HEAVYOCITY NOVO PACK 3 – SYNTHETIC STRINGS REVIEW

HEAVYOCITY NOVO PACK 3 – SYNTHETIC STRINGS

 

With this latest release, Heavyocity abandon the hybrid organic and go all out synthetic, with the help of some classic modern and vintage synths!

 

Heavyocity release Novo their highly acclaimed modern strings library last year, and in Heavyocity tradition have since brought out subsequent satellite library packs offering variations to the Flagshipproduct that still utilise the same software engine.

 

The latest Novo pack is NP03 Synthetic Strings, which rather than feature any of the real world organic string samples found in previous packs, instead harness the timeless sounds of the synthetic string synthesizer.

 

Tech Specs…

 

Running in both the full version of Kontakt 5.8 and above, or the free Kontakt player, synthetic Strings will occupy 11.2Gb of hard drive space in real terms using Kontakt’s lossless compression.

The 4,513 samples employed if uncompressed would have been 13.6Gb in their original source format.

 

The library is delivered via digital download that employs the Continuata Connect downloader, which of course we all know is entirely inaccessible to screenreaders, so you will almost certainly need some sighted help here.

 

There are 6 Kontakt NKI files, which in turn are used to genrate a further 227 NKSN Kontakt snapshot preset files which of course are our primary source of access within the Komplete Kontrol environment.

 

The presets are defined in three distinct categories,

Traditional- aimed at use as dynamic performance instruments,
Synth Designer – intended for more in depth sound design
Synth Loop Designer – for the tailoring and design of the loop presets.

 

Heavyocity gathered together an impressive collection of modern and vintage keyboards in order to create Synthetic Strings, Waldorf Streichfett, Crumar, Solina, ,
Roland Juno 2, , Novation Supernova, Studio Electronics Boomstar, , Arturia Matrix Brut, Roland RS202 and Sub 307 were all present at the sampling roll call.

NKS Mapping…

 

Heavyocity’s NKS template has changed little over several product iterations, and as I have mentioned before there are some accessiblity shortfalls in terms of what we can achieve in comparison to our sighted peers, who are able to use the more comprehensive controls found in the visual and very much mouse-driven user interface.

This is something Heavyocity have told me they hope to take a look at later in the year, in the meantime I continue to standby my assertion that they do still offer great value in terms of the number of presets supplied with their libraries.

 

Synthetic Strings Browser Section…

 

Here’s a walkthrough of what you will find in the Komplete Kontrol browser for this library,

Knob 1- Vendor Heavyocity
Knob 2 – Product NP03 Synthetic Strings
Knob3 – Banks consisting of : Modern Synths, Vintage Synths, Rhythmic Synths Straight, Rhythmic Synths Triplet, Synth Designer, Synth Loop Designer
Knob 4 – Sub Banks consisting of: Boom Synth, (Modern) Juno 2, Analog Brut, Sub 307, StringFett, Nova,(Vintage) Performer 1, Hy 101, Hy 202, String Ensemble, (Rhymthmic) Ambient, Pedals, (Designer) Pads, Shorts, Rhythms, Performance Palettes, Loop Combos, (Loops) Straight, Straight Reverse, Triplet, Triplet Reverse, Performance
Knob 5 – Types consisting of: Bowed Strings, Synth Misc,
Knob 6 – Sub types consisting of: synth Strings
Knob 7 – Modes: Sample Based, Synthetic
Knob 8 – Presets x 227

NKS Parameter Mapping

 

There are 3 NKS mapping templates which come into play dependant upon which preset category is selected.

