Orchestral String Runs Review

The world of orchestral sample libraries has seen lots of nice additions over the last year. One of my highlights, besides NI’s very own Session Strings, is a new library produced by OrchestralTools: Their first release, Orchestral String Runs promises exactly that. String Runs. Lots of them.

One could say that String Runs indeed are one of the most underrepresented areas of orchestral sampling, so such an addition is most welcome. But how does the newest kid on the block perform?

Join me on my journey through the library in this review.


Deep Percussion Beds Quick Review

Creating percussion tracks is one of the most interesting tasks in media music. Unfortunately it also is one of the most time consuming ones. Especially when on a tight deadline, sometimes there is no other choice than to use premade loops. I try to stay clear of these whenever possible, but it isn’t always.

Most of the loop libraries on the market focus on high-energy action percussion. Up to now what was missing was a library with fairly unobtrusive background tracks that nevertheless sit well in the mix and provide a good foundation for all the different things the composer wants to throw on top.

This has changed with Cinesamples’ Deep Percussion Beds. The 9GB library features 50 different looped beds in various meters. Every bed has three variations gradually building tension as well as a code. There are two incredibly great things about the library: The different parts of a loop are mapped as stems on different keys. That means you can only have, say, the toms, but not the metal stem. This makes the library far more flexible than most of the competition. The three variations per bed add to the individual touch. The second great thing is the time stretching engine: All loops can be used with almost any tempo, fast or slow. The library automatically adjusts the loops. Even with extreme tempos, the audio quality remains stunning.
A preview patch which has the full mix versions of all 50 loops ready for auditioning makes finding the right bed very easy and convenient.

All in all, Deep Percussion Beds is the first percussion loop library I have used that I feel does not hinder creativity. It provides a firm base and saves countless hours of programming when in a hurry, but still is flexible enough as to not make us all sound the same. I can only recommend this library and hope there will be a sequel.

Symphobia 2 review

When ProjectSAM announced their Symphobia library a few years back, everyone rubbed their eyes at two things: The insanely great concept of the library and the price tag attached to it. Both still stand true today - Symphobia arguably is one of the best tools out there and it still is pricey. But the price is actually very much worth it.

Now our friends in the Netherlands (sorry, inside joke) have released the successor to Symphobia, aptly titled Symphobia 2. I got it the other day and want to give you a brief review on what I think about Symphobia in general and especially the new Symphobia 2.


NI Paranormal Spectrums... way too much fun

I recently bought „Paranormal Spectrums“ by Native Instruments. Its one of their many soundpacks for Kore Player and intended for „creepy music“.

While finally finding some time to browse the library, one of my favourite movies immediately came to mind: Forgotten Planet. This classic SciFi flick was the very first with a purely electronic score (credited „electronic tonalities“).
It’s just _way_ too much fun playing with this library, so this is a clear recommendation if you are looking for new sounds!

Here’s a very quick and dirty track right out of Logic:


Independence Pro

There is a large number of great software titles out there which seemingly noone has ever heard of.
One of these is Independence Pro by a small German company called YellowTools.

We found this sampler pretty versatile and easy to use with a great factory library, so we’ll give you a short introduction to it.
Maybe it could become the next secret weapon in your arsenal.

Independence Pro is largely unknown among musicians. The sample player with integrated library has a similar scope as Kontakt or Halion, but with a few nice touches.

The sampler itself is both fairly powerful and fairly standard. You can create zones to map your samples, edit instruments and many more things.

The great thing about Independence is it’s factory library, which weighs in at a hefty 70 GB. You get a selection of the Kirk Hunter Symphonic Orchestra (just like Kontakt uses a cut-down version of the VSL) and tons of other instruments. Particularly enjoyable are the guitars and drum kits. The keyboards leave quite a bit to desire, but the rest makes up for it.

Yellowtools have three special products using the Independence Engine: Culture, Majestic and Candy, featuring World Percussion, Basses and Saxophones, respectively. All these three special libraries are contained in Independence Pro! The Saxes are simply outstanding, as are the other libraries.

There is a free version available of the sampler, aptly titled Independence Free, so you can check it out without risk. Just head to Yellowtools and have a look! We really like Independence and can recommend it very much.


For all of you who are into World Music.
The Sibelius Academy has sponsored a wonderful free sample library of a Kantele.
It comes with three mic positions and just sounds terrific - far better than many a commercial library I’ve heard.
You should definitively check this out at AJATAR Kantele.