Although SoundCues have already released a few sample libraries, it is the first time I have personally heard of them. The company was founded by lifelong musician and video game sound designer Rodney Gates, whose aim is to create sample-based virtual instruments that have, thus far, lacked a lot of representation in the sample world, in an effort to add new sounds and rich textures to the tone palettes of composers all over the world. Enter Kalimba Shakti De, a new sample library for Native Instruments Kontakt.
- 3 Kalimbas (or Thumb Pianos), including a Bass Kalimba (Marimbula)
- Natural, Pad, Reversed, And other effects patches (7 per instrument, including a “Temple Kalimba” using all 3)
- Arpeggiator, Chord, and Portamento Controls for expanded playability
- 3 Dynamic Layers
- 5x Round Robin
- Stereo Pair & Contact Mic faders
- 24-bit / 48kHz Resolution
- Full Retail version of Kontakt 4.24 or later required.
- Price Tag: $49.
The library is available via the Continuata installer. After purchase, you get an e-mail with the download code, and Continuata will take care of the download and installation of the library. That’s it – simple as that. As this library needs the full retail version of Kontakt, it will not appear in the libraries tab pane. However, it can be added to the “Quick Load” menu.
Kalimba Shakti De comes with a simple custom scripted GUI that is not overloaded, and maintains a clear focus on its functions. The look is a bit old-school by today’s Kontakt GUI standards, but what truly count are the sound and usability!
The instrument comes with three main categories: Goddess, Ritual and Sacrifice. All three are divided in following articulations: Natural, Pad, Portamento, Reversed, Trippy, Trippy Low, and Trippy Steel.
Goddess: The Goddess patches are stereo instrument patches created with a cedar kalimba.
Ritual: The Ritual patches are stereo instrument patches created with a nice wooden kalimba from Jamaica.
Sacrifice: The Sacrifice patches are stereo instrument patches created with a bass kalimba (or “marimbula”).
All the patches were recorded with a stereo microphone pair, as well as a contact microphone (the “Fury” fader being the stereo pair and the “Wrath” fader being the contact mic). All the patches are perfectly phase-aligned, and can be collapsed down to mono if desired.
All patches show the following features (excluding the portamento patches):
- Attack/Release allow the direct control over the sample playback.
- FURY fader controls the stereo pair of mics used to record the library.
- WRATH fader controls the single mono contact microphone that was
attached to the instrument’s’ body to capture more of its wooden resonance.
- Velocity on/off switch featuring a velocity-driven low pass equalizer filter.
- Reverb features 24 custom IRs.
The arpeggiator lets you set up arpeggios to play in sync with the session tempo for
harmonic building block effects. Coupled with the chord maker controls, many
musical possibilities are opened.
Chord Maker Tab:
- The chord knob automatically controls the type of chords that can be created with the library. Settings include octave, third, fifth, 1-3-5, and many other types.
- The key & scale section controls the key signature and scale type in conjunction with the chord knob.
The portamento tab is only available in portamento patches, and replaces the arpeggiator tab. In fact, this is a slight variation of the original unison/portamento script native to Kontakt.
What can I say? I am not an expert on the intricacies of the sound of a kalimba, but what I hear is really pleasant to my ears! A look under the hood at the samples themselves tells me that they are well recorded and well edited. Let’s hear some demos of the Kalimba Shakti De.
Kalimba Shakti De is a small but very useful and handsome sample library. It is well recorded has a small footprint, and it does well for what it is made for. These kinds of libraries (I call them “specialists”) are what I am looking for, and come in very handy when I want to focus on composition. For the price tag ($49), this library is a lot of bang for the buck.