REVIEW: Eclipse Ambient Guitars by Big Fish Audio

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I was overjoyed to discover the Eclipse Ambient Guitar library from Big Fish Audio. The library boasts 31 carefully crafted construction kits of Ambient guitar themes. But, limiting these kits to one genre is a bit of a dis-service, as they easily drift between Cinematic, Rock, Fusion, Pop and even Modern Country as well as emotive underscores.

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REVIEW: Eclipse Ambient Guitars by Big Fish Audio

I love guitar and I own several but, finding time to play or even practice is nearly impossible. Then, try dialing in your sound! There’s amp noise, barking dogs, shorted cables, lost picks, getting in tune and the inevitable interrupting phone call at the precise moment when you press “record.” Finding quality guitar loops means I’m free from all that and I can focus on getting production work done in a frustration-free environment.

So, I was overjoyed to discover the Eclipse Ambient Guitar library from Big Fish Audio. The library boasts 31 carefully crafted construction kits of Ambient guitar themes. But, limiting these kits to one genre is a bit of a dis-service, as they easily drift between Cinematic, Rock, Fusion, Pop and even Modern Country as well as emotive underscores.

As a loop library, Eclipse Ambient Guitars is available as either a Kontakt instrument (in the KLI engine) or as the Multi Format product which downloads as Apple Loops, REX, WAV and Acid files.

Eclipse Ambient Guitars sells for $129.95 from Big Fish Audio

Thoughts

These loops sound fantastic to me. It’s a vast collection of guitar only kits, chock full of impeccable musicianship and meticulous production – and nothing repetitive or uninspired. Previewing the loops conjured many possibilities for using the kits in commercial, travel, adventure, crime and suspense, horror and many other applications and as I listened. There are droning guitars, pulsating guitars brooding and mysterious guitars, shimmering pads and pristine plucked tones. There are light melodies and saturated reverb guitars. Though everything feels at home under the “ambient” label, all but a few themes felt locked into that singular “pigeon hole” definition.
For the price, I felt like 31 themes is a steal. I have made similar investments in libraries featuring barely half that number of construction kits. I wonder if that’s how Big Fish Audio came up with the name for this series? Because it does eclipse many of the other offerings in the “Ambient” genre… 31 useable kits is nothing to sneeze at but, the real value of this kit is the ability to cull out singular guitar parts for use in other productions. There are plenty of ways to make use of these loops.

Big Fish Audio often offers its libraries in your choice of two formats. You can choose between acidized Wav files, Rex files or Apple Loop formats or purchase the entire set as Kontakt Library Instrument, both of which have their advantages.
While I tend to feel more at ease with Apple Loops and wav files, these are limited in their ability to be time-stretched and key shifted, while the KLI version allows much greater flexibility over time and key signature without the nasty artifacts that can arise from manipulating standard loops too far. The KLI version’s “sliced loop” feature allows you to create new, fully customized sounds from the existing loops.


Big Fish Audio excels at assembling and organizing loop libraries and this set includes everything a producer might want to select loops and kits efficiently. Using the example of Apple Loops in Logic Pro’s Loop Browser, you can see that each file within each individual kit is labeled first by its kit number, then instrument, tempo and finally, key signature. If using Wav files or browsing by folders in your favorite DAW, you’ll find that each folder is labeled by kit number, then key signature and finally tempo – so no matter how you view the files and folders, they should make immediate sense and enable fast selection. Each of the 31 themes or kits, includes a demo track featuring a fully mixed version of the loops for that kit. This makes it easy to preview kits for inspiration by key, tempo, feel or instrument.

Taking a look at the KLI version of Eclipse Ambient Guitars, those familiar with Kontakt instruments will feel instantly at home using the keyboard with loop mapping. Further editing and customization of FX can be accomplished by clicking the Instrument FX tab at the bottom of the instrument window.

Here, users can select different effects options, altering the sound of the loops within each kit. The Tune tab allows users to pitch shift individual loops well past normal bounds for each kit, while the drums remain unchanged. Following the arrows I so crudely inserted on the next image, and you can see where to make additional changes.

In this screenshot, you can see how to change the FX for the instruments in each kit. Experimenting is fun but can be time consuming.
Finally, by browsing the Sliced Loops folder in Kontakt, you can select individual loops that have been pre-sliced to allow you to create new sounds and playback patterns from the existing loops. While this option is not part of my usual workflow, it’s interesting to play around here and see what is possible. Here, loops can be reversed, pitched or stretched far beyond their normal capabilities.

I strongly recommend you investigate the demos and information available on Big Fish Audio’s website to see if this is a product that will meet your needs. You can find details, video demonstrations and audio samples at www.BigFishAudio.com

Facts

The entire collection is comprised of 2,270 loops or over 8 GB of content divided into 3 types of individual loops totaling 738 WAV files, 738 Apple Loops or 792 REX2 loops or as a 2 part download for the KLI version, totaling about 1.6 GB each for compressed downloading. Once expanded and installed the, 31 kit combo patches appear as 31 NKI files with a separate folder for sliced loops are broken into 707 individual NKI files. Compatible with Kontakt version 4 or 5. A full, retail version of Kontakt 4.2 (or higher) is required to utilize the KLI version. The free Kontakt player is not compatible with this version.

Eclipse Ambient Guitars sells for $129.95 from Big Fish Audio

Demos of Eclipse Ambient Guitars by Big Fish Audio


Videos of Eclipse Ambient Guitars by Big Fish Audio