Related: Array Instruments
, instrument plugins
, thumb piano
Posted in news
on Jul 16, 2010
Soniccouture has released Array Mbira, a sample library for Kontakt featuring a 5 octave thumb piano from Array Instruments, made especially for Soniccouture.
The Mbira is originally a folk instrument from Africa. Sometimes called a Thumb Piano, Sanza, or Kalimba, they are generally home-made and consist of several metal tines attached to a gourd or piece of wood, which are then plucked with the thumbs. They are mostly small, with a handful of notes.
Array Instruments, a U.S. company started by Bill Wesley and Patrick Hadley, have taken the concept of this ancient African idiophone to a whole new level, not only in terms of instrument design but also in purity of sound, and range of pitch. The Array Mbira is no toy, it’s a highly advanced musical instrument built to exacting speciﬁcations.
Array Mbira features
- 9 GB Library (4GB on disc with Kontakt sample compression) – 4 GB download.
- 24bit 44.1khz Stereo Sampling – separate, phase aligned Pickup and Microphone channels.
- 5 octave range: C1 – B5.
- 8 Velocity levels, 3 alternate round robins: 4,112 samples in total.
- Note off damping samples (8 samples per note) with configurable levels and midi control.
- KSP Strummer module allows realistic MIDI controlled strumming of played notes.
Array mBira is available to purchase as a Kontakt Player 4 instrument for PC and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS) for 69 EUR for the download, 79 EUR on DVD (ships 1 August).
Note: You can get 15% off with promo code : LNSZ3OKEW6 (Offer expires 30th July 2010).
More information: Soniccouture / Array Mbira
, samples and sound libraries
Posted in news
on Dec 11, 2009
Soundcells has released Simple Sampling, a free ReFill for Reason.
At first we started working on a fun refill based on a Stylophone we recorded for sampling purposes. So we started sampling this little toy note by note. Besides programming a patch that matches the real thing we also tweaked the nnxt to go some extra steps. Some fat funky clavinet-style patches caught us by surprise.
While producing a first mini track (apart from the loop it’s entirely based on stylophone samples) we added some extra cool stuff to this refill: a “single-sample-rhodes”, a “single-sample-piano”, a “single-sample-kalimba” and some other nifty stuff…”Simple Sampling” – the name speaks for itself!
Simple Sampling features
- 25 combinator patches mainly based on Stylophone samples, a Rhodes-like patch that really feels great while playing the keys, mouth watering atmospheric content and some retro oriented surprises.
- A note by note (a2 – e4) sampled and looped Stylophone including it´s typical release click.
- “Simple Samples” coming from the Rhodes Mark 1, Doepfer MS404, a mini kalimba, a piano, a bassoon…
- 10 Rex loops.
The Simple Sampling ReFill is available to download on request, free of charge.
Soundcells has also announced a “Before-And-After-Christmas” sale:
While the last days before Christmas are knocking at our door it´s time for us to offer you something special. Along with regular Christmas sentiments we´d like to present you with an almost 30% discount on most of our products! This offer starts now and will end on January 10th.
Put a SOUNDCELLS refill on your wish list for Christmas so you won´t get another pair of socks, your third toaster or a bad bottle of sour wine coming from a good and sweet heart!
More information: Soundcells / Simple Sampling
Orange Tree Samples has announced the release of Grand Kalimba, a kalimba sample library for Kontakt.
Orange Tree Samples’ latest Kontakt release, Grand Kalimba is everything its name implies. It has three octaves of tines, giving you a large note range—most kalimbas have between 11 and 17 tines, but the Grand Kalimba has 37!
Behind the meticulously sampled kalimba is a powerful Kontakt interface, giving you complete control over the tone and performance of the instrument. The interface includes controls for microtonal composing, by allowing you to fine-tune the individual tines. You can even switch between a piano-style note layout and a kalimba note layout. You can also enable a double-tracked kalimba tone with a single button.
Grand Kalimba features
- 880 MB of over 2,000 kalimba samples.
- 8x round-robin alternating samples.
- 3 velocity layers.
- Sampled chromatically.
- Tine mutes, including buzzing mutes.
- Powerful interface giving you control over the tone and playability.
Grand Kalimba is available as a direct download for an introductory price of $29.95 USD (normally $39.95 USD) until September 25, 2009.
More information: Orange Tree Samples / Grand Kalimba
Les Productions Zvon has released LoFi Kalimba, a freeware SoundFont.
To create this set I sampled one note from an small Indonesian kalimba with a Casio Sk2 hardware sampling keyboard. This is very LoFi as I had to use the Casio’s small built-in microphone to record the sample and as the SK2 does not have a line-out, the resulting sound had to be recorded through its internal speakers. And I won’t mention the quality of the sampling engine itself as I don’t know the details but it’s certainly not pristine.
