Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Impact Soundworks Sheddage X

Library: Shreddage X Electric Guitar Samples
Kontakt 4 Instruments
Anything that needs rhythm guitar
Developers Site:
Impact Soundworks
Price: $20.00 (Complete Shreddage set $69)
On product page

Shreddage X is the new expansion pack for Impact Soundworks original Shreddage guitar samples library for Native Instruments Kontakt 4. (This is apparently the only format it will be available in given that Kontakt's complex scripting abilities are often needed here). We've seen an increasing number of drum libraries where different velocities and playing techniques are integrated into round robin instruments to create super-realistic sounding instruments almost indistinguishable from the real deal. Now, we're seeing more and more sample developers apply that same idea to melodic instruments. Shreddage X is basically designed to open up all the playing techniques needed to create convincing rhythm guitar tracks. What makes this collection especially nice is that lets you use velocity to switch between performance techniques as opposed to playing notes on a "dead" section of the keyboard to do the switching. This can admittedly be a bit tricky with some of the more complex instruments if you're not a very controlled keyboard player, but to me, it feels more natural to do this way overall.

What is most impressive about this collection to me is how thorough it is. Over 1,000 WAV samples are organized into nearly 50 instruments covering sustain mutes, palm mutes, chordstops, chord chokes, power chords, open sustains, harmonics, natural vibrato, scrapes, squeaks, and slides. All instruments are available in 'double tracked' versions as well, which layers two slightly different instances of the same samples. As a nice bonus, some presets for amp simulators such as Guitar Rig or Amplitube are included as well.

The sound quality of the samples is very good and perhaps even more importantly, the matching from note to note is expertly done and seamless for the most part (a couple round robin sounds were a bit easier to pick out as samples, but only when played in isolation.) Everything has been recorded cleanly, so you pretty much have a blank slate as to where you want to go with these sounds. Will it be reggae skanks drenched in spring reverb? The Edge's shimmering delay work outs? Metal chugging through a simulated Marshall stack? The sky is pretty much the limit as far as where you go, it's just up to you to put together the right samples with the right effects. Throw in a little playing (or programming) technique and you'll be putting together convincing rhythm guitar parts in no time.

There's really not much I can fault here. There is an impeccable attention to detail and some very good programming behind these instruments that makes them hard to resist. This is especially worth a look if you need a rhythm guitar in your arrangements but lack a real player or the ability to play it yourself. Very convincing and very playable! [10/10]


Mark said...

A different means to the same end and no less legitimate in my opinion. Thanks for the mini-review! I must have this.

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