Review: Celtic Era by Eduardo Tarilonte
Samples are dry, close, and highly detailed.
Huge variety of articulations and techniques
Midi patterns included in some instruments for inspiration.
A lot of details rely on keyswitches, making it difficult to play in live.
Big quantities of articulations and samples spread across key switches - needs a naming system or easier way to remember which key corresponds with which sample.
Celtic ERA is a powerful sonic portal to the times of classic Celtic music. Detailed and immaculate recordings and lively midi patterns make it easier than ever for composers to recreate the music of the green isle.
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Review: Celtic Era by Eduardo Tarilonte
Celtic ERA is the newest of Eduardo Tarilonte’s historically-based sample libraries. This entry focuses on classic European instruments of the Celtic people, and it does so in an impressive way. With winds, strings, keys, and percussion sampled at almost overwhelming levels of detail, this library easily provides composers with all the tools necessary to create Celtic music. Despite a few minor gripes that come with the territory of deep sampling, Celtic ERA is definitely a solid purchase for those in need of this particular niche of sound.
The general layout of the graphic interface in Celtic ERA is as above. There are details that change from patch to patch, but showing screenshots of all of those would be a nightmare, so instead we’ll just talk about what changes!
The essential control knobs are all located on edges of the central engraving. These include the usual Volume, Expression, Pan, Attack, Release, and Reverb knobs. Where the above picture says “Finger Legato” is the display of the selected articulation (or chord type if you’re on a strumming patch).
Everything that’s more specific to the selected instrument appears as a black knob on the outer ring. In the example above we see the options for the playable fiddle patch, including Vibrato, Drone toggles and volumes, and accent volumes. These vary wildly from patch to patch. For instance, in the soundscapes patches, there are volume knobs for each of the sound source layers. In the Bodhran patches there are knobs for timing, velocity, and noise volumes.
As a fun and informative bonus, the info button on the bottom left gives you a picture and snippet of information about the instrument in question.
As a fun and informative bonus, the info button on the bottom left gives you a picture and snippet of information about the instrument in question. Overall the interface is good and fairly intuitive, but with two complaints – the text is very small (and I’m not even old!), and there is no way to choose articulations other than keyswitches. Even if it is impossible to use anything other than keyswitching, a guide/legend on the interface would have been welcomed since there are so many articulations to remember.
Everything in Celtic ERA is sampled close and bone-dry, resulting in very detailed and “gritty” sounds. You can hear all of the miscellaneous sounds from the instrument, such as hand slides or key clicks. These details really bring the instruments to life, and most of the time they can be removed with a control knob if you don’t like them. One dry mic position is totally acceptable for instruments that are usually not played in a hall setting, and it keeps the size of the library very manageable. Besides, we all know that most composers will have plenty of reverb options available in plugin form.
Everything in Celtic ERA is sampled close and bone-dry, resulting in very detailed and “gritty” sounds. You can hear all of the miscellaneous sounds from the instrument, such as hand slides or key clicks.
The playable instruments such as the guitar, fiddle, and flutes were sampled with a wealth of articulations, going into as deeply detailed territory as “Crescendo short, crescendo medium, crescendo long” (except the harps for whatever reason). Some things such as accents and ornamented playing can be added in via control knobs on the interface as well. The amount of articulations can get cumbersome when trying to work with non-latching keyswitches, making certain passages only possible with midi programming rather than playing. However this is a necessary sacrifice for providing so many technique options, and it will pay off when you put a lot of care into programming your midi for a great playback.
In addition to the playable patches, Celtic ERA also includes plenty of pre-made midi patterns, strumming patterns, and pre-recorded “phrases”. The Cornyx, Carnu, and War Horn “call” patches include a huge spread of different types of sounds made on the instruments that can be mapped across the keyboard and tuned: bends, swells, falls, etc. The Bodhran patches are playable, but also include keys that trigger midi patterns/loops that are tempo synced to your DAW. These additions are really useful for getting inspiration going quickly. If you’re not sure how to approach a celtic fiddle rhythm, just load up the rhythm patches and either use the loops, or analyze them for how to approach creating your own.
I can’t really find anything to complain about sound-wise with this library. My only gripes come from organizational and interface issues, but once you’re used to the way Engine and Eduardo Tarilonte’s interfaces work, you probably won’t be disappointed by the sounds you get it all to make.
Celtic ERA features 23 instruments commonly used by the ancient Celtic culture, featuring a variety of playable articulations and pre-recorded phrases, as well as midi patterns in select instruments. The samples are 24 bit / 44.1khz and were recorded with Kahayan U47 microphones. Installed, this library takes up 18 GB of disk space.
Celtic ERA runs in Best Service’s FREE “Engine 2”