Review: Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel

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It’s fair to say that pads and motions are available in so many different forms now, that it is a market that is quite saturated. It is also safe to say, with so many available, they are and will always be in demand. Sample Fuel has taken this idea to the next level and created Pad Motion Layers, a Halion SE instrument that uses four sample and granular layers in one. Instantly this stands out from the crowd as this combination is seldom seen in the powerful Halion SE player. With a huge amount of exploration ahead of me, it is time to jump in.

Jump to the Videos of Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel

Jump to the Demos of Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel

 

Review: Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel

Sample Fuel already has a great reputation for pad and motion libraries with examples such as Pad Motion 3.0 and Texture – Cre8. These all feature a large sample pool, a huge amount of presets and often the use of the granular engine. Pad Motion Layers is no exception with 700 presets and around 900 sample sources. For the asking price of $99, that is a huge amount of content. Yet, even with all the samples in the world, it has to sound good. The short answer, is it does not at all sound good, it sounds absolutely incredible. There is enough content here to keep you busy exploring before you decide to start combining the four sound layers yourself. This isn’t just pads and motions for kicks, these are high quality and well thought out patches that are true composing tools.

Pad Motion Layers normally sells for $99 or $50 discount for owners of Pad Motion from Sample Fuel

Thoughts

After a simple installation, I navigated my way to the Motion Pad Layers presets and started to explore. The majority of presets are synth pads yet there are also a handful of comping, piano and percussion presets. My initial thoughts were to simply open up some sounds into slot one and see what it is all about. After about fifteen minutes of liberally opening up various presets and using the modwheel, it was clear this is a collection full of character. The keywords which each sound is tagged with give you a good idea of the general wheelhouse that they belong to. With first impression being excellent, and armed with the comprehensive manual from Sample Fuel, I decided to flip to instrument view.

To my delight, Pad Motion Layers has two views, a simple one as pictured, and an advanced one. I decided to work first with the simple view and I have to admit, the GUI looks straight forward, very clear and nothing here particularly phased me. The four layers in the middle are easy to see and you can swap out any of the neatly categorised 900 sample strong sample pool using a drop-down menu. So the sound design, or fun as I call it begins here! Above this are the high and low pass filter controls, with modulation and movement controls below. There is an XY control in the middle which a great feature for crossfading the layers and layers can easily be switched between sample or granular based at the touch of a button. So far so good. After maybe thirty minutes of tweaking, I was creating my own pads with unique sounds and motion. Coupled with my XY controller, I was having a ball. At this point, I would really urge you to check out the various demos from Sample Fuel so you can really hear exactly what this instrument is capable of. For cinematic and electronic scoring, this is a valuable composing tool which I can see will have a huge amount of utility.

I decided that I wanted more so clicked on the advanced tab. Here, I was frantically consulting the Sample Fuel manual, not because I had no idea what was happening, purely because the level of control is incredible. Every conceivable parameter can be adjusted, automated and tweaked to perfection. It was at this point I lost hours upon hours just having fun with the sounds. While there can be an issue of too much choice, once I got to grips with the layout and the different controls, I could easily navigate myself to the controls and functions I wanted to change. That said, the manual that Sample Fuel has provided leaves no stone unturned.

The navigation is simple here, but the controls are advanced. Essentially, the GUI is split into the master at the top and the layer below. You can cycle through the layers by clicking in the centre of the master and then tweak each one the way you need to. The added features are too vast to list and I really like the trial and error method to sound design. To the right, there are more controls which replace the layer window. These are the FX, arpeggiator and XY controller. Simply by clicking on the synth button, you will return to the pad layer. I was mainly looking for the effects and once found, there are a total of 18 different insert FX. Again, I found these really easy to use and adjust to my taste. In fact, the same can be said for the arpeggiator and the XY functions. I’m an avid user of XY pads so I felt right at home automating the motion. This library is a sound design dream, not only for the sheer amount of options, but the brilliant sample pool.

It is here that I will draw my conclusions as it would be possible to write 10,000 words on this instrument. My experience with Pad Motion Layers is that the overall sounds are excellent. If you are looking to add sweeping pads, effective rhythms, rich timbres and the occasional bit of crazy, then this is for you. The presets included are excellent and for many it will be enough to use this as a preset machine to meet those tight composing deadlines. For sound designers, this is a playground of awesome samples, granular capabilities, more controls than you can shake a stick at and an overall extremely satisfying experience. I haven’t even started combining patches within the 16 slots that Halion allows. I’ve not scratched the surface of this instrument yet, but it’s a process that I’m very much looking forward to. Highly recommended.

Facts

Downloads at just over 3 GB

2 engines: Sample and Grain

Over 700 program presets

Uses a total of four layers

Utilizes over 900 samples

Requires HALion Sonic SE 3.2.20 FREE, HALion Sonic 3.2.20 or HALion 6.2.1 or higher. (Note: HALion Sonic SE 3 requires mac OS 10.14 or Higher/ Windows 10 or higher)

No USB-elicenser dongle required. Works with soft e-licenser or USB.

Pad Motion Layers normally sells for $99 or $50 discount for owners of Pad Motion from Sample Fuel

 

Demos of Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel

 

Videos of Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel


Contributor Pete Checkley reviews Pad Motion Layers by Sample Fuel
“It’s fair to say that pads and motions are available in so many different forms now, that it is a market that is quite saturated. It is also safe to say, with so many available, they are and will always be in demand. Sample Fuel have taken this idea to the next level and created Pad Motion Layers, a Halion SE instrument that uses four sample and granular layers in one. Instantly this stands out from the crowd as this combination is seldom seen in the powerful Halion SE player. With a huge amount of exploration ahead of me, it is time to jump in.”