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Review: Sidsonic Libraries Circus Circuit Bending Library, massive collection of circuit bent sounds

Circuit bending has gathered quite a lot of attention in recent years. Sure it’s not for everyone, but blogs like Create Digital Music, GetLoFi, Make, etc. show there is plenty of interest in the art of modifying electronic devices by short circuiting them. If you are not really sure what I’m talking about, check Wikipedia here.

Sidsonic’s Circus Circuit Bending Library isn’t the first sample library that is all about circuit bending. It is however one of the most extensive ones I have seen so far, and the first Kontakt Player based one to my knowledge.

Sidsonic CCBL Box

Perhaps not essential but well worth mentioning is the physical design & packaging of this sample library. Where many developers choose to provide downloads only, or simple DVD boxes with half a page worth of info, Sidsonic is doing the opposite entirely.

The box CCBL is shipping in is a proper piece of art (click the image to enlarge). RCA sockets keep the lid in place and a lovely little red dip switch is located on the top right. Useless, you say? Sure there is no need for such a fancy box, but for me it certainly adds value to the product. Even before you get to hear the sounds of CCBL the packaging already shows that these guys are passionate about their work.

The sample library comes with a 36-page booklet that has extensive information on circuit bending, the Kontakt interface pages & controls available, and the instruments/devices used for CCBL and what was done to them to get these circuit bent sounds.

From the booklet:

Already from the first personal experiences of sound bending that emerged from the circuit board of a small electronic guitar and a connecting finger we noticed the potential that Circuit Bending harboured.

Sounds were suddenly able to develop playfully, the likes of which could otherwise have only been possible using complex technology. The first pieces of equipment gathered quickly and it was obvious, that Circuit Bending can be used for far more than for creating just a few typical textbook sounds. The Circus Circuit Bending Library is our way to further extend the art of Circuit Bending and take the distinctive sound of it out into the world. We aim to make it possible by using a simple way to explore the depths of sound bending without having to deal with individual pieces of gear, modification or emerging problems. To this end, a vast array of toys, drum computers and keyboards have been rebuilt, recorded and remodelled so that the emphasis is focused on establishing the largest sound collection possible. The result is a simple, honest remodelling.

Drums and synths

Sidsonic sampled over 18,000 sounds for CCBL, using a total of 14 circuit bent instruments as sound sources. From these samples they constructed nearly 180 synth and drum kits in Kontakt.

Circus Circuit Bending Library instruments

  • Casio SK-1, SK-2 & SK-200, sampling keyboards from the eighties.
  • Alesis HR-16, 16-bit drum computer featuring 49 digital PCM samples.
  • Boss DR-550, drum computer with 48 16-bit PCM samples.
  • Korg DDD-1 & DDD-5, dynamic digital drums with respectively 18 and 14 sounds, features some typical eighties drum sounds.
  • Roland TR-505 & TR-626, the 505 has 16 drum sounds, while the 626 comes with 30 (12-bit samples).
  • Yamaha PSS-140 & PSS-270, two 2 operator FM keyboards that come with 100 preset sounds.
  • Yamaha VSS-200, 8-bit sampling keyboard, FM synthesizer with 100 presets.
  • Texas Instruments Speak & Spell; V-Tech, the well known educational toys featuring a speech synthesizer.

Each of these instruments was circuit bent by soldering sound chips, connecting patch bays, adding switches to the devices, etc., resulting in those typical sounds– noisy, raw, dirty, lo-fi, harsh… you know, messed up.

The Kontakt instruments created from the massive amount of sounds (I can only imagine how much work it was to turn over 18,000 samples into 179 instruments!) are categorized in synths and drums. Inside each section the various instruments are listed with a number of Kontakt patches.

Sidsonic Libraries Circus Circuit Bending Library
Circus Circuit Bending Library Kontakt interface

These instruments are not simply a bunch of samples mapped across the keyboard either. Five custom Kontakt pages are available in each instrument to modify the sounds to your liking. There are many useful controls for envelopes, LFO’s, and various effects (send/insert/master). The drum instruments have five groups (basedrum, snare, toms, cymbal, and percussion) so you can assign filters and effects per group, very handy. Another cool feature is the use of circuit bent sounds in the convolution reverb found on the Send FX page. CCBL comes with 23 long & 21 short “impulse response” files that will turn sounds around in quite unexpected ways.

Check the illustration below for a detailed overview of the signal flow of CCBL’s instruments.

Circus Circuit Bending Library - Signal Flow
Signal flow of Kontakt instruments, CCBL is not just about the samples

So what does CCBL sound like? I made a few quick demo loops which you can check below.

The Sidsonic Libraries website has some more audio clips.

So what do I think?