None the less, it’s a quite fun little keyboard but a very noisy one! So I applied a rather heavy dose of noise reduction, so much in fact that part of the sound’s attack and tone were lost too, and the samples are still noisy. Which makes it even more LoFi but it’s fun! Don’t hesitate to dress it up with FXs.
Download the LoFi Kalimba here (125 KB)
Joe Real (José Maria Côrte-Real) has released Axé, a freeware rompler VST instrument for Windows PC.
From Brazil, a small Coconut with metal bars, like the African Kalimba that Earth Wind & Fire made popular in the ’70s and the ’80s. With this Rompler you have more possibilities, the low notes sound like melodic drums, de medium and high sounds like the Axé. It can be very usefull for african music.
Joe Real Axé is available as a freeware VST instrument for Windows PC. You can download it here (RapidShare).
Visit Joe Real for more information.
Tonehammer has released Kalimba, a tuned percussion instrument and a variant of the African Mbira.
It’s essentially a hollow wooden box with metal keys attached to it. The instrument is plucked with thumbs and the wooden box helps increase the resonance of the metal keys. However Tonehammer took it to the next level.
- 3 Locations (Dry, Small Bright Hall, Large Dark Hall), 4 total microphone positions (Dry, Small Hall Far mics, Big Hall Close Mics, Big Hall Far Mics).
- Sample resolution: 44.1Khz/16Bit.
- 4 x 2 instrument patches (untuned / tuned), 1,036 samples, 609 MB installed, 202 MB download.
- Format(s): Kontakt and .wav
- Kalimba Read-Me (.pdf) instruction with keymaps and pictures.
Note: Native Instruments Kontakt 2.2.4 / 3 full retail versions required.
Kalimba is available for purchase now for $25 USD. Some demo tracks are available on the product page.
Tonehammer has also updated Frendo, a custom-built Tonehammer instrument.
We created this monster by stringing bailing wire around and through through steel plates and bolts, over galvanize steel piping and across wood planks.
The update adds a second microphone position from inside the actual resonance chamber of the Frendo itself. The new included set is called the Heads collection.
It also adds 16 new instrument patches, +672 new samples and +600 MB to the grand total, way more than doubling the size of the library.
Frendo is available for $39 USD and existing Frendo users who bought the old hall mic-only version on will be receiving a free upgrade to the new and improved library.
Visit Tonehammer for more information.
, Ben Burtt
, circuit bending
, random posts
, samples and sound libraries
, Star Wars
Posted in random posts
on Jul 11, 2008
Some interesting things I found on July 11th, 2008:
# wire to the ear » » Listen to some pure Roland SH3 audio files. – Oliver Chesler has some Roland SH3 samples up for download.
He has been following a thread over at the Vintage Synth Explorer forum discussing the Roland SH-3.
Forum members have been contributing audio samples to see if there is a real difference between the 3 and 3A so I decided to upload a set for of my SH3 for everyone to check out. Each same is pure Roland SH3, no compressor or any effects. Recorded directly into a Motu 828 using Ableton Live.
You can download 24bit Wav files in a .zip (Creative Commons license) or listen to the 320kpbs MP3s at wire to the ear.
# Big Updates for Handheld Homebrew Music: NitroTracker 0.4, PSPSeq 3, PSP Rhythm 8 – Peter Kirn rounds up the latest and greatest for your Nintendo DS and Sony PSP handhelds.
# Lego Record Player – And yes, it works!
# Junk Kalimba – Made from a wall plug casing and various other pieces that were discarded on the drive of a demolished house. Piezo and 1/4" jack added.
# Hockey Organ – Graeme Patterson's sweet hocky organ project. The keys of the Casio SK1 control the players.
# DIY IRF610 MOSFET Class A Headphone Amplifier Project
Giovanni Militano writes:
Not thrilled with how a computer soundcard drove my 32 ohm Grado SR80 headphones, I decided to build myself a desktop headphone amplifier for the office.
# R2-D2 2.0 – Ben Burtt, the man who gave WALL-E a voice – Interview with Academy Award-winning sound designer Ben Burtt, who has created some of the most iconic sounds in film history, including the light saber's hum and crackle, and Darth Vader's asthmatic murmur.
, random posts
, thumb piano
Posted in random posts
on Feb 13, 2008
Some interesting things I bookmarked on del.icio.us on February 12th, 2008:
- Piniature Kalimba – Needle tines on a small chip of chrome plastic from a car accident. Approaching the smallest playable with the fingers thumb piano.
yapruder (RP Collier) says it makes sound but is very difficult to hold.