Heavyocity Mosaic Keys & Mosaic Voices – Dual Review
Heavyocity have reimagined the art of Mosaic through the medium of creative sound design with their latest Kontakt driven engine, KK-Access put together the pieces, and then stood back to admire the sonic picture!
Heads always turn in the sample library world whenever Heavyocity Media, who are arguably the masters of the original cinematic sound, release a new product, but perhaps even more so when there is a newly devised library engine in place, and this is exactly what the new Mosaic series brings to the table.
The Mosaic Concept…
Users have come to expect a very distinct sound when it comes to Heavyocity products, and the new Mosaic series very much continues in this tradition. Firstly taking a themed palette of high quality bespoke samples as a multi layered foundation point for mangling, manipulation and controlled mayhem, the resulting presets for which can evoke a multitude of moods that span from the sublimely calm and ambient, to the dirt and grit of a post apocalyptic world, and much more besides. Although perhaps now an over used buzzword, the entire range certainly has the term ‘cinematic’ headlining the bullet points, simply because the sounds work so well when partnered with a visual medium.
The first two libraries to be released in the Mosaic series are ‘Keys’ and ‘Voices’, so this will be a joint review for both products, which at their heart share the identical library engine, and NKS parameter mapping.
Both libraries can use either the full version of Kontakt 6.0.4 or above or it’s equivelent free Kontakt player, and are compatible with Komplete Kontrol software and keyboards.
Mosaic Voices will require 5.7Gb of disk space and includes 130 snapshots (presets within Komplete Kontrol), there is one single master NKI file.
Mosaic Keys requires 3.4Gb of hard drive space, has 180 snapshots and again one single master NKI file.
Product download is via the Heavyocity Portal which will handle registration, downloads and updates for all of your purchased products. Accessibly this works well on MAC, although I found on Windows there were elements that I needed some sighted help with.
The libraries will then finally need to be authorised in the usual way via Native Access prior to them being scanned into Komplete Kontrol, and for this the same license numbers as provided by Heavyocity are required.
Komplete Kontrol Browsing…
I will provide the separate browser content for each library below, followed by the jointly identical NKS mapping on the plug-in edit side of the Komplete Kontrol browser.
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor and Product
Knob 3 – Banks, 01. Mellow, 02. Gritty
Knob 4 – Sub Banks, Playables, Rhythms, Arps,
Knob 5 – Type, Piano/Keys, Synth Misc,
Knob 6 – Sub Types, Other Piano/Keys, Other Sequences
Knob 7 – Character, Arpregiated, Sample based, Sequenced/Looped, Tempo Synced,
Knob 8 – Presets x 180
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 – Bank, 01. Hybrid, 02. Organic
Knob 4 – Sub Bank, Playables, Rhythms, Arps, Playable Vowels, Ramps & Swells
Knob 5 – Type, Vocal
Knob 6 – Sub Type, Mixed Choir, Synth Choir
Knob 7 – Character, Arpregiated, Sample based, Tempo Synced, Sequenced/Looped
Knob 8 – Preset x 130
Mosaic Keys & Mosaic Voices NKS Parameter Mapping
Page One – Macro Control & Modulation
Knob 1 – Macro Knob
Knob 2 to 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Modulation on/off
Knob 6 – Amount
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page Two – Channel Controls
Knob 1 – Channel 1 Volume
Knob 2 – Channel 1 Pan
Knob 3 – Channel 2 Volume
Knob 4 – Channel 2 Pan
Knob 5 – Channel 3 Volume
Knob 6 – Channel 3 Pan
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page Three – Punish & Filter
Knob 1 – Punish on/off
Knob 2 – Punish (amount)
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Filter on/off
Knob 6 – Cut-off
Knob 7 – Resonance
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Page Four – Delay & Reverb
Knob 1 – Delay on/off
Knob 2 – Feedback
Knob 3 – Damp
Knob 4 – Amount
Knob 5 – Reverb on/off
Knob 6 – Pre-Delay
Knob 7 – Size
Knob 8 – Mix
Page Five- E.Q
Knob 1 – E.Q. on/off
Knob 2 – Low
Knob 3 – LM Gain
Knob 4 – LM Freq
Knob 5 – HM Gain
Knob 6 – HM Freq
Knob 7 – High
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Mosaic Accessibility Considerations…
It’s always somewhat of a thorny subject, but there are lots of parameters and functions that we are unable to use from the Komplete Kontrol keyboard, some clearly would not lend themselves to being mapped to a rotary control, others may have led to the excessive mapping of concurrent pages making it unwieldy.
One case to point just as an example, would be the three available sample sound sources, referred to within Mosaic as channels. Each channel has it’s own delay and reverb effect controls, which would have necessitated the inclusion of three additional pages. however as things stand NKS mapping is only provided for the master effects (all three channels combined). This means within a preset we are unable to alter delay and reverb on a per channel basis, which depending on circumstances can make editing somewhat finite, Conversely this also demonstrates the difficult decisions developers have to make when mapping controls as the page count can rapidly increase exponentially.
NKS access to note and FX sequencing has always been historically absent, as has the ability to assign parameters to, and work with Macros beyond what has already been assigned within the provided presets.
For me, the common missing denominator, frequently not accessible within sound design oriented libraries, is for blind users to be able to select their own choice of sample source, and to tweak parameters such as sample offset and ADSR, but this is not possible.
The Sound of Mosaic…
Mosaic Keys is full of genuinely inspirational presets, I found myself pressing the favourite button more than usual as I worked my way through the 180 presets. I particularly liked the ‘Gritty’ section, undoubtedly it is the combinations and choices of effects that Heavyocity’s sound design team have expertly used that make them so appealing and brimming with character.
