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Native Instruments updates George Duke Soul Treasures + 50% off limited time deal

Native Instruments has announced the release of an update to the Kontakt-based instrument George Duke Soul Treasures.

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

The update focuses on enhanced time-stretching, made possible by recent updates to the KONTAKT 5 engine. The new time-stretching provides a much smoother, high-quality sound when changing tempo or pitch shifting, adding a new flexibility to the loops and phrases, and making it easier to incorporate them into any production. Native Instruments has published a collection of new audio demos, showcasing the time-stretched loops in action that can be found on the Native Instruments website.

GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES is a vital resource for producers looking for the sound of authentic soul. The instrument provides over 500 sliced and tempo-synced keyboard loops and phrases, recorded exclusively for Native Instruments by American soul and jazz legend George Duke. Instruments used include acoustic, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Clavinet pianos, recorded using highly sought-after vintage equipment. The instrument provides an immediate harmonic basis and is an ideal starting point for hip-hop, R&B or soulful electronic productions.

The updated GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES runs in the latest version of KONTAKT or the free KONTAKT PLAYER.

To mark this update, the price of the product has been reduced by 50% for one week only. From March 12th to March 19th 2012, the instrument is available for $59.50 USD / 49.50 EUR, exclusively at the NI Online Shop. Owners of the original George Duke Soul Treasures will receive a newsletter with a link to the free update.

More information: Native Instruments / George Duke Soul Treasures

Electric Himalaya Funk Retrospective, soundset for Korg Mono/Poly

Electric Himalaya

Electric Himalaya has released Funk Retrospective, a collection of presets for the Mono/Poly virtual synthesizer by Korg.

Vintage Funk in the style of George Duke, Herbie Hancock, P-Funk, 1980s Boogie/Funk/Disco… It’s here!

Resonant vintage basses, tight and deep Boogie basses, P-Funk saw monster basses, leads straight from a MiniMoog on an Odyssey trip, smoky keys, spiky clavinets, synth keys and brassy synth stabs which fans of D-Train, Cameo, et al will recognise instantly.

If you play Funk/Soul/Old School Electro/Disco, this sound bank is for you.

Funk Retrospective (128 presets) is available to purchase at the introductory price of 10 EUR until April 21, 2011 (regular price 15 EUR).

More information: Electric Himalaya / Funk Retrospective

Review: Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments has recently released George Duke Soul Treasures, a Kontakt Player powered virtual instrument featuring sounds by the legendary George Duke.

GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES is a treasure trove for producers looking for instant soul for their tracks.

Exclusively recorded for Native Instruments by American soul and jazz legend George Duke, over 500 soul-drenched keyboard loops are ready to go, and without the need to dig for samples through crates of dusty vinyl.

Even if you don’t know George Duke there’s a good chance you have heard some of his work. Check this lovely interview with George below.

Made it through the video? You probably already went on over to the NI Online Shop to buy this library, right? Hello?

George sums up this library pretty well when he explains about the project:

“I was trying to figure out exactly what to play and eventually I just said you know what? I’m just gonna play, because you never know what these guys may wanna use, and so I just let my mind just go, and I mean I played for hours in here. Just playing, okay keep the tape rolling, just rolling just playing… and whatever came out came out.”

And that’s exactly what Soul Treasures provides. Tons of authentic soulful sounds that are just dying to get chopped up and manipulated to fit your own productions. No crate diggin’ required.

Soul Treasures offers loops in four categories: Electric Piano (Rhodes), Grand Piano (acoustic), Wurlitzer and Clavinet. The phrases were recorded using vintage equipment, with both “clean” and “tubes and tapes” signal routing. The tubes and tapes versions were done with lots of analog outboard gear to get that authentic warm vibe. Check the diagrams for details.

The library comes with an advanced Kontakt instrument interface, allowing instant access to various tools to re-arrange phrases and extensively tweak these sliced and tempo-synced loops.

