Strands By Void & Vista

Strands By Void & Vista



KK-Access Review



If you happen to be looking for a dark cinematic library that offers over 150 mapped NKS parameters, a huge number of preset combinations and sounds superb right out of the box, then Strands from Void & Vista might just be your answer.



Strands is the first release from newcomers Void & Vista, and if first impressions are anything to go by, they are making an impressive entrance with this debut library.



Whenever I am made aware of a new developer, it can often be something of a lottery when I begin to look into the thorny subject of accessibility.

As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded, as on this occasion Void & Vista were ahead of the game, having researched the KK-Access website as a part of their initial product development, and so already had a good understanding of the kind of features that blind & visually impaired customers like to see in a product.



This scores high marks for me right there, as I often spout that ideally access should be something considered at the development and user interface design stage.



They went on to tell me that although there were some technical hurdles to overcome which have prevented them from incorporating a couple of features, that they had tried very hard to work their way around this, more of which later.



Tech Specs



Strands runs in version 6.7 of Kontakt full version, or the free Kontakt player, and is also Komplete Kontrol compatible.


The library requires 2.5GB of disk space for installation.


There is 1 master Kontakt NKI file, with a further 900 plus NKSN snapshot files.



Download & Installation



Void & Vista have fully embraced the Native Instruments partnership model from the get go, meaning that Strands can be downloaded and installed directly from Native Access upon registration of your post purchase serial number.


Once finished, just load up Komplete Kontrol within your choice of DAW, the auto re scan will take care of the rest and you are good to go.



Komplete Kontrol NKS Plug-In Edit Parameters


Page One – Perform


Knob 1 – Morph
Knob 2 – Dynamic
Knob 3 – Filter
Knob 4 – Motion
Knob 5 – Layers
Knob 6 – Lo-Fi
Knob 7 – Character
Knob 8 – Send FX



Page Two – Dynamics/Envelopes


Knob 1 – Dynamics Dampen
Knob 2 – Velocity
Knob 3 – Unallocated
Knob 4 – Envelope Link
Knob 5 – Offset 1
Knob 6 – Offset 2
Knob 7 – Cascade
Knob 8 – Cascade Sync: On/Off



Page Three – Amplitude Envelope 1


Knob 1 – Amp RT
Knob 2 – RT Gain
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Attack
Knob 6 – Decay
Knob 7 – Sustain
Knob 8 – Release



Page Four – Amplitude Envelope 2


Parameters as per page 3


Page Five – Pitch 1


Knob 1 – Pitch + minus 36 notes
Knob 2 – Glide + minus 1 second
Knob 3 – Intensity
Knob 4 – Envelope Amount
Knob 5 – Attack
Knob 6 – Decay
Knob 7 – Sustain
Knob 8 – Release



Page Six – Pitch 2



Parameters as per page five



Page Seven – Filter 1



Knob 1 – Filter Type: Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass
Knob 2 – Resonance
Knob 3 – Keytrack
Knob 4 – Envelope Amount
Knob 5 – Attack
Knob 6 – Decay
Knob 7 – Sustain
Knob 8 – Release



Page Eight – Filter 2



As per page 7



Page Nine – Motion 1



Knob 1 – LFO 1 Rate: switch able between note sync or Hz dependent upon the Knob 2 sync choice
Knob 2 – LFO 1 Sync On/Off
Knob 3 – LFO 1 Shape: Triangle, Square, Saw, Razor Up, Sine, Random, Saw down, Razor Down
Knob 4 – LFO 1 ReTrigger On/off
Knob 5 – LFO 1 Fade
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated



Page Ten – Motion 2



As per page 7



Page Eleven – Motion 1 Modulation/Motion 2 Modulation



Knob 1 – Motion 1 LFO 1 Amount
Knob 2 – LFO 1 Pitch
Knob 3 – LFO 1 Filter
Knob 4 – LFO 1 Pan
Knob 5 – Motion 2 LFO 1 Amount
Knob 6 – LFO 2 Pitch
Knob 7 – LFO 2 Filter
Knob 8 – LFO 2 Pan



