Review: Acoustic Revolutions 3 by Impact Soundworks

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Impact Soundworks’ Acoustic Revolutions 3 offers an extensive variety of looped rhythms for those in need of an acoustic guitar background. Superbly recorded, this library has a crystal clear acoustic sound, with a very tight timing that automatically syncs to your DAW’s tempo.

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Review: Acoustic Revolutions 3 by Impact Soundworks

Acoustic Revolutions 3 sells for $99 from Impact Soundworks

Thoughts

Acoustic Revolutions 3 is the latest addition to the Acoustic Revolutions family from Impact Soundworks. It is a rhythm acoustic guitar sample library that offers 48 different looped rhythms in different time signatures and virtually any key.

Once you download the 9GB of content you can load up the nki “Acoustic Revolutions 3” which includes everything you need to start playing. The interface might appear overwhelming at first but it is actually very cleverly set up and you will become familiar with it in 10 minutes.

At the very top you have three headings:

  • Chord
  • Time Sig
  • Pattern

Very intuitively “Chord” displays the chord you are playing, “Time Sig” displays one of the three available signatures (4/4, 3/4, 6/8) and “Pattern” will tell you which one of the 48 rhythms is being played. You also have a visual representation of the rhythm on the left side, right below the “Chord”.

At the top right corner, we find some of the tools that make this library sound incredibly authentic. You can choose between two takes for every rhythm, labeled as A and B, but, more importantly, you can select a “DBL” mode. The “DBL” stands for double tracking which enables both takes at the same time, giving you a nice, full and surrounding sound, created recording two guitars and panning them in opposite directions. Immediately to the right of the DBL button, you have a knob to balance the two takes.

You can also adjust the “Fret Noise” according to your taste: you can completely remove it or have tons of it to add realism.

Right between A/B selection and “Fret Noise” you can choose how the instrument will behave after you release the key. It can “stop immediately”, on a different part of the measure or carry on forever.

Moving on the lower half of the GUI we have two more panels, respectively named “Fret Mode” and “Rhythm Mode”. This is where the magic happens.

The “Rhythm Mode” has two modes: full or compact. The only difference between the two is the amount of slots available for the rhythms and their disposition. While both modes allow you to load and unload the patterns, with the compact mode you can make a custom selection of rhythms and group/assign them to your favourite keys.

To give you an example, Rhythm 1 in Full mode will always be your C3 on the keyboard while on the compact mode it can be reassigned to any other key.

Very handy if you need a specific selection of rhythms and would like to avoid big jumps on the keyboard to select them (while also saving RAM!).

The Fret Mode is the only panel that requires a couple of minutes to get familiar with. Luckily enough there is an explanation of every mode when you load up the instrument and the first mode you will encounter is the “intelligent” one!

Intelligent mode won’t let you choose the type of chord you play and gives at your disposal the mighty “power chord” (Root and 5th) over two octaves. The only thing I have to note is that both the two octaves will trigger a power chord, for example if you play C1 or C2 in Intelligent mode you will always get the same C5 chord (obviously the same goes for the other keys). As a guitarist and composer I would have appreciated something different here, like major chords for the 1st octave and minor chords for the second one, but I see the developer view: since a power chord is quite generic it can be a good first encounter when you load the library for the first time.

The second mode you can select is “Manual. As the name suggests you can manually select what type of chord you play and its root. The first octave of your keyboard will select the root and the second octave the chord type. The good thing is that you have all the chords at your disposal in one mode but there will inevitably be a lot of keyswitching going on! Unless you are not in a specific key signature I really suggest you dig into the last mode: AUTO CHORD MODE!

This mode will not write down an entire song for you but, unlike the Manual Mode, will automatically show you all the chords of a given key signature once you select the right one for your cue at the bottom of the panel. Let’s say you are working on a song which is entirely in C major (the most beautiful key signature of all times): all you need to do is selecting C and Major at the bottom of the GUI and the instrument will automatically lay out all the chords in the C Major scale in the first octave (in this mode the second octave of your keyboard is disabled).

For non diatonic notes it will lay out a cool alternative of the last chord you played (e.g. on C# and D# you will have sus2 and sus4, playing one of those will trigger the suspended version of the last chord you played).

Last but not least you have a second page named FX Rack. I would like to spend a couple of words regarding this. In modern libraries we often find an additional page dedicated to FX and, unless it is a sound design library, I often find myself adding external FX instead of using those. Mainly for three reasons: external FX usually sound better than Kontakt’s, they give you a more homogeneous mix since you are using similar FX on other tracks as well and, last but not less important, are easier to control from your DAW mix view. In this occasion I found myself doing the opposite. The FX chain is easy and useful and it actually has all the Fx you would put on an acoustic guitar.

In this order: Compressor – EQ – Chorus – Delay – Reverb – Limiter

You can turn on/off or randomize them and they have very few knobs that will do the job. Nothing aesthetically fancy, just straight to the point!

Facts

Acoustic Revolutions 3 from Impact Soundworks installs at 9 GB, requires the FULL version of Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 or higher.

The library contains a total of 48 looped acoustic guitar rhythms in 4/4, 3/4 and 6/4 recorded at 24bit with two takes per rhythm (ready to double track!). It features major, minor, major 6, minor 6, diminished, sus2 and 4, augmented dominant 7, power chords, minor 7 and major 7 chords. It automatically syncs with your DAW tempo but WAV files are also provided.

Acoustic Revolutions 3 sells for $99 from Impact Soundworks

 

Demos of Acoustic Revolutions 3 by Impact Soundworks

 

Videos of Acoustic Revolutions 3 by Impact Soundworks