Review: Origins Vol 3: 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika By Sonuscore

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 In this world of endless instrument combinations, Sonuscore has thrown us a lifeline. They have made a combination choice for us that we may not have thought of ourselves with the release of their new library combining a 12 string acoustic guitar and a balalaika. This interesting instrument combination, paired with their arpeggiator which features over 100 presets is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

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Review: Origins Vol 3 – 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika By Sonuscore

The wonderful thing about writing music is that you are always free to experiment with new combinations of instruments and sounds. Every instrument combination leads, interestingly enough, not to the sound of those instruments together but rather a uniquely new and blended sound. Often times however, the sheer vastness of possibilities can be overwhelming. In this world of endless combinations, Sonuscore has thrown us a line. They have made a combination choice for us that we may not have thought of ourselves with the release of their new library combining a 12 string acoustic guitar and a balalaika. This interesting instrument combination, paired with their arpeggiator which features over 100 presets is sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Origins Vol 3 sells for €69 from Sonuscore

Thoughts

Because guitar is my principal instrument, I’m always weary and perhaps overly critical of the realism of plucked string libraries. Often in trying to capture the nuances of a guitar performance, sample developers can find themselves smack in the middle of the uncanny valley. All the articulations are there, and the hammer ons and pull offs and slides are all played in the correct places but still something seems off and somehow alien about the resulting performance. Sonuscore successfully avoided this uncanney valley by taking a fundamentally different conceptual approach. Instead of of making a versatile and playable instrument, they focussed on one specific function. That would be to emulate fingerpicking like patterns. In that performance style this instrument absolutely delivers.The key to this realism is in their wonderfully intuitive arpeggiator which allows the instrument to simulate the intricacies of a player fingerpicking their instrument.

The library comes as one single patch with both instruments loaded in at once. The interface is extremely clear and at a glance offers control of all the basics such as pan, level, attack, and release. Each of the instruments is able to be controlled by its own arpeggiator allowing for interesting and unique combinations of sounds. Though the arp is extremely straightforward and easy to use, Sonuscore has gone ahead and included over 100 presets to be used either as they are or as starting points for your own user created sounds. Once sounds are created, they can be easily exported and saved for quick access later on.

As well as the arpeggiator, the instrument features an FX panel offering control over compression, EQ, delay, reverb, filters, and modulation effects like chorus. Pairing these effects with extreme attack and delay settings can easily create very synthetic and ambient sounds which, due to the nature of the sound sources, are likely to sound very different from other “synths” you have at your disposal. This is put on full display with the “color” preset menu which offers 12 starting points each with a very different character and style.

The instrument really shines when it’s being played in either these ambient or fingerpicking like ways. These are truly its strengths. It is worth noting however that it doesn’t do everything well and does have its limits. Because there are no legato articulations, if you turn off the arpeggiator and try playing a melody, what you get sounds not like a guitar or a balalaika but instead more like some kind of harp. This is because the lack of legato control means that the notes ring out until they come to their natural stopping point. This can of course be helped by lowering the release time creating the impression that only one note is playing at a time. This, though improving the realism of performed melodies, doesn’t fix the situations as now notes end abruptly instead of transitioning to the next. I mention this only because it’s really the only problem I have with an otherwise wonderful library. In fact, I prefer when companies focus on one type of performance and do it very well as opposed to doing many things poorly. For under 100 dollars, and under 400 mb of hard drive space, The 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika by Sonuscore is absolutely a worthwhile purchase and is sure to find its place in the template of a wide variety of composers.

Facts

The 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika by Sonuscore is, like the name implies, a combination library containing both a 12 string guitar and a Balalaika. The intuitive interface offers independent control of both instruments along with control of a large series of FX and an arpeggiator. The arpeggiator boasts an impressive 100+ rhythmic presets. The instrument is quite small, taking less than 400 mb hard drive space. This product requires the full version of Kontakt 5+ and will not work with the free Kontakt Player.

Origins Vol 3 sells for €69 from Sonuscore

 

Demos of Origins Vol 3 – 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika

 

Videos of Origins Vol 3 – 12 String Acoustic Guitar & Balalaika