Tunelle is a spring instrument designed and built by Neon & Landa. The sound is produced by vibrating strings, which are either plucked, pulled or struck in different ways. There are 8 velocity layers, 3 round-robin layers and the instrument covers 2 full octaves – a total of 25 chromatically arranged compression springs. There are 5 articulations: pulling, vertical plucking, horizontal plucking, using a plectrum and striking with a rubber mallet. There are also sound effects, which are mainly the previously mentioned articulations with added reverb, delay and a unique effect called “Wobbly Tape”. The library is divided into two different sample groups – Metal Tunelle and Wooden Tunelle. The Metal Tunelle has a bright and metallic sound and the Wooden Tunelle has more of a warm, hollow sound. Both Tunelle interfaces have 4 panels, “Settings”, “Main”, “Effects” and “Arpeggiator”.
Wobblophones Tunelle comes in at just under 900mb compressed as a single Zip file. Unzipping the file gives you all patches, samples and pdf files relating to Licensing Agreement, a ‘Quick Guide and info about the product. Simply drag all files to where you keep your Kontakt samples. There are 2GB of samples in total. You cannot ‘Add Library’ to Kontakt so all patches need to be loaded in via the “Load” option in your Kontakt player. Please note that Tunelle will not work with the Free Kontakt Player. Tunelle is a virtual instrument for both Native Instruments Kontakt 5 and Abelton Live 9. Installation was fairly straightforward.
Tunelle comes in five main patches with a total of 38 presets:
- Metal Tunelle (11 Presets)
- Wooden Tunelle (6 Presets)
The presets for the Metal and Wooden Tunelle are the different articulations that come with Tunelle Springs such as “Horizontal Plucking Bright” and “Plectrum Mellow” etc.
- Tunelle Arpeggiated (5 Presets)
Tunelle Arpeggiated features some interested presets with some strange effects. The main feature is that all the presets will play arpeggiated notes if you hold down any chord. The arpeggiated sequence can be changed under the “Arpeggiator” tab to 7 different patterns. These are:
- Converge and Diverge
Each one arpeggiates the chord you are holding down in different ways and syncs to the tempo you have set in your recording software. The speed of the arpeggios can also be adjusted.
Tunelle Body Hits (1 Preset)
The Tunelle Body Hits are mainly pitchless effects built on hitting the Metal and Wooden Tunelle in different ways. You have a full 3 ½ octaves of hits (44 hits) to choose from.
Tunelle Sound Effects (15 Presets)
Now the fun part! There are a wide variety of sound effect presets to choose from. Each effect is built around the already mentioned articulations but are sent to effects such as Reverb, Delay and Wobbly Tape. All of these can be adjusted in the “Effects” tab according to taste. You will also find other adjustable features such as a Transient Master Dynamics Processor and Equalizer (based on the SSL 4000 G EQ), which are also used differently in each effect preset. There is a lot to play with here!
As I have already mentioned, the interface is divided into four main sections. I will go through each in a little more detail.
Here you will find the settings for the velocity and how it responds to incoming midi note velocities. There are two modes, Curve and Comp. In curve mode you can adjust the three different sliders to the right of the velocity curve display to change the shape of the curve in a variety of ways. You can also draw in the curve using the cursor anyway you like. Switching to “Comp” Mode allows you to compress the income signal much like a normal compressor.
You can only choose one mode, Curve or Comp. In the “Pulling” preset you will also find a “Damping” section, which allows you to change how the instrument is damped. This can also be turned on and off and you have the option of doing this using a Key Switch if desired.
Here you will find the Envelope and Filter sections. The Envelope is a standard ADSR type volume envelope applied across all samples. The filter is also pretty standard with three settings. “F” for cut off frequency, “R” for resonance and “T” for type of filter – low pass, high pass and band pass. There also different modulation options for the filter. “V-M” controls the amount of midi velocity modulation on the cutoff frequency and “E-F” controls the amount of cutoff frequency modulation by envelope following of the current samples amplitude. The “Inv” beside each of these modulations simply inverts
the direction of the modulation.
The “Stretch” spring (available only in the Metal Tunelle Horizontal Plucking and Tunelle Body Hits instruments) sets the amount of time stretching used on the samples played. It uses the relatively rough “Time Machine” algorithm because of the artifacts it creates. In combination with the “Stretch” spring, the modulation wheel determines the size of the grains used by the “Time Machine” algorithm.
We have talked about effects in some detail already. Again, here you get access to 5 main effects – Delay, Reverb, Transient Master, Equalization and Wobbly Tape. All of these can be turned on or off as desired. You also have control over the mix between the dry signal and the effects signal. An interesting feature is a “pan” option for the delay to create a stereo ping pong effect – great for creating atmospheric cues. The wobbly tape effect has three different adjustable settings. “Spd” controls the rate of the playback speed variation. “Amt” controls the amount of pitch variation. And “Sat” controls the amount of tape saturation/distortion. There are also two controls for sending the output of the Wobbly Tape to the delay (“Del”) or reverb (“Rev”). See the “Tunelle Quick Guide” for more in depth detail on how to use these effects.
We have discussed the arpeggiator briefly. Again, the pull-down menu shows different ways of playing the arpeggios for you to select. The “Tempo” sets the speed at which notes for the arpeggio are created (eg. 1 beat, 1/4, 1/8 etc. to 1/128). “Gate” determines the length of each note, expressed in a percentage of the Tempo setting. There is a “fixed” switch, which enables you to change between the velocities as you played them or set fixed velocities. The level of velocity used for fixed velocity notes is set by the “Lvl” switch. “Rand” is used for adding a random velocity to the note velocities. It is a bipolar random, so it can make notes go louder or softer by a random amount.
Overall the interface needs a little getting used to visually as they designed all the switches based around springs. There are no number or percentage markings on any of the EQ, Sends or Effects settings apart from the Arpeggiator “Tempo” and “Gate” settings – it’s all visual, so you’ll have adjust everything by ear. Also, the text indicating each switch/setting is handwritten and can be a little unclear. Again, I found this took some getting used to.
There is truly a unique sound from the Tunelle Library. Film Composers looking to expand their strange musical palette for atmospheric and eerie scenes, would have a field day with this library! There are a lot of fun effects presets to start you off. This could also add to percussive heavy cues, giving you some new interesting textures to work with that could help you stand out as a composer.
Tunelle Springs comes in at $89.00 / €75.00 / £65. Not a bad price for 2GB of samples. This is a very niche library, with a unique sound. For those really looking for something different to add to their music, you will probably get a lot out of this. If you are not one of those people, I am not sure if this library would be worth the price tag.
Personally, I wouldn’t put this in the “must have” category. Having said that, this is fun to play with! So check out the soundcloud demo below to see if it’s something you could get some use out of:
Tunelle is available for $89 on the Wobblophones website: http://www.wobblophones.com/index.php?page=tunelle