Review: Memory Box by Sonixinema

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Equally at home as an heirloom trinket and an 80’s style post-apocalyptic portent. Sonixinema has developed what I’d describe as a versatile multi-toolkit that expands the humble origins of a music box. Forget what comes to mind when you first think of an antique Swiss music box, and think instead of the versatility of a Swiss Army Knife. Memory Box incorporates sounds of muted plucks, bowing, double stops, and mechanical noises to create a range of moods including acoustic and fragile, ethereal atmospheric and gritty synth.

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Review: Memory Box by Sonixinema

Memory Box sells for $39 from Sonixinema

Thoughts

Memory Box comes with 10 instruments and IRs. The instruments are Dry, Boyd, Box Cutter, Bowed, Acoustic Tail, Double Stop, Dry Pluck, Making 2600, Movement and Prong & Roll. The IRs are Arena A, Bright Chamber, Bright Room, Cathedral, Chainsaw, Comb A, Deep Space, Degraded, Effective, and FX Filter. These are loaded into a single page UI which also houses the controls for the following parameters: Attack, Damp, Click, Turn, Grit and Space. Attack and Damp control the envelope. Click adds a “chink” sound to the attack. Grit has to first be turned on and then can be adjusted.

One thing to note is that even though you have an IR loaded, it doesn’t take effect until you turn up the knob called Space. Some of the IRs are typical acoustic room-modeling and some aim to create interesting atmospheric textures. My favorite general choice was Bright Room, as it created a good depth for each instrument. I really liked Deep Space, Effective and FX Filter among the more sound design focused options.

Initially it is unclear is what the single green key on the keyboard is for. It turns out (pun intended) that if the knob for Turn is turned up, this key is how you add mechanical sounds.

The source instruments themselves range from gentle quintessential music box sounds (Dry) to a piano-like sound (Boyd), to something very close to bowed crotales (Bowed) to downright otherworldly with a synth edge (Making 2600). With the right adjustments to Damp, Click and Grit, Acoustic Tail and Dry Pluck can be made to sound very close to a bit crushed “chiptune”–I suddenly want to go play a side-scroller.

Memory Box also includes 30 presets, which are saved versions of the 10 source instruments with different adjustments to the parameters in the UI. These 30 presets are also combined into 20 Multis, which provide more interesting options and inspiration for how to use this instrument in a variety of contexts. The Multis in particular really explore the sound design aspect of the different recorded samples and combines them into atmospheric textures with mechanical underpinnings, making them sit really nicely alongside synth and cinematic underscores. My favorites from the list of Multis: 2045, Decrepit Distant Boyd, Forum, Master Blaster, Prongulicius, Squadron and Toy Ghost. I found the presets and multis to be very useful and inspiring. I wish the presets had been included in a drop-down inside the UI instead of just in the download folder.

I had some trouble maintaining constant levels between various patches once I started tweaking the parameters in the UI.

Overall I found this library to be full of surprises. Memory Box possesses a high level of detail and potential for expansion. I find it’s equally capable of invoking gentle reminiscence as post-apocalyptic future.

Facts

Memory Box downloads as 1.3 GB and requires the FULL VERSION of Kontakt (5.5+).

Memory Box sells for $39 from Sonixinema

 

Demos of Memory Box by Sonixinema

 

Videos of Memory Box by Sonixinema