Review: Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion by In Session Audio

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After you get over the learning curve, Fluid Strikes provides a broad selection of tuned percussion timbres with a multitude of tweakable parameters. There isn’t anything that I can think of that missing here except maybe the ability to make my morning coffee!

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Jump to the Videos of Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion

Jump to the Videos of Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion

Review: Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion by In Session Audio

In Session Audio really ups the ante in the sound design world with Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion

Continuing to build on the splash that InSession Audio made with Fluid Harmonics and its new Triple Play engine, Fluid Strike: Tuned Percussion takes that concept to even greater heights with a new design and a venerable collection of tuned percussion instruments from around the globe with sculpting capabilities galore!

Fluid Strike is available for $249.00 from In Session Audio

Thoughts

Every once in a while I find a new library that I spend so much time playing with, it is hard to focus and get back to writing my review. Fluid Strike is definitely in that category. Despite the fact that I have an immense love of ethnic drums (and there are some great Tongue Drums in here), Xylophones, Mbiris, Kalimbas and Music Boxes can be a bit bland on their own – until you experience what InSession Audio has done with the combination of instruments in Fluid Strike.

All of the instruments have been sampled individually and can be manipulated using the plethora of sculpting tools, but for me, the real magic lies in the tonal combinations found in the Triple Play Arps and the beauty of the Pads and Ambient patches. I dare say that through the unique approach to the playing techniques used in sampling these instruments, Fluid Strike contains some very unique sonic potential that I have yet to hear in another library. Some of these sound combinations remind me of the individuality that drew me to the sound of artists like David Van Tieghem or Gavin Harrison whose records I listen to repeatedly.

the magic lies in the tonal combinations found in the Arps & the beauty of the Pads & Ambient patches.

While the samples themselves are recorded dry, the combinations of instruments within the Triple Play Arp patches implement a really nice blend of effects to create some surprising sound combinations using diverse blends of instrumentation to achieve tonal balance.
The Pads and Ambient patches combine tuned percussion with synthesis elements to create some beautiful and moving sounds. I love a couple of these so much, they have already found their way into a new recording. I never expected to get my inner Vangelis on with a percussion library!

Let’s take a look at the interface.


For my liking the interface is crisper and is more straight-forward than the Fluid Harmonics interface, so it’s a big step forward. That is not to say that there is not a bit of a learning curve. There is a lot going on here in some of the patches and the sound design possibilities are pretty significant.
I don’t want to go into all of the technical details for everything in the interface, as there is a significant set of functionality. There is ample documentation provided by In Session Audio. I want to talk specifically about what I find to be unique.
In all of the Triple Play patches there are three layers, each containing a unique instrument along with access to a fairly sophisticated set of for the Layer, Pitch, Filter and Amplifier functions along with global Master FX, Send FX and Performance tabs. This may seem a bit much to take in at first, but with a little bit of tweaking, you are able to get a pretty clear idea of how the workflow is laid out.

Some of the standouts for me were the ability to Humanize and Quantize the rhythms within the library and quickly apply individual control over which sequencers are operating by Layer.

If you would like to develop your own patch, you can start with the INIT patch or just click the instrument loaded on each Layer and change it to something else. This also applies to the reverb loaded. You have 71 IRs to choose from so there is something for everyone. I typically like to use premium plugins and mix in the room but I like the combinations of some of these composite sound/effects. I have recorded them and was still able to apply my typical mix bus without sacrificing the original sounds I get from Fluid Strike. This is to me a big plus that I can utilize the library as built without turning off effects chains as they really add to the beauty of the sounds.
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The Triple Play interface has the new cleaner interface in Fluid strike. As I highlighted in the Facts section, you can control 15 different parameters across the three layers and then adding in the effects we will get into below push that to 31.
One of the things I like to see in libraries like this is the randomization option. Fluid Strike does not disappoint. Each Layer has an icon in the upper right to “roll the dice” and randomize the layer. I also like that all of the controls have the hover over tool tips turned on by default so that if you are unsure what a control does, simply hover the mouse over it and the function is shown at the bottom with an explanation.

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For each of the functions per layer in the Triple Play, you can draw your own with the mouse, select a predefined shape as a starting point and also apply Randomize, Reverse and Invert. You can also change the direction of the sequence, gate, swing, mode, rate and steps.

There isn’t anything that I can think of that missing here except maybe the ability to make my morning coffee!

Experimentation here will be your best friend. You can achieve really great sounds in any of the 7 patch categories using the functionality of Fluid Strike.

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There is a great deal of depth to the interface so I will just do a quick walk through of the individual effect tabs. Master FX contains the EQ, Filter, Dynamics and Sends sections seen above and below.

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Sends contains another set of Reverb, Delay and Filter controls.

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The Global Performance tab contains control for Pitch, Scale, Humanization and Unison optimization. Again, In Session Audio provides a great deal of documentation on the library, but I thought that the additions and customization capability here warranted a little bit deeper dive into the construction and flow of the interface.
I found Fluid Strike to be a refreshing new entry to the sound design world. I was a big fan of its predecessor Fluid Harmonics but this one is a game change for me. As a composer, you probably want to add percussion elements to your score, song, bed, etc. fairly quickly – AND want melodic options. I really like the broad selection of instruments sampled and the surprising results they produce in combination. I don’t think you will find anything like this on the market today as a complete collection with the functionality, especially at this price point. I really think that Fluid Strike is a game changer and hope that In Session Audio will continue to follow it up with new offerings using the same engine. As with any review, I would recommend that you check out the videos and demos below to assist you in making your own decision.

 

Facts

Fluid Strike weighs in at just under 3 GB and requires the full version of Kontakt version 5.5.2 or higher. There is a complete list of all of the instruments sampled on the InSession Audio website but the short version is that Fluid Strike contains 30 different tuned percussion instruments that were sampled using Neumann microphones and employs a variety of striking methods including sticks, mallets, fingers and bows. In addition to the tuned percussion instruments, Fluid Strike includes 120 different Synth sounds for a total of 63 sample sets.
Most instruments feature multiple velocity layers and triple round robins to provide extremely natural sound variations. Each instrument has also been sample stretched across the entire keyboard.

Fluid Strike includes 200 individual patches broken down into 7 categories: Triple Play Arps-Natural, Triple Play-Hybrids, Rhythmic Pulses (Mod Wheel), Solo, Pads, Ambient and Sequences. There are also 83 custom IRs and 64 custom FX presets.
The Triple Play rhythm grid is a highlight of the library and allows for control of up to 15 parameters at a time: Arp, Pitch, Filter Cutoff, Volume and Pan across each of the 3 grids. If you want to push sound mashing to the limit, you can control up to 31 effects at a time with inclusion of the filters and send effects.
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Fluid Strike is available for $249.00 from InSession Audio

 

Demos of Fluid Strike

Videos of Official Videos Of Fluid Strike