Are bells … boring?!
When I read the announcement that there is a sample library with bells, I honestly wasn’t jumping around like crazy. But since I am working on a movie soundtrack that needed some bells, I was tempted to say “yes” to them, and so I did. Let me tell you *SPOILER-ALERT*: Bells are NOT boring at all. The guys at Loops de la Crème did a great job creating this little gem.
The library requires the full version of Native Instruments KONTAKT 5+.
There are 3 versions of Bell Empire:
Basic (20 Bells) 29€
Standard (55 Bells) 49€
Deluxe (190+ Bells) €119
We are talking about the deluxe edition in this review.
You can buy and download these libraries directly from the developer’s website, right here.
Have a look what at you can expect!
After your purchase, you’ll get a download link for a ZIP File. All you have to do is unzip the downloaded file and you are ready to work with this library. There is no download application or such, but that’s no problem – everything works smoothly.
You’ll find 10 categories of bells.
9. TE OP-1 synth bells
10. WAVETABLE bells
BELL EMPIRE DELUXE has 387 patches organized in five folders:
01_INSTRUMENTS (191 single bell instruments, 10 categories)
02_SETS (11 sets allowing quick access to various sounds)
03_MULTIS (157 combinations of single instruments, 8 categories)
04_ARPS (23 tempo-synced arpeggios and rhythmic instruments)
05_SPLITS (7 multi-instruments with a split keyboard layout)
The GUI is clean and well sorted. Since I am a visual guy, my excitement about the design of the interfaces is limited. A bit more love given to details would enrich this library.
You don’t just get regular, “standard” bells. Nope – this library contains more bells than you can imagine. From cowbells to the Indonesian Bell Carrousel; you will find the right bell! Since I haven’t heard all of these bells in real life (and perhaps you haven’t either), it’s hard to tell how accurate they sound. But what I can say is that all the samples seem to be very well recorded and edited. Thumbs up!
There are organic bells and artificial ones. You can mix them and create your own unique bell sounds. There is a folder “06_My Instruments” already on board, ready for you to deposit your unique combinations into. So just go ahead and customize your sounds.
The guys from Loops de la Crème squeezed every single drop they could out of their recorded audio, and not only created great single sounds, but also very creative and great sounding sets, multis, arps, and splits. It’s really one of those libraries that you start to play around with without noticing time flying by like crazy. The library is also very usable for foley work. The multis are fantastic for sound design, and you can easily create moods and sound beds, the end result often rarely reminiscent of their bell origins. A lot of work and love has definitely gone into these sounds.
Behind the Bells
FILTERS: High-Pass and a Low-Pass filters
REVERB SELECTOR: You can chose out of 20 custom impulse responses
ATTACK: Bring this up for a mellow and smooth bell sound
RELEASE: Higher release values provide an authentic decay of the bell, while lower values help replicate a chocked sound.
AMP: Add an amplifier effect for coloration and saturation.
FX: Each NKI offers a specific built-in effect (delay, lofi, filters, distortion).
MOD: A pre-programmed modulation effect (phaser, chorus, flanger, leslie simulation…)
LIM: Keep the dynamics of the bell under control with this built-in limiter.
The price for the Deluxe Edition is OK, even tough it’s not a bargain, and maybe one of the smaller packages suits your needs just as well. You can always upgrade your package at any time by filling out the upgrade form for more bells and sounds.
You are not only getting a vast variety of bells, but also some great sound design tools. Great to spice up your soundtracks with fresh sounds, and slot into the world of foley sounds you might be creating. The only two small cons are the visuals of the GUI design (which can be a subjective), and the relatively high price.