Review: Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

by

Soundiron brings up the not-oft sampled Alto Glockenspiel in a great sounding and highly useful form with the instrument extended beyond it’s natural range and also includes bonus sound-designed content to take it into a whole new direction in your compositions.

Jump to the Demos of  Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

Jump to the Videos of  Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

 

Review: Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

The 25-key Alto Glockenspiel is an instrument not often captured by sample library developers, and Soundiron has done a thorough job in creating a detailed and flexible library for this niche animal. If you have a need for a pure sounding Alto Glockenspiel, this is a great place to find just that – but you’ll also find plenty of options for sound design and synthesis with a sparkling and ethereal quality.

Alto Glockenspiel sells for $29.99 from Soundiron

 

Thoughts

Interface and Usability
Alto Glockenspiel’s interface is small and simple, but deceptively so. There is a surprising amount of flexibility and control that users could get lost in for hours while finding new ways to make music out of a recording of this simplistic bell instrument.


The main panel’s primary focus is the mixing and shaping of different mic positions, articulations (or in this case, mallet types) and sound sources. The available sound sources are listed front and center: Close Mic Alto, Far Mic Alto (In a cathedral hall), a free bonus Toy glockenspiel, and a sine wave synth that nicely blends in underneath to supplement the sound. You can turn them on or off, as well as link them together so that the envelope controls to the left affect more than one source at a time. The envelope controls consist of Attack, Release, Tighten, Swell, Filter, and Vibrato. When you’ve selected one of the mic position sound sources for the actual Alto Glock, you can use a drop-down menu on the left to pick Soft Mallets, Hard Mallets, or Choked. Between mic positions and mallet types, there’s a surprising amount of detail for the featured instrument, especially at the $29 price point.

To the right we can tweak a simple arpeggiator, choosing velocities, swing intensity, step amounts, chord handling (up, down, chord, etc), and rhythm subdivisions… so on second thought, perhaps “simple” wasn’t the right way to describe the amount of arp control packed into that small space in the corner of the interface. Arpeggiators like this are always a great way to play around and create inspiration for yourself.


Like most other Soundiron Products, Alto Glockenspiel uses an extensive effects rack as a secondary interface panel. Here we have a total of 8 FX that can be enabled, including Modulation, Dynamics, Drive, Amp, Cab, EQ, Delay, and Reverb. These effects can do just about anything with any sound. The Distortion/Drive effect is a great deal of fun and can do a lot of strange things to the high and plinky sound of a glockenspiel. Pair that with the FX Convolution reverb and you’ll be able to create a lot of combinations of odd sounds. Once the other 6 effects are added in, the combinations really start to approach limitless.

The Sound
The Alto Glockenspiel library’s sound is highly detailed and can be used in a variety of situations thanks to the mic position options. Using close microphones makes the sound very dry, which is great for adding your own reverb and blending this library into others. However the baked in hall sound from the far microphones is perfectly usable in more isolated productions that don’t require hyper-realistic staging. It’s very possible to load up the pure glockenspiel patch and noodle around for hours, but the real fun of this library comes from the included bonus sound design patches.

There are eight included bonus patches – four of them actually use their own unique sound sources that can be blended in two layers. It’s a little bit of a shame that each of the patches use their own sounds, because that makes it impossible to blend sound sources from different patches unless you do it manually by loading two instances of the library into Kontakt. But that’s an overall very minor gripe. These patches are more ambient and effectual. These base sounds are very cool for more ethereal and experimental music and they are very playable. The other 4 patches are created purely using FX and envelope controls with the basic glockenspiel sound. Essentially they are just re-saved patches after messing with the FX rack and Envelope from the main patch – these are good to reverse engineer and learn different FX techniques that were used to make unique sounds. These bonus effect-based patches are definitely what I spent the most time playing with. That’s overall a positive though, because the basic Glockenspiel alone is definitely worth $29 for the level of detail and tweakability it offers. Everything else is a bonus as far as value goes – and it’s a very fun and inspirational bonus that really takes advantage of the power of the Kontakt engine.

Facts

Alto Glockenspiel contains 1,772 samples in 10 Kontakt 5.5 .NKI patches. The 24bit / 48 kHz samples weigh in at a total of 2.45 GB installed. The full retail version of Kontakt 5.5 or higher is required to run this library.

Alto Glockenspiel sells for $29.99 from Soundiron

 

 

 

Demos of Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

Videos of Alto Glockenspiel by Soundiron

e>