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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


Ametrine Audio releases 128 Vintage Patches

Related: , , Posted in news on Sep 14, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Ametrine Audio 128 Vintage Patches

Ametrine Audio has released 128 Vintage Patches, a collection of patches for Wusik EVE 2.

The Vintage Sound Patches features keys, piano, strings, pads, bass, lead and synth sounds. These patches are in the style of the 1960`s up to the late 1990`s.

128 Vintage Patches features

  • Created for the Wusik EVE 2
  • 128 Presets
  • Custom made keys, piano, strings, pads, bass, synth and lead sounds
  • Windows and Mac Platform

128 Vintage Patches for EVE 2 is available for download for £5 GBP.

More information: Ametrine Audio / 128 Vintage Patches


Ametrine Audio releases Ravernator

Ametrine Audio Ravernator

Ametrine Audio has announced the release of Ravernator, a Bass and Stab Synthesizer powered by the Wusik-Engine.

Ravernator features

  • 440 main presets with 6,377 variations.
  • Custom made Synth Bass, Rave, Chords and stab sounds.
    • Stabs 183
    • Synth 109
    • Chords 41
    • Arp 20
    • Kick Drums 85
    • Trance Gate 2
  • Powered by the Wusik-Engine (version 5.8.4)

Ravernator is available as a VST instrument plug-in for Windows PC for £34.95 GBP.

Wusikstation users can get the sounds from Ravernator in the Ravernator Sound Patches for Wusik Station, available for purchase for £24.95 GBP.

More information: Ametrine Audio


Wusik updates Wusikstation to v5.8.4

Related: , , , , , Posted in news on Jul 27, 2009 - comment 2 comments
Wusik Wusikstation 5 (white skin)

Wusik has released version 5.8.4 of Wusikstation, a hybrid sampler synthesizer for Windows.

Wusikstation is one of the most popular Sampler/Rompler out there. Since it started, it got more and more features asked for by users, a new interface, easier way to load presets and much more. Its been rated by users the number one choice when creating songs. It can cover pretty much any style of music. From NewAge to SoundTracks, from Dance to Techno.

Changes in Wusikstation v5.8.4

  • Added: new White-Skin by Cusis with a different layout.
  • Fixed: Unison code. (using the previous old code, but without the detune problems)
  • Fixed: Pitch-Bend was out of tune. Now is dead-on.
  • Fixed: crash when using the internal keyboard to play notes very fast.
  • Fixed: clicking sounds when playing stereo WAV files. (another problem found)
  • Fixed: loop problems with mono WAV files.
  • Fixed: SFZ file, path location in non windows format. (using ‘\’ instead of ‘/’)
  • Fixed: integrated sampler editor loop markers were no longer working. (due to a new Slicer mode that is under implementation)
  • Fixed: some parameters where changing the selected layer when it shouldn’t be happening. (Arp/Voices)
  • Fixed: all popup message boxes / questions are now modal. (always on top)
  • Fixed: WusikPACK code. Added SFZ WAV Packing support. (before it would pack the SFZ file but not the WAV files) Also improved Packing/UnPacking Percentage Bars.
  • Fixed: loading very large SFZ files.
  • Fixed: when entering the G.Seq (G) page, it would blink the Patterns wrongly. Also when Playing by clicking in the layer selector again.
  • Fixed: the FX version would crash in certain hosts.
  • Updated: skin type 3 for the new white-skin. Now it shows Unison, FX-Edit-2 and FX-Edit2 only in the Layers editor. (O1, O2, O3, O4, W1, W2) A new FX-Edit1b and FX-Edit2b was introduced to be shown in the Master and FX-Editor. The Groove Sequencer will display 5 lanes, instead of 8 lanes.

Both the demonstration and full versions were updated.

More information: Wusik


Westgate Sounds releases Anomaly VI – Textures

Related: , , , , Posted in news on Jul 20, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Westgate Sounds Anomaly VI - Textures

Westgate Sounds has announced the release of Anomaly VI – Textures, a new sample library in the Anomaly series.


Deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form, or rule.
One that is peculiar, irregular, abnormal, or difficult to classify.

