SonoKinetic – Indie Review
SonoKinetic continue to grow their expanding range of orchestral phrase based libraries, and following a recent round of updates, accessibility now seems a permanent fixture right out of the box for future new products.
Indie is the latest in the portfolio, and concentrates on a smaller more intimate ensemble sound. As always the recording and sample quality is extremely high, and as we will discover the composition talent behind the musical phrases make this the perfect ideas generator, and is particularly suited to a tv and drama genre of music.
Indie will run in Kontakt 5.8 and above, and being fully NKS ready will also make use of the free Kontakt player, and of course works best for us from within the Komplete Kontrol environment.
The library which is in 24bit 44.1 kHz NCW format will take a rather hungry 57.7Gb bite out of your hard drive, currently only the 24Bit version makes up the library, whereas some other SonoKinetic products also offer 16Bit light versions.
There are over 47,000 samples behind the content of Indie, and this is all accessed via a single NKI file.
The download procedure is thankfully accessible using SonoKinetic’s own software management application, which shows all of the products you own, along with any potential updates.
The RAR files simply download to your location of choice, and then unpack themselves automatically, whereupon you can then move the whole folder to it’s final destination, and then register the library via Native Access.
It is definitely recommended to perform a batch resave on a product of this size to maximise loading times, however as there is only one single NKI file, once this is done subsequent usage and performance was absolutely fine.
Indie Browser Section…
In some respects the Komplete Kontrol knob and category tagging is superfluous for a product like Indie, as inevitably all filtering will lead to the final singular preset, however in the interests of review continuity I will nevertheless list them here.
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor and Product
Knob3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type, Bowed Strings, Brass, Percussion, Piano/Keys, Reed Instruments,
Knob 6 – Sub Types, Ensemble, Shaker, Upright Piano, Wind Ensemble
Knob 7 – Character, Sample Based, Tempo Synced
Knob 8 – Preset, Indie
Curiously under the Percussion category, there is a sub type called ‘Shaker’, however there was no mention of the Mallets that form a prominent part of Indie’s phrases, but as I said this really makes no difference when you load the one available preset!
Indie NKS Plug-in Edit Mapping
Page One – Quick Edit
Knob 1 – Active Preset
Knob 2 – Offset
Knob 3 – Crossfade
Knob 4 – Pan
Knob 5 – Volume
Knob 6 – Release
Knob 7 – Modwheel
Knob 8 – Harmonic Shift
Page Two – Mic, Random, Phrase Select & Set Phrase
Knob 1 – Microphone Mix
Knob 2 – Randomise
Knob 3 – Phrase Select Section
Knob 4 – Phrase Select Category
Knob 5 – Phrase
Knob 6 – Set Phrase Update
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Indie In Use…
In common with previous SonoKinetic libraries, the usage concept is the same, you play major and minor chord triads and inversions within a designated area of your keyboard, whilst holding down one or more of the upper keys that each have phrases assigned to them, it sounds simple and indeed it is, which can almost send you on a musical guilt trip when you hear how fantastic the results are, with seemingly little effort!
The unique audible phrase selection system which SonoKinetic first introduced last year with their cinematic jazz inspired library ‘Noir’, has now become a staple part of the accessibility feature, and it is without doubt the most crucial element to blind and visually impaired users in being able to engage with SonoKinetic products.
The concept behaves in a similar way to the pre-hear facility within Komplete Kontrol, and allows users to audibly hear the instrument section, category and ultimately the phrase of choice prior to selecting and locking to the keyboard.
On the subject of instrumentation, Indie features 12 individual key assigned phrases from all of the included instruments in one instance, making it easier to experiment and develop a musical concept more rapidly, without needing to load further instances containing other instrument sections.
Indie has been recorded in the same venue using the same top class musicians as their previous libraries, meaning that the recording setup, playing style and hall ambience is always consistent across the product line.
You will find the following sections within the many available categorised phrases,
String Quartet (4 players)
String ensemble (13 players)
Woodwinds (7 players)
Brass Quintet (5 players)
Melodic percussion instruments include: Marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, vibraphone, crotales, upright piano, celesta, concert harp and concert cimbalom
You are free to choose and assign any combinations of the above sections, or you can opt to roll a dice and let the scripting make the decision for you by turning the randomise control knob on page two, this will then completely reallocate a set of new phrases to the instrument keys.
This is actually a fantastic feature, and if you are short of inspiration can lead almost instantly to experimentation and ultimately very useful creativity, and it’s not often I can say this about a library.
The phrases are tempo synced to your DAW, one slight ommission I felt was the tempo sync speed control which was present in other libraries such as Soto and Maximo. This retained the sync lock function, but allowed for either halving or doubling of the tempo sync speed, which was a useful feature. There are a couple of unallocated control knobs on page two, so it is potentially feasible to add this feature in a future update.
Other useful features are the ability to edit individual phrase sections, and control sample offset, volume, pan crossfade, release tails and whether the modwheel assigned volume works globally for all phrases at once, or allows the exclusion of the selected phrases you choose, which can add some nice creative expression as certain instruments are faded whilst others continue to play.
As with the majority if not all of SonoKinetic libraries, there are four microphone positions, Close, Decca tree, Wide and Balcony (Far), these are controlled by a single knob on page two. In use my conclusion was that rotating the knob fully left selected the close microphone, whilst extreme clockwise uses the Balcony mic, and anything inbetween would be a blend of all four.
In practice, I really like the intimate sound that Indie delivers, so for me at least the close mic provided the warm and detailed sound that Indie excels at.
Do checkout the video links on the SonoKinetic Indie product page and at the footer of the review to hear how Indie sounds, it really is worth a listen, as the playing and musicianship is truly exquisite.
After using some of SonoKinetic’s large orchestral librries, Indie is a refreshing and welcome new edition to the collection. In many respects listening to the smaller ensemble sound made it easier to focus the mind to experiment and explore the wealth of musical phrase content present within the library.
The inclusion of the small string quartet phrases, and percussive mallet sections, piano and glissando harp add a beautiful final layer of musical embellishment to the whole package.
The genius behind the scripting and musical composition are as seamless and inspirational as ever, making it a wholly realistic possibility to create an entirely acceptable small orchestral ensemble piece that totally belies the time involved.
The high quality sounds are clear and bright and will spring from your monitors, with the fruits of your labours being ideal for tv and drama work, the various genre based categories ultimately allowing you to control the mood.
if one thing is certain Indie is very capable of saving you a lot of production time, but can also unwittingly allow you to creatively lose track of it in one fell swoop, but I must say both consume time in in immensely enjoyable ways!
SonoKinetic Indie is available for purchase directly from the Sono Kinetic website at an introductory price of 199.90 euros until April 13th (Normally 249.90 Euros)
Indie Product Page (Includes Walkthrough Videos)
Sample Library Review – Indie First Look
Indie User Manual
Click to access Indie-Reference-Manual.pdf
(c) Chris Ankin
april 11th, 2019
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.