We are able to mix between the three sound layers that make up each preset, and it’s interesting to isolate and mix between these sound layers to understand what is creating the overall sound.
Despite us not having access to the source samples, it is possible to create variations on the existing presets using just the mixer section alone, and of course we do still have the now almost legendary Punish & Filter page as a fallback to add further to the already abundant grittiness.
Playing through the sounds readily conjured images of dark dystopian landscapes, and bleak, moody vistas, despite this being a ‘Keys’ library, I felt some of the patches possessed all the tonality of a gritty blues guitar, which sounded fantastic.
Some excellent assignments of the modulation wheel has been made throughout, with variations between patches appearing to have everything from pan to frequency cut-off, each taking it’s turn in the expression limelight.
The rhythmic and tempo synced presets have a commanding presence, and are easily capable of carrying a track with little instrumental additions, for example on some presets the modwheel introduces subtle sub-rhythms and synchronised effects that can really fill out the soundstage, and add interesting movement to your chord or melody progressions.
The mellow category of presets within Mosaic Keys whilst sounding less dark than their gritty counterparts, will still happily straddle both genres, depending on how and what you play, so the differences are not quite as defined as the descriptors may suggest.
I am aware that Heavyocity own a veritable arsenal of synths and outboard gear, and it’s evident that these were out in force for Mosaic Keys, there was not mention of an equipment list as there was for NP03 Synthetic Strings, however I can clearly hear that an enviable selection of electric pianos and analog synths have gone into the Mosaic Keys recipe, along with a tasteful amount of found sound and outboard fx for added seasoning.
I should add, that with these libraries there appears to be no key switches mapped within the available presets. On previous outings we have had chromatic pitch control of single note samples, which is not relevant here as this kind of content is not present, however the key switched FX that once provided realtime bitcrush, phasing and stutters when a particular key range was pressed have not so far been employed in this series.
To some degree Mosaic Voices could be thought of as following on from the strong legacy left by the GP02 and GP04 Vocalise libraries, however with the advent of the new Mosaic Engine there are notable differences, certainly within the library content. Mosaic Voices does not feature the spoken phrases and larger array of rhythmic vocal beds found in the previous products.
Instead the vocal content with the addition of a male voice, concentrates on vowel samples in various forms such as staccato, sustains and rhythmic, playable and sequenced variants in both the hybrid and organic categories.
The overall tone of Mosaic Voices is one of an ambient cinematic style with a good cross section of presets that are playable in the traditional sense, as well as the tempo synced and rhythmic content.
It’s probably a little unfair of me to compare Mosaic Voices to Mosaic Keys, given that the subject matter is vastly different, however I was not quite as inspired by the presets within ‘Voices’. This could be because I’m a user of both GP02 & GP04 Vocalise which utilise the Heavyocity Gravity engine, so for my personal taste there was not enough of a marked change sonically in what the library offers. Having said this, if you do not own either of the GP products, Mosaic Voices will certainly be an ideal alternate contender for your requirements.
As ever I would highly recommend checking out the extensive selection of available videos to crosscheck and compare the included content.
Thoughts & Conclusions…
It is within our nature to want as many features as possible available to us with any library we purchase, and as blind users who rely solely on what our computer text to speech engines can tell us, it is of course frustrating when we are aware of certain features that are a simple mouse click away for sighted users, yet tantalisingly out of reach for us blindies due to NKS parameter mapping limitations.
The fact remains however, that with Heavyocity libraries it’s a lot more to do with the included presets and the distinct sound design expertise that are carefully crafted into each library.
I was happily using Heavyocity products within Kontakt such as Evolve R2, Damage and DM-307 prior to having Komplete Kontrol accessibility, that usage was based solely on the ability to load Kontakt NKI files with no further access to parameters. This pays great testimony to Heavyocity’s ability to deliver production and mix ready sounds right out of the box.
Of these two initial releases Mosaic Keys for me in particular has some truly outstanding and eminently atmospheric presets within it’s content, and although ‘Voices’ did not stand out quite as prominently, it still has a tremendous amount to offer anyone in the market for some high quality cinematic and ambient vocal sounds.
I am sure there will be further themed releases to come in the series, but it would perhaps also be a nice option to have further snapshot based preset expansions to add further to the current content.
The Heavyocity Mosaic series looks certain to continue to set a cinematic benchmark for other developers to follow, whilst the modern Tv, film, trailer, game and media design composer, are sure to welcome their presence on their hard drives as a regular go to source of inspiration.
Mosaic Keys & Mosaic Voices are available for purchase directly from the Heavyocity Media website,
For a limited time, Heavyocity is offering both Mosaic Keys and Mosaic Voices for $99 each (reg. $119 each). In addition, a Mosaic Keys / Mosaic Voices Bundle, which includes both instruments, will be available for $179 (reg. $238).
Heavyocity Mosaic Keys Product Page
Heavyocity Mosaic Voices Product Page
Heavyocity Mosaic Series Trailer
Heavyocity Mosaic Keys Content Overview
Heavyocity Mosaic Keys Demo Walkthrough
Heavyocity Mosaic Keys Preset Play Through
Heavyocity Mosaic Voices Content Overview
Heavyocity Mosaic Voices Demo Walkthrough
Heavyocity Voices Preset Play Through
Mosaic Keys User Manual
Mosaic Voices User Manual
(c) Chris Ankin
June 5th, 2019
The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of 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 or 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.