Let’s first take a look at the parameters to be found in the Traditional synth section:

Page 1 – Dynamics, Delay & Reverb

Knob 1 – dynamics
Knob 2 – Delay on/off
Knob 3 – Delay Time
Knob 4 – Feedback
Knob 5 – Amount
Knob 6 – Reverb on/off
Knob 7 – Size
Knob 8 – Mix

Page 2 – Mixer

Knob 1 – Drive All
Knob 2 – Drive Pan
Knob 3 – room Volume
Knob 4 – Room Pan
Knob 5 – Hall Volume
Knob 6 – Hall Pan
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated

Page 3 – Gate & Dynamic Modulation

Knob 1 – On/Off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Smooth
Knob 4 – Range
Knob 5 – Dynamics Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Range
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Synth Designer NKS Mappings

Page 1 – Macro Control & Modulation

Knob 1 – Macro Knob
Knob 2 to 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Amount
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 2 – Punish & Twist

Knob 1 – Punish on/off
Knob 2 – Amount
Knob3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Twist on/off
Knob 6 – Twist
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Rate

Page 3 – Filter & Distortion

Knob 1 – filter on/off
Knob 2 – Cut-off
Knob 3 – Resonance
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Distortion on/off
Knob 6 – Drive
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 4 – Chorus & Delay

Knob 1 – Chorus on/off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Depth
Knob 4 – Amplitude
Knob 5 – Delay on/off
Knob 6 – Time
Knob 7 – Feedback
Knob 8 – Amount

Page 5 – Reverb, Voice & Glide

Knob 1 – Reverb on/off
Knob 2 – Pre-Delay
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Mix
Knob 5 – Unallocated
Knob 6 – Voice Mode (polyphony)
Knob 7 – Glide (between played notes)
Knob 8 – Time related to glide

Page 6 – Channel 1 and Channel 2

Knob 1 – Channel 1 volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Channel 2 Volume
Knob 6 – Pan
Knob 7 – Tune
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 7 – Channel 3

Knob 1 – Channel 3 Volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 to 8 – Unallocated.

 

Synth Loop Designer

 

Page 1 – Macro Control & Modulation

Knob 1 – Macro knob
Knob 2 to 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Amount
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 2 – Punish & Twist

Knob 1 – Punish on/off
Knob 2 – Amount
Knob3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Twist on/off
Knob 6 – Twist
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Rate

Page 3 – Filter & Distortion

Knob 1 – filter on/off
Knob 2 – Cut-off
Knob 3 – Resonance
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Distortion on/off
Knob 6 – Drive
Knob 7 – Tone
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 4 – Chorus & Delay

Knob 1 – Chorus on/off
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Depth
Knob 4 – Amplitude
Knob 5 – Delay on/off
Knob 6 – Time
Knob 7 – Feedback
Knob 8 – Amount

Page 5 – Reverb & Channel 1

Knob 1 – Reverb on/off
Knob 2 – Pre-Delay
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Mix
Knob 5 – Unallocated
Knob 6 – Channel 1 Volume
Knob 7 – Pan
Knob 8 – Tune

Page 6 – Channel 2 & 3

Knob 1 – Channel 2 Volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Tune
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Channel 3 Volume
Knob 6 – Pan
Knob 7 – Tune
Knob 8 – Unallocated

 

synthetic Strings – Raw Power…

 

Synthetic Strings perhaps represents somewhat of a departure from previous Heavyocity libraries, where as we have become used to loading and having immediate access to their trademark cinematic sounds, this being a purely synthetic string library means we may have to do a little work to obtain the sound we want, and accessiblity wise this may present us with some difficulties.

 

Do not misunderstand me, the traditional section performance synth presets are amazing, they deliver all the low end raw power and soaring highs we expect and associate with the modern and vintage synths featured. However, the NKS mapping template used for this category means that as blind users we do not have parameter access to some basic functions that allow a greater degree of sound design opportunities such as ADSR, cut-off and resnance which all go toward helping us shape and manipulate the overall sound, so we are kind of stuck with the presets which can be a good or bad thing dependent upon your creative needs.

 

This situation is somewhat alleviated given the existence of some thoughtful articulation keyswitches. These can be found starting at C1 and duplicated again at F6 to facilitate convenient selection when playing.

 

There are up to 8 pre loaded keyswitches per patch, which for us are not accessibly changeable, sighted users have the ability to select their own but as this element is a GUI driven task it is unfortunately out of our reach.

 

Despite this the provided articulations do extend the palette of a loaded preset somewhat, meaning that what you initially hear has the potential of offering up several patch variants which can consist of either or both envelope or tonal differances.

