Review: Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G

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Ethera EVI 2.0 is a very powerful synth/sound design tool for Kontakt packaged alongside an excellently playable vocal engine. It is an all-in-one cinematic music toolkit that features the vocal talents of Clara Sorace. This library really takes advantage of Kontakt’s abilities both a sampler and a synth.

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Review: Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G

Ethera EVI 2.0 is an all-in-one cinematic music toolkit that features the vocal talents of Clara Sorace. This library really takes advantage of Kontakt’s abilities both a sampler and a synth. With 4 main instruments and a powerful interface, there’s a lot to dig through and discover. Thankfully the 1000+ snapshots and multi presets give us a lot of inspiring starting points. Whether you’re looking for detailed female vocals, ethereal pads and synths, or even gritty basses to fill out your cinematic music, you’ll definitely find a way to get the sound you want within EVI 2.0.

Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G sells for $94.99 from Zero-G 

Thoughts

The EVI 2.0 interface is loaded with all the features of a synthesizer. The synth patches have the most going on, so I’ll quickly go through the main points of this interface without turning this review into a technical manual. Note: the vocal patches share a lot in common with the synth patches in terms of interface, but with a few minor differences in controls more suited to sampling rather than synthesis.

The home panel is where you can pick a sound source (dropdown menu) and adjust the sound via envelopes, time stretching, formant filtering, and other basic wave shaping tools. There are 2 layers for every sound by default – layer 2 changes pitch by stretching time, and layer 1 changes pitch by resampling without affecting the length of the sample. I recommend using the snapshots to go through sounds, because the drop-down menu in the middle of this panel is very long to scroll through.

The sound control panel offers glide and unison modes along with some very basic effects, including saturation and a limiter. These knobs are pretty self explanatory!

Here is where you can tweak the more synth-like features by modulating/oscillating certain parameters. Low Pass, Resonance, Lo-Fi, Vocoder, and Band Pass effects can be oscillated with various wave shapes. For whatever reason this page lacks some explanation in the manual, so some of the controls you’ll have to figure out by just playing with them.

The EVI arpeggiator is a fairly standard step sequencer with adjustable chord playback, step amount, step length/meter, and pitch control. I didn’t notice the 0’s above each step at first – dragging them up and down is how you change the pitch of each step.

8 effects – Modulator, Compressor, EQ, Drive/saturation, Reverb, Delay, Amp, and Cabinet. These effects can be toggled on and off with the yellow dot button (which is a common toggle button across the whole interface). Each one is given fairly minimum parameters to control, which I am a fan of. Less is more sometimes, and the result is a fairly small yet uncluttered rack.

Ethera EVI 2.0 focuses largely on its vocal samples as the primary component. Three of the four main instruments are Vocal related. The samples of Clara Sorace’s voice are very well done considering the price of this library and all the other content it comes with. The 2.0 version also includes over 600 MB of new samples that are unique to this latest iteration. The legato transitions and overall vocal style are definitely on the slow side, so you won’t be pulling off frontic opera solos with this library. But moody and slow singing is the strong suit of this sample set. Between the legato syllables, phrase builder, and pre-recorded phrases (which are tempo synced and marked with their key!), there’s quite a lot you can do within the “cinematic” style that EVI is marketed for.

The synth patches can load up 1 sample at a time and really mangle them. The sound sources range from sampled synths to random wood hits and metal scrapes – there’s a ton of raw material in there to play with. I am a big fan of synthesis via samples, because the combination of organic sources with synth modulation can create some really cool and modern sounds. As for the capabilities of the wavetable synth engine itself – it’s very capable! I’m not a big synth tweaker, so I personally found the whole thing a bit overwhelming at first. But thanks to the 1000+ snapshots and multi presets, I was able to get a good taste for what this library can produce. The presets are excellent, and if you’re a busy composer who maintains a high output, there’s a lot of material for inspiration and writing fuel. The multis are very well organized and were some of the most interesting presets, ranging from Vangelis style synth horns to acoustic guitar arps and even drum beats.

I did have some issues with timbral inconsistencies from note to note with some of the synth/sampler sounds, making them difficult to play convincingly. The same issue also exists within the vocal legato patches. You might have to sidestep around these issues by avoiding certain interval transitions, unfortunately. But if you’re treating the samples as only a starting point for complex sound design, this problem diminishes significantly.

Ethera EVI 2.0 overall feels like a miniaturized Omnisphere that fits into Kontakt, purely based on its blend of sampling and synthesis and large selection of presets. That’s a big compliment coming from me! If you’re looking for more sounds to keep your cinematic composition going, EVI 2.0 is an excellent place to look, both in value and content.

Facts

Ethera EVI 2.0 comes with 4 main instruments: ETHERA EVI Vocal True Legato, ETHERA EVI Vocal Phrases,ETHERA EVI Vocal Builder, and ETHERA EVI Synth. There are over 18 GB of samples, including a highly detailed vocal library, a 1928 felt piano, and hundreds of other sound sources. If that sounds like a lot, there are also over 1000 presets to get you started.

Ethera EVI 2.0 requires the full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher.

Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G sells for $94.99 from Zero-G 

 

Demos of Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G

Videos of Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G

Contributor Steven McDonald reviews Ethera EVI 2.0 by Zero-G
“Ethera EVI 2 is a very powerful synth/sound design tool for Kontakt packaged alongside an excellently playable vocal engine.”