Renegade Soundplay – High Score Retro Game Library

Renegade Soundplay – High Score Retro Game Library

KK-Access Review

There have been several releases dedicated to the revival of retro game utopia, those ubiquitous bleeps, blips, white noise explosions and cheesy chip tunes that provided the accompanying soundtracks to the computer games of yesteryear, are it seems still very desirable.

Whether it be from nostalgic pioneers such as myself attempting to recapture the euphoric moments from my youth after blasting an evil space invader from the sky, or the new breed of chip tune composer conveniently seeking to avoid a potentially fruitless trip to a car boot sale or thrift store visit, twinned with the potentially hazardous dangers of dabbling with a soldering iron, the demand is there!

Regardless of the reason, Renegade Soundplay have released High Score, their approach to the already existing commercially available libraries on the market.

They have in their wisdom chosen to employ Kontakt 6 as the means of delivery, and more crucially for us in terms of accessibility, made it NKS ready to deliver their take on these vintage timbres.

Chips With Everything…

The High Score library was originally conceived last year as a highly successful Kickstarter campaign by founder David Molnar, who has a distinguished career in the audio industry spanning several decades, and has worked for such notables as Line 6 and Moog Music. with

The product sets out to recreate the 8-Bit chip sound of 80’s game consoles such as the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and others. Rather than claiming to be a direct clone of any particular system, original hardware waveforms were sampled as part of the production process, as well as in some cases faithfully re imagined and improved upon in order to recreate authentic representations.

Tech Specs…

High Score is probably the smallest data footprint for a Kontakt/Komplete Kontrol product that I have seen to date, but don’t let this apparent lack of size fool you into thinking this equates to quality, as we shall discover.

Weighing in at just 247 MB, High Score requires the latest available build of Kontakt 6 or the equivalent free Kontakt player, and as stated runs within Komplete Kontrol.

There is a single High Score master .NKI file which in turn feeds the collection of 302 factory presets.

Additionally there are already two further preset packs themed 8-Bit Drums and Super Retro, which extend the palette of presets further still, with more planned in the future.

Download & Installation…

This is simplicity itself, as High Score is fully NKS licensed so it’s merely a case of pasting in your product serial into Native Access and then installing.

Komplete Kontrol will res can and add your new library to the factory browser, and you’re all set to go and play!

Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plugin Edit Parameters

Browser.

Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Bass, Bowed Strings, Brass, Drums, Flute, Guitar, Mallet Instruments, Organ, Percussion, Piano Keys, Plucked Strings, Reed Instruments, Sound FX, Soundscapes, Synth Lead, Synth Misc, Synth Pad, Vocal,
Knob 6 – Sub type: Fingered, Fretless, synth, Cello, Double Bass, Clap, Crash Cymbal, Drum Pattern, Hi-Hat, Kick, Snare, Tom, Acoustic, Electric, Chime, Glockenspiel, Gong, Other, Pipe, Bell, Block, Wood, digital Piano, Electric Piano, Harpsichord, Toy Piano, Upright Piano, Banjo, Koto, sitar, Bassoon, Clarinet, Oboe, Big & Bad, Machines, Nature, Noise, Shots, Destructive, Heavenly, Hypnotising, Insanity, Peaceful, Wind & Noise, Classic Mono, Classic Poly, Soft, Vox, Classic, Fx, Melodic Sequences, Other Sequences, percussive, Sweeps & Swells, Basic, Computer, Phoneme, Synth Choir,
Knob 7 – Character: Acoustic, Additive, Airy, Analog, Arpeggiated, Bright, Chord, Clean, Dark, Deep, Digital, Dirty, Distorted, Dry, Electric, Evolving, Filtered, FM, Granular, Huge, Human, Lead, Lick, Lo-Fi, Long Release, Melodic, Metallic, Monophonic, percussive, Processed, Riser, Sample Based, Stabs & Hits, Sub, Synthetic, Tempo Synced,
Knob 8 – Presets: x302 (Factory Excluding Add On Packs)

Plugin Edit NKS Parameter Mappings

Page One – Wave 1 & Wave 2

Knob 1 – Waveshape 1
Knob 2 – Octave
Knob 3 – Level
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Waveshape 2
Knob 6 – octave
Knob 7 – Detune
Knob 8 – Level

Page Two – Wave 3 & General

Knob 1 – Waveshape 3
Knob 2 – Octave
Knob 3 – Detune
Knob 4 – Level
Knob 5 – Glide
Knob 6 – Velocity
Knob 7 – Poly/Mono Select
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page Three – Noise generator

Knob 1 – Bit rate
Knob 2 – PEG Depth
Knob 3 – P LFO Depth
Knob 4 – Level
Knob 5 – Key Track on/off
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated

Page Four – Noise EG

Knob 1 – Delay
Knob 2 – Attack
Knob 3 – Decay
Knob 4 – sustain
Knob 5 – Release
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated

Page Five – Pitch EG

Knob 1 – Depth
Knob 2 – Attack
Knob 3 – Decay
Knob 4 – Sustain
Knob 5 – Release
Knob 6 – Invert on/off
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated

Page Six – Pitch LFO & Volume LFO

Knob 1 – Pitch Depth
Knob 2 – Rate
Knob 3 – Delay
Knob 4 – Shape
Knob 5 – Volume Depth
Knob 6 – Rate
Knob 7 – Delay
Knob 8 – Shape

Page Seven – Volume, Envelope Generator & Filter Assign

Knob 1 – Volume Attack
Knob 2 – Decay
Knob 3 – Sustain
Knob 4 – Release
Knob 5 – Filter Assign, Wave 1 on/off
Knob 6 – Wave 2 on/off
Knob 7 – Wave 3 on/off
Knob 8 – Noise on/off

