Music Software Review: The Forge by Epic Soundlab

The Forge is a Kontakt library aimed at Film, TV and Games composers. It is designed to offer a flexible environment to customize every sound and making your own. It contains mainly sounds suitable for Hybrid (electronic/orchestral) music. It contains +/- 3.40GB of samples (unlocked .wav-files).

Installation

You can install The Forge by moving it into any location you like, it doesn’t appear in the libraries tab of Kontakt, which is fine by me as I never use it anyway, but you can always copy/move The Forge into the Kontakt Factory Library folder, so that you can access the patches from the library tab.

GUI and Functions

The Forge has a pretty GUI with a clear layout consisting of: a highpass filter, a lowpass filter, an ADSR envelope for the filter, an ADSR envelope for the volume, a step sequencer/arpeggiator with various modes and an FX section at the bottom with: Distortion, Saturation, Punch, EQ, Delay, Reverb and a stack function.

The stack function will stack multiple voices/versions of the same sample for an ensemble style sound you can control the amount of voices, detune, stereo spread and note start time.

The Forge

The Sequencer/arpeggiator can operate in different modes: Arpeggiator – the order of arpeggiated notes is the order in which you play them, Polyphonic Sequencer – Works the same as the arpeggiator but all the notes are played at the same time, Gater – Only affects the sound amplitude.

Per step you can change the velocity, the on/off value, the octave and semi-tone. Furthermore you can change the length and rate (16th, 8th, 8th triplet etc.) of the pattern.

I like the Polyphonic Sequencer function as you can quickly program percussion patterns. Unfortunately you can only program one pattern per patch. It would be cool to have been able to create a few variations within the same patch and switch to them with keyswitches for example.

Patches/Sound

There are 9 sound categories:

  • Drones: contains some great dark drones for horror and sci-fi there aren’t any mellow drones.
  • Drums: contains several acoustic drums and sound designed ones, very cool sounds to create epic sounding percussion. The stack function can make some drum sounds huge!
  • Impacts: very cool, aggressive and big impact sounds, also some deep ones and some lighter hits.
  • Loops: Several cool agressive/distorted drum, percussion and bass loops
  • Melodic: Mostly acoustic melodic instruments, a simple but atmospheric pianos, also unusual sounds like: bowed classical guitar and ghost picked cello. They are quite unique and can add a nice atmosphere to soundtracks.
  • SFX: contains a few fx sounds: Air, Guitar Neck Picks and a patch with several screechy sounds. This category could’ve used a few more sounds maybe!
  • Sweeps: contains several noise and synth sweeps and downers and some very cool modern hybrid synth stabs/hits.
  • Synthetic: contains the categories drums, arp, basic, bass, pads and poly. Most arps are quite unusual (in a good way), the basses are cool as well and range from deep to distorted. The pads are nice, mellow and atmospheric, The poly category contains mostly synth string ensemble types of patches.
  • Tuned Percussion: Acoustic tuned percussions, mostly from unusual sound sources, mostly bell-like sounds

For those who like the interface and want to use it with their own samples The Forge ships with 3 init presets each with a different low pass filter type. One with a more agressive sounding “Daft” filter, the others with a more “analog” sounding 4 pole and 2 pole filter. You have to go into the edit mode of Kontakt (the wrench button) to import your own samples, you can’t do it directly from the GUI.
Other thoughts

Other Thoughts

Most patches don’t have the modwheel mapped which would’ve been a nice addition to add even more variation to the sounds. It is easy to map the modwheel to the parameters of your liking however. At the time of this review, some patches weren’t saved correctly so a dialog popped up where I had to browse to the correct folder to locate the samples. Epic Soundlab have promptly released an updated version which fixes the missing samples issues.

Most patches use very little samples so the playable range is limited if you want the instruments to sound natural.

Conclusion

The Forge definitely contains some very unique and atmospheric sounds, it gives you interesting options to add a nice twist to your music. It is clearly aimed at the more aggressive sounding hybrid orchestral music if you make that type of music I can recommend The Forge to you!

You can test a few of the sounds yourself by downloading the free try-pack from: http://www.epicsoundlab.com/

The Forge is a Kontakt library aimed at Film, TV and Games composers. It is designed to offer a flexible environment to customize every sound and making your own. It contains mainly sounds suitable for Hybrid (electronic/orchestral) music. It contains +/- 3.40GB of samples (unlocked .wav-files). Installation You can install The Forge by moving it into any location you like, it doesn’t appear in the libraries tab of Kontakt, which is fine by me as I never use it anyway, but you can always copy/move The Forge into the Kontakt Factory Library folder, so that you can access the patches from the library tab. GUI and Functions The Forge has a pretty GUI with a clear layout consisting of: a highpass filter, a lowpass filter, an ADSR envelope for the filter, an ADSR envelope for the volume, a step sequencer/arpeggiator with various modes and an FX section at the bottom with: Distortion, Saturation, Punch, EQ, Delay, Reverb and a stack function. The stack function will stack multiple voices/versions of the same sample for an ensemble style sound you can control the amount of voices, detune, stereo spread and note start time. The Sequencer/arpeggiator can operate in different modes: Arpeggiator – the order of arpeggiated notes is the order in which you play them, Polyphonic Sequencer – Works the same as the arpeggiator but all the notes are played at the same time, Gater – Only affects the sound amplitude. Per step you can change the velocity, the on/off value, the octave and semi-tone. Furthermore you can change the length and rate (16th, 8th, 8th triplet etc.) of the pattern. I like the Polyphonic Sequencer function as you can quickly program percussion patterns. Unfortunately you can only program one pattern per patch. It would be cool to have been able to create a few variations within the same patch and switch to them with keyswitches for example. Patches/Sound There are 9 sound categories: Drones: contains some great dark drones for horror and sci-fi there aren’t any mellow drones. Drums: contains several acoustic drums and sound designed ones, very cool sounds to create epic sounding percussion. The stack function can make some drum sounds huge! Impacts: very cool, aggressive and big impact sounds, also some deep ones and some lighter hits. Loops: Several cool agressive/distorted drum, percussion and bass loops Melodic: Mostly acoustic melodic instruments, a simple but atmospheric pianos, also unusual sounds like: bowed classical guitar and ghost picked cello. They are quite unique and can add a nice atmosphere to soundtracks. SFX: contains a few fx sounds: Air, Guitar Neck Picks and a patch with several screechy sounds. This category could’ve used a few more sounds maybe! Sweeps: contains several noise and synth sweeps and downers and some very cool modern hybrid synth stabs/hits. Synthetic: contains the categories drums, arp, basic, bass, pads and poly. Most arps are quite unusual (in a good way), the basses are cool as well and range from deep to distorted. The pads are nice, mellow and…

The Forge


INSTALLATION – 100%


PATCHES – 80%


INTERFACE – 80%


SOUND – 80%


VALUE – 70%



82%

82

The Forge definitely contains some very unique and atmospheric sounds, it gives you interesting options to add a nice twist to your music. It is clearly aimed at the more aggressive sounding hybrid orchestral music if you make that type of music I can recommend The Forge to you!

82

Written by: Tim Besamusca

Tim Besamusca is a full time music library composer and audio mixing and mastering engineer. You can learn more about Tim on his website at http://www.timbesamusca.com

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