What is CinemorphX?
Sample Logic’s CinemorphX is a massive collection (over 30GB of sound content!) of reworked, remorphed, and recreated samples from Sample Logic‘s legacy products A.I.R., The Elements, and Synergy totalling over 6,000 never-heard-before sound presets.
It consists of 4 soundcore engines, each holding up to 2 soundsources so that you can morph between 8 sounds. CinemorphX contains Sample Logic’s proprietary Morph Animator, Step Animator, 3D Mixer, and “the only XY Mixer for Kontakt”.
It contains “hot-swappable FX” and a randomization feature for instant inspiration.
In Sample Logic‘s own words: “the most comprehensive cinematic virtual instrument available anywhere — past, present, or future!”
The sound categories are as follows:
ATMOSPHERES – Continuously sustained soundscapes that are static or full of organic motion
- Bizarre – Unusual and experimental with a wide variety of motion and effects
- Dark – Mysterious – Spooky, haunting, frightful, setting the tone for darkness and fear
- Electronic – Effectual – Consisting of synthetic elements
- Mixed Emotions – Confused and blurred moods
- Stingers – Ambient gestures with transient impact
- World – Organic – Consisting of real-world elements such as voices, flutes, etc.
- Arpeggiated – Customizable tempo-synced arpeggiator driven melodic loops
- Organic – Melodic instruments derived from or invoking the sounds of acoustic instruments
- Pads – Melodic and harmonic instruments with extended timbres
- Synth – Morphed variants on synthesizer sounds
- Traditional – Melodic instruments derived from traditional and ethnic instrument sounds
LOOPS – Sub-categorized percussive and melodic sequences
- Action Packed
- Electronic – Effectual
- Hat – Lite
- Melodic – Harmonic
- Pop Hop
- World Organic
- Arpeggiated – Customizable tempo-synced arpeggiator driven percussive loops
- Impacts – One-shot percussive hits.
- Kits – Multi-hit collections of percussive sounds
- Traditional – Percussive instruments derived from traditional and ethnic instrument sounds
- Transitions – Strategic rhythmic gestures for blending and bridging events and musical ideas
To install the library, you need to download the Continuata Downloader app, enter your serial code, and it will start downloading the library to your chosen directory. It’s a straightforward process, the download size is about 28 GB, and it downloaded with an average speed of around 10 Mb/s for me. I was on a wi-fi connection, so it might have been even faster with an ethernet cable.
Installing a separate application to download a library isn’t that big of a deal (especially since more and more sample library developers are using Continuata), but I still personally prefer direct download links and keeping my DAW computer as clean as possible. I do, however, understand the need to watermark the files to fight piracy.
Another very minor thought I have on the Continuata app is that after it has downloaded and unpacked the library, it doesn’t automatically delete the downloaded zip/rar archives. Admittedly, this is just nitpicking.
CinemorphX comes with only one .nki patch, and from within this patch, you can load all the included sounds and presets with Sample Logic‘s own browser (see the section above for a screenshot). In the browser, you can filter the preset list by choosing the type of sound (e.g. atmospheres or loops) and the character (e.g. bizarre or dark/mysterious). This is quite handy, although the mouse wheel doesn’t work within the patch interface, so you have to drag the scroll bar, which is a minor nuisance.
At the top left corner is the info pane that shows the value of the currently tweaked parameter, and to the right of that is where you can load the presets. On the top right corner is the randomizer button that makes the engine come up with a sound made out of random soundcores (you can exclude certain parameters/soundcores from the preset randomization).
At the centre of the main screen, you’ll find the 4 soundcores, and an x/y pad in the middle that blends/mixes the 4 cores together. You can even record the movement of the x/y-pad so that it plays back when playing a key.
The soundcores themselve are very flexible, where you can morph between 2 soundsources and even record the movements of the morph button, so that it will be automated every time you play a note. There are also several of these animation presets, and you can edit the animator patterns by hand.
You can of course alter the volume and panning of each soundcore, and there’s the option to modulate these parameters with an LFO, as well as the hugely powerful Step Animator (see the screenshot below).
It’s also very easy to load single soundcore presets by using the controls in their respective title bars.
Finally, each soundcore contains several effects that can be accessed by pressing the + button. There’s an ADSR envelope, a filter, a pitch shifter, 4 FX slots (to hold any combination of the included effects), and a convolver that uses impulse responses to further warp the sound (there’s more about the convolver below in the Sound section)
Below the soundcores is the FX section, here you can choose one of the 20+ FX chain presets or create your own fx chains. You may load any effect (EQ, filters, compressor, saturation, chorus, flanger etc.) into any of the 6 slots. Clicking the FX icon brings up the edit page for that effect.
So all in all, there’s massive potential for sound customization. I’m constantly surprised by what Kontakt library developers are able to achieve with their custom interfaces!
As with most of Sample Logic‘s products, there’s a category called One Note Combos. Some of the patches in this category can indeed stand on their own as an underscore for a movie. There are also a few very cool ethnic sounding presets here, for example, Arab Spring. Despite the “One Note” in the name, it’s still fun to use more than one note with some of these presets. Below you can hear a few examples of randomly selected presets from this category, where only one sound was used per audio demo and no external FX were added:
Presets used in order of appearance: Arab Spring, Marine Corps, Begin the Quest, Sacrificing the Goats
The atmospheres category contains a huge amount of pads and soundscapes that are very usable for ambient, chill out, and film score music.
Presets used in order of appearance: Attacking the Cyber, Eastern Dreamers, Robert Durst
The Instrumentals category contains playable synth and instrument like sounds, and some of them are arpeggiated:
Presets used in order of appearance: Day Dreaming, Finding a Cure, Magical Shimmer, Plucked Habitations
Here are some examples of the loops category (first you’ll hear Critical Action and Cyber Cop, then you’ll hear Forerunners and Keep it Secret 1)
Here are some examples of the percussives category (A combination of the following presets: Autumn Soldier, Fully Frontal, Kettles of Fire, Rattler, So Slammed )
Another cool sound mangling feature in CinemorphX is the convolver I mentioned above, and with the help of Sample Logic’s own impulse responses, you can completely transform a sound. Below you will find a few examples, where I take the soundsource called Altopia from the instrumentals category and put it through a few impulse responses (Bad Omens, Diamond Drink, RingThing).
One of the funnest features is the randomization button. You can determine to what extent the sound will be randomized by activating the R button on the soundcores of your choosing and the X/Y-pad. I often got very useful results from using this function, and I saved quite a few so that I may use them in my music later. If you are not sure yet about the sound or direction you want to take your composition in, the randomize feature can help kickstart your inspiration.
CinemorphX combines a great and versatile sound with a very flexible user interface. It contains more than enough presets, and if 6000+ isn’t enough for you, then the wonderful randomize feature will help you create new unique sounds and combinations. CinemorphX is very useful for ambient, chill out, film score, and electronic music, but its use certainly isn’t limited to those styles alone.
If you are on the lookout for a “go-to” sound design sample library with very rich, deep, atmospheric, high quality sounds, then CinemorphX is definitely worth a look.