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Review: Les Productions Zvon Prepared Rhodes

Prepared Rhodes

Les Productions Zvon is back with another 3U instrument (unique, unusual and usable), the Prepared Rhodes.

This is actually not a new sample library but Zvon has recently released Kontakt and Battery formats, adding some new sounds to Prepared Rhodes.

So what is a Prepared Rhodes anyway? Zvon explains:

It’s a real Rhodes that is prepared as John Cage and others prepared a acoustic piano, that means you insert springs, plastic tubes, pins,etc., all kinds of objects inside the piano. These objects when touching the strings or the tines change the sound of each key played. All the notes can be radically different from each other and often you don’t even recognize the original sound. You get an instrument that is much more percussive in nature. This has been done quite often with acoustic piano but rarely with a Rhodes.

The Rhodes used in this sample library was prepared by Maxime de La Rochefoucauld, a composer and builder of mechanical musical automatons. Zvon recorded every note with multiple velocity layers (2 to 6) for a total of some 360 samples in 16 bits, 44.1 kHz. The samples are in mono format, just like the real Rhodes instrument.

The Kontakt/Battery version of Prepared Rhodes includes over 115 kits/patches with 67 semi-tuned instruments and about 50 extra patches that make use of the granular synthesis engine.

Prepared Rhodes for Kontakt & Battery is available for purchase for $19.99 USD. Other formats are also available.

So what do I think?

There are some interesting things about this library. First, the sample quality. If you are expecting pristine quality recordings you are going to be disappointed. When you check the samples with your audio editor you will notice there seems to be some clipping and audible background noise in quite a large number of samples. Since the sounds were recorded directly into a Tascam DA-88 I guess the background noise may be part of the preparation of the Rhodes.

Now although I would like the sounds to be a bit cleaner and brighter this does not mean I dislike Prepared Rhodes. On the contrary, I think it’s a lovely sample library. It is unique and unusual as I would expect from a Zvon product. You are not going to find these sounds anywhere else. I auditioned the samples one by one and I got incredibly itchy to start messing with them right away — they are so inspirational and musical (did I mention I like quirky sounds?)

The third “U” in “3U” is usability, and Zvon takes some extra care of this aspect with the chromatic semi-tuned and stretched (granular) instruments. Organs, music boxes, bells, all kinds of plucked sounds — lots of lovely instruments with great playability.

While playing with the sounds I made a little loop that I will share here to demonstrate the kind of thing you can do with this library.

Prepared Rhodes demo clip
1.15min / 1.73MB

All sounds in the clip above are from Prepared Rhodes. I was done with a Kontakt multi of 6 instruments, and about halfway I put some standard Kontakt delay and filter effects on one of the sounds.

Make sure to check the audio demos on Zvon’s mp3 page for examples of some more “traditional” pieces.

More information: Les Productions Zvon / Prepared Rhodes

Acousticsamples announces Kawai-EX

Kawai EX

Acousticsamples and Lance Herring have announced the Kawai-EX, a sample library featuring the sounds of a Kawai EX concert piano.

It’s a fabulous KAWAI EX concert grand piano that used to be in the Kennedy center in Washington DC.

The product is already in an advanced state.

Kawai-EX features

  • 5 “pedal up” layers, 5 “pedal down” layers, and 15 release samples per note (4 only for the light version).
  • Thumps samples.
  • Automatic Pedal noises samples.
  • Multiple mic position and mixing from the interface (in PRO version).
  • Ability to save polyphony by enabling / disabling each position.
  • Sympathetic resonance (pedal down samples).
  • Multiple releases. They have been carefully picked up for each note to really reproduce the real mechanical behaviour of a note.
  • As always, a custom kontakt interface that let you modify the response of the piano as well as its tone and the volume of the releases.

The Kawai-EX will be available in the first half of September in Kontakt and GIGA formats. Other formats will follow as free updates (Halion, EXS24 and maybe SFZ).

The sample library will have a pro version with all the above features, and a light version with only one mic position, a single release and only 4 velocity layers.

More information: Acousticsamples

Producer Loops releases Dirty Sexy South 2

Producer Loops Dirty Sexy South 2

Producer Loops has announced the release of Dirty Sexy South 2, a 3.6 GB collection of construction kits for RnB and Hip Hop producers by Bunker 8.

‘Dirty Sexy South 2′ is the sequel to the best selling RNB Dirty South Library. A 3.6GB collection of pure to the chronic, devastatingly hypnotic dirty south vibes with that oh so soul rnb vibe construction kits. Each construction kit clocks in with Apple loops and Acid loops, the whole cross platform package.

Bunker 8 have taken the best elements of the first release and then pumped it through the floor! There are over 1,350 pieces of audio content. Big sharp snares, boomy tight kicks, knockin’ side sticks, blister sharp synths, blastin’ powerkeg sub basses, uber power string lines. These joints are guaranteed floor fillas.

Dirty Sexy South 2 is available for download for £20 GBP.

More information: Producer Loops

Les Productions Zvon announces Anniversary Sale

Prepared Rhodes

Les Productions Zvon has announced the 2009 Anniversary Sale, offering two price reduced sample bundles.

