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SonicCouture: Vibraphone

Overview


LIQUID METAL

Essentially a mechanised, 20th Century variation on the classic metallaphone, the vibraphone adds a constant modulation to its resonator tubes by the use of motorised fans.

The fans, or discs, cover the top of the resonator tube and spin in unison, allowing full or partial function of the resonator tube depending on which point of the cycle the motor is in.

The resulting tone is a type of tremolo effect - shimmering, golden, & very wobbly indeed; due to all resonators modulating together and thus aggregating the effect on the decaying notes.


Yamaha YV-3910M ‘Professional Gold' 3.5 octave vibraphone

Instruments that use this kind of global modulation (the Hammond C3/leslie is a similar example) are traditionally impossible to sample & model realistically, because if you record a single note with the tremolo active, it will be completely out of sync with all subsequent notes you record. Previous attempts to sample the vibraphone usually resorted to sampling the instrument with the motor/tremolo switched off, then approximating the effect later using filters modulated by an LFO to effect the change in timbre.

Soniccouture Vibraphone takes a completely new approach - by sampling the entire instrument twice. Once with the fans closed, once with them fully open, both times completely static - the motor switched off.

Once we have the full vibraphone sound sampled in both states - fans closed and fans open - we can then simply crossfade between them in Kontakt using a simple sinusoidal LFO. This gives not only the authentic, detailed timbre, but also full control over the speed of the tremolo, another essential element of the instrument missing from previous renderings.



Diagram showing postioning of motorised fans when fully open and fully closed

EXPERIMENTAL LAYERING EFFECTS


In addition to the natural tremolo modelling, the other advantage of having two separate layers of vibraphone samples is that it is possible to combine them in new and interesting ways. We have added extra controls that allow you to:

  • Solo either layer or play both at once
  • Flip Stereo image or phase of vertical set
  • Detune layers with a fixed 'beating' function : the perceived beating is constant, regardless of which key you play.
  • Add tremolo to any of the above effects, or turn it off for static effects.

COMPATIBILITY


Vibraphone is a Kontakt Player (v5.1) instrument. This means that you do not need to own the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt to use it. It will run as a plug-in instrument in any VST/AU/RTAS compatible host program or DAW eg: Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live, DP, Reaper, Pro-Tools etc. No extra purchase is necessary.

The system requirements to run the instrument are :

Windows® XP (SP2, 32bit) / Vista® (32/64 Bit), Windows 7 or 8 (32/64 Bit) Mac OS® X 10.6 or higher, Intel® Core™ Duo

N.B. If you already own a full version of Kontakt 5, then you can also use the instrument in exactly the same way.P

Product Details

INSTRUMENT PANEL

The main instrument panel features the Tremolo modelling control section, as well as lowpass and hipass filters, with envelopes for amplitude and filter modulation.

THE EFFECTS PANEL


The Effects panel features Kontakts 'SSL' style parametric EQ, delay, saturation, a transient shaper and Soniccouture's custom convolution reverb selection - including conventional rooms and halls as well as abstract effects and textures.

THE OPTIONS PANEL


The Options panel allows the user to completely tailor the response of Vibraphone; apply different velocity curves to suit various controller keyboards; Humanise controls introduce subtle performance variations to incoming MIDI data, and various preferences allow further customisation.


Library Specifications

  • 24 bit 96 khz stereo sampling
  • 15 GB library (8 GB on disk, with Kontakt NCW compression) 
  • 3,864 samples 
  • 3.5 octaves: 41 notes, from C2 to F5 
  • 23 velocity levels
  • Intelligent round-robin mapping 
  • Sustain and Non-sustain articulations. 
  • Modeled tremolo response of spinning resonator fans 
  • 24 presets - sound design presets included
  • Demo MIDI files included
  • Custom effects panel with Soniccouture impulse response reverb library
  • Compatible with free Kontakt Player 5 - VST AU RTAS

Recorded at Real World Studios, Bath, England.


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