Not long ago, I reviewed the small but effective library Percussion Hits by Spaectrum Arts, a new, up and coming sample developer from France. Today, we have an in-depth look at their latest library, The Container, with 20k+ samples of a massive 220 lbs plain metal container, and a very promising looking GUI, with a very interesting Granulator Synthesizer scripted for NI Kontakt.
- 10 Different Microphones
- 26 Kontakt Instruments
- 13.7 GB Unique Samples (Using NI Kontakt lossless compression .ncw)
- Scripted Mixer Panel
- Scripted Instrument View Panel
- Scripted Fx Panel
- Scripted Powerful Granulator Syntheszier Tab (Countless ways to morph and manipulate sounds)
- Price Tag: $49 (plus VAT for EU customers)
The installation of The Container is really easy and straightforward. After purchasing it from the Spaectrum Arts website, you get an e-mail with a link to the download section. Once you have downloaded all of your files (almost 14 GB’s worth!), copy the content of the “Samples” folder containing all of the .ncw files into the one located in “The Container” folder. This library does not support the free Kontakt Player, and requires the full version of the sampler, so it will also not show up in the Libraries Tab of Kontakt. You can access it instead via the Files Tab or through the Quick Load Menu.
What is The Container?
As we said, The Container is a Native Instruments Kontakt sample library, and contains recordings of a massive 220 lbs plain metal container, split into raw and designed sounds. These where created using the raw container sounds as the base, and then processed using a number of different techniques. The most interesting aspect of The Container is the so called Granulator – a kind of scripted synthesizer that opens up a massive amount of sound design possibilities.
The Mixer Panel
The Mixer Panel is loaded by default when opening an instrument patch from The Container. In the middle of the GUI, you have 10 individual recorded microphone positions under your control (kind of helps explain the gigabyte count). Clicking on the red buttons top of the mixer fader purges/loads the microphone. By default, only the microphones labelled Left and Right are active. At the bottom are the mute/solo button, pan knob, and a microphone boost button that will give your microphone an additional boost of 6dB.
Instrument View Panel
The Instrument View panel shows which position of the container the triggered sample was taken from, in a very visually interesting manner. At the bottom, you can rotate between three different points of view, while the yellow/black coloured circle on the container itself shows the impact point of the hit during recording of the samples. Besides this information, no other functions are provided on this panel.
Instrument Options Panel
In the options panel, depending to the patch, you have access to different setting possibilities. There are options for Round Robin, Limiter and Amp Envelope on/off, and envelope control. The Container also sports Multi-outs for microphones, where each microphone can be routed to a separate Kontakt output. A very interesting feature is the so-called “Global Presets”, found below the Limiter option. These presets concern the entire instrument. Every control on each panel can be affected. This leads to get some very interesting sounds and invites the user to play around with them.
The Container comes with 3 FX Panels. You will find two Distortion Units, Lowpass and High-pass Filters, an EQ, a Delay, and a Convolution Reverb that offers you a choice between 16 rooms. Each FX can be tweaked in depth and adjusted to the personal taste.
The Tuner Panel is almost identical to the one found in Percussion Hits. Each slice represents a keyboard key of the patch where a sample can be triggered. It also offers a Tuner Presets menu where every note can be quickly pre-modified. The semi-tones tuner knob offers a range of -60 to +60 semitones. Buttons are lit to show you which notes are played/triggered. With the fine tuning panel, each note can be tuned from -600 to +600 cents (a tritone down/up).
The Granulator is a very powerful scripted syntesizer based on granular synthesis techniques. With this tool, each sample of The Container can transform into something completely new. As this is a very complex panel, I advise reading the manual carefully and to really understand the technique behind its operation. A complete explanation of this part would be a bit too much for this review, so the Granulator Tutorial by Spaectrum Arts will give you an extra 20 minute in-depth look at this feature:
Spaectrum Arts did it again! The Container delivers all manner of dark, spooky and scary sounds that you would need for cinematic and video game composing. For $49, you get nearly 14 GB of samples, 26 ready to use Instruments, a powerful granular synthesis engine (and a sound designer’s playground), and a very well written manual. I can’t think of any other library in that quality for this kind of price tag. I do know companies that would charge much more for such a concept. And if Spaectrum Arts continues in their trajectory of developing instruments, I am sure they will be one of my new favourite sample developers.