Sample Logic Releases Waterharp 2

Sample Logic has released Waterharp 2, a Kontakt 5 sound library based around (but certainly not limited to) those classic “Matrixy” waterphone sound effects that work so well for giving a track or a cue that futuristic and other-worldly feel. Waterharp 2 is a 2.5 GB library that comes with over 550 instruments and multis, where waterphone samples have been scripted and and twisted and morphed, giving users both the well known waterphone type sounds as well as a host of score-ready morphed instruments one might never have guessed had anything to do with the instrument they originated from –  in true Sample Logic fashion. The library also contains enhanced, re-enginered and re-morphed versions of all the instruments from the original Waterharp library.

Sample Logic claims their latest release is the most comprehensive waterphone library to date – and I’m inclined to take their word for it. I also expect the library to be plain darn good, as I’ve been more than impressed with the handful of previous Sample Logic releases I have used, and that includes the original Waterharp library, which I’ve owned for a good while now and still use regularly. (And watch this space for a review of Sample Logic’s fairly recent release Morphestra Generations – I expect to have it ready in just a few days.)

According to the good people at Sample Logic, their new library “delivers mind-bending atmospheres, suspenseful tension building stingers, tempo-synced percussive rhythms, morphed melodic instruments and explosive score-ready impacts. “WH2″ is designed to streamline your workflow with powerful user interface controls and well-organized, genre specific, instruments and multis making it a must have sample library for all film, TV, and game composers.” Check out the demo below to get a small taste of what you can do with this instrument, or just go ahead and visit SampleLogic.com for more demos and much more info on their new Waterharp 2.

Waterharp 2 is formatted as a Kontakt based sample library, which requires a retail version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher.
Price: $99.99

Instrument categories:

  • Ambience (113)
  • Arpeggiated (22)
  • Hit Ensembles (18)
  • Impacts (79)
  • Tempo-Synced Rhythms (145)
  • Melodics (22)
  • Stingers (78)
  • Transitions (46)
  • Multis (37)

EMW WCS-1: a Brazilian Hybrid Mono-Synth That Sounds Great

Electronic Music Works – EMW for short – is a young (est. 2011) Brazilian synth manufacturer whose stuff I’m starting to find really interesting. Their growing range of exotic standalone synths, eurorack modules, MIDI-accessories and novel patch programmers seem to be gaining popularity among electronic musicians, and it’s easy to see why: these products aren’t just different and eye-catching (check out the somewhat quirky looks of the synth on display here), but some of the sounds coming out of them are also really, really nice. I’ve always been a real sucker for good digital/analog hybrid synths, and the first unit to really catch my attention was the EMW WCS-1, whose digital oscillators and analog filters seem to be a match made in Heaven. There’s some juicy tones in the demos below, so waste no time in checking them out. And take note of this: the cost of this unit is a very modest $249. We’re talking a lot of synth for the money here, in other words.

What you get here is a MIDI-controlled synth module with a DSP-oscillator (which is also available in eurorack format) going into a signal path consisting of all discrete analog components (including what sounds like a very nice 18 db low pass / band pass filter), and while the WCS-1 is definitely a fairly simple synth it does allow for some interesting tones you won’t find everywhere else. The Wave Composition Oscillator (WCO) going into the dual input VCF can generate a larger variety of wave shapes than what one might guess by just looking at the front panel.

The WCS-1 doesn’t offer a ton in the MIDI-control department, being limited to On/Off and pitch bend messages, but considering the cost of this synth and how good it sound I’m personally going to be quite forgiving of that.

The Electronic Music Works Wave Composition Synthesizer is an inexpensive, exciting  little synth module whose sound I really enjoy, so I’m quite sure I’ll be ordering one of these for myself sometime this winter. I’ve also got my eye on a few of EMW’s eurorack modules – if they sound as nice as this little guy my humble modular system could soon be wearing a lot of black…

(And hey, I’ll have to admit this: the idea of owning a Brazilian synth or two certainly appeals to me, as I’m a HUGE fan of the country. My last visit was earlier this year and can’t get enough Brazil-stuff. What a place.)

 


Learn more about the WCS-1, Electronic Music Works and their interesting range of synths and gear at their home online.

Roland SH-2 Demo from Syntza

The Roland SH-2 is a classic analog monosynth from the late seventies that is both simple to use and sounds great to this day. Two fat oscillators and a juicy Roland filter allows you to make some rather obese sounds that tend to come dripping with the electronic syrupy audio-goodness that makes old synths command higher and higher prices in the second hand market with every year that passes.

Orbital, one of my favourite electronic bands of all time, used the SH-2’s little brother Sh-09 for many years, but have now “upgraded” to the SH-2  – and for good reason. The ’09 – as fat as it is – only has one oscillator (in addition to a sub-oscillator) and is therefore not capable of the fatter, detuned sounds that this beast can make.

This synth has a resonant 24 db lowpass filter that self-oscillates, a three octave keyboard, no MIDI and – unlike the younger SH-101 – no arpeggiator either. It is a very simple synth that is highly regarded by professionals but still easy enough to use for beginners looking to get some fat, real analog synth sounds in their arsenal. It is especially well known for the thick powerful bass-sounds it makes. Some people object to its looks, but I personally think it looks pretty cool – this is a classic instrument in both looks and sound as far as I’m concerned.

Second hand prices for these monsters hover right around $1,000 at the moment, and as this is a rare and highly sought after synth I expect them to go even higher in the future. All factors considered (including the fact that these seem to be fairly reliable and easy to fix in case something goes wrong) this is a good buy in my opinion.

For the demo, Syntza sampled the sounds of the synth into his Akai MPC-1000, and also added some effects, so this isn’t the “purest” SH-2 demo you’ll come across, but I think it’s a great demonstration of some of its capabilities – and don’t be surprised if the beats makes you tap your feet. The drums you hear are coming from the Boss DR-660 (as used by such electronic music luminaries as Jean Michel Jarre and Squarepusher), and the effects used come from the Ensoniq DP/4, Roland RE-201 and Dynacord DRP-20.

This isn’t the first Syntza demo featured on this site – check out his very different demo of the Roland JV-1080 as well, if you like. For even more of his demos, you can visit his YouTube Channel.

Mode Machines Synthlab SL-1

Mode Machines Synthlab SL-1 is a dual oscillator monophonic analog synthesizer with a classic one-knob-per-function programming panel that I think could be a lot of fun to sit down with. And hopefully I might get a chance to do that soon, as I’ve just located a shop nearby that has a couple of these in stock. Don’t be surprised to suddenly find a review of this synth here, in other words. This post, however, is just a first glance kind of thing for me.

The Synthlab SL-1 uses  true 100% analog subtractive synthesis with voltage controlled oscillators, a Moogish transistor ladder filter, separate envelopes for the amplitude and filter (AD envelope for the filter only) and features both MIDI capabilities as well as a MIDI to CV converter. I also has a ring modulator, a noise generator, a suboscillator and 2LFOs. In addition to the monaural audio output it also comes with an audio input that lets you route a sound through the VCA and VCF.

The Synthlab SL-1 is a true discrete design, and handmade in Germany. I obviously love the one knob-per-function design and this thing seems to have an interesting sound, so I definitelylook forward to giving it a test run. In the meantime, as usual, I’ll be looking for good demos online and sharing them here if possible.

The Sound

There’s not a ton of demos out there for this synth yet, but here’s one that seems to show off some of the capabilities of this synth pretty well:

Learn more about this little bad guy at ModeMachines.com.