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Native Instruments celebrates 25 years in the industry by unveiling a KONTAKT instrument that encapsulates an array of timeless, iconic sounds from the quarter-century rich Native Instruments treasury. The library promises the addition of some exciting and innovative functionalities that are futuristic and intuitive. The plugin, part of the KONTAKT PLAY SERIES, integrates well within the KONTAKT PLAYER (6.6.1 and higher).
TWENTY FIVE features sounds from thirty-seven of NI’s instruments released since its inception. From the pioneer, GENERATOR, released in the company’s induction year of 1996 to modern classics like MASSIVE X, FAR LIGHT, and MONARK, the featured instruments are undoubtedly the most popular ones loved by industry professionals worldwide. This celebratory special surprise VST could be an invaluable asset to music producers worldwide as it includes 150 cutting-edge, high-quality presets. What makes TWENTY FIVE truly special is its intuitive macro controls mapping and the presence of a powerful FX section along with a built-in sequencer. The highlight here is the fact that the instrument is designed to pair up two sound sources and then adjust, recombine/blend and re-envision an entirely new custom unique sound. In a way, this technology renders a new lease of life to classic sounds and in the process lets the future generation inherit NI’s sonic legacy while infusing contemporary sensibilities.
The TWENTY FIVE interface is a stylish affair with a massive central time capsule graphic design that is easy on the eye, sleek and simple.
There are two sound source layers called Layer A and Layer B. Upon clicking the letter A or B, the respective layer will be turned on or off. Clicking the waveform display will open the Browser displaying the entire list of sound sources available in that layer. Double-clicking on a sound source will load it and the source of the selected sound is displayed in a faded font at the bottom of the list interface. For example, the sound source of Kora is Kontakt Spotlight Collection West Africa.
There are 150 snapshots (presets) segregated across 13 categories: Bass, Brass, Flute, Mallet Instruments, Organ, Piano & Keys, Plucked Strings, Sound Effects, Soundscape, Synth Lead, Synth Misc, Synth Pad, and Vocal.
The six major macro controls, for example, Cutoff, Reso, Phaser, Rotator, Delay, and Reverb can all be accessed at the bottom panel from any view within the instrument interface. Balance and volume knobs are the only other parameters that also share this privilege in TWENTY FIVE.
The Macro Editor is used to assign a maximum of twelve parameters to each Macro. Every existing snapshot comes with its set of unique macro assignments that can be edited as per one’s creative sensibilities. It even allows the creation of new macro assignments that come with their own perimeter ranges.
The Randomize button is a thoroughly fun feature that randomizes the settings to give you an entirely new sound. The layers’ sound sources, all macros, and balance control are the parameters and settings that can be randomized. This gives a flying start to the work if one doesn’t want to sift through the entire preset list.
The Sound Editor is meant for the tinkering and customization of sound sources and modulation sources respectively. The tuning, panning, volume, etc can all be controlled with the help of the sound editor. If you want to spruce things up, the randomize button can be employed to unlock new dimensions to the musical idea that the project began with. The layers can be linked, effects can be applied such as quantization noise or aliasing, filters like the brightness of the sound, etc can be rendered. The other important features of the Sound Editor include LFO controls, MOD Envelope, and AMP envelope and Modulation.
FX Editor features a slew of powerful Kontakt effects for the six FX Unit slots which can be applied to both layers. It helps access the various parameters about the FX units, FX chain (the order of the effects in series for both layers) and FX presets and therefore helps control them. Layers A and B have their own Equalization or EQ for short which adjusts the levels (low, low mid, high mid, and high) of various frequencies in a signal. The user can save, load, reset and clear the FX presets for efficient management.
Sequencer, accessed through the SEQ tab, recreates the functionalities of an analog sequencer. It provides seven sequencing lanes in total. The first lane is for creating a melodic sequence consisting of sixteen steps. All the next six lanes are for modulating the macro controls and their respective assignments. The various controls that apply to all sequencer lanes (Pitch/Velocity and Macros 1-6) at all times are Sequencer Preset Menu, Latch, Retrigger followed by First Step, Rate, Swing, Root Key, Scale, Global, and Sequence Lanes.Sequencing the pitch essentially is about modulating the velocity of each step during the creation of a musical phrase to unlock the dynamics of the sound. The pitch/ velocity tab has the following controls: Pitch/velocity tab, Pitch Sequencer Lane, Velocity Sequence Lane, Scale of Velocity, Layer Routing, Steps, Direction, and Gate. The controls that appear on the selection of Macros tab in Sequencer are the following: Macro 1 / 2, Macro 3 /4, Macro 5 / 6, Macro Sequence Lane, Steps, Direction, and Amount. Six knobs are dedicated to sequence macros. It is shown at the bottom of the instrument.
The Settings of Twenty Five helps in controlling how it responds to the Keyboard or MIDI of the user. The elements and controls of Settings are Layer, Browser, Play mode, Velocity Curve, Note Priority, Key Range, Bend Range, Constant Rate/Time, Glide, Preserve Voices, Lock Bend Ranges. The Play Mode set of controls provides two options namely Mono and Legato. The monophonic mode sets the notes to behave like a monophonic synthesizer. The legato option provides seamless and smooth transitions between notes.The note priority settings available are Last, Low, High. The Key range allows for the highest and lowest key for the current layer. Low key and High Key settings facilitate this function.The Bend range is used to set the pitch bend wheel for both layers according to the need and preferences of the player. This function is set by the Bend Up and Bend Down settings.The Velocity Curve Shaper has various controls like Menu, Table, minimum value, maximum value, and slope.
In a nutshell, Twenty Five can be hailed as an inspiration for all audiophiles who wish to gain a deep understanding of sound design which in turn can be put to efficient use towards the creation of unique and exciting custom sounds that can provide unprecedented fresh listening experiences for audience worldwide.
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