Today I will have a look at Gravity Kontakt instrument by Heavyocity. Yes, I know it’s not new. But recently I had the chance to work a lot with it on a project, and that has shown me its strengths very clearly, which I would like to share with you.
At this point in time, Heavyocity came out with 3 add-ons to “Gravity”, which are also amazing but won’t be covered in this review. I am only looking at the core package here, which is pretty much unrivaled as far as I am concerned. I can’t really think of anything that really does or provide the same things, sound, or functionality as “Gravity”, and that already says a lot.
Of course, there is also Heavyocity’s reputation, and while that might not stand for the lowest price point, it certainly stands for the absolute top of the line sound quality, and customizability, which of course comes at a price, and in this and previous cases, it is well deserved.
What’s in it?
“Gravity” weighs about 12 GB and is jam-packed with more than 1,200 instrument presets. Starting at the main “Gravity” directory in Kontakt, it all looks pretty simple, as it seems that it offers just a few basic groups of sounds. “Hits”, “Pads”, “Risers” and “Stings”, but that’s just how it seems at first.
The more you look, you’ll find it going deeper and deeper – while Hits contain just hits, you’ll realize that Pads has a few additional subgroups of sounds – Complex, Element Menu, Elements Shorts. The next one, Risers, are divided into 15 Second Risers, 30 Second Risers, and Organic Risers while Stings are divided into Elements and Menus.
And this is only the beginning, as most of these directories have subdirectories, like Aggressive, Ethereal, etc. It is unique, well-organized, and endlessly deep, and while that can be a downfall for some, it is something I find extremely valuable, as I like to keep order and structure in my patches.
Some might say it takes longer to find things this way, but I strongly disagree with that. Time has shown me that order, and know what is where saves me way more time when I am on a tight deadline. It seems that Heavyocity finds that too and I deeply appreciate them doing that sorting work for me.
Like I already mentioned earlier, Heavyocity has a certain reputation for high sound quality, so the character of the sounds was far more interesting to me.
I found that whether I was looking for aggressive, angelic, sinister, sublime, haunting, or hopeful, “Gravity” delivered in spades. The abundance of evocative, dramatic, and inspiring textures is amazing. To not stop there, a powerful step sequencer is built-in, with independent control for volume, pitch, and pan, making it possible to create rhythmic and melodic textures from the pads and other presets. All of the content has strong features and is extremely suggestive – a sound designer’s dream.
A lot of media composers will likely find the “Hits” patches to be “Gravity’s” most unrivaled element. I know of no other instrument that gives this level of control over such an integral part of sound design.
Hits are divided into the Swell, the Sub, the Impact, and the Tail, each of which is interchangeable. “Gravity” integrates into their interface what I have been doing manually for years. Within the various patches of all categories, the idea is to layer multiple sounds of differing timbres, which vary slightly depending on the type of instrument that you are using.
The sounds within the “Gravity” accurately carry descriptions like “atonal”, “hybrid organic”, “disturbing metals” and “aggressive”, which is both its strength and its “weakness”, if you want to call it that.
It helps to find the right sound, but diving deeply into sound design often unexpected things result in the best outcome, and the labels might subconsciously prevent someone new to this from going for something unconventional. But like I already said. I like their sorting and naming system and don’t think this would influence anyone more experienced too much.
Many of the hybrid sound in “Gravity’s” library combine elements from each of the different categories to a very good effect. I didn’t find all that much musical use for the Risers and Stings on their own, but then again, that is clearly stated by it being a “scoring tool”. This library leans more toward sound design than traditional composition in the sense of creating music.
That said, by tweaking the ADSR envelopes and creatively applying some of the rhythmic effects, it is totally possible to make the “non-musical” sounds into textures that work extremely well alongside more conventional instrumental parts and add character and flavor that would otherwise be missing.
Probably the biggest selling point for me on “Gravity”, is its customizability. I mentioned once or twice that they integrated things into the UI I would normally do in my DAW, and that is exactly the way to go in my opinion. Especially for something that is so strongly building towards scoring, it is essential that every sound can be adapted, shifted, mangled, and changed, and having that at your fingertips at all times makes the work just that much more comfortable.
Part of that is also letting you know what your possibilities are, and Heavyocity has done a great job in providing a way to show the rough potential of each patch. Each one contains several snapshots, that offer variations of the instruments, for the hits, there are snapshots called “Amb”, “Brutal”, “No Whoosh” for example, the pads have “Motion Swell” and “Motion Pulses” among others, so you always know what your loading and at the same time how it was archived.
Being able to change the length of any given hit or riser is such a useful feature, and to be able to match the sound to whatever happens in the picture is absolutely essential. I can’t underline this enough, the great thing here is that working with “Gravity” I feel like the developer thought of me, and my workflow and made the Tool tailored to my needs as a composer.