Page Eight – Filter

Knob 1 – Type
Knob 2 – Cut-Off
Knob 3 – Resonance
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – P LFO Depth
Knob 6 – V LFO Depth
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated

Page Nine – Filter Envelope Generator

Knob 1 – Depth
Knob 2 – Attack
Knob 3 – Decay
knob 4 – Sustain
Knob 5 – Release
Knob 6 – Invert
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated

Page Ten – Arp

Knob 1 – Arp Tempo
Knob 2 – Multiplier
Knob 3 – Note/Beat
Knob 4 – Note Length
Knob 5 – Arp Enable
Knob 6 – Repeat
Knob 7 – Synce on/off
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page Eleven – Delay & Speaker Simulation

Knob 1 – Delay time
Knob 2 – Decay
Knob 3 – Repeats
knob 4 – Note Length
Knob 5 – Clock division
Knob 6 – Delay Enable
Knob 7 – sync
Knob 8 – Speaker Simulation Type

Accessibility…

As you can see from the above extensive parameter template, there are a very respectable eleven pages of mapped NKS parameters within the High Score library, so it is great to see that Renegade Soundplay have already almost fully exploited the poss abilities that the NKS system can deliver.

Reassuringly it seems Renegade Soundplay are not a developer contented to rest on their laurels, and future plans include adding support for those user interface features that were not technically able to be included in the current release.

These are actually few and far between, namely the user waveform editor, sequencer section and randomise and initialisation controls.

console Elation…

The interface is intuitively laid out, and will immediately make sense to anyone with just a smattering of synthesizer knowledge.

We are able to select which waveforms make up the three main melodic sound sources, and can mix between them using the volume and detune controls.

There is also a dedicated noise layer, which has bit rate, pitch envelope, pitch LFO, Key track and ADSR parameters.

Alongside the standard waveshapes such as Square, Sine, Pulse, Triangle and Saw, you can alternatively choose to use the same waves from the original Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 SID chip sources.

I was thrilled to not only also discover synth speech vowels, but also two banks of spoken synth speech with a good selection of topical genre based words and numbers, with each word being mapped a cross octaves of the keyboard.

A nice touch is the inclusion of a selection of speaker simulations, enabling you to instantly change from an old CRT TV, ZX Spectrum or even a Gameboy speaker sound.

Renegade Soundplay have clearly given a good deal of thought to making the interface as flexible as possible, as there are also a number of key switches assigned to an allocated section of the keyboard, which quickly allows you to turn on/off each of the sound sources, as well as the Arp and delay sections.

There are no default assignments made to the modwheel or touchstrips on the Komplete Kontrol keyboard, however it’s an easy process to quickly pop your controller into midi mode and learn a parameter, then go back to the standard KK mode, whereby the modwheel will then work to operate the assigned parameter, this assignment will then remain in place for the duration of your session even if you change presets.

As a simple example, I mapped one of the wave shape selectors to the modwheel and added some noise, which enabled me to whiz through the waveshapes whilst playing in realtime, creating a kind of multi tone SFX preset.

Retro Heaven…

Renegade Soundplay have done an epic job in sound designing a whole bunch of believable presets representative of the genre.

There are electro drum loops and fills, power ups, win & lose type melody riffs, explosions, gunfire, pseudo instrument tones and SFX aplenty here to satisfy your 1980’s taste buds.

Memories of space Invaders, Pac Man, Frogger, Asteroids, Pong and all of those by today’s standards simplistic yet highly addictive gameplay flooded back into my conscious, making me yearn to once more play them.

High Score Add On Packs…

As I mentioned in the early part of this review, there are already a further two add on packs available for High Score.

These come in the form of a folder of .NKSN snapshots which need to be placed into the snapshots folder of the main High Score library folder.

A res can of Komplete Kontrol, or rather a manual res can of the factory library tab detects the new content, and adds them into the KK browser.

An additional bit of tagging might need to be done here, as currently they do not appear as separate banks within the browser on the S-Series keyboard, meaning they are intermingled with the factory content. This will not affect A-Series or M-32 users as the bank category is not currently supported.

The 8-Bit Drums & SuperRetro packs contain a further 65 and 50 presets respectively, and explore the genre in more detail.

conclusion…

High Score is I think for us, probably the most accessible example of the chip tune themed product on the market.

Access to all of the crucial parameters allowing us to create and edit our own sounds are there right out of the box, with a good probability that any current exclusions will be addressed in an update. These in any case are not real dealbreakers, as you can easily create your own sequences directly within your own DAW.

Those among you looking for sounds from this era will already know what to expect in terms of authentic audio quality, whether it’s for pure nostalgia, or modern day projects that demand that vintage vibe, High Score will happily oblige and meet your needs.

High Score By Renegade Soundplay can be purchased directly from their website. At time of publication there is a 20% discount making it £31.95 (Regular £39.95) until Friday August 27th 2021, the sale also includes the Add On preset packs sold separately.

Renegade Soundplay – High Score – Product Page:
https://renegadesoundplay.com/

High Score – Product Overview BY UDi Audio:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqCtA9Y-Gjs

Interview With David Molnar Founder of Renegade Soundplay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwXfrCfcCvY

High Score For Kontakt – Soundcloud Audio Examples:
https://soundcloud.com/user-217693707/sets/high-score-for-kontakt

(c) Chris Ankin
KK-Access.com
August 25th, 2021

Disclaimer

The author cannot accept any 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 solely on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product and/or gathered from official factual sources such as the developer, web or supplied 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.

E&OE

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