Review: Ample Sound Metal Series by Ample Sound

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The Ample Sound Metal Series delivers the ultimate headbangers toolkit, all while pushing the boundaries of realism and playability in a guitar sample library.

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Review: Ample Sound Metal Series by Ample Sound

Ample Sound is one of the leading developers of guitar sample libraries and virtual instruments, and today we’re going to cover their entire Metal Series in this review, which includes three separate guitar libraries: Eclipse (6 string guitar), Hellrazer III (9 string guitar), and Ray 5 (5 string bass). They each run as stand alone VST plugins, so the interface is similar throughout, though features may differ slightly.

Ample Sound Metal Series sells for $119 each from Ample Sound

Thoughts

The Ample Sound Metal Eclipse III gives you the sound of an ESP Eclipse I six string guitar, which is a staple among metal musicians both young and old (from Metallica to Mastodon), and is probably the most versatile instrument here. The Hellrazer III captures the sound of a Schecter Hellraiser 9-string guitar, which will dive to depths that you previously thought impossible (tuned by default to #C, #F, B, E, A, D, G, B, E), which is great for the more extreme sub-genres such as metalcore and death/doom metal. Finally, the Ray 5 III brings you the sound of a Musicman Stingray 5 Classic 5-string bass.

Ray 5 III

 

The technology and features in these libraries are truly astounding, and can actually be fairly overwhelming to the new user. When you load up Eclipse, for example, you are greeted by the Main page, with a myriad of controls and buttons, with an image of the guitar. In this main mode, the individual notes are mapped across your MIDI keyboard, just like any other sample library. You can choose from multiple legato modes including the amazing poly-legato engine. By default, the instrument loads with lots of distortion dialed in, along with a mix of echo and various FX. The easiest way to get a taste for what this instrument can do is simply browse through the presets on the main page, giving you curated settings for various lead and rhythm tones. You can also simply use the instrument as DI (direct in) and use your favorite amp simulators and effects as well.

Presets

For those who want to dive in deeper, you are given an insane amount of control over how you want to actually play this virtual instrument: as DI or stereo (with options for doubling and panning), with or without a capo, you can even click on each individual tuning peg and alter the tuning of each string individually. It’s all very intuitive and seemingly tailor-made for guitarists. Playing at a low velocity triggers a palm mute, and playing at the highest velocity triggers a pinch harmonic. It’s super easy to play right off the bat, but the amount of customization and depth ensure that you can really tweak this instrument to your hearts content.

Moving on to the Riffer page, you are given a different view (titled the “string roll editor” as opposed to the “piano roll editor” in your DAW), which allows you to program in riffs and licks while showing you which string is being played, the fingering, articulation being used, and even the amount of playing noise. Every note has 8 attributes – pitch, velocity, length, off velocity, articulation, legato, vibrato and bend, which allows you to easily program in expressive and realistic solos and crushing riffs, and then drag and drop it directly into your DAW. It will take a while to get the hang of, it’s fairly complex and daunting at first, but it definitely gives you a whole new level of control. You can also import MIDI files or sequences directly into the Riffer by simply dragging and dropping!

Next is the TAB view, which acts as yet another way to write and compose guitar melodies, riffs, and chords, or even import TAB files downloaded online or created in a program like Guitar Pro. To be able to import your favorite songs not only as MIDI, but also the option of importing TAB files and export them as audio within your DAW is impressive.

Amplemetal Hellrazer

The Hellrazer and Eclipse come with 6 different amp models: Metal Double (modeled on Mesa Boogie Dual), Metal Treble (modeled on Mesa Boogie Triple), Lead 800 (modeled on Marshall JCM800), Jazz 120 (modeled on Roland JC120), 65 Twang (modeled on Fender 65 Twin Reverb) and 57 Delight (modeled on Fender 57 Deluxe). This variety not only gives you all the searing metal distortion you could dream of, but also lightly overdriven blues, classic rock twang, and anything in between, making these instruments surprisingly versatile. The Ray 5 bass comes with 5 amp models, but offers a similar amount of versatility and tone shaping capabilities.

Ample Metal Eclipse

The FX page offers EQ, Compression, reverb with tons of included impulse responses, and echo/delay. It doesn’t match the pedalboard inspired effects racks of some other guitar libraries, but it covers the basics very well.

Finally, the Eclipse III has a strummer engine, which again is very deep and complex, allowing you to program strummed chords, palm mutes, and more, with the same incredible depth as the other features of this library. You choose what chord to play, whether it’s an upstroke, downstroke, mute, etc.

All in all, these libraries are incredibly complex and feature rich, and may appear intimidating to a beginner or non-guitarist, but they’re also so easy to play, you will get incredibly realistic results no matter what. For guitarists and experienced users, you probably will not find another guitar library with as much depth and control, while still retaining the fun factor and instant playability that Ample Sound’s Metal Series delivers in spades. Now that’s ace!

Facts

Each instrument runs as a VST2, VS3, AU, AAX, or standalone plugin, 64 bit only. $119 each
Eclipse: 4.6 GB
Hellrazer: 5.8 GB
Ray 5: 4.7 GB

Ample Sound Metal Series sells for $119 each from Ample Sound

 

Demos of Ample Sound Metal Series by Ample Sound

 

Videos of Ample Sound Metal Series by Ample Sound

Contributor Brian Freeland reviews Ample Sound Metal Series by Ample Sound
“The Ample Sound Metal Series delivers the ultimate headbangers toolkit, all while pushing the boundaries of realism and playability in a guitar sample library.”