Ginno’s Sound Investments

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Ginno looks at seventeen sound libraries from Bluezone, Cinetools, Loopmasters, Samplephonics and other fine audio purveyors.

 

by Ginno Legaspi, May 2017

 

Reveal Sounds – Into the Deep Vol. 1 & 2

Into the Deep Vol. 1 is an offering from Reveal Sound and features 72 high-quality synth patches created by sound designer Vullcan. This bank is intended for the use of composing deep house, tech house and garage tracks. Producers who are looking for new sounds to inject into their next hit will find this sound bank useful. Essential patches for making deep house include chords, basses, sequences, keys, pads, synths and FXs. What Vullcan’s aim when he created this sound bank is to offer high quality presets, not quantity.  I’ve seen plenty of sound banks out there comprised of 256 presets, and only 100 of those are useable. I love how he programmed the full-sounding chords, super melodic sequences and fat basses, as they are spot on to the deep house genre. 

If you’re looking to expand Spire’s already massive preset banks, then Vol. 2 of Into the Deep has plenty of inspirational sounds to boot. Volume 2 is not just a preset collection, but a complete sound bank that includes MIDI files and 8 song construction kits. Like the first volume, the ninety patches are well crafted for use in EDM genre. They were programmed to support the modulation wheel and are ready to rock straight out of the box. Patches include inspirational plucks, soaring leads, sequences, bubbling basses, warm pads, synths and FXs. The eight construction kit folders have all the necessary ingredients for song starters. These are good especially if you’re in a composition drought. Inside each folder, you’ll find MIDI (patterns), Samples and Spire preset sub-folders. The WAV samples are delivered in 44.1kHz/24-bit format, and includes plenty of stems and drum hits such as snares, claps, hi-hats and kicks. By having all these tools at your disposal, producing deep house tracks becomes smooth and instantaneous. I love the inclusion of MIDI patterns because you can drop those in the song arrangement pane (in your DAW) and tweak and re-arrange as you see fit.

Overall, both are great sound banks/sound packs that are loaded with premium patches that capture the sound of contemporary deep house.

WEB:

http://www.reveal-sound.com/

REQUIREMENT/FORMAT:

Full version of Spire 1.1.9 or later

PRICE:

$20.00 USD for Vol. 1

$39.90 USD for Vol. 2 (full pack)

 

Zero-G – Shadowlands

From the UK sample library developers Zero-G, comes a collection of soundscapes, pads, atmospheres and EFX for trailers, TV & film music and game soundtracks. Shadowlands is an all-new sample pack offering over 16 GB of 24-bit audio material in Acidized WAV and Apple AIFF loops. It also includes 650 instruments for software sample players such as Kontakt, EXS24, HALion and NN-XT. This is an enormous sound library in what Zero-G calls “Cinematic Scene Setters”, and offers great traditional cinematic sounds from which composers of ambient, avant garde, soundtracks and experimental music can benefit. Shadowlands boast 50 Cinematic construction kits with additional folders of Textures & Atmospheres, Movement FX, Cinematic Grooves, Drum Hits, Rhythm Loops and Vocal FX. The Textures & Atmospheres folders offer one-shots that are 1-2 minutes in length. There are well programmed textures which are best suited for beds (background sound) in ambient compositions. In the Construction kits folder, each kit contain stems to complete a mix – just add your imagination, creativity and custom samples to complete your own original track. The Movement FX, Cinematic Grooves and Rhythm Loops folder have plenty of useable samples as well. My only gripe is the Drum Hits folder – in which all the samples are drenched in reverb. These drum hits sound all similar and indistinguishable from one another. With that being said, Shadowlands still offer a tremendous amount of inspirational material that makes you want to write a score or soundtrack for a horror, trailer or sci-fi. All in all, the content is staggering and a good source material for sound designer and composers alike.