Product: Circus Circuit Bending Library by Sidsonic Libraries
Format: Kontakt Player 3.5 (VST/AU/RTAS/Standalone)
Price: 189 EUR MSRP

If I could only have one circuit bending sample library, Circus Circuit Bending Library would be it. This thing is massive. It is amazing how many Kontakt instruments Sidsonic was able to build from just 14 sound sources. The instruments are really well done, ready to play straight from the box and easily tweaked with the custom Kontakt pages. There’s a lot of noise, glitch and whatnot in the sounds, yet they remain very playable. Especially in the synth section Sidsonic has worked hard to provide sounds which can be played across the keyboard.

This library truly feels like a labour of love, with much attention to detail and an overall high quality in every aspect of the product.

If you are only remotely interested in circuit bent sounds you should probably just pick up some of the free sample packs available on the internet. However, if you are serious about using circuit bent sounds (and you don’t want to do all the hard work yourself) you should definitely check out CCBL. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Sidsonic has a free demo (includes a drum and a synth instrument) for your Kontakt Player available to download on the CCBL product page. Try and see how you like it.

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Circus Circuit Bending Library

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Sidsonic Libraries Dark Drums, downloadable sample pack

Sidsonic Libraries Dark Drums

Sidsonic Libraries has announced the release of Dark Drums, a new downloadable sample pack.

This sample pack offers you the dark side of drums in a unique collection!

This pack was generated with high end equipment like Elektron Machinedrum, Metasonix Scrotum Smasher, Wiard Borg Filter, Wiard Boogie Filter,Steiner Parker Filter, Livewire Vulcan Modulator, Doepfer Wasp Filter and many more.

Punch the brightness out of its misery and free the dark side of your rythms.

Dark Drums features

  • Three packs:
    • Clear – 18 Drumkits (77MB)
    • Distorted – 22 Drumkits (80MB)
    • Long – 13 Drumkits (133MB)
  • All sounds are Multisamplesets for a realistic feeling.
  • Samples are mapped in EXS and NKI format.
  • Samples are recorded in wave format 24bit/96khz.

Dark Drums is available to purchase for 42.80 EUR. Individual packs are available from 10.70 EUR up to 21.40 EUR (prices include VAT).

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Dark Drums

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Sidsonic Libraries releases Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts

Sidsonic Libraries Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts

Sidsonic Libraries has released Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts, a new downloadable sample pack.

This sample pack offers you the finest glitches in a unique collection! Only analog synths and drumcomputers up to a huge modular system were used to create the cutting edge sounds. Moog, Synthesizers.com, Curetronic, Metasonix, Vermona,… all those big names were put together to show what analog Clicks and Cuts are made of!

After recording the sounds were mapped in an extended way (88 keys per kit) to provide not only the samples themself but also reversed and tonal sounds, made by looping and editing.

Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts features

  • Three packs:
    • Bubbled – 12 Drumkits (130.3MB)
    • High – 9 Drumkits (65.6MB)
    • Punchy – 12 Drumkits (73.1MB)
  • All sounds are Multisamplesets for a realistic feeling.
  • Samples are mapped in EXS and NKI format.
  • Samples are recorded in wave format 24bit/96khz.

Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts is available to purchase for 37.45 EUR. Individual packs are available for 16.05 EUR each (prices include VAT).

Note: Sidsonic Libraries is offering a 20% discount on its products until June 3, 2010.

Use the following promo code at checkout to receive your discount: 1209-gdtf-3534-hrgz

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Pure Analog Clicks and Cuts

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Sidsonic Libraries releases Lead Inc

Related: , Posted in news on May 20, 2010 - comment 0 comments
Sidsonic Libraries Lead Inc

Sidsonic Libraries has announced the release of Lead Inc, a sample collection featuring professional lead instruments.

Lead Inc. is the latest sample library downloadable at sidsonic libraries’ webshop. It consists of 2,87GB multisamplesets, featuring high quality (24Bit / 96Khz) as well as seamless playability (several velocity-layers e.g.)

Soft to twisted, built for expressive performances, this samplepack will give your melodies more attention… for a reasonable price! You don’t even have to buy the whole thing… Just get a subpack with the sounds you’re really about to use and safe your wallet some hassle! – Create your sound-ID!

Lead Inc sample packs

  • Complete – 15 Leads, 2,87 GB samples
  • Dried – 5 Leads, 841MB samples
  • Airy – 5 Leads, 977MB samples
  • Ambience – 5 Leads, 1,02GB samples

The complete Leads Inc sample pack is available to purchase for 42.80 EUR. Individual packs are 16.05 EUR each (prices include VAT).

