Review: EVO GRID 3 Sample Library by Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Audio EVO GRID 3

EVO GRID 3 REVIEW

One of my favorite virtual instruments companies, Spitfire Audio, recently came out with an innovative, new product for their Producer Portfolio series.

EVO GRID 3 – STRINGS IN MOTION: It takes the EVO GRID concept to a new level, thanks to a series of tempo-lockable evolving string-“motions”.

EVO GRID 3 is the newest addition to the family after EVO GRID 1 and 2, which are also string based, and EVO GRID 4, which is woodwind based, and they are all extremely high-quality and useful. However “EVO GRID 3” takes it a step further.

The Story Behind…

The story behind the “EVO GRID” concept is quite hilarious: Christian Henson — Award-Winning composer and co-founder of Spitfire Audio — had to write 13 hours of music for an epic TV series, but with no budget for orchestra and only three months in which to do it. A quick string sampling session subsequently occurred, during which he fortuitously recorded a series of significantly differing long string evolutions.

Staggered by the resulting sample-based virtual instrument, where the chaotic nature of different evolutions placed over different intervals made for exciting and unexpected results, he semi-seriously stated:

I could literally hit a big C minor chord, hold my sustain pedal down, reach for my sandwich, and the thing would still be writing itself a minute later while I was wiping mayo off my beard!

The rest is history, as they say. The EVO products started taking shape, with a GUI-based grid inspired by the cult-synth EMS VSC3. Composers loved the near-infinite creative (and time-saving!) possibilities offered by these instruments.

EVO GRID 3 in particular, has been created by sampling evolving “motions” or movements and rhythms, outstandingly orchestrated by London- and Paris-based British composer and orchestrator Ben Foskett. Created for “chamber” (small-sized) string band, and beautifully recorded in the dry, yet warm-sounding environs of “Air-Edel Studio 1” the sound of this library is top class and convincing.

And that’s just part of the story…

In “EVO GRID 3” there are 37 unique evolutions across the whole range of the string band, grouped into three different categories. Its inspirational sounds are all tempo-locked to the host DAW tempo. As we are used to, from “Spitfire Audio” four individual mic sets were recorded, which then get placed on a completely customizable “EVO GRID” with randomize function. It makes for an almost infinite number of adventurous, and musically addictive, strings sounds-capes.

The Interface

Spitfire continues their line of understated, well-designed, and easy to understand interfaces. What sticks out most in this one is the so-called “grid”, that looks a little bit like a pegboard. But once you understand it, it’s pretty straightforward.

EVO GRID 3

Each row represents a key range, and each column represents one of the thirty-seven evolutions. Meaning, if you were to place all pegs in the first column, you can play the first evolution across the whole keyboard.

The pegboard itself is also color-coded in yellow for straight phrases, in blue for tense phrases, and in red for scary phrases. The whole board can also be randomized within one of those three areas, over all visible columns, or across the whole board. “EVO GRID 3″also comes with some presets for the pegboard chosen by the developers, which I found very useful to discover what’s possible, without much fiddling at the beginning.

Apart from that the interface features the small integrated mixer for the different microphone signals, that we know from all the other Spitfire products. As well as dynamics and expression control, a small envelope, and the effects section, with reverb, delay, and tape saturation.

The Sound

The sample quality is extremely high, something one easily gets used to with “Spitfire Audio”. It is very fun to use and extremely inspirational. Is almost impossible, to hold a big chord, and not see a scene unfolding in front of your inner eye. And the different sections make coloring a scene and bending emotions very easy, playful, and intuitive.

I find it invites to experimentation, and the sometimes subtle, and sometimes very noticeable differences, in the phrases, and how well they work together, show how much thought, effort, and detailed research went into this sound library.

The ability of mixing the different microphone positions creates a lot of freedom in terms of shaping the character of the phrases. It’s also extremely useful to make the sound fit in an existing arrangement. Of course, like with most Spitfire libraries, I keep one hand close to the mod-wheel to control the expression.

So far I didn’t find myself reaching for the effects, but I am sure they have their place. After all, just because there is a parameter you don’t have to tweak right away, doesn’t mean it obsolete. It just means it’s implemented so well you are happy with it, or the sound is so fitting without it, that you don’t even feel the need for that specific parameter to change. Which is exactly how I felt so far playing with this.

Conclusions

Spitfire Audio has created another product for which I find it extremely hard to find any negative points. The price is reasonable, especially considering the work in detail in this library, the quality is wonderful, the playability is great, and the interface is accessible and easy to understand.

If you are you a media composer having to produce ton of sophisticated underscore for your TV scores, a games composer, looking for ways of generating hours of iterative material, a producer looking for cool understated orchestral textures, then EVO GRID 3 can become your new best friend.

The one recommendation I would like to make, apart from “go and get it”, is, keep in mind that this library, even though it is very subtle, still has a lot of character and is not at all to be compared with a traditional string library. It’s rather an additional cherry with a very sophisticated, and cinematic, taste.

Facts

  • 3616 samples
  • 37 unique evolutions + Performance patch
  • Four individual mic signals
  • All sounds tempo-locked to host DAW tempo
  • 21 GB Harddrive Space
  • requires the full version of Kontakt
  • sells for £179.00 GBP / $269.00 USD / €251.00 EUR

If you’d like to hear what it sounds like, maybe you want to quickly jump over to their website. They have great audio demos as well as some in depth tutorials.

More Details: EVO GRID 3

[author title=”About Author” image=”https://www.producerspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Merlin-Györy-Cloudjumper.jpg”]Merlin Györy – also known as “Cloudjumper” is a Composer, Sound Designer, and public speaker working primarily in the video game and movie industry for over 6 years. He is also head of the game audio project MM4VG. Reach out to him here: www.cloudjumper.de [/author]

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