Review: Bontastic Organ by Soundiron

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Come for the cheese, stay for the sound design. Soundiron’s Bontastic Organ faithfully recreates a vintage classic with more capability than you’d expect.  While some may find the base sound cheesy, the variety of options from filters, LFOs, ARPs and effects, revitalize and unleash the instruments hidden potential.

Jump to the Demos of  Bontastic Organ by Soundiron

Jump to the Videos of  Bontastic Organ by Soundiron

 

Review: Bontastic Organ by Soundiron

Soundiron‘s goal with Bontastic Organ was to create a digital version of the classic Bontempi B4 Electronic Table Organ, while also revitalizing and unleashing its hidden potential with the help of Kontakt‘s capabilities. Whether you’re looking for the original reedy and clarinet-esque sound of the vintage B4 or a different sound source for pads, pulses, basses, and leads – there’s a little something for everyone in this package.

Bontastic Organ sells for $39.99 from Soundiron

Thoughts

If you’re a fan of that 70’s and 80’s brightly colored and vibrant aesthetic, you’ll love looking at Bontastic’s user interface. The graphics are a recreation of the front of the Bontempi B4 organ, complete with the same knobs and faders. However there is much more hidden behind the Bontastic logo!

The first panel is the primary control area that is unique to this library only. Above the keyboard we have a row of knobs for Volume, Attack, Relase, Offset, Vibrato, and Octave. The vibrato knob is great fun to add some extra cheese to wobble the sound a bit. The octave knob adds an octave above and below the note you play on the keyboard. This is a great way to beef up the sound with a thick and rich tone. Attack, Release, and Offset are your basic Envelope controls for shaping the samples.

To the right of the keyboard is a dropdown menu. On the “Chord Organ” patch, this allows you to choose between sustains, staccatos, and different types of chords. I found the sustains to be the most overall useful selection. It’s hard to play anything really musical when each key plays the same type of chord starting on a different root note. How many decent chord progressions can you get by only playing Major Sus chords? When demoing the product, I almost never touched the chord options, and the staccato can easily be emulated by simply playing short notes on the sustain patch. This dropdown selection though IS useful if you choose the “Ambience” instrument file. The interface in the Ambience NKI stays the same with the exception of this menu. Instead of sustain/staccato/chords, it gives you a large amount of presets for ambient drone sounds. This is where the library really starts to open up and give you more options.

If you click on the large logo area at the top of this panel, a new control panel is revealed. These three subsections consist of an LFO, a Filter, and an Arpeggiator. They all allow for plenty of control of the basic parameters. It’s a bit much to describe in detail, but you can easily modulate almost any aspect of the sound and create rhythmic motion with this area. There’s a lot to play with here!

The second panel is Soundiron’s standard FX rack. As always, there is a huge amount to choose from, ranging from distortion (always my favorite) to compressors to delays. Any of your “standard” effects are available to choose from here, with a total of 10 insert slots. This alone would give you an insane amount of ways to carve your own sound out of the basic organ, but pairing these FX with the controls from the first panel essentially turns this organ into a highly versatile sample-based synthesizer.

The Sound

As per usual, the sound of an instrument like this is highly subjective. It definitely sounds just like the Bontempi B4 – whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you to decide. For me personally, there usually isn’t a space for that kind of sound in my production, but if you’re a fan of that vintage reedy organ sound this is a great place to start. I would go so far as to say that the basic organ on its own is worth the $39 price tag. The added Kontakt capabilities that Soundiron included to bring this organ into the modern age is just a very thick layer of sweet icing.

Just by going through the 22 included preset patches, I would never have guessed that most of those sounds came from a vintage organ. There are ambient drones, driving pulses, and spacious leads that sound like they came straight out of a synthesizer. I would describe the value of this library as “Come for the cheesy 60’s organ sound, stay for the sound design.”

 

Facts

Bontastic Organ contains 358 Samples at 24bit/48khz within 22 preset Kontakt NKI Patches. The total installation takes up 1.2gb of disk space. The full retail version of Kontakt 5.5.2 or later is required to run this library.

Bontastic Organ sells for $39.99 from Soundiron

 

Demos of Bontastic Organ by Soundiron

Videos of Bontastic Organ by Soundiron