Review: Etherealwinds Harp II by Versilian Studios (currently 75% OFF)
Great sound and articulations for the price.
Simple, straight-forward, and lightweight harp library.
“Voice” sounds very synthy save for the pre-recorded phrases
Only one Mic position.
It goes without saying that Etherealwinds Harp II is a follow-up to the original, more simplistic Etherealwinds Harp. This time around, a full selection of articulations are available in a simple keyswitch interface, including sustained and stopped plucks, muted plucks, and a few other key techniques. For those looking for a good deal on a detailed all-around Harp library, Etherealwinds Harp II is a great lesser-known choice, and the inclusion of the bonus “voice” library is a nice incentive.
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Review: Etherealwinds Harp II by Versilian Studios
Etherealwinds Harp II is available for $59.00 at Versilian Studios.
Both Harp II and Voice share the same interface layout, but we’ll be looking at both of them to see how they adapt the style to different kinds of instruments.
To some, it could be considered a nice change of pace to have everything in one small interface panel for a Kontakt instrument. However, that also means there’s not a lot of controls available for these libraries. Most Kontakt libraries these days include FX racks, sequencers, and other bells and whistles (sometimes literally) to spruce up the final product but some would argue that most of these things can be just as easily done with VST plugins and add unnecessary clutter. However you look at it, Etherealwinds Harp II keeps things straightforward, which is likely a cost-saving measure. It could be a pro or a con, depending on your outlook.
Etherealwinds Harp II keeps things straightforward, which is likely a cost-saving measure. It could be a pro or a con, depending on your outlook.
On the left there is a small mic mixer area. This really only serves as a volume fader in this particular case though, as there is only one mic position available. Beneath the mixer are stereo imaging controls, including width and pan. The right side is occupied by a simple reverb panel, allowing adjustments for high and low pass filters, room size, reverb volume, and pre-delay. There is also an “Attack” envelope knob, which is a bit strange because there are no Decay, Sustain, and Release knobs that would traditionally hang out with Attack.
Rounding out this interface layout is the articulations lined up along the bottom. The Harp includes 3 different articulations, each with stopped variations, then a series of 3 “FX” modes with different glissandi and other extended techniques spread across the keyboard. You can click the icons or use the built-in keyswitches to change between articulations. The samples for each can be loaded or unloaded from RAM with the diamond-shaped buttons below each icon.
The bonus Voice library is laid out in the exact same format, with the only differences being the inclusion of a “Release Volume” knob on the right, and a lot more articulations. These articulations are either syllables, cycles of syllable (Ra – ka – do, for example), or notes/keys of recorded phrases. This all depends on which patch you choose.
Although Etherealwinds Harp II only offers one mic position, it is a fairly dry and flexible sound. What seems to differentiate the sound of Etherealwinds to its bigger budget competitors is that it has a very bright and clear sound. It isn’t as dark or wet as a lot of the more popular options. If you’re looking for a harp that can cut through a busier mix, or your mixing tastes simply lean more toward bright, this would be a great starting point. If not, you can always sweeten the sound with some careful EQ and reverb.
The recorded FX are also worth mentioning as a smart addition
The recorded FX are also worth mentioning as a smart addition, as it can be hard to create a convincing glissando with single-note samples. The harp is a complex instrument, and Etherealwinds does a surprisingly good job delivering a thorough exploration of the harp that presents the essentials at a reasonable price.
Etherealwinds Voice is a much more rudimentary library when compared to the Harp. Being a female tenor singer, the voice is fairly unique. There is a good variety of syllables, but the lack of legato makes it very difficult to create convincing lyrical lines. The phrases are a much better choice for that kind of writing, despite their inherent limitations. There is no tempo-locking for the phrases, so it will most likely take some work to get them to fit into a composition. It’s hard to knock the library too much for these faults, considering it’s just a bonus, but if you’re looking for a really good solo vocal library that will cover most needs, Etherealwinds Voice isn’t something that will fill that gap. If you look at it for what it is, it’s a fun little toy to keep in mind when creating moody and slow tunes.
Etherealwinds Harp II is a fully chromatically sampled 34-string lever harp. Each note is sampled with 3 velocity layers and up to 4 round robins. The bonus “Voice” library contains solo tenor vocal syllables and 240 pre-recorded phrases.