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Lead Inc

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Sidsonic Libraries announces Online Shop

Related: , Posted in news on Apr 20, 2010 - comment 0 comments
Sidsonic Libraries

Sidsonic Libraries has announced the launch of its Online Shop.

The sidsonic libraries Online Shop stocks musicians and sounddesigners up with fresh multisample sets twenty-four-seven. Whenever a new idea or some extra flavour is needed, this is the place to go!

As always with sidsonic libraries, the Online Shop is all about quality. 24Bit / 96Khz sound material, several velocity layers and of course only high-end equipment for sound generation, processing and recording guarantee versatility and expressive playability.

Devided in categories like Basses, Pads or Leads, navigation through the samplepacks as well as the selection of the right sounds is a breeze. You don’t need a whole samplepack but just a few of the sounds? – Then go for just them and buy a subpack containing the multisample sets you are really about to use!

A steadily growing database of modern to totally weird samplepacks enshures permanent supply with new material while low prices will keep the wallet happy. For easy handling all multisamplesets are premapped in Native Instruments’ Kontakt- (.nki) and Apples’ EXS-format (.exs).

The online shop currently offers various commercial sample packs (Bassism, Electronic Drums, and Quality Padness), as well as some freebies.

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / Online Shop

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Sidsonic Libraries announces X-Mas Special: Advent Calendar

Sidsonic Libraries

Sidsonic Libraries has announced the X-Mas Special: Advent Calendar, a promotion featuring free sample sets, loops, etc.

Looking for an inspired Christmas? The sidsonic libraries advent calender will give you festive cheer! From St Nicholas day (Dec. 6) until Christmas (Dec. 24), every day a new door can be opened.

Stock up on fine sampling material and kick Santa from the roof with some fresh carols! Alternatively, send the tunes you made with our sounds to us!

You’ll find a dropbox in the right column in a few days!

The musician sending the tune most fancied by our little and subjective brains will get a nice reward!
A free Circus Circuit Bending Library!!!

More information: Sidsonic Libraries / X-Mas Special

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Sidsonic Libraries releases Circus Circuit Bending Library

Sidsonic Libraries Circus Circuit Bending Library

Sidsonic Libraries has released Circus Circuit Bending Library, a Kontakt Player powered sample library.

The Circus Circuit Bending Library, pays tribute to the art form of Circuit Bending, which since its foundation in the 1960s has produced several interesting instruments with a wide range of unique sounds…

Unfortunately, the world of Circuit Bending was previously reserved only for those who were already involved in the subject, armed with soldering irons and components to tackle the equipment.

With the Circus Circuit sound library, sidsonic libraries wants to change this. For the first time it will be possible for many musicians and sound designers to engage themselves in the matchless breadths of circuit bending, and to create their own personal slant on this innovative type of sound production.

Circus Circuit Bending Library features

  • 14 Circuit Bending instruments as basis.
  • 179 Synth- and Drum-kits.
  • Over 18,000 samples in total.
  • 5.2 GB Circuit Bending Power.
  • 36 page booklet.
  • Customized Kontakt 3 Player is split into two unique instruments optimized for drum- and synth-sounds. These instruments contain:
    • Drum Module:
      • Five drum groups: BD, SD, Toms, Cym, Perc.
      • Filter assortment per group: 4- or 6-pole Lowpass, Pro53 Lowpass, 4-pole Bandpass, 2- and 4-pole Highpass, Voweler.
      • Insert-FX per group: Saturator, 1 band EQ and Distortion.
      • Send-FX: Chorus, Flanger, Delay and Convolution Reverb.
      • Amp section with 2 band EQ and two filters.
      • Filter assortment in the Amp section:
        • First filter: 4-pole Lowpass and Pro53 Lowpass.
        • Second filter: 4-pole Highpass.
      • Two AHDSR envelopes with up to four targets (Volume, Tune, Cutoff, Resonance).
      • Two LFOs (free/sync) with six waveforms and up to five targets (Volume, Tune, Panorama, Cutoff, Resonance).
    • Synth Module:
      • Filter assortment:
        • First filter: 4-pole Lowpass, Pro53 Lowpass, Voweler.
        • Second filter 2-pole Highpass.
      • Insert-FX: Saturator, Skreamer, 2 band EQ and Stereo Modeller.
      • Send-FX: Chorus, Flanger, Delay and Convolution Reverb.
      • Two AHDSR envelopes with up to four targets (Volume, Tune, Cutoff, Resonance).
      • Two LFOs (free/sync) with six waveforms and up to five targets (Volume, Tune, Panorama, Cutoff, Resonance).

Circus Circuit Bending Library for PC and Mac (VST/AU/RTAS) is available to purchase for an MSRP of 189 EUR.

More information: Sidsonic Libraries

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