Review: Clocks by 8Dio


8Dio felt is was “high time” clocks and watches got their trademark deep sampling and they bring us every tick-tocking sound you could ever wish for in a clean and functional interface.

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Review: Clocks by 8Dio

8Dio are no strangers to following a cinematic trend, especially the innovative work of Hans Zimmer. They have released Taiko ensembles (The Thin Red Line, The Dark Knight), Shephard Tones (Dunkirk) and now Clocks (Interstellar). The deep sampling of various clock ticks makes for quite an odd library, so is it simply a nod to a recent scoring trend or does it have a wider use?

Clocks sells for $38 from 8Dio


Clocks is perhaps the smallest download of a library I have had for some time as the nature of such short samples would dictate, but it does still contain a huge range of clock types. There is everything from stopwatches to vintage timepieces and egg timers to grandfather clocks. It may seem like overkill, but in use this range is quite practical. Each set has such a narrow focus of frequency that some are much better than others when layering with bigger percussive sounds and it is a cinch to audition the different choices.

It loads with a entrance screen which you then click to get a little animation zooming into a 3D looking interface. This welcome screen is wholly redundant in my opinion, but the scripter would have been proud! The main browser reveals 8 banks of Real Clocks and 8 banks of Other Clocks. Sounds are spanned across the keyboard and each has mostly 4 variations on neighbouring keys, so if you are using just one clock sound you can play sequences that have 4 round robins and avoid the machine gun effect. Who knew that one tick could be so different to another? It works though! A stack button enables layering of these banks to play multiple clocks at once for more layered tones. There is a gate which is mostly not needed as the majority of the sounds are so short anyway, though it comes more into play if you use the reverse button. Each bank has keyswitches to pitch all samples up or down. There is also a very intuitive stretch button which automatically chromatically maps the last sample you played across 4 octaves – nice. A chaos button facilitates random stacking of the banks, though it would have been nice if this also introduced random settings from the effects page.

The regular attack, release, pitch envelope and sample offset controls are on the main page with the effects in another tab. The latter is the standard 8Dio Chaos Engine which has been described in previous 8Dio reviews in more detail. Selecting some of the nki presets gives you an idea just how much the sound can change, as they all employ the effects rack to morph the raw samples.

The sequencer is perhaps one of the most useful aspects to Clocks and gives a degree of instant gratification. You can easily sequence a single sound and I liked using the offset random button to subtly vary it. Alternatively, play more than one key for a symphony of ‘clock ostinatos’, or use stretch to pitch one sample and craft arpeggiator melodies. It is easy to use and encourages the user to be creative with it!

I can see myself using Clocks to take on the traditional role of hi-hats in hybrid/electronic type compositions. It can also serve as complex percussion loop generator and when combined with the effects you can even create interesting one shot hits to punctuate your rhythm tracks. The sounds themselves tend to sit well in a mix alongside both real and synthetic instruments.

Using these samples as they sound out the box will have a really limited appeal, as there are only so many pieces you will want to create with the obvious sound of a ticking clock. However, by employing the sequencer and various effects they make superb ‘percussive spice’ layered with your main drums. They add biting transients and high frequencies that can really cut through a dense mix. In no small part is this down to the excellent interface and how malleable 8Dio have made what are intrinsically quite simple sounds. If you put the time in (sorry!) to experiment with the sequencer, stack and pitching options this can be a most useful little percussion instrument.


Clocks is a very small library at only 125 MB and requires the full version of Kontakt. It contains 11 patches with over 780 samples in 44.1khz, 24 bit format.

Clocks sells for $38 from 8Dio

Demos of Clocks by 8Dio


Videos of Clocks by 8Dio