If your a fan of 80s music you’ve heard the Synclavier. Some notable users of the Synclavier include Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Trevor Horn (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Grace Jones), and Michael Jackson. I’ve posted news of other French company UVI’s sample libraries because I think they really get it right. I recently used their Emulation II sample library on a new secret side project I’ve been working on (something with some powerful female vocals!). The Beast is UVI’s take on the Synclavier. The videos above really show off what it sounds like.
“The Synclavier System was an early digital synthesizer, polyphonic digital sampling system, and music workstation, manufactured by New England Digital Corporation, Norwich, VT. The original design and development of the Synclavier prototype occurred at Dartmouth College with the collaboration of Professor Jon Appleton, Professor of Digital Electronics, Sydney A. Alonso, and Dartmouth, Thayer School of Engineering student software programmer, Cameron Jones.” – Wikipedia
I’ve become internet friends with Brian “AfroDJmac”. In passing I mentioned a possible idea for one of his incredible free Ableton Live packs. Basically I love cassette tape hiss. I suggested that if he access to some old tapes I would certainly like a “pack of hiss”. Well a week later and viola Brian surprised me with this nice gift: Free Ableton Pack #60: Tape Hiss Vinyl Crackle! Watch the video above because this isn’t just some samples. Brian has spent time making things work properly and also added vinyl crackle. Eat that Slate Digital!
“An Ableton Live Instrument Rack that turns any synth you have into a synth that sounds like it came from tape or record!” – afrodjmac.com
I love storm sounds. In New York we get some massive thunder from time to time. I like to turn off any TV or music playing, sit by the window and listen to the rumble. Rain and wind sounds are great in music. I often use white noise to simulate wind. There are sample libraries of this stuff but if you want a proper VST which simulates rain or wind well now you an have one. Audiowind and Audiorain do just exactly that. There’s even the almighty awesome random button. The only caveat is the price: 149 Euro each launch price going up to 245 Euro or 399 Euro for both. Without a doubt for weather channels, commercial producing studios and filmakers it’s worth it. For a solo electronic musician looking for a storm maybe not.
“They are perfect tools for wind sound effect and rain sound effect.” – audiogaming.net
Of all the sample library makers I think UVI is one of the best. They have good taste and also wrap their sounds in a nice way. This time they do a take on the Fairlight called the Darklight IIx. I love these very Trevor Horn sounds so much. Think Art of Noise, late Yes, Yello, Herbie Hancock… I had a few of the type of sounds on my first sampler a Roland S-50. There have been a few recent sample libraries and an iOS app but I’m betting this one from UVI will be the most useful. It has 3 pages/screens. Page P is where you load and change the sound, Page B is a digital drum machine (yay) and Page U is a sequencer. $200 USD.
“UVI Darklight IIx is the latest UVI product, inspired by the most mythical Computer Music Instrument of the 80’s. We took our obsession to the next level, creating a complete set of instruments, sounds and sonic tools deeply inspired by the original digital monster. A unique, hybrid process of exhaustive multi-sampling, analysis, and advanced audio processing allowed us to not only capture the original character of this machine but to enhance its ability with a host of today’s most powerful analog modeled filters, LFOs, envelopes and effects–packaged beautifully in an old-school interface.” – UVI YouTube
A free sample library of Metal Scratches. I can’t see any reason not to have this on your hard drive. Say thanks to Martin Oskera for doing these: click here
“This fourth library of The Binaural Collection consists of metal scratches. The recipe for this pack was simple: a metal housing from a deceased tape deck and a few sharp and blunt objects to ruin the surface of the housing. I tried to capture all the nuances of the sounds and make the sounds as big as possible without any additional processing so I close mic’ed them with the front perspective of my dummy head. Metal Scratch contains 126 a variety of metal scratches.” ongelegen.com
Being a Einstürzende Neubauten fan I’m addicted to sound libraries featuring everyday real objects. Milkshake for Kontakt is a cute addition and for $5 is about the cost of the real thing.
“Have you ever wondered how a milkshake would sound like, if you could sample it? Now you can, with the new AudioThing instrument MilkShake! MilkShake lets you mix three basic ingredients, shake them, filter them and serve them with a nice matrix of effects ready to use. Everything at your fingertips inside a custom performance view. Milk and Sugar samples were carefully recorded using classic kitchen supplies. The Juice samples were, instead, narrowly sampled from a juicy Waldorf microQ sound designed patch. MilkShake it’s perfect for pads, tuned synth-percussions, textures, evolving effects, noises, and so on.” – audiothing.net
AfroDJMac has released his latest Ableton Live pack (link). This time it’s for the Roland Juno 106. An old friend of mine Jay Serken let me use his 106 in my studio for years. It was eventually stolen. I used save a row of patches each just slightly different than each other. Next I would have Cubase (then on an Atari ST) send patch changes every to the Juno every 16th note. This would emulate an analog sequencer changing CV filter. You can hear the 106 going though various guitar pedals and my Electrocomp-101 on most of my early records.
“Ableton Live Pack of 22 instruments created with the Roland Juno 106 Polyphonic Analog Synthesizer. Each instrument was sampled from a custom patch on the Juno 106 and contains 8 macro knobs with its own unique effects to further twist and manipulate this diverse collection of sounds.” – afrodjmac.spinshop.com
Eventually more 1980s retro styled tracks are going to be created than were originally created in the 80s themselves. I’m not complaining at all. This week two new hairspray decade sample packs were released. Ueberschall’s 80s Smash Hits (99€) and Zenhiser’s 1987 Drum Beats (25 AUD) both will take you back 30 years.
“80s Smash Hits is a cutting edge construction kit library, inspired by the catchy sounds of the legendary Synth Pop and Wave bands that are still sought-after today. In the eighties despite the fashion, it was all about song writing and playful experimentation with sounds, machines, synthesizers and effects.” – ueberschall.com
Not to be confused with one of my favorite band The Magnetic Fields this sound library without the “The” is quite interesting. Over 2GB of long samples that sound like electricity. Imagine some of the 1st long sounds you hear at the beginning of Depeche Mode’s song Black Celebration. There wasn’t an easy way to embed the audio samples here to head over to the Future Loops website to hear a good selection of clips. About $30 USD. By the way I have Pinterest Board going where I collect sample libraries I think are cool. Take a look: pinterest.com/interest…
“Radiation and Nuclear Energy, Force Fields and Electromagnetism, Rays and Waves, the diversity of these sounds is outstanding.” – futureloops.com
Here is a free download of Household Motors from Ongelegen. I really find these type of sounds useful in a lot of different types of music. Don’t forget you can pitch, stretch, reverse and effect these into transitions, explosions and more.
“This third installment of The Binaural Collection contains recordings of small motors of common household devices such as blenders, juicers, drills etc. During this recording session I’ve tried to capture the sounds from three listening perspectives: stationary front, stationary rear and a moving perspective where the sound moves around the stereo field/listeners head. The front and rear perspectives sound very similar as the sounds were recorded close to the microphones.” – ongelegen.com