Cinematique Instruments have been known for creating high intuitive and creative instruments, many of which could help design and score a complete track. After the huge success of the Ensemblia Family, Cinematique Instruments continued their work and released a new creative music tool called Marble. In this review, we take a closer look what could be done with this tool, as well as the so-called ‘open’ sequencer, which seems to be a highlight of Marble.
What is Marble?
Created as a Native Instruments Kontakt 5 instrument, Marble has, at its, heart, a sample core of 63 different sound sources. Some of them provide up to 6x round robin and 8x dynamic layers. All these sources can be manipulated by a two track 16 step sequencer, the so-called open sequencer, which gives you the possibility of editing every single step in terms of volume, pan, filter, tune, drive, reverse, and other parameters.
In addition, Marble also provides the possibility of shaping your sound with 13 different effects and 127 adjustable steps in real-time. This can be done via Marble itself, or via the modulation wheel, which runs trough all 127 steps to shape the sound to your individual needs.
Marble is fully chromatically playable. It is not just a ‘one key trigger machine’. All of the sounds can be played in every key, or played as chords, but it is also possible to lock the tuning, which is easier for playing drum beats or rhythmic patterns.
- 900 Patches
- 63 sound sources – drums, percussion, synths, textures, basses, pads, guitars, mallets.
- Up to 6x round robin and 8x dynamic layering – approx. 2.500 Samples
- Two track 16 step ‘open’ sequencer – each step is controllable by 12 paramters
- Extreme versatility
- Fully chromatic
- Real-time sound shaping by 13 simultaneous effects
- Clear arranged Interface with intuitive programing possibilities
- Low CPU and memory print
- Infnite play by freezing
- Highly inspirational
- Random engine
- 460MB sample weight
- Delivered as digital download
- Full version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.3 or above is required
- Price tag: €240/$270
Marble – The ‘Open’ Sequencer
The GUI of Marble is built upon 4 panes. The heart of marble, with sound-source selection and the open 2 track sequencer, can be found in the tracks pane. Both tracks are labelled with two different colours, and you can also select one of the 63 sound-sources for each sequencer. The sound spectrum is covered by many differenct kind of sources:
Tonal sounds/ natural and organic: E-Bass (Single Notes) – Telecaster Single Notes – E Guitar Harmonics – Cello Trio Pizzicato – Flute Staccato (coming from powerflute.ch) – Marimba (recorded in a concert hall) – Vibraphone/ Metallophone – Kalimba – Alto Glockenspiel – Glas Bowl – E-Piano (coming from K101)
Synth: Pure Sinus – Pure Saw – 80s Typical – Classical – Korg MS20 Elektro Bass – Modern Bass – 808Tom – Analog Vibraphone – Analog Flute Synth – Insomnia – Magnolia
Drum Kits: Gretsch Jazz Drum – BeachTowel Drum – Electro Drums – Domestic – Bungalow – 80s DrumBox – Glitched – Korg MS20
Percussive: Set of Glitch Sounds – Processed Bass Drum – Set of Bass Drums – Bongos – Grancassa – Set of Handclaps – Tiny Skin Handdrum – Tom Toms – Shaker – Dead Guitar Strokes – Muted Metal Plates – Metal Salad Bowl – Sea Container – Spokes – FX Set
Pads & Textures: Ambient – Sinus 60Hz Granular – Calm, Noise Frame – Stretched Metal – NoiseSwimmer – Bowled Texture – 50s Orchester Stretch – Feedbacks – Noise & Digital Dust – Guitar Cloud – Crackle & Bell – Dr Mabuse
If you wonder why I keep talking about an open sequencer, here is the explanation as per Cinematique Instruments: Open means that you can determine and define every possible sound parameter for every single of the 16 steps per sequencer. This means that you can change the values of 12 parameters with every single step of the sequencers. You can change the velocity, the note length, pan, tuning, the playing-direction, the shape, filter, LFO stutter, reverb, delay, and the time shifting in both directions.
Marble – Real-time Sound Shaping
Besides the open sequencer, one can find another very intuitive and unique feature (as far as I know) of Marble: Real-time Sound Shaping. After having designed a sound and sequencer track, the entire sound of Marble passes through a complex effects matrix. This matrix can be found in the Assign pane, and includes various effects such as Low- and Highpass Filter, Distortion, Compression, Frequency Rate, Random Generator and much more. This means that each of the 127 steps can have its own individual set of effects, and you can ‘drive’ them via the modwheel. This is really outstanding and can lead to some fantastic effects.
Also worth mentioning here is the ‘Freeze‘ function. Enabling this function lets Marble play endlessly without holding down the keys. This is an excellent feature for those who are going to use Marble in a live situation, or as the starting point for a new music composition in order to add further instruments or ideas.
Marble – The Sound and Conclusion
The sound of Marble and the the sound of the single samples is superb! The samples are very well recorded and edited. The sound varies from exciting and organic to fragile and “fat” sources. Paired with the intuitive GUI, the sound manipulation tools like the open sequencer, and the real-time sound shaping engine, modern sound design cues and music in the style of crime and investigation are no problem for Marble. You can listen to impressive sounding demo tracks on the Marble product page at Cinematique Instruments too, and also watch the informative walkthrough video provided by Cinematique Instruments, providing a detailed look at Marble.
In conclusion, I can say that Marble is a superb instrument to quickly put cues together without compromising the impressive sound. I’m also impressed with its lightweight footprint on memory and CPU power, which is conducive to work with this library on laptops. The price may look a little high at first sight – but the speed at which it can help you come up with high quality output justifies the price in my opinion, and you should be making back the money quickly. All in all – my hat is off again to Cinematique Instruments!