WEB:
http://www.timespace.com/

FORMAT:

Acid WAV, Halion, Kontakt, EXS24, AIFF Apple Loops, Reason NN-XT

PRICE:

£76.95 GBP including VAT

 

Loopmasters – UK Garage & 2 Step

A huge collection of garage and 2 step samples (872 MB), Loopmasters done it again with this urban-tinged release with a blend of club-ready grooves. Produced by Scott Diaz, UK Garage and 2 Step features loops, one hits, MIDI files and sampler patches. It includes roaring basslines, thumping drums and a wealth of instrumental music loops. It offers over 300 loops strings, organs, stabs, guitar and synths. In the drums folder, it offers 134 of tight drum loops. This library also includes over 250 one-shot samples of bass, FX, music, vocals and punchy drums hits (kicks, snares, hats, cymbals, etc.) with a bit of “crunch” thrown in. As I’ve come to expect from Loopmasters, the quality of this sample library is excellent – thanks to Scott Diaz’s ingenuity, programming and the blending of UKG influences. The sounds are true to the genre, very usable and the variety is plentiful. I find the subby “Bass” loops very inspirational for song starters with lots of loops to choose from. Bottomline, Loopsmasters deliver the goods! Producers should look into this.

WEB:

http://www.loopmasters.com/

FORMAT:

WAV, REX, MIDI files, Sampler patches

PRICE:

$38.32 USD

 

Samplephonics – Wonky Dream Pop

Wonky Dream Pop is comprised of 246 loops and 167 one-shots for use in a variety of dream pop, chill, electro pop, downtempo and ambient grooves sub-genre of electronic music. It is a collection of crisp electronic drum grooves, laid back guitar licks, ethereal keys, warm, luscious synths, processed piano loops and twisted vocals. All in all you’ll get 980 MB of samples in WAV format, as well as patches for popular software sampler instruments such as Ableton Sampler, NNXT, Halion, Maschine, Kontakt, Motu MachFive, SFZ and EXS24. The samples and how they were created are very inspiring and should provide plenty of materials for producers. The vox folder feature cut up and mangled vocal loops – perfect for remix material. The guitar folder includes an assortment of processed and textural guitar material. There is even a bonus guitar folder full of good effected sounds that are definitely suitable shoe-gaze and ambient. Under the One Shot main folder you’ll find different subfolders of chords, drums, field recordings, foley, natural sounds, other melodic sounds and random glitchiness. And the best of all, a Boss DR-202 has been sampled and delivered as one shot. Sound-wise, the loops were programmed very well. A lot of them are quite useable in many ways, basically. The quality of Wonky Dream Pop is excellent, with an aim to give your tracks plenty of edge. Overall, this is a nice sample pack worthy to be considered on your next buy.

WEB:

https://www.samplephonics.com/

FORMAT:

WAV, Kontakt, NN-XT, Halion, SFZ, EXS24

PRICE:

£34.70 GBP

 

Bluezone Corporation – Electrostatic Field: Experimental Cinematic Samples

This sample pack is a collection of cutting edge effect sounds that Bluezone Corporation tagged as “Experimental Cinematic Samples”. Electrostatic Field includes 119 meticulously recorded samples such as ambiences, energy drones, impacts, textures, transitions, whooshes and more. With 835 MB of 44.1 kHz/24-bit samples, there is plenty of material to inject into your productions. I find many of the sounds are useful and are a good companion to kick off your next production of atmospheric-based music. And for whatever purpose you’re going to use these samples, they are ready-to-go to provide unending inspiration for your next cinematic composition. Of the sounds included in this pack, my favorites are the 39 ambience energy drone samples. They’re very inspirational and have that metallic, static vibe to them. Overall, this cinematic library sound fresh and very polished with a good fidelity- a good futuristic collection.  

WEB:

http://www.bluezone-corporation.com/

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€10.95 EUR

 

Mode Audio – Sparks

Anyone producing dubstep, techno, electro, house and downtempo music knows how important it is to have the best instruments/gear possible and high-quality samples when creating tracks. This is where Sparks comes in; a collection of 465 drum hits with a modern take in today’s electronic music. With less than 100 MB, this is a good collection of drum samples for use in creating your own drum kits inside your sequencer’s drum rack. It includes 120 kicks, 100 snares, 85 percs, 35 claps, 20 crash cymbals and 15 shaker samples. The review version I have includes twelve sample patches and four channel strips (drum processing) for Ableton Live. From subby kicks to tight snares and crisp hats to bright shakers, the samples sound very fresh, crisp and production-ready. This is a very superb pack I must say. I especially like the 85 fuego (fiery!) percussion files because there are some useful gems on there, but the bass kicks stand out particularly. 

