Shimmer Shake Strike (Expanded Version) by InSession Audio
The rhythmic element of a music track can sometimes provide the magical lift needed to bring a piece of music to life. whilst perhaps not always consciously appreciated by the end listener, it can be the hidden key and final touch to unlocking the groove that keeps them tapping their feet and lifting their spirits.
Insession Audio released an excellent bite sized edition of Shimmer Shake Strike which was free for a limited period in the latter part of 2019, and this was a fantastic and useful little library that everyone should have in their collection, if you were not fortunate enough to download it, then hopefully the offer will return in some form in the future.
In the meantime, today we will take a glance over it’s bigger commercial brother (or possibly sister if libraries have a gender!), to see what additional features and presets you can expect to find.
Shimmer, Shake, Strike comes in two flavours, the standard version offering 85 presets, and the expanded version, which is our focus here providing an additional 100 presets.
The library takes up a mere 388mb of disk space, and runs in either Kontakt or the free Kontakt player version 5.68 and above, with support for use within Komplete Kontrol.
There is one main Kontakt NKI file which serves as the source for the 185 preset snapshots , which Komplete Kontrol utilises within it’s factory browser.
Download & Installation…
This is a painless procedure, the download of the archived library files from your Insession Audio account after purchase is easily achieved, and registration of the product is through Native Access using the provided license code, which all means you can be up and running swiftly after a rescan of Komplete Kontrol.
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plug-In Edit Features…
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 – Bank: 3/4, 4/4, 4/4 Triplet feel, 5/4, 6/8, High End Grooves
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Drums, Percussion
Knob 6 – Sub types: Cowbell, Other, Shaker, Small Metal, Wood, Clap,
Knob 7 – Character: Percussive, Sample Based, Sequenced/Looped, Tempo Synced
Knob 8 – Presets x 185
Plug-in Edit Section…
Page One – Sequencer & Humanise
Knob 1 – Rate
Knob 2 – Half Time
Knob 3 – Swing
Knob 4 – Steps
Knob 5 – Humanize Instrument 1
Knob 6 – Humanize Instrument 2
Knob 7 – Humanize Instrument 3
Knob 8 – Unallocate
Page Two – Mix 1, Mix 2 & Mix 3
Knob 1 – Mix 1 Volume
Knob 2 – Mix 1 Pan
Knob 3 – Mix 2 Volume
Knob 4 – Mix 2 Pan
Knob 5 – Mix 3 Volume
Knob 6 – Mix 3 Pan
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page Three – Instrument 1, E.Q. , Tone & Sends
Knob 1 – E.Q. Low
Knob 2 – E.Q. Low Mid
Knob 3 – E.Q. High Mid
Knob 4 – E.Q. High
Knob 5 – Tone Frequency
Knob 6 – Emphasis
Knob 7 – Send Delay
Knob 8 – Send Reverb
Page Four – Instrument 2, E.Q. , Tone & Sends
Knobs 1 to 8 – As above
Page Five – Instrument 3, E.Q. , Tone & Sends
Knobs 1 to 8 – As above
Page Six – Effects
Knob 1 – E.Q.
Knob 2 – Compressor
Knob 3 – Tape
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Delay
Knob 6 – Reverb
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page 7 – Master E.Q, Compressor, Tape & Returns
Knob 1 – Master E.Q. Low
Knob 2 – Master E.Q. Low Mid
Knob 3 – Master E.Q. High Mid
Knob 4 – Master E.Q. High
Knob 5 – Master Compressor Amount
Knob 6 – Master Tape Amount
Knob 7 – Master Delay
Knob 8 – Master Reverb
Page Eight – Delay & Reverb
Knob 1 – Delay time
Knob 2 – Feedback
Knob 3 – Width
Knob 4 – Damping
Knob 5 – Sync
Knob 6 – Unallocated
Knob 7 – Reverb Size
Knob 8 – Reverb Type
There are certainly a few elements of Shimmer, Shake, Strike that we are unable to gain access to through our Komplete Kontrol hardware, most notably the ability to interact and work with the built in pattern programmer.
