Review: Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone

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I am looking forward to the project to come along that calls for a Dulcimer because Mountain Dulcimer blew me away. For $99, it a no-brainer and a welcome addition to the sample collection of any composer.

Jump to the Demos of Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone

Review: Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone

Once only in a blue moon, do we get lucky enough to find a library that is so realistic and fun to play that it’s difficult to put down. The Mountain Dulcimer is one of those instances. Quite simply, it’s a phenomenally realistic and deep sampled Appalachian Dulcimer that will blow you away.

The Mountain Dulcimer sells for $99 from Embertone

Thoughts

My father owned a dulcimer extremely similar to the one sampled for this instrument while I was growing up. As a result, I was extremely curious and excited to dig into this library as I am well accustomed the sound of the real McCoy. It took only a few keystrokes of playing to put a huge smile on my face and ensure that my evening plans would be replaced with hours of noodling with my new toy. I was suddenly back in my childhood living room listening to my father play his dulcimer. I tend to be hard on most libraries and hypercritical of their realism and usability. Not only is this instrument fun and intuitive to play but I can say with a high degree of confidence that if it were programmed and mixed with care and placed in context in a larger track that most people would have a very hard time identifying that it’s a sample library as opposed to a real instrument.

The library opens by default in Natural Mode and for many users, this mode is all they need see.

The library opens by default in Natural Mode and for many users, this mode is all they need see. This mode allows most composers to do what they do best, sit back and play. The right-hand controls the note being played while the left-hand key switches the root note to control the drone note of the dulcimer allowing for you to “change chords”. You are able to select that a passage be performed on a specific string or, simply let the wonderfully scripted instrument intelligently decide which is best.

Modwheel allows you to change the strumming speed which allows for the addition of another layer of detail in your performance without having to really stop to input CC data. As well as this, keyswitches allow you to switch to a single note or strum a note as well as various other details. From all modes, the bottom 3 key switches toggle between the three play modes.

As much fun as I was having playing individual more sustained lines, I found myself thinking that it would be difficult to emulate more constant rhythmic strumming with this instrument. I was wrong! Just as this thought passed through my head, my eyes wandered down to the bottom of the interface where I noticed a button labeled Strummer. Pressing this brought me to a step sequencer like interface. From here, I was able to change tempo synced accents as well as control my swing amount.

I was even able to add some slight rhythmic nuance via use of their amusingly named Sobriety knob. Using these controls, a user is able to quickly and easily experiment and create and save their own strumming patterns. This alone would have satisfied me.

I opened the preset menu to find a huge collection of 64 strumming presets each one clearly made with care and descriptively named. These are good enough to stand on their own, or act a starting point for your own grooves and patterns.

This library blew me away. I am looking forward to the project to come along that calls for a Dulcimer because I now have just the tool. After all this excitement I checked the price expecting to pay a couple hundred dollars for an instrument of this quality. Instead, Embertone is offering this product for $99 making it a no-brainer and a welcome addition to the sample collection of any composer.

Facts

Taking up 3.2 GB of hard drive space, the Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone is a deep-sampled traditional strummed zither native to the Appalachian mountains. The instrument is made from over 8,900 beautifully recorded samples. Deep scripting allows for multiple methods of control including both very simple and easy to play right out of the box modes as well as modes that offer deep and detailed control over every aspect of the performance.

The Dulcimer includes and step sequencer like engine that allows for tempo-synced strumming patterns. The instrument ships with 64 authentic sounding strumming presets for this mode as well as the ability to quickly and easily create and save your own. The Library requires the full version of Kontakt 5.4.3+ and will not work with the free Kontakt Player.

The Mountain Dulcimer sells for $99 from Embertone

 

Demos of Mountain Dulcimer by Embertone