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures
Soul Treasures performance view in Kontakt

In the “Waveform Display” you will notice four buttons in the top middle: tune, volume, attack, and stretch. To change values for these you simply click and drag in the appropriate slices. Very intuitive. Under each slice is a button for reversing the sample and you can drag MIDI sequences to your DAW directly from the waveform display. A handy audio preview button is located in the top left of the display.

Below the waveform display are two page buttons. The Sound page includes controls for:

  • Signal chain selection, clean or tubes & tape.
  • Time strech, which activates Kontakt’s Time Machine – syncing loops to the tempo of Kontakt or the host application.
  • Filter section with 8 filter types.
  • Echo & Room section with various reverb (impulse response) and delay effects.

The Trigger page is where you control the way the instrument behaves when triggering the slices and effects with your controller, or via the keyboard in the Kontakt interface.

  • Keyboard sections for FX Chain, Tuning, and Tigger. A white dot indicates an active preset/tuning/slice, and dropdown menus are available for selecting different chains and root tuning.
  • Latch section with toggles for the fx chain and tuning so that the setting will stay active after releasing the key.
  • Trigger modes include Loop, One-Shot, and Choke (when a new slice is played it mutes the previous sound).

All these controls make for a pretty flexible instrument, though there are some downsides. Using time stretching on the loops inside the Kontakt has its limits (things sound quite warbly once you move away too far from the original bpm a phrase was recorded in), and you can’t set slices manually.

This can be a minor or major issue depending on how you want to use these sounds. However, Native Instruments provides an additional full set of 24bit wav files for use in other applications. Brilliant!

So what do I think?

Product: Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures
Format: Kontakt/Kontakt Player NKI’s + 24bit/44kHz samples
Price: 99 EUR / $119 USD
Like: authentic sound, intuitive and versatile interface, wav files included
Don’t like: no manual slicing, timestretching limitations
Verdict: 9/10

This is definitely one of my favorite Kontakt instruments. Soul Treasures delivers some outstanding original soulful & funky samples. In combination with Kontakt it becomes a proper instrument with various ways to manipulate the sounds on the fly.

The range of sounds and melodies is more versatile than you might expect. I love hearing subtle nuances in the phrases and I can just imagine George as he was recording these sounds, for hours and hours. It feels and sounds like a labor of love.

In short, I think Soul Treasures is a true gem. When you think of it, it’s really amazing that you can actually buy a set of performances by this legendary musician. The samples are truly inspiring and I reckon the sounds of Soul Treasures will be used in countless modern day productions.

More information: Native Instruments / George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments releases George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments George Duke Soul Treasures

Native Instruments has released George Duke Soul Treasures, a new software instrument that makes the charismatic keyboard work of soul legend George Duke available for any music production.

Based on advanced KONTAKT sampling technology, the instrument provides over 500 exclusive licks that can be easily tweaked and re-arranged to suit any musical context, providing an inspirational resource of royalty-free melodic elements for Hip Hop, R&B, Soul, Funk, Disco, House and similar genres.

GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES captures the unique musical style of a living legend of the American jazz and soul scene, whose distinctive funky and soulful licks have been sampled relentlessly in recent and contemporary urban and dance music. Together with his sound engineer Erik Zobler, George Duke has recorded over 500 original keyboard phrases on his personal grand piano, electric piano, Wurlitzer and clavinet models exclusively for his signature software instrument.

GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES can be used both with the free KONTAKT PLAYER and in the full-featured KONTAKT 4 software sampler. Due to the advanced slicing and time-stretching functions in KONTAKT, all loops automatically sync to the song tempo of the sequencer, and can be modulated, re-pitched, and even completely re-arranged in real-time via an intuitive keyboard trigger scheme.

For creative sound mangling, various multi-effect chains can be activated through the keyboard on the fly, with a flexible filter section and a studio-grade convolution reverb offering further sound shaping options. Every lick in GEORGE DUKE SOUL TREASURES is also available in an additional “Tubes & Tape” version that was processed through a sophisticated analog recording chain at George Duke’s studio, resulting in an even grittier authentic vintage sound.

George Duke Soul Treasures is available to purchase for $119 USD / 99 EUR.

More information: Native Instruments / George Duke Soul Treasures