Anomaly VI – Textures features

  • SFZ Universal Soundset
    90 sounds, 528 MB with presets for Wusik Engine, Absynth, Kontakt, Dimension Pro and Rapture.
  • Wusik Engine
    100 presets using only Anomaly VI, 50 presets using mixed Volumes of Anomaly.
  • Soundfont (.SF2) format
    One .SF2 file of 90 single-sampled sounds, 136 MB (no presets).
  • The sounds are a combination of multi-sampled and single-sampled sounds.

The Anomaly VI is available for purchase in SFZ format for $25 USD, and $15 USD for the SoundFont version.

More information: Westgate Sounds


Wusik updates Wusikstation to v5.8.2

Related: , , , , , Posted in news on May 26, 2009 - comment 0 comments
Wusik Wusikstation v5

Wusik has released version 5.8.2 of Wusikstation, a hybrid vector & wavesequencer sampler instrument for Windows PC.

Changes in Wusikstation v5.8.2

  • New Feature: Preview-Preset, on first time preset load, it loads only a portion of the key-zones (useful with large sets like PRIZM and the Maestro-Piano).
  • Added: clicking once in the Tune knob will open an Octave selector.
  • Added: Transpose – Groove Sequencer (G.Seq) right click on any presets lane.
  • Added: animated keyboard, Left Click + Control Key = Hold Note. Right Click = Velocity by Y Position.
  • Added: master vibrato Sine/Triangle waveform and speed parameters. The tools option for the mod-matrix was also updated.
  • Changed: new interpolated AMP envelope code. Improved sound for using quick Attack, Decay and Release.
  • Changed: G.Seq (Groove Box Sequencer) External Sync, Global Tempo, Sequencer PAge and Current Steps Page (E.Sync, G.BPM, Sequences and Steps-Page) are now saved per Project, not preset.
  • Changed: Micro-Tunning (TUN Files) is now saved per project, no longer per preset.
  • Changed: fine-tune any parameter by holding the shift key. (or the middle mouse button with no shift)
  • Changed: added menu options for Pitch-Bend, Midi-Channel (master and layer) and Master-Transpose parameters.
  • Changed: removed the auto-sort when adding something to the modulation-matrix. Added new options to organize: add below, add above, delete.
  • Changed: the animated-keyboard key-zones now follows the Master Octave/Transpose and the Layer Transpose.
  • Changed: better Unison code.
  • Changed: clicking in the LFO waveform switches to the selected waveform.
  • Changed: selecting LFO to Amplitude makes the LFO range go from -1 to +1, instead of 0 to +1.
  • Various bug fixes, details here.

Wusikstation is still available for Windows PC for $59.95 USD (current Spring 2009 Group Buy price). The demo version was updated as well.

Wusik has also updated the Wusik VM (VST Manager) to be compatible with WusikStation v5. You can download this freeware software for Windows here.

Visit Wusik for more information.


Back In Time Records releases TSW Pro II VST

Back In Time Records TSW Pro II

Back In Time Records has released The Second Wave Pro II VST, a sample-based synthesizer workstation which comes with a 2.4 GB sample library and over 2,000 presets.

The concept behind the new TSW Pro II is providing the unique soundworld of sample-based synthesizers in the tradition of the famous 80s instruments Roland D50, Korg Wavestation, Ensoniq VFX.

The sample content covers analog and digital synth samples, acoustic and electric and typical ethnic instruments as well as a massive collection of sound effects, scenes and atmospheres. A special section with pure attack one-shots allows the typical layering of them together with strings, pads, choirs to create those fantastic layer sounds. And the wavesequencers make the pads moving like nothing else.

TSW Pro II combines the world of the 80s with today’s high quality sampling technology and experienced sounddesigner’s tricks. Now you can have the beloved 80s sounds and brandnew sound creations too!

TSW Pro II VST features

  • Wusik 5 engine powered instrument.
  • 2.4 GB sample library with 2000+ presets.
  • Low CPU usage, 4 layers, 2 wavesequencers, 2 FX, multi-timbral.

TSW Pro II is available as a VST instrument for Windows PC for 98 EUR. A “sample library only” version for Wusik 5 compatible plug-ins costs 88 EUR. TSW Pro users can upgrade to TSW Pro II VST for 29 EUR.

Visit Back In Time Records for more information and audio demos.