Page Twelve – Layers/Morph



Knob 1 – Layers On/Off
Knob 2 – Ensemble On/Off
Knob 3 – Width
Knob 4 – Layers Detune
Knob 5 – Morph Mode: X Fade, Fade 1, Fade 2
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated



Page Thirteen – Lo-Fi



Knob 1 – Lo-Fi Noise
Knob 2 – Noise Type: Tape, Wire, Room, Hall,
Knob 3 – Warble
Knob 4 – Tone
Knob 5 – Saturation
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated



Page Fourteen – Character A



Knob 1 – Off, Convolution, Bypass
Knob 2 – Impulse: Superwide
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Pre Delay
Knob 5 – Reverse: On/Off
Knob 6 – Mix
Knob 7 – Unallocated
Knob 8 – Output Level



Page Fifteen – Character B



Knob 1 – Off, Mid EQ, Bypass
Knob 2 – Low Mid Gain
Knob 3 – Low Mid Frequency
Knob 4 – Low Mid Q
Knob 5 – Mid Gain
Knob 6 – Mid frequency
Knob 7 – Mid Q
Knob 8 – Output Level



Page Sixteen



Knob 1 – Character C

Knob 1 – Off, Shelves, Bypass
Knob 2 – Low Gain
Knob 3 – Low Frequency
Knob 4 – High Gain
Knob 5 – High Frequency
Knob 6 & 7 – Unallocated
Knob 8 – Output Level



Page Seventeen – Send FX/Delay



Knob 1 – Crossfade
Knob 2 – Unallocated
Knob 3 – Delay Time: switch able between notes & Milliseconds depending upon sync selection of Knob 4
Knob 4 – Sync On/Off
Knob 5 – Feedback
Knob 6 – Dampen
Knob 7 – Stereo
Knob 8 – Unallocated



Page Eighteen – Reverb – Pre Delay


Knob 2 – Time
Knob 3 – Size
Knob 4 – Modulation
Knob 5 – Tone
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated



Page Nineteen – Modulation Amount



Knob 1 – Morph
Knob 2 – Dynamic
Knob 3 – Filter
Knob 4 – Motion
Knob 5 – Layers
Knob 6 – Lo-Fi
Knob 7 – Character
Knob 8 – Send Fx



Page Twenty – Mod/CC/Aftertouch



Knob 1 – Morph: A, CC
Knob 2 – Dynamic: A, CC
Knob 3 – Filter: A, CC
Knob 4 – Motion: A, CC
Knob 5 – Layers: A, CC
Knob 6 – Lo-Fi: A, CC
Knob 7 – Character: A, CC
Knob 8 – Send FX: A, CC



Page Twenty One- Mod CC Number



Knob 1 – Morph: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 2 – Dynamic: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 3 – Filter: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 4 – Motion: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 5 – Layers: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 6 – Lo-Fi: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 7 – Character: Midi CC number 1 to 127
Knob 8 – Send FX: Midi CC number 1 to 127



Page Twenty Two – Utility/Pitch Bend



Knob 1 – Voices: Mono up to 32
Knob 2 – Pitch Lock 1: On/Off
Knob 3 – Pitch Lock 2: On/Off
Knob 4 – Preset Volume
Knob 5 – CC Settings: Snapshot, Global
Knob 6 – Layer 1 Pitch Bend Amount: + minus 12 notes
Knob 7 – Layer 2 Pitch Bend Amount: + minus 12 notes
Knob 8 – Pitch Bend Link: On/Off






If you are still with us after checking out that huge set of mapped NKS controls, you should understand that great lengths have been gone to in order to provide as much control for blind & VI users as possible.



There are in fact over 150 parameters spread over the full 22 page NKS mapping template, which I am certain that those sound design aficionados among you will appreciate.



The shortfalls in accessibility come in the ability to select our own choice of sample sources for each of the two available sound layers, this is something we do frequently run into in many sample libraries.



The Void & Vista approach in addressing this, was to create as many sample source combinations as possible through factory presets, so that we are still able to tweak and edit the presets in order to come up with something uniquely our own, and with over 900 to tinker with you will be hard pressed not to be able to find something that works for an inspirational starting point.



