Review: EverWave by 8Dio
One of a kind instrument
Very long, organic samples
Great natural room ambience
Good range of articulations and mics
Works well to create soundscapes and drones
Inspiring SFX for horror
Blends well with both synths and strings
A niche product with limited flexibility in timbre
Some of the sounds are borderline painful!
More of the articulation sets could have been combined in the same patch
Duplication of the Bowed articulation and missing the Harmonic articulation
Large library size and RAM footprint
Just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, 8Dio release a deep sampling of a unique and unusual stringed instrument. EverWave gives us a fresh take on long natural drones with a host of intriguing articulations and a bounty of scary atonal SFX to boot.
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Review: EverWave by 8Dio
It is rare these days for entirely brand new types of instruments to be invented, but as part of their new Custom Instrument Series 8Dio have been commissioning their secret Greek luthier to create one of a kind creations. Once completed, 8Dio put them through their typically deep sampling process and, as if by magic, a unique and rare instrument is digitised and available to anyone in the world. EverWave is the latest such project and features an instrument we know very little about, as there is not a single photo of it. What we do know is that it is constructed of wood and metal, is heavy (100 lbs), has many strings, and is a real bugger to tune (so much so, it eventually died in the process!). Well, it certainly sounds interesting, so let’s take a closer look.
EverWave sells for $248 from 8Dio
The sampling is very comprehensive and consists of four core articulation categories that are available in three mic configuration options. The Browser page is what you will find yourself using most often and gives access to the various articulations for each category, of which Sustains is arguably the main one, shown below.
There are options for reverse and to stack articulations, creating hybrid blends, alongside a small set of essential sound sculpting knobs. The Chaos button will randomise these, which is handy when you need a shot of fresh inspiration. The blue coloured keys are the actual sampled notes, but they extend very well up and down and this is denoted by the green keys.
These sustain articulations give a good indication of the general sonic imprint of this library: stringy, resonant, sometimes erratic, harmonically complex and with a sharp mid-range bite. There are no actual round robins, but the randomising sample start knob emulates this well. The focus is firmly on very long, evolving notes, often well over a minute in length; there’s little danger of sounding repetitive, though they do have loop points so you can drone on everlasting as the whim takes you! It does make them RAM heavy, so the ability to purge unused articulations is most welcome.
The Finger Centre and Finger Wide are my favourite sounds; they have a slight tanpura-like quality, yet more rattly, more metallic, and with more ringing high overtones. The modwheel moves the sound smoothly from something quieter and steady to louder and sporadically fidgeting. The Bow sustains are decidedly more caustic, veering towards fingers down the chalkboard! Somewhat baffling are the Harmonics samples which on all mic options appear to be identical to the Bow. The Ebow samples are calmer, but they have a pure tone quality that will need clever mixing to not resonate in a mix too much. For all of the patches bar the fingers varieties the modwheel functions merely as an expression control, though that’s plenty enough to create nice undulations of sound as the samples are constantly changing regardless.
Additional articulations appear in separate nki patches. Below are the Special Arts.
They give a unique randomly pulsing sound with a strong feeling of motion, apart from the Rolling Drum Sticks which results in interesting pitch dives and sweeps. Ideally, I would have liked to have these within the sustain nki as they would layer well.
The SFX patch comes with four banks of atonal noises, with each key playing back a different sample.
We are in nasty noises territory here, but there is much to keep a composer for horror busy and plenty of unusual source material for sound design.
The final set of sounds is a varied collection called Other Oddities which shows what a strange recording session it must have been!
They are best described as weirder versions of the sustains and again it is a shame they were not just collated into that nki for ease of layering. The sounds are, shall we say, not pretty and it’s hard to say where they would be an obvious fit in more traditional musical compositions. I can see them working more for soundscapes and transitions, or perhaps layered under a synth drone for an organic feel.
Back to the main GUI and the Mixer button brings up three faders that correspond to whichever of the three mic position folders you are currently in.
The Clean Mix is balanced and raw, whereas the Processed Mix gives a hyped, more direct sound that to some degree takes off the harshness of the strong mids. The LFE delivers an astoundingly low rumble that you feel as much as you hear. The stereo and mono options give a lot more control over the specific blend of mics, as you can see from their faders below.
The stereo microphones reveal a really enveloping natural room sound that can be subtly moulded to your precise taste. It is a cinematic recording without ever becoming too epic. The mono mics are a little drier and lo-fi, with the shotgun mic (positioned within the instrument body) adding a haunting quality. The mono mics are my current favourites, as I like how they bring out the character of the instrument whilst retaining a good bit of the room sound.
The rest of the interface is standardised whichever mic set up or articulation set you have loaded. First, we have the Sequencer page.
This is an easy to use and standard sequencer, but a bit odd to include in a library so focused on long notes. However, it does work ok to create pulsing movement.
The Effects page is the familiar 8Dio four slot set up which can be configured for all your major effect types and enables easy manipulation of two parameters via the XY grids.
The Modulation section is where you can midi map dynamics and expression and tweak the tuning. Also included is a simple eight step gate, which works nicely to add rhythmic interest to long held notes. The older Effects tab is still here giving additional sound sculpting options.
The main item of interest on offer is the convolution based Transform module. It’s a powerful tool with very interesting IR responses that can take the raw sounds to new dimensions.
EverWave is a real oddball library to be honest and I find myself torn between loving the concept and some of the sounds and then slightly scratching my head to figure out where I would actually use it; however, that is no bad thing – it signifies how different it is. Certainly for horror and chiller genres it will appeal to offer fresh juice to overused bowed and screeching metals, and for sound designers there is some excellent and unique raw material to mangle. For drone and atmosphere composition the super long samples will be appreciated and I found it was very nice under synth pads to add an evolving, organic texture. You simply do not find that many real recordings of string-based instruments at this length that don’t have an obvious loop and aren’t too static. It blends well with contemporary orchestration, due to being a real string instrument, having plenty of mic options and the decent amount of room ambience captured. I crafted a lovely texture layering it with a more experimental solo double bass, where the synced modwheel dynamics worked superbly.
The bottom line is that EverWave is a niche product. Yes, it can go from soft and ethereal to dark and sinister, but the singular upper-mid heavy metallic timbre does pervade every articulation. No doubt when you need that it will be a life saver, but it is unlikely to get regular use and for that reason the price tag and the nearly 20 GB of disk real estate it takes up needs to be taken into consideration.
Hats off to 8Dio for pushing the envelope in terms of experimental concepts for sample libraries, which alongside their excellent more traditional orchestral work, they continue to regularly do. Invariably however, that will result in making it harder to accurately assess with little to compare it to and EverWave remains, to an extent, a bit of an enigma that is hard to love or loathe. I get the gut feeling that the true strengths of this library will only be truly apparent in time through contextual use, as I continue to discover where it works best and what it excels at.
EverWave is a 19.48 GB download, requiring the full version of Kontakt. The samples are 48khz/24bit WAVs compressed to NCW format. There are 7 sustain articulations, 9 special articulations and 4 SFX patches. It features 3 mono mics, 3 stereo mics, 2 custom mixes and a subwoofer LFE channel.
EverWave sells for $248 from 8Dio
Contributor Sam Burt reviews EverWave by 8Dio
“Just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, 8Dio release a deep sampling of a unique and unusual stringed instrument. EverWave gives us a fresh take on long natural drones with a host of intriguing articulations and a bounty of scary atonal SFX to boot.”