Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Wave Alchemy's SFX Collection 02

Product: SFX Collection 02
Developer: Wave Alchemy
Format: 24-bit WAV with mappings for Apple EXS-24, Native Instruments Kontakt, Steinberg Halion, and SFZ
Demo: Audio demos on product page. Free samples also available to download.
Price: £44.95 (individual categories available for £7.95 each)

SFX Collection 02 is the latest release from acclaimed UK developers Wave Alchemy. It consists of over 800 hifi sound effects samples mapped into 16 instruments based on the category of sound. This makes it very quick to locate the type of sound you need and audition tons of sounds over your arrangement.

The first instrument is called CineSlams and consists, as one might expect, of the sorts of imposing booms, thuds, and crashes you might associate with big blockbuster movies. Tympanis, backwards cymbals, waterphones, and all manner of big sounding impacts are combined into a nicely varied selection of effects as perfect for use in the intro to your latest club track as it is in a movie trailer.

Next up are the Cymbal FX which offer both acoustic and synthetic crashes, gongs, and cymbals processed through multi-effects chains adding panning effects, tremolo, huge reverbs, and pitch effects. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend replacing the crash in your next song with these sounds, used sparingly, they could definitely add an extra bit of uniqueness to the mix.

The Downshifter FX that follows are just what they sound like - effects aimed at transitioning a track to a lower energy level. Think of going from your big hookline to the breakdown, and you'll understand. Here you'll find tons of sweeps, swooshes, ring modulation effects, flybys, and descending effects. Again, lots of variety is available giving you tons of options to sort through to find the perfect bit.

The Impacts category is a bit similar to the CineSlams, but with a more synthetic, artificial mood to them. Perfect for intros and breakdowns.

Next up are 2 instruments of Noise Tools. All of these sounds are based around white noise sampled and processed with classic analog synths as well as impressive reverbs. Sweep ups, sweep downs, wooshes, washes, reverses, and stereo effects are all available and all sound great.

Risers and Fallers consist of sounds with ascending or descending qualities that, like the Downlifters category, can be really useful as impressive transition effects between different sections in a song.

The Soundscapes Amb samples are mostly long, evolving sustained effects useful for adding texture or atmosphere to a track. Lots of impressive, granular-synthesis sounding stretched out, alien textures. While there are a lot of different types of sounds in this category, there is a decidedly menacing air to most of them.

Like the regular Impacts category, the Synth Impacts category is aimed at attention-grabbing, often bombastic sounds, but this time with a clearly electronic timbre to them versus the tymps, kettles, and bass drums of the other. Very nice and distinctly retro.

This is followed up with 2 volumes of Twisted FX. These consist of very heavily processed and manipulated samples with a definite sci-fi vibe to them. Lots of use of granular synthesis and spectral effects here. Great little bits of weirdness.

As you might guess, Uplifters is simply the opposite of Downlifters, offering effects aimed at raising the energy level of a track. These are those little touches that drive the audience over the edge after you've been teasing them for how ever many bars with a breakdown.

The collection rounds out with several volumes of Xtra FX. These are effects sounds of all types sourced from various bits of tasty analog kit. Subs, dubstep growls, shrieks, trilling LFO effects, sweeps - you name it. A great "grab-bag" of audio candy!

As with previous collections, the sound quality here is amazing and the programming and production of the sounds themselves is top-notch. If you make club music or do frequent remixes, there is literally no reason for you not to own this collection. But even outside "traditional" music production, people producing radio promotions, ads, or even their own films would do well to check this out. [10/10]

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