There are several other really useful page mappings, but the one that stood out was the ability to assign midi control numbers on a per layer basis directly via NKS.



This is something that is generally inaccessible, so it’s great to find it here as a fully mapped feature.



Strands – The Engine



As mentioned Strands is a two layer Kontakt based library, that offers a cu rated collection of bowed sample sources, including Strings, Cymbals & Classic Synth Wave Sources.



When it comes to the presets, these have been thoughtfully divided into categories, which on the Komplete Kontrol S-Series appear as banks.



These are:

•Highlights – A selection that demonstrate the range of Strands
•Designed – A collection of crafted sound design patches
•Foundations – Starting block examples with various source types
•Morphs – These show off the morphing capabilities of the library with an emphasis on modwheel and NKS control



The categorisation does not end there, these bank folders play host to further sub sections, a few examples of which are:



Pads, Motions, Drones, Textures, Keys, Bass, SFX, Leads, Drums, Mod Dynamics, Vel Layers, Acoustic Clean, Vibes, Viola Clean, Cymbal Textures, vibes, Glass, Ghosts, Stressed, Broken Tape, Shards, Murmur & Flutter.



For brevity I have not listed everything in it’s entirety, however The above do represent a good cross section of the content, displaying examples of the dynamic range that Strands is able to offer.



Signal Flow



Although the naming conventions may differ somewhat to those familiar with more traditional synthesis values, the signal flow remains familiar with the addition of some more modern twists.



The dynamics are related to the the volume and intensity of the sounds.


The filters control the cut-off filter values.


Motion allows for detailed editing of the LFO, either synchronised to DAW tempo or free running.


Layers are associated with the two available sound sources, with controls to alter pitch, ADSR, Layer offsets, voices etc.


The FX offer Lo-Fi, Reverb & Delay, whilst there is also a three part effect chain which for us via NKS varies on a per preset basis which includes a more extensive FX processing chain.


Morph, as the name suggests is concerned with how the two sound layers merge and interact with one another.


Suffice to say that if you find a snapshot that comes close to what you are searching for, there are knob tweaking opportunities aplenty for the ardent twiddler which should get you from A to B when you become familiar with the layout.



Dark & Disturbing



Strands possesses a wide ranging dark, apocalyptic, avant garde cinematic palette, yet with the inclusion of some more traditional waveforms can equally throw you a few surprise yet welcome curve balls, with trance leads, percussion, or softer more haunting voices, meaning that you could with due diligence legitimately create an entire composition with just this library.



When it comes to emotions, Strands certainly excels in a more edgier walk among the shadows.

It is perfectly suited to suspense, thriller, modern drama, noir, horror, dark ambient and soundscape media composition for film and game soundtracks.

<pre class="wp-block-syntaxhighlighter-code"><br /><br /> Void & Vista have created an extensive walkthrough video and accompanying user manual for Strands which does a fantastic  job of explaining the concept and sound design possibilities of the library, both of which are linked at the review footer.</pre>






Void & Vista have exceeded expectations with Strands, not least for their thoughtful approach to user interface and NKS design with blind & vI customers taken into consideration.



The sound quality is up there among the more notable developers for this kind of genre, and with the supplied 900+ factory presets, is by far surpassing the vast majority of other sample libraries on the market.



It seems clear that the Void & Vista strategy is set on offering value for money together with goodwill and the intent of providing future product updates.



Strands from Void & Vista can be purchased at the price of £129.00 directly from their website.



Strands Product Page:



Strands – Trailer:



Strands Product Walkthrough:



Strands – User Manual:



c) Chris Ankin



31st March 2023







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 Buckinghamshire, England, Chris Ankin has worked as a freelance review writer and contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.



He has also successfully worked extensively in and around music, recording, film Soundtrack scoring, Game & media composition, the creative arts, Charitable trusts,publishing, music streaming and property investments since 1982 whilst continuously and deliberately managing to evade any mainstream recognition under his own name by the use of various pseudonyms.



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