Anniversary Sale 2009

  • Unusual Percussions Bundle, includes Chromatic Hits, Prepared Rhodes, Sidekick Electronic Percussion and Out There, for $35 USD (regular over $65 USD).
  • Julie’s Vocal Collections, reduced prices for the three sample libraries featuring professional jazz singer Julie Hamelin.
    The bundle, featuring 1235 one-shot samples, is now available for $19.99 USD (previously $34.99 USD).

More information: Les Productions Zvon

Producer Loops releases Bunker 8 Dubstep Monolith Bunker 8 Dubstep Monolith

Producer Loops releases Dubstep Monolith, a 3.4GB collection of construction kits for Dubstep producers from their content partner Bunker 8.

Tripped out delay percussionisms, super sub distil basses, epic transit fx’s, LFO wib wobble basses, depth spawned vocalisms, this collection is sure to please every dub bass enthusiast as well as drawn in composers who wish to inject their tracks with the mysterious shadows that encompass this excitingly demented music form.

Dubstep Monolith features

  • 3.4 GB collection of construction kits presented in ACID/WAV and Apple Loops formats.
  • Each kit contains a full sample mix, plus all of the elements separated.
  • Includes single hit samples in Battery 2, Kontakt 2, SampleTank, GigaSampler, HALion and EMU formats.
  • All beats have been processed using Neve, Soundcraft and SSL consoles at the mixing stage.

Dubstep Monolith is currently available as a download exclusively at for £21 GBP.

Visit Producer Loops for more information and audio clips.

Acousticsamples releases AcademicGrand

Acousticsamples AcademicGrand

Acousticsamples has released AcademicGrand, a piano sample library for Kontakt, developed in collaboration with Lance Herring.

The AcademicGrand is a 1963 Steinway D concert grand which has seen countless recitals and concerts over the years where it served as the University of Arkansas’ primary concert instrument. The piano has been an inspiration to hundreds of students and visitors, and with being well-maintained and cared for, it’s a wonderful instrument with a unique history and classic American Steinway sound.

AcademicGrand features

  • 2.82 GB sample library (no loops).
  • Recorded at 24bit/48kHz.
  • 4 velocity layers for both the sustain and the release.
  • Pedal up and pedal down samples.
  • 3 release types: notes, thumps, on pedal down (on pedal down only in Kontakt).
  • Additional pedal noise (up and down), automatic in Kontakt version.
  • Advanced scripting (kontakt).
  • Really easy to play, just like a real piano, no more and no less.

AcademicGrand is available for Kontakt 2/3 (Giga coming soon) for 59 EUR.

Visit Acousticsamples for more information and audio clips.

Producer Loops releases MIN TECH 2

Producer Loops MIN TECH 2

Producer Loops has released MIN TECH 2, a 1.8 GB construction kit collection for the minimalist techno genre from their content partner Bunker 8 and that is the sequel of their popular MIN TECH.

Angling through empty souls of a minimalist calling, ‘MIN TECH’ becomes the defacto definition of the minimalist techno genre. Dark and forboding, deep and distrustful, glaring and majestic, Bunker 8 Digital Labs brings this heretofore style through its melodically haiku solace.

It is characterized by a stripped-down aesthetic that exploits the use of repetition, and understated development. This style of dance music production generally adheres to the motto less is more; a principle that has been previously utilized, to great effect, in architecture, design, visual art, and Western art music. Minimal techno is thought to have been originally developed in the early 1990s by Detroit based producers Robert Hood and Daniel Bell.

MIN TECH 2 features

  • 1.8 GB construction kits (Apple loops & Acid loops).
  • Each kit contains a full sample mix, plus all of the elements separated and set out for you to mix and match until the groove sits tight.
  • Also includes single hit samples selected from the best kits on offer at the Bunker 8, in HALion, Kontakt 2, Battery 2, Gigasampler, Soundfont, Sampletank, and EMU Formats.
  • Bonus collection of minimalist drum grooves and percussionisms, perfect as expressive appetizers to your minimalist opus.
  • Bunker 8 uses proprietary sample looping technology so that each cycle of either format seams perfectly throughout your jams. That means you can stretch these loops really far with limited or no digital artifacts.
  • All beats have been processed using Neve, Soundcraft and SSL consoles at the mixing stage, so you know these are ready to go.

MIN TECH 2 is available as a download for £18 GBP.

Visit Producer Loops for more information and audio demos.

SoundLib updates G-Player to v1.1

Related: , , , , , Posted in news on May 12, 2009 - comment 1 comment
SoundLib G-Player

SoundLib has released version 1.1 of G-Player, a native Giga Player for Mac OSX.

Play your Giga files with this first native Giga player for Mac OSX. G-Player was designed to play the large orchestral sound libraries and supports disk streaming, dimensions, keyswitches and layered instruments.

Changes in G-Player v1.1

  • G-Solo has its own keyboard.
  • New user interface.
  • MIDI LED indicators.
  • User configurable Pitch Bend.
  • User configurable Filter.
  • The filter can now be manually activated.
  • Support of the 3 GigaStudio velocity curves.
  • Built in Giga file browser.
  • G-Solo has its own keyboard.
  • Increased stability and streaming capacity.

G-Player is available for Mac OS X 10.4+ (VST/AU/Standalone) for $129 USD. A demo version can be downloaded here.

Visit SoundLib for more information.