematic hits, huge impacts and slams, whooshes, pass-bys, rises, sweeps, sequences, drones, ambiences, textures, pads, morphing layers, stingers, drastic synth lines, glitches and stutters and raw source sounds and field recordings. If that long list of sounds does not get you inspired, what will? With more than 5 GB of 24 bit/96kHz high quality samples, there is plenty of material to inject in your productions. The use of boutique hardware units, synthesizer modules, hybrid soft synths, high-end manipulation tools and applying unconventional production techniques make this collection sound fresh and very polished with good fidelity. Bottom line: Otherwold is a sophisticated collection of sonic palette.
Xils-Lab – Analog Ville
Last but not the least for this month’s Sound Investments column is a sound set from Xils-Lab. It’s an expansion preset bank for the PolyKB II, PolyKB III and PolyKB Player synthesizers called Analog Ville, and it’s made by sound designer Lotuzia. This sound bank includes more than 230 presets and covers all areas, including classic & vintage sounds. However, there are also modern sounding patches that would fit in today’s productions. A lot of the presets make use of the “Per Voice” modulation engines to achieve a warm, full-bodied sound. And when 3D positioning is applied, the presets become alive and organic-sounding. Analog Ville is a good way to expand PolyKB’s already long preset list.
When I auditioned Analog Ville, I came across with plenty of good presets. Some are very inspiring and would be good song starters – especially the arpeggiated ones. But these are some that caught my ears:
- ARP EMotional – Good arp preset for driving a dance track
- BA Analog CBass – A growling bass patch with heavy lowend
- LD Sliding – A synth lead excellent for trance
- PA Alpha Centauri – It reminds me of late 70’s space music, especially Tangerine Dream
- ST Italo Strings – An excellent string patch for 80’s Italo dance
- ST String Machine V – Very warm and bright preset that would cut through a mix
There are also quite good selections of FX, analog brass and pluck sounds on hand. If you’re a trance producer, you’ll love the selection of synth leads (LD) available.
For the preset junkie or tweaker, you can’t go wrong with Analog Ville as it gives you over 200 presets for your enjoyment. There’s nothing wrong with having a boatload of presets at your disposal. It is always good to have something that is ready to call up. With this sound bank, I think plenty of producers/musicians/synthesists will love its usability.
Full version of PolyKB II, III and Player software synthesizer
€ 29.00 EUR
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