WEB:

https://modeaudio.com/

FORMAT:

WAV, Ableton Live Pack, Logic Pack, ReFill

PRICE:

£15 GBP

 

Applied Acoustic Systems – Multiverse

Another sound bank for this month’s Soundbytes is called Multiverse from Applied Acoustic Systems. This sound bank is for the Chromaphone 2 percussion synthesizer – a virtual instrument that is already packed with well over 600 production-ready sounds. It also can be used with the free AAS player instrument (although further tweaking of presets is not possible with the free player). Multiverse is produced by sound designer Thiago Pinheiro – who has been a long time AAS contributor and an accomplished musician. Multiverse is a 100-preset collection that includes off-kilter melodic patches, weird textures and odd-sounding percussive elements. This sound bank brings Chromaphone 2 to a whole new level as an incredible, flexible and versatile instrument. When I auditioned the patches, I instantly liked what I was hearing. These are some of the coolest patches I’ve heard that are particularly well-suited for producing ambient, electronica, cinematic and OST music (original soundtrack). The FX presets particularly stand out, especially patches such as Space Cave (simulates a creaky sounding FX with plenty of reverb) and Portals (a nostalgic 80’s sci-fi FX patch). There are also some expressive patches that would be useful in today’s modern productions, such as the Clear Bass (sounds very round and fat) and Vice City (an arpeggiated clav with synced wah wah effect). When it comes to dynamically rich patches, Multiverse is never short on the list. There are plenty of responsive, expressive and sonically deep patches such Ethnic Trip and Jungle Triplets that would inspire even the most seasoned producers. Overall, this is great, highly versatile sound bank that showcases Chromaphone 2’s capabilities.

WEB:

https://www.applied-acoustics.com/

FORMAT:

Preset bank for Chromaphone 2 and AAS Player plug-in 

PRICE:

$39 USD

 

Cinetools – Disturbia

When I received Cinetool’s latest sample library, I was really impressed by the sheer amount of content included. Disturbia is a cutting-edge sample library suitable for psychological horror, thriller, trailer and game music. You’ll get 1008 production-ready elements in professional 24-bit/96 kHz WAV format. It’s a library that focuses on fear, panic, psychosis and neurotic themes with tons of unnerving tensions, suspense, unsettling soundscapes and dark sounding SFXs. Inside this 6+ GB library you’ll find everything from huge cinematic hits to chest-crushing impacts, frightening whooshes to obscure textures, gritty soundscapes to ear-destroying cacophonies, blood-freezing sweeps to goosebumps-evoking reverses, piercing stingers to theatre shaking sub FX, dank atmospheres to paranormal stutters, tension-builder rises to creepy transitions, weird morphing layers to mysterious pads, mad vocals to lunatic groans and plenty more. Needless to say, this is an all-madness-affair library so expect to be horrified when auditioning the samples. The sound quality is astounding and is very consistent throughout. The whole content is very inspiring and would fit seamlessly in today’s cinematic productions. I find these samples as a basis to start a composition or can be augmented with other samples or live instruments – especially ensemble or strings to start a new track. For producers looking seriously at a library offering disturbing, dark, spooky and scary samples, Disturbia from Cinetools should be on the short list. It is, without a doubt, a wonderfully made sample pack. 

WEB:

http://www.loopmasters.com/

FORMAT:

WAV, Apple Loops, Rex

PRICE:

$83.10 USD

 

Samplephonics – Expansive Electronica

Producers and electronic musicians all over the place are well aware that the folks at Samplephonics are a top tier sample developers, and have been releasing some really interesting sample libraries for a while now. This release, though, is geared for producers, remixers and desktop musicians for making dark electronic tracks. Expansive Electronica was created using a tortured, abused and manipulated MS-20 as sound source to provide users with lead, arp, sequence, bass, beat and atmosphere samples. Created and produced by Biinds, this pack includes 268 loops, 194 one-shots and sampler instrument patches. The loops have tempos ranging from 123-145 BPM and are key-tagged for convenience. Soundwise, this is definitely an ‘intense’ pack with plenty of pounding drum loops and rumble-filled basses leading the way. Also, the dense soundscape and atmosphere samples are very useable in many ways. Overall, a this is a quality pack that will surely make its way to electronica producers – highly recommended.

