Review: Les Productions Zvon Chromatic Hits & Sidekick Electronic Percussion

The Les Productions Zvon website opens with an animated banner: 3U – Unique, Unusual, Usable.

Zvon’s samples are certainly not the run of the mill type sounds you’ve heard before on countless sample libraries. Les Productions Zvon proudly speaks of “sound and music with a special twist”.

Chromatic Hits

Chromatic Hits is a set of resynthesized chromatic percussions.

Zvon explains:

The concept: often when I use one-shot samples, I would like to have them play higher or lower without changing their duration and/or having them slow down or speed up. That gave me the idea for this set. The set contains 101 sounds and over 2500 chromatically mapped samples (205 MB).

The instruments include many percussion type sounds like bells, chimes and metal hits. The great thing about these being chromatic is that you can play many of them as tuned or semi-tuned percussion. Check this list of instruments for more details.

Les Productions Zvon Chromatic Hits (Kontakt)
Some of the Chromatic Hits instruments in Kontakt 3.

I tried the recently released Kontakt 3 version of Chromatic Hits, which includes 110 additional sounds that make use of Kontakt 3 features (total of 211 instruments).

These extra sounds basically use the same samples, but combined in layers, velocity layers, cycle groups and random groups and a few programs use some of Kontakt’s effects as well.

Browsing the instruments is quite an adventure, unique & unusual indeed.

Sidekick Electronic Percussion

Sidekick Electronic Percussion is another percussion (really?!) sample library.

Zvon writes:

I wanted to create percussions that not only would sound great and offer versatility when sequencing. But that would also be fun to play in realtime on a keyboard or a drum pad with the velocity layers. I am very happy with the results. I named it Sidekick because it is a great add-on to any acoustic or electronic drums/percussions kits. Even though it features plenty of kick drums, some snares and toms, the bulk of this set is made of original and unique percussive sounds and FX.

The Sidekick instruments aren’t chromatic but they do have a special kind of velocity layers. Many of the instruments have completely different sounds for the same note, depending on the note velocity, which feels a bit weird at first but is actually of lot of fun.

Sidekick Electronic Percussion features 285 sounds including 152 with velocity layers (from 2 to 8, average 4 or 5) for a total of 809 samples.

So what do I think?

There’s not so much to conclude here. Either you like Zvon’s unique, unusual and usable sounds, or you don’t. I am a sucker for oddball sounds, especially of the percussive type so these samples will serve me well.

You’ll find a number of mp3 demos for both products on the website, and some generous free demo sounds are available for download in various formats (SoundFont, GigaStudio, Kontakt, wav, etc).

Chromatic Hits for Kontakt 3 is available for $29.99 USD (SoundFont version is $24.99) and Sidekick Electronic Percussion for Kontakt 3 is $9.99 USD.

And it looks like today is a great time to get Chromatic Hits since you’ll get the Sidekick Electronic Percussion for free.

Chromatic Xpress Sale, 3 days only (May 17, 18, 19): Buy the Chromatic Hits set at the regular price and receive the Sidekick Electronic Percussion set for free!!!

More information: Les Productions Zvon

  • http://www.lesproductionszvon.com Zvon

    Hi Ronnie and thanks for the review,

    I would like to give more info about the velocity layers:
    - In the Chromatic Hits, they are artificial, meaning that I combined different sounds to create the velocity effect.
    - In the Sidekick set, they are “natural”, meaning that the softsynths source presets that were sampled had these velocity modulations programmed in the softsynths.
    So the velocity response is the actual one that was programmed in each one of the softsynths source presets. It’s true though, that as you stated, I originally programmed many of them to have different sounds for the same note.

    Zvon

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