While Jeff Rhodes of Perimeter Sound Arts just released Rate Of Motion – his second soundset for u-he’s Zebra 2.5, I took his first collection of patches for the virtual wireless modular instrument for a spin.
Zebrasonix is a patch collection featuring a versatile set of sounds and effects for electronic music.
These synth patches and effects presets are not emulations of classics. They are meant to be original sounds with enough performance controls to give them a bold new life of their own. The velocity sensitivity settings alone will keep them from ever getting static, and when you add the mod wheel, and the X/Y pads, you’ll never run out of inspirational new sounds.
It would be nearly impossible to nail down any one kind of genre for this collection. From Industrial to Trance to Trip Hop, these are proudly ‘digital’ sounds, for electronic music producers of all kinds.
- 177 patches with 4 variations each, a total of 708 sounds.
- Patches have mapped X/Y controls, modwheel settings, velocity sensitivity.
- Arpeggiator settings for every preset.
- Original waveforms were used in most patches.
- 30 bonus patches for Zebrify (plus one variation for each), with X/Y controls and modwheel settings.
Zebrasonix has its sounds categorized into 5 sections: bass (21), kit (34), lead (35), pad (15), and synth (72).
Each originally designed sound has three additional variations with modified parameters and effects. These variations tend to be a bit more experimental than the original sounds they stem from. Some sound similar, others are like completely new instruments. While variations can get a little extreme (tuning can be an issue), in general usability is great across the complete set of sounds.
To give you an idea of what variations sound like have a listen to the clips below, in which I used all four variations of a single preset for the exact same sequence. This is pure Zebrasonix, nothing added.
Bass, lead, synth and pad patches include a good assortment of sounds. There are some analog type sounds, yet the set mainly has a digital feel. Kind of harsh/abrasive in a good way.
The kits are something special. Up to four MSEG (multi stage envelope generator) sections are used to sequence various sounds, resulting in percussive loops. Not for everyone I’m sure, but if you are into modular synth percussion there is a good chance you will like these. With cleverly mapped X/Y controls it is lots of fun to mess around with these beats.
A collection of 30 bonus patches + 30 variations for the Zebrify effect is included in the Zebrasonix set as well. Zebrify tends to get overlooked a bit, but it is really an amazing effects unit so I am happy to see some presets for it.
So what do I think?
Format: .h2p patches for Zebra2 / Zebrify (VST/AU/RTAS)
Price: £18.50 GBP
Like: lots of unique sounds, performance focused, drum/percussion kits
Don’t like: tuning of some patches is off
While Zebrasonix can be characterized as “digital sounding”, it also includes a fair share of analog type sounds. On the whole the soundset has a wide range of useful patches. However, there aren’t all that many bread & butter sounds. Not to say Zebrasonix is only suitable for producing music of a certain genre, but I reckon those who are into experimental sounds will be drawn to this set the most.
Overall I am well impressed by the many unique sounds. Velocity sensitivity, modwheel and X/Y mappings make for some pleasantly expressive instruments. You really need to play with it, explore it and you will find there is a proper beast hiding in this Zebra.