EmberTone Shire Whistle Review
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.
XILS-Lab PolyKB II Review
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.
PrecisionSound Gospel Drawbars Review
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.
By the way, a full-length video presentation accompanies this review. (Pssst, it's near the bottom of the page.)
Rob Papen Predator Review
Rob Papen’s Predator has become one of the electronic genre’s perennial favourites for its wide breadth of sound types and synth flavours. This dynamic synth is not as easy to pigeon-hole as some of Mr. Papen’s other famous designs. Predator will pounce on its dance-floor prey with the agility of a hungry, West African Lion, or massage your cochlea with its soothing, analog-like purrs.
Predator is the Alpha male leader of the pride in two bundles available from Rob Papen; EDM and Urban. Each Limited Edition bundle only costs €199 | $239 (USD).
While Predator may be considered by some to be ‘Bigger Game’, where it is listed at €149/$179 (USD), the astute electronic musician will be duly wary to keep an ear out for it as a very worthy cross-platform all-rounder. This synth is elusive – difficult to trap into any one genre cage. Pred is as capable of emitting piercing, phat leads, as it is to peacefully lay down bedded layers of warm, comforting pads. What’s more, Predator is as likely to be seen prowling on a MAC desktop as on a Windows PC.
As always, I’m glad you’re here, dear reader. Reviewer’s Revival would be nothing more than lonely, empty chambers if it weren’t for my ‘netizen’ friends coming and making it a home with me. Please join me and let’s go on a little internet safari, without leaving the safety of our rooms, and hunt the “Predator”.
4Front Technologies’ True Pianos Review
In the seemingly never-ending quest for glorious tone, authentic playability, and modest system requirements, many pianists are left disillusioned with many of today’s ITB offerings. Few musicians have either the physical space or the bankroll to actually invest in a baby grand; or even a high-end “Digital Grand”.
Many keyboardists struggle to keep their computers afloat in the sea of multi-gigabyte sample libraries; with each new library promising to deliver finer sound and greater piano realism.
I own a few substantial piano sample libraries, and for the most part, they are all very good. However, they consume a great deal of precious hard drive space, and available system memory. For those who own up-to-date computers housing fast hard drives, and large denominations of blistering-fast RAM, this isn’t as much of a concern . . . ‘ yet’; wait another year or two and maybe the newest sample libraries will be even that much more demanding.
But all is not lost! We can thank God and the good folks at 4Front Technologies for finally making the dream a reality. For the gracious price of only £121.55, or $180 (USD), 4Front’s suite of five modelled pianos is nothing shy of spectacular and splendorous. Furthermore, True Pianos is ‘truly’ multi-platform in that it is available for Windows PC (32 bit & 64 bit), Mac (Intel & PPC), Receptor, and vMachine!
HURRY in and enter to WIN a FREE copy of Martinic Elka Panther !
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All of the articles published on Reviewer's Revival are undertaken to be purely objective, impartial reviews. Reviewer's Revival is not owned, funded-by, nor hired by any company or individual. Reviewer's Revival is the sole property of, and solely under the discretion and direction of, Brother Charles.