Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Review: Wave Alchemy Bass Pedals

Product: Bass Pedals Sample Library
Developer: Wave Alchemy
Format: Native Instruments Kontakt 4 (and above)
Price: £34.96
Demo: Audio Demo on Product Page

The Moog Taurus was an unusual piece of kit.  Made to be played with one's feet, the simple bass synth featured long wooden pedals instead of keys.  While the architecture of the synth itself was quite simple, the Taurus has a sound all to itself that has gained it many fans over the years including Rush and Genesis.  This release from Wave Alchemy brings the sounds of this rare (and often expensive) beast to your computer in the form of an extensively sampled and heavily scripted Kontakt 4 instrument, complete with a nicely rendered user interface allowing you to program your own sounds.

The interface of Bass Pedals is actually divided among 4 different pages.  The presets section consists of 28 multi-sampled presets sampled from the Moog Taurus Mk 1.  In addition to sampling full patches, Wave Alchemy has also included multi-samples of the raw waveforms allowing you to create your own patches from scratch, or to mix and match with the sampled presets.

The editing itself takes place on the "Raw Oscillator" page.  Here, users have access to the synth's two oscillators, the filter, dedicated amp and filter envelopes, oscillator drift function, sub oscillator, noise, and simple LFO.

The Effects page allows access to the built-in saturation, distortion, reverb, chorus, and EQ effects to further sclupt your sounds.

Finally, we have the Controls page which is where you set up the priority of note triggering, portamento time, and other various global settings.

As we've come to expect from Wave Alchemy, the sound quality here is superb.  Long samples and use of round robin sampling techniques helps to preserve the non-linerarities and tiny imperfections that make vintage analog so appealing.  It's very easy to forget you're playing a sampled instruments with these.  The presets (28 multi-sampled presets and 40 additional presets made using the raw oscillator samples) cover a fair amount of territory from resonant growls to warm, detuned plucks to synthy zaps. The thing is, the Taurus has always been a simple beast, so even with the synthesis parameters called into play, there is a similar basic sound to most of these presets.  But what a sound!  Although it has an unmistakably "Moog" sound to it, the Taurus really didn't sound like any of their other instruments.  So, as you might imagine, this library will appeal to you more if you're looking for that specific Taurus sound than if you're looking for a synth to cover all the bases.

The interface is similarly well-done and is easy to figure out for anyone with a basic understanding of synthesis.  I didn't experience any crashes or unusual behavior, and try as I might, I couldn't find any flaws in the sampling here.  After this and their previous Sequential Circuits Pro One library, I am quite excited to see what vintage goodies they decided to take on next.  In the meantime, if you want some wooly and warm vintage goodness to round out your bottom end, give this library a look.  [9/10]

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