WEB:

https://www.samplephonics.com/

FORMAT:

WAV/Kontakt/NN-XT/EXS24/Halion/SFZ/Ableton Live

PRICE:

£34.70 GBP

 

Mode Audio – Disintegrate

From sample library developers Mode Audio comes a collection of soundscapes, drum samples, synth tails and MIDI loops for TV, film and game soundtracks. Disintegrate is an all-new sample pack offering 610 MB of 24-bit audio material that is beyond the traditional cinematic ambient sounds. The samples are organized into three main folders of Disintegrate loops, Tail samples and Drum samples. Additionally, you’ll get two folders of twelve project files for Ableton Live and 95 MIDI loops. The Disintegrate loops folder covers basses, drums and percussions, SFX and textures, and synth sounds, while the tail samples round things off by giving the main loop a smooth, seamless decay. The drum hits folder offer samples that can be used to create a drum rack. There are plenty of drum hits at hand and they sound punchy and up-to-date. The SFX and texture samples offer a tremendous amount of inspirational material that makes you want to write a score or soundtrack for a thriller or futuristic film. The content is excellent and the price is right. Overall, this is an essential resource for TV, film, soundtrack and game music – a must buy.

WEB:

https://modeaudio.com/

FORMAT:

Apple Loops/REX2/WAV/Live/Reason

PRICE:

£18 GBP

 

Bluezone Corporation – Distant Wave: Cinematic Ambient Sounds

There is no doubt that cinematic/SFX sounds are very useful in giving ambient productions that certain edge or interest. They also help smooth the transition of a track going from one section to another. Many trailer, soundtrack and TV/film music producers rely on quality cinematic/ambient samples for this reason. Distant Wave from Bluezone Corporation is geared just for that. It is an ambient pack with 1.7 GB of content that is instantly suitable for many types of productions – whether it’s experimental, ambient, cinematic, soundtrack or game music. Close to 200 ultra, up-to-date samples comprise this library. Inside you’ll find a variety of inspirational sounds such as Ambience, Ambience SFX, Impact, Sound FX, Synth Texture, Transition and Transition Reverb. I love the complex sounds in the Ambience folder, as well as the chilled and spacey samples in Transitions. The production quality of Distant Wave is stunning and a lot of the samples have that nice sheen on the top end. Overall, this is a great starter library for those looking to add cinematic samples to their arsenal – a forward thinking sample library from Bluezone Corporation.

WEB:

https://www.bluezone-corporation.com/

FORMAT:

WAV

PRICE:

€16.95 EUR

 

Applied Acoustic Systems – Aftermath

Sound designer Daniel Stawczyk is a familiar name in the sound design and virtual instruments world. In the past, he has released sound banks for String Studio VS-2, Ultra Analog VA-2 and Chromaphone 2. He returns in this highly anticipated follow-up for String Studio VS-2 (also playable on the free AAS Player instrument) called Aftermath. With Aftermath, Daniel harnesses String Studio’s powerful features, capabilities and sound engine. In this 149-preset collection you’ll find familiar categories such as bass, chords and stabs, gated, leads, pads, and plucks. But the highlight of this sound bank is the 49 special effects that are playable and ultra-flexible. These effect patches are top-notch and can be used in just about any production. After installing the sound bank, I quickly launched String Studio and was able to load this bank with no problem. Daniel has done a good job with the pads as they are useable and have plenty of sustain and decay in them. The basses are not what you would call fat, since they have plenty of brightness, but they would be good to layer with other bass patches. Under the Chords and Stab category, my favorites are ReVita and Verbial patches. These would be good as starter sounds for inspiration. The plucked patches are the also great. From the Affair patch to Villain patch, all sound excellent with just the right amount of effects. My other favorites include Waterharp, Pines, Montrous (sounds like a scraped metal) patches that are great for downtempo compositions. Overall, I’m impressed with the programming of Aftermath. Daniel makes it easy to design sounds in String Studio with this sound bank.