Looking a little deeper at the UI of “Gravity”, we find some familiar controls such as the Punish knob, which adds a compressed power and saturation, and Twist, which we know from other Heavyocity products like “Damage” or “AEON”. I can’t really say what “Twist” actually does under the hood, but it sounds like a flanger beating up a phaser – meaning it sounds really wicked. Cranking up the Twist and Punish knob on a riser will get you the “sound of impending doom” you only know from your worst nightmares.
We also find a Mix area, where we can modulate between three channels of sounds at different rates, pan the channels differently, and more. This is an amazing feature. The sound spins around the stereo field, in both volume and texture, and again they integrate something within their library which I used to handcraft for hours on end.
Other familiar, but no less useful elements on the main page are the reverb, chorus, delay and distortion, ADSR, velocity, glide, and unison controls. They can all be midi learned and mapped, and make wonderful progressive sound-shaping tool combined with midi.
On a different tab of “Gravity”, there is EQ/Filter which supplies us with a whole array of controls for each of the three channels of each patch. There is also the TFX (Trigger FX) tab, which lets you, you guessed it, set the TFX distortion, panner, delay, filter, lo-fi to be triggered, and how. The TFX section is a whole universe in itself and if you are willing to dive into it, amazing results can be reached.
Finally, there is also the Motion tab. It lends us control over any sort of movement in the patch, step sequencing, any rhythmic gating, or similar arpeggiated effects. It is one of the most impressive parts of the instrument, allowing volume, pitch, and panning to be creatively altered over time.
The linear development of sounds really is the essence of composing for the picture, which is likely why Heavyocity puts so much focus on the Motion Designer. It can easily be added and controlled freely, or it can be time-based, applied using patterns of up to 64 steps.
This is again a whole world of its own and not just a quick little feature. Deeply customizable and powerful, you’ll really want to explore this section, as it is as well crafted and influential as every other part of this library.
Okay, I have to admit it. I don’t want to sound too much like the greatest Heavyocity fanboy, which I am not, but I really had to dig to find some points I can put out as drawbacks with a clear conscience.
One letdown of the library is that there is no real expression or mod wheel action in the library. There are some MW patches, but I would usually want the mod wheel (CC01) or the expression (CC11) to control the volume of the pads especially and the other content. It is just something I and a lot of other people are used to, and I don’t know the specific reason they had to not bring that in. It is a standard to me that is missing in “Gravity”.
One other thing is that even if the Twist knob is at 0%, it still has a big effect on the sound. In my ideal world, the 0% point would be completely unprocessed from the Twist algorithms.
Heavyocity did obviously create a milestone with “Gravity”. We can tell that already by how much popularity it has gained since its release, and even though there have been some attempts at flowing Heavyocity’s receipt, no one else has managed to create such an “impact”. That alone says a lot for “Gravity” and its potential, and if that’s not enough, have a look at the uncountable number of composers using it and loving it.
I was extremely happy to find that all the buzz around it was not just hot air and positively surprised to find a library that actually manages to be mindful of the tasks I have to perform in my job. Like I said early, I felt understood by this library, and that is really what makes it special. The amazing sound, the great UI, and the extreme flexibility and customizability, of course, are all parts of creating that feeling.
It is only with some products that I find a high price point justified, but “Gravity” is one of them. The thing to keep in mind though is if you are going to use all the value this library provides. If you are mostly creating music and sound effect for film or games, this is a must-have, no exceptions. If you are more on the music production side of things, though, may it be Hip Hop, Pop, or EDM, you might want to consider this carefully.
It is true after all, you can’t escape “Gravity” but you can choose to use it to your advantage. I suggest you do exactly that and take the time to understand the ins and outs of this library. If you do that, I can hardly imagine that you are not going to love it.
- Price $ 449.00 US
- 12 GB uncompressed (9.2GB on Disk with NI lossless compression)
- Available as direct download only
- 2200+ Sound Sources
- 815+ Snapshots
- 325+ Motion Presets (NKA’s)
- 1200+ NKIs
- 780+ Pads
- 390+ Stings
- 19 Riser Menus
- 9 Hit Menus
- Two new “Designers” for Hits and Risers
- Motion page for advanced volume, pitch, and pan pattern creation
- Playable Trigger FX™ for real-time control
- Stand-alone, VST, AU, AAX
You can get Gravity directly from Plugin Boutique (link below) web-store for about $439.95. I know that is not a small price but for those who really want high-quality sounds for their compositions, Gravity is a top-class virtual instrument.
More Details / Buy: GRAVITY