Tuesday, June 25, 2013

EmberTone Shire Whistle Review – Aye, Lad, Tis A Sweet Song!

Of Scottish ancestry, I grew up naught but 100 yards from the Atlantic shoreline in Englishtown, Cape Breton. The plaintive sounds of Celtic instruments always bring a wistful sigh upon me heart and beckons myself home; Embertone’s “Shire Whistle” is just such an instrument. With only a pair of Sennheiser headphones, it fairly addles me into fancying that the scent of salt brine is wafting on the evening air while distant, haunted, echoing cries of Atlantic Gulls are heard off the point, beyond the lighthouse.

The greenery of mountain spruce and tender, meadow moss lie to the south. Amidst the hum of busy bumble-bees, flittering sparrows melodiously call to one another with one happy tune after another. What’s that to be heard just over the crest? Yes, indeed, tis “Shire McGuire” expressing thanks and merriment for yet another day of blessing and growth upon his beloved garden and vale. His wizened fingers dance over the holes of his fondest keepsake; his father’s Irish whistle.

EmberTone captured the essence and charm of this poetic instrument and have lovingly wrapped it for us as a Kontakt sample-set. This blessed little gift may be had for only a wee bit of coin from a trader’s sporran. Tis no more than $20 middle earth dollars.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

XILS-Lab PolyKB II Review – Get Your Analogue On

PolyKB, Diva, SynthMaster, Dune, Predator, Tone2 Saurus, ZT3A+; what do these all have in common? They are each industry-leading soft synths, that’s what. Most of these are not “dedicated” emulations of famous synths from yesteryear – albeit, each of these may certainly be considered a “new” classic. That’s not to say that products such as Dune, Synthmaster, Predator, and etcetera, aren’t extremely well suited to modern dance and electronica.

I would never be so bold as to try determining that any one of them is “The Best” because they are all very good. Of course, it’s generally understood that many synth players typically have a personal favourite or two; one of my absolute personal favourites just so happens to be the PolyKB II. And, this synth just so happens to be an emulation, but it’s not the standard fare – not by a long shot.

Are you one of those who like to visit a developer’s web site and keep “checking out” a favourite plug-in or VSTi? It’s ok to admit it; you’re among friends. *Wry, knowing grin. Long before I actually had PolyKB II in my possession, I would visit the XILS-Lab web site and listen to the remarkable audio samples of this fantabulous synth in action. It has a “vibe”, a sound, a character that is uniquely its own. It’s deep, lush, ‘alive’ and decidedly analogue-sounding. I am excited and more than a little bit happy to bring my review of the astounding PolyKB II to my friends and visitors here on Reviewer’s Revival.

I’m glad you dropped in. Grab a snack and a fresh cup of joe. Please settle in for one more peering investigation of yet another “must have” VA synth. We’ll do ‘er up in good ol’ Reviewer’s Revival style.


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Friday, June 7, 2013

PrecisionSound Gospel Drawbars Review – The Patriarch Hammond!

There have been a few notable Hammond organ sample libraries and VIs (Virtual Instruments) released over the past 10 years. Some of these made us sit up and keenly take notice, whilst others were greeted with yawns of disinterest. I’m excited to present this latest offering from Sweden’s masters of sampling, PrecisionSound – the amazing “Gospel Drawbars”. This ear-tickling sample-set is available in both NI Kontakt and Logic EXS24 formats.

PrecisionSound have been outputting respectable sample sets, in various formats, since 2003 and with each new release, it is obvious that they are honing and refining their sampling processes. When I first loaded this 1 GB sample set into Kontakt 5, I knew immediately that it wasn’t yet another ‘so so’ virtual Hammond wannabe. The depth and richness of ‘believable’ tonewheel sound must be experienced to be understood.

Gospel Drawbars is NOT another B3 sample library; this one is a meticulously-recorded 24 bit/44.1khz digital sample-set of a rare, well-functioning Hammond AB organ (circa 1937). The AB was Hammond’s 2nd offering, and is the direct ancestor of the B3/C3 line. This sample-set is absolutely soaking wet with vibe, character, and vintage-sounding charm. It’s almost too good to be true; the most unique Hammond organ sounds to have ever been heard “in the box” for only $69.


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