Bowed Colors Cello Vol 1 By Evolution Series
Evolution Series the Australian based sample library developer have been busy releasing an ever expanding collection of high quality titles over the past year or so, with products such as their World Percussion Sound Library series becoming a go to library for many TV, Film & Media composers.
Now their Bowed Colors series is also catching the ear of a wider range of music creators, being a quick and affordable way of adding a layer of organic and melancholic string flavours to any composition.
Here we are taking a look at Bowed Colors Cello, the deeper voiced sibling to Bowed Colors Violin in the same series.
Bowed Colors Cello runs in either the full version of Kontakt 6 or the free Kontakt player, and is compatible with Komplete Kontrol.
The installation size is 971MB which is fairly small for a library of this type.
The samples are recorded at 48kHz 24bit quality, and compressed to the NCW format.
There is one master Kontakt NKI preset file, with a further 45 NKSN snapshot presets being visible within the Komplete Kontrol browser.
Download & Installation
The download and installation process is handled entirely by Native Access which makes things very straightforward, painless & simple.
Paste in your authorisation code, then head to the ‘not installed’ tab to begin the download, then upon completion launching Komplete Kontrol will add your new library to the factory side of the browser.
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plugin Edit NKS Parameters
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Type: Bowed Strings
Knob 6 – Sub Type: Cello
Knob 7 – Character: Sampled Based
Knob 8 – Presets: x 46
Plugin Edit NKS Parameter Mapping
Page one – Controls
Knob 1 – Attack
Knob 2 – Release
Knob 3 – Expression
Knob 4 – Dynamics
Knob 5 – Reverb
Knob 6 – Unallocated
Knob 7 – Unallocated
Knob 8 – Legato On/Off
Having glanced at the single page of NKS mappings listed above, you can be forgiven for thinking that less parameters means less access.
Ordinarily I would probably agree, however we need to consider the concept behind Bowed Colours Cello, and the way that we interact with it.
In fact all of the crucial controls are available to us, and these are pretty much in parity with what sighted users working with the mouse driven interface will also experience.
The only section which is out of bounds to us, is the ability to mix, match and interchange our own articulation choices within the keyswitch slots, and the transposition of these keyswitches on our keyboards.
This as most users will recall is not an uncommon trait within sample libraries, and due mostly to this type of feature not readily lending itself to the Komplete Kontrol hardware architecture.
In compensation however, there are still a good range of presets available, and the existence of up to 15 pre mapped keyswitches located around the C0 position, mean that we do have reasonable ability to chop & change things around.
There are a nice selection of well recorded Cello articulations to be found inside the library, providing a good cross section of the essentials such as Sustains, Shorts, Pizzicato, Trills, FX, Body Hits and even a scripted faux Legato effect.
Natural & Organic
Unlike other libraries we have seen, Bowed Colors Cello aims to offer a no fuss solution of adding organic and natural bowed string timbres into your work, without overly complicating the process in the way that some larger dedicated orchestral libraries sometimes do.
The sounds are quite unprocessed, not electronic or hybrid in nature, indeed the samples have been carefully cropped and curated to make it easy to work with the presets, yet they would still happily sit comfortably alongside synth and electronic waveforms if ambient and chillout is your vibe.
The library has a cleverly scripted way of switching between articulations using velocity levels, for example the velocity range between 0 & 128 can be divided into three with each section switching to a different articulation when that velocity range is applied.
This can take a little getting used to within your playing technique, but can be an effective way of adding expression, and velocity levels can always be edited post recording if you are a little on the heavy handed side.
As mentioned we are unable to accessibly change these ourselves, but their are a reasonable selection of presets with these already assigned.
Again as stated earlier their are regular keyswitches assigned to jump to if required, I counted 15 on one of the default patches.
I cross referenced the available parameters within Kontakt that had been made available for automation in the master Kontakt NKI, and these mirrored those found in Komplete Kontrol, so we are genuinely not missing out on anything!
We have Attack & Release, Dynamics & Expression as well as Reverb & scripted Legato controls.
There are no options to change the microphone positions in the Bowed Colors series, which is intentional, the sound being that of a close to mid range small ensemble or solo Cello.
Bowed Colors Cello In Use
The library is quite intuitive to use, and you rapidly get a feel for the broad range of applications it can lend itself to.
There are long sustains which are great for more emotive and ambient tracks, the touch strip on the S-Series being assigned to CC11 means you can achieve an expressive ebb & flow to your string sound, or you can if preferred assign expression to your modwheel as an alternate control, a must for the A-Series and M32 where the assignable touch strip is not included.
The short sounds have several variants, and these can be put to good effect by using the Komplete Kontrol built in arp for arpeggios, or instead provide driving rhythmic chords if needed.
It’s not all sweetness and light, there is also a darker side to the library, with the FX articulations offering some nice trills, bow scrapes, suspenseful tremolos and Cello body hits.
Do take a look at the walkthrough video for both Bowed Colors Cello and Violin, linked at the review footer, which aptly demonstrate the sounds these libraries are capable of delivering to your own music.
The Bowed Colors series offer a superb way of introducing the tonal beauty of Bowed Strings into your compositions, the textures are intimate and emotionally evocative which is often an essential ingredient for film and media scoring.
Having been created by musicians for musicians, and given the affordability and no fuss easy workflow, they will surely prove to be a popular and simple way of adding new shades to any composers colour palette.
Evolution Series Bowed Colors Cello & Violin can be purchased directly from the Evolution Series website. Currently at the time of publication with a 30% promotional discount for $34.30
Bowed Colors Cello Product Page:
Bowed Colors Overview:
Evolution Series Complete Overview with Simeon Amburgey. :
(c) Chris Ankin
March 11th 2022
The author can not accept any responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this review,or Any inaccuracies found therein. All opinions and 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
Based in Buckingham shire, England, Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review author and contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.
He has also worked extensively in, and been associated with music, recording, film Soundtrack, Game & media, the creative arts, publishing and investments since 1982 under his own name and various other pseudonyms.