 

You could if so inclined save out your own snapshot presets for easier future recall whilst you explore the libraries keyswitched articulations , which would serve as both an accessibility workaround and a way of building your own library of sound favourites.

My initial accessiblity critique is perhaps more pertinent to using the traditional performance presets, as vanilla out of the box sounds, in fact I believe that perhaps one of the true strengths of ‘~Synthetic Strings’ is when it is layered or used in conjunction with a real orchestral sample library, such as Heavyocity’s own Novo or something from Project Sam or Spitfire Audio.

 

It could be argued that this is a somewhat contradictory statement, because bringing together the synthetic and organic to create our own hybrid sounds, is after all what Heavyocity have always excelled at in the first instance, but depending on how willing you are to get your hands dirty and the time you have available, this can sometimes yield unexpected rewards and result in a far more unique and personalised sonic outcome.

 

Rhythmic & Loop Presets…

 

Heavyocity are of course renowned for their excellent rhythmic and loop content which have thus far been a staple in all of their libraries and sub packs. When used judiciously or for that matter quite blatantly, these can enhance and lift an otherwise staid track to make it something quite special.

 

the tempo synced rhythms and loops provided by Synthetic Strings continue to expand on this legacy and give the content of the library a welcome additional facet.

 

These tempo synced synth presets can be found in three locations. the ‘Traditional’ section offers single rhythmic synth sounds, in both straight and triplet flavours, which use the ‘traditional’ section NKS map with keyswitch articulations providing us with further pulse and rhythm variations.

 

The ‘Synth Loop Designer’ by contrast, delivers many sound and pattern loops spread over several octaves, and the extended keyswitching allows for pitch playing of the loops, either singularly or in multiples, great for creating polyrhythms.

 

The Synth Designer…

 

The Heavyocity sound design team have created a good cross section of patches which can serve as a starting point for further tweaking. Unlike the Traditional synth section, the NKS mapping here does provide a little more flexibility with the by now very familiar ‘Punish & Twist’ controls, and there is filter cut-off and resonance available, but no ADSR or sample offset that we can get to.

mixing between the three channels of sound (the equivelent here to an oscillator sound source), is also possible, and we can alter volume, pan and tuning for the available channels, however other FX including the aforementioned filter cut-off/resonance is global via the NKS template, so all three channels would be simultaneously effected by any tweaks you make.

 

Conclusions…

 

I’m always excited to learn of a new product from Heavyocity, their libraries, whether a Flagship release, or smaller library always compliment one another and work well together like some sort of musical Lego set, they are capable of firing and inspiring the imagination.

 

Synthetic Strings is no exception, although perhaps a little more niche than previous outings, it nevertheless offers a fresh perspective to utilise these synth classics with a modern twist for today’s media composer.

 

For blind and visually impaired users, I would like to have seen either additional or an alternate NKS parameter mapping for the Traditional synth category, but this can be forgiven in lieu of the number of presetsprovided.

 

For my sighted readers able to use the GUI and mouse without issue, Synthetic Strings gets the green light all the way, go ahead and fill your boots!

 

as wlways I would recommend checking out the walkthrough videos from the links provided at the review footer which will give you a good insight into the sounds Synthetic Strings offers.

If there is a euphonic gap in your sound palette that you are looking to fill with classic synthetic strings, then this library can do this either as a product in it’s own right, or as a compliment to an existing Heavyocity product.

 

Heavyocity NP03 Synthetic Strings is available as a download from the Heavyocity website
Normally costing $149.00, NP03 is available for a limited time as a launch offer for $119.00 at time of publication.

 

Links…

 

Heavyocity NP03 Product Page:
https://heavyocity.com/product/synthetic-strings/

 

Walkthrough Videos

 

Content Overview:

 

Preset Play Through:

 

Demo Walkthrough:

 

Synthetic Strings User Manual:
https://heavyocity.com/Downloads/SyntheticStrings_UserManual.pdf

 

(c) Chris Ankin
KK-Access.com (15/10/18)

 

Disclaimer

 

The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of reading this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product in combination with information gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.

About the Author

 

Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.

 

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