Review: GAMELAN Virtual Instrument by Sample Logic

Sample Logic GAMELAN Review Sample Logic GAMELAN Review

So, if you are like me, you probably didn’t know, that Gamelan is not actually an instrument, but, an ensemble (thank you Wikipedia!). You may know that it’s traditional from Java and Bali and it mostly consist of mallets, xylophones and flutes (you didn’t? well, thanks again Wikipedia!).

What you didn’t probably know is that Gamelan instruments are played in sets of two which are set about a quarter tone detuned against each other, and that’s where all the magic happens… Even more magical is the fact that the guys from Sample Logic have reordered this and crafted an incredible, huge (literally, almost 15Gb of samples) GAMELAN Virtual Instrument with amazing features and presets that would probably blow your mind. Let’s check it out!

Sample Logic Gamelan Virtual Instrument

Overview

Ok, this is not just a regular Gamelan (ensemble) sampled instrument, but rather a massive sound design source. Each patch consists of four parts, each, capable of playing a different sample… well, in fact, each of the four parts can load two different samples at once and those can be morphed, and that morphing can be automated… and that’s only to start with. There’s a second mode which uses a 64 step sequencer for morphing which will sync to clock for musical values and has various presets for the sequencer.

Also, each of the four parts, has its own velocity amount, pan and volume controls. Speaking of Pan and Volume, each part has a dedicated LFO for Pan, an another dedicated LFO for Volume, plus an animator for each, so… how many modulation possibilities for each part? Well, a lot, you can definitely create some very unique and complex patches with just one part. But, hey, remember this has four parts?

Right in the middle of the four parts, there’s a Prophet VS style X/Y pad, that lets you modulate between the four parts manually, with automation, or with some great presets… so, multiply by four all the modulation possibilities you’ve got on each part and on top of that add a new X/Y modulation between the parts… Definitely lots of possibilities!

But, wait… there’s more! You can actually set zones for each part, and change retrigger time between short and long.

The X/Y modulator has some additional parameters, you can change the retrigger time, again, between long and short, have the automation as one shot, loop or back and forth, you can change the speed of the modulation between normal, x2 and x1/2 which gives a lot of options. By default, X axis is set to be controlled by MIDI CC #18 and Y axis to MIDI CC #19, but, you can customise that and use any CC #.

Effects

As if all that modulation and morphing options were not enough, there’s a pretty capable FX section consisting of a stereo widener (which can really mess with the stereo image), a low cut and a high cut -which is by default set to mod wheel- a dynamics processor with a really complete compressor and a transient designer; a three-band EQ with sweepable frequencies and Q, a distortion unit with bass and bright controls, a phaser, delay, reverb with 14 algorithms and an X/Y effects controller that can control effects for parts (all four or individual parts) and for the master.

The effects for the parts, include resonant HPF, resonant LPF, Attack & Convolve, Pan & Hi-cut, Hi-Cut & Velocity Amount for Hi-Cut, and pitch & convolve. As for the master, you can set LPF & HPF, Distortion & LPF, Distortion & HPF, Phaser Speed & Phaser Depth+Feedback, and Stereo Widener & Drive. Needless to say, this X/Y pads work exactly like the one mentioned before so, you can use it manually, record and play your own automation, or use some of the awesome presets available. Also, you can change the speed between, Normal X2 or X1/2.

Samples

With all those sound design possibilities, samples could be awful and yet, it would be a very powerful instrument, but, that’s not really the case, samples are marvellous and they are divided into categories too: Atmospheres (bizarre, Dark, Electronic, Mixed Emotions, Stingers, World Organic), Instrumentals (Organic, Synth, and Traditional), Loops -yes, there are loops, not just one shots!, how cool is that?- (Action, Electronic, Pop, World Organic) and finally Percussives (Impacts, Traditional, Transitions). So, hey, no wonder why there are almost 15Gb of samples in here!

All Samples are beautifully recorded, I’ve never had the opportunity to listen to a live Gamelan ensemble, but I don’t think it might sound way better than this.

Patches

For the last couple of days, everyone I’ve showed a couple of this patches ended up the same way: mind blowed! Trust me on this, it’s really hard to try and review and instrument like this because, every time you try a new patch or a new functionality, you spend the next half hour just jamming, and yes, it makes you loose sense of time.

Again, patches are arranged in categories: One Note Combos, Atmospheres, Instrumentals, Loops and Percussives. To my taste, Combos and Atmospheres are amazing and totally addictive.

Conclusions

This is the most amazing virtual instrument I’ve ever used. It sounds pretty real and is as versatile as you can imagine. There are patches which are really cinematic, and, probably expect to hear this instrument in lots of scores in the future, but, then, loops and some percussive instruments are totally inspiring for EDM or Techno productions, while Instrumental patches, might be very attractive to some Pop or even Folk productions, but, I think the most important thing is the flexibility and amount of power for sound design. I mean, you can design very organic stuff as well as very weird and never heard before things!

I don’t think this has any cons, just be sure to check gain structure when you start adding FX cause things can get a little messy very fast.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who’s doing scores, but also to any producer or sound designer. I definitely see myself using this instrument a lot.

GAMELAN virtual instrument is available at Sample Logic website priced at $399 and comes in VST, AU, RTAS and as a stand-alone application. Also, note that Kontakt version is compatible with both Kontakt 5 Free Player and Kontakt Retail version. More tech specs and compatibility details you’ll find on the official product page.

More Details/Buy Link: GAMELAN

[author image=”https://www.producerspot.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/piggy-sounds-logo.jpg” ]Rafael Hofstadter is a recording and mixing engineer and sound designer with 10+ years experience in playing and programming synths, recording, mixing and producing pop/rock/folk albums. He also runs piggysounds.com.[/author]

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