Insession Audio explained to me, that this is largely due to limitations of the Komplete Kontrol interface, and without delving too deeply into the technical reasons, their Kontakt scripting employs a system called multiplexing, which allows programmers to assign repetitive sets of controls to a single set of user interface controls, this allows the scripters to bypass the physical limitations of Kontakt control assignments which would otherwise have been exceeded.
The downside for us is that this technique requires visual interaction such as dragging, dropping and clicking to work and cannot realistically be mapped to NKS hardware controls , without rapidly running into unwieldy page counts, and basically making the KK interface for us, no joy to work with.
In practice however, I do not think this should be any real valid deterrent for using the library, unless you are a real aficionado of complex rhythms then for the most part the provided presets should be more than adequate for most users to add a touch of sparkle to their tracks.
One omission I did note, is that there is the ability to turn on a latch control, so that a loaded pattern will automatically start with the transport controls of your DAW, however this appears not to have been assigned to an NKS control or a keyswitch which would have been nice to see implemented.
This switch is accessible if you load the library directly into Kontakt and use your DAW parameter list to turn it on, so this could make it feasible to resave out the main NKI with this switch invoked, I’m guessing though that this might get overridden when you load another preset snapshot, so this is just something to be aware of.
Shake, Rattle & Roll…
In use Shimmer, Shake, Strike is very straightforward and easy to use, it really is a matter of simply ploughing through the presets to find a pattern that you want to work with.
Each preset features eight tempo synced pattern variations mapped to a lower octave of your keyboard, and single playable instrument samples are placed higher up.
There are essentially three different instruments that combine to make each rhythmic pattern as a whole. You can mute any of these instruments on an individual basis from the pattern using keyswitches to omit them from the mix.
As mentioned there fundamental elements of each instrument in a pattern are also available to play yourself freestyle on top of any preset pattern, and there are also some nice roll effects which can be employed to add that rapid ‘rattlesnake’ style shaker if so desired.
When it comes to the NKS parameter mapping, there are useful controls for switching the pattern speed to half time or adding a swing or human element to the groove.
The effects are accessible on a per instrument basis, so you can make a pattern completely dry which definitely adds to the flexibility of things. It is possible to get somewhat creative by tweaking the delay controls for time, feedback and sync which can add some interesting polyrhythmic variations.
the equalisation is very functional and certainly allows for placing your groove where you want in terms of presence within a mix, and it is great to see pan featured as a control on a per instrument basis.
Shimmer, Shake, Strike caters for the top level hi frequency percussive section, so to be absolutely clear you won’t be finding any bongos or congas in this library! Instead there are Cabasa, Maraca, Tambourine, claves, claps, bamboo, Pill bottles, Shells, snaps, Wood Blocks, Egg Poachers and Chajchas which are apparently made from Goat Toes!
The patterns have all been recorded and programmed with a high level of realism, and despite the age of the libraries origins, the sample quality is to a high standard.
Historically Shimmer, Shake, Strike dates back to 2010 where it originally saw light as a Kontakt 3, Apple Loops and Rex file library from Nine Volt Audio, , I picked it up around 2015 and thought at the time what a useful and time saving library it was. That usefulness is further reinforced when it is still a viable product a decade later, and with it’s NKS update it is certainly an appealing edition to any sample library collection.
The free Fruitshake library if you managed to pick it up, offered just a small taster with 21 presets and the same selection of time signatures and similar NKS mapping.
The more extensive offering of either the 85 standard or 185 expanded preset versions is certainly an enticing upgrade worth consideration if rhythm is your thing, and for the small price difference between the two, I would recommend grabbing the expanded version over the standard as it is not currently possible to upgrade retrospectively.
any shortfalls in terms of accessibility are not really deal breakers, this is one of those products that could almost be thought of as a composition utility. You may not use it on every single track you write, but you will be glad you have it when you need it, after scratching your head searching for that little extra something, this may well be it, with more high end rhythms than you can shake a stick at!
Shimmer, Shake, Strike is available for purchase directly from the Insession Audio website (follow link for current pricing)
InSession Audio Homepage:
Shimmer, Shake, Strike Product Page:
shimmer, Shake, Strike Walkthrough Review:
(c) Chris Ankin
January 15th, 2020
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.