WEB:

https://www.applied-acoustics.com/

FORMAT:

Preset bank for String Studio VS-2 and AAS Player plug-in 

PRICE:

$39 USD

 

Samplephonics – Ambient Dreamscapes

For our last issue, when I reviewed Downtempo Movements from Samplephonics, I gave the library high marks for its excellent quality. The library had a lot of great-sounding chill and ambient sounds as I recall. Samplephonics is best known worldwide for making great chill, ambient, dance and electronica libraries, and Ambient Dreamscapes is as equally impressive as their other releases. In this sample pack, Samplephonics unleashes modern electronica samples for producers of ambient, downtempo and chill music. Included in this pack are 264 (live and programmed) instrument loops such as smoky vibes, kalimbas, jazzy basses, synth leads, lush pads, guitar phrases and silky drums. Also, included are 167 one-shot samples. I love the drum shots because it allows me to build my own custom drum kit or rack. I explored the 413 samples by auditioning them in Acid. I find that the sounds are carefully crafted and edited with the use of clever processing. What impressed me are the good selections percussion, pianos and atmospheres. And even the additional foley one-shots rock – thumbs up.

WEB:

https://www.samplephonics.com/

FORMAT:

Wav/Live/NN-XT/Halion/Kontakt

PRICE:

£34.70 GBP                                                          

 

Synapse Audio – Premium Trance, Premium EDM Vol. 1 & 2 

Last but not the least for this month’s Sound Investments column are three sound sets from Synapse Audio, the maker of the smashing software synthesizer Dune 2. These are new patches delivered in sound banks that are geared mainly for producers of house, electro, EDM, trance, downtempo and electronica. These sound banks are a good way to expand Dune 2’s already massive preset palette.

Many commercial software synthesizers come with plenty of stock presets. These can showcase what the synthesizer is capable of under the hood, but most importantly they can give the user sounds to start with. Whether you’re a preset junkie or preset tweaker, having tons of presets at your disposal is always a good thing. Right off the bat, Dune 2 already comes with a comprehensive set of presets, but these new sound sets breathes a new life to the synthesizer.

Let’s take a look at each one:

Premium EDM Vol. 1 – With 64 high-quality patches, Premium EDM Vol. 1 is sure to fire up your creative juices. The patches were created by world-class sound designer Kevin Schroder with a few designed by Richard Hoffman. My favorites are BA Blackhammer, FX Emergency Brakes, LD Citron and the thick pad patch called PD Another World. These are very high quality patches that are ready to go and require less tweaking.   

Premium EDM Vol. 2 – Picking up where Vol. 1 left off, this sound bank has plenty of useable sounds ranging from terrorizing basses to high-octane synthesizer leads. All patches were specifically programmed and designed to support the modulation wheel, and many of them respond to key velocity and aftertouch. These are very handy if you want to be expressive (aka trying to look busy onstage) during live performance. Here are some of my favorite patches of the bunch; the arpy AR Advanced World, the lowend-heavy BA Pitcher Bass, the gated synth GT Imperium, the scorching lead synth called LD Benefactor, the warm pad patch PD Legacy Hybrid and the sequenced synth patch SQ Hello Summer. There are plenty more good sounding patches but these are the standouts to my ears.

Premium Trance – This sound bank is the latest release from Synapse Audio. Sound designer Kevin Schroder has cooked up yet another stellar sound bank that is primed for the dancefloor. Premium Trance comprises 64 dance-oriented patches that harness Dune 2’s great synth features. Again, all patches support the modulation wheel, and many of them respond to key velocity and aftertouch. Inside you’ll find arps, basses, chords, drums, gated, leads, pads, plucked, sequences and SFX patches. I love the included SQ (sequence) and AR (arp) patches because they are insanely melodic. They are very inspirational and good for song starters. My favorites are SQ Airline, SQ Hello Spring, AR Solar Flare and AR Elastic Box.

Overall, these collections of cutting edge dance/electronic sound banks are quite good. There are plenty of patches that will kick start your day in the studio. The programming and sound design of Kevin Schroder is top notch. He has crafted some new and fresh patches to inject new life into Dune 2. If you’re an electronic dance producer looking for some new and stunning collection of exceptional sounds, these 3 sound banks from Synapse Audio won’t disappoint. Head over to Synapse Audio website to listen and watch the demo of each sound bank.

WEB:

http://www.synapse-audio.com/

REQUIREMENT/FORMAT:

Full version of Dune 2.5 software synthesizer

PRICE:

$20.00 per USD soundbank

 

 

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