Review: Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio

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Krotos overhauled and released a new version of Reformer Pro with excellent new enhancements and a massive collection of optimized sound effects for creating unique sound effects and Foley for nearly any application.

Jump to the Videos of Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio

Jump to the Demos of Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio

Review: Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio

You may not immediately recognize the name, but you’ve heard the work of Krotos Audio before. Maybe it was in “Game of Thrones”, “Stranger Things 2” or blockbuster movies like “Avengers – Age of Ultron” or video games like “Far Cry 4”. Krotos took the film and game sound design industries by storm with their flagship Dehumaniser product in 2015. They released Reformer and Reformer Pro soon after and followed that with Weaponiser, released earlier this year. Each of these products were developed to speed sound design tasks and extract more utility from existing sound libraries. Recently, Krotos completely overhauled and released a brand-new version of Reformer Pro with some excellent new enhancements. Reformer Pro now comes with a massive collection of optimized sound effects to help you get busy creating unique sound effects and Foley for nearly any application.

Reformer Pro sells for $399.00 from KrotosAudio

Thoughts

Your music tracks have earned strong interest with the production team at a major game house. During the conversation, they ask if you have any ideas on how to create a unique (and disgusting) feeding sound for the main character of this dark video game project. It’s a 50-foot-long centipede with powerful jaws and a voracious appetite.

“No problem,” you say. “I have just the thing for …uh… that thing.” You turn to Reformer Pro, dial up the included pre-set titled “The Never Ending Fruit Mush” and 15 minutes later, they’ve received an email containing an MP3 file with your prototype sound. It’s a constant teeth-gnashing, apple-biting, vegetable smashing noise that sounds perfect for a 50 foot long beast!

After the project team reviews the sound, they call (and extend kudos,) then ask, “How were you able to create this sound so quickly and with such great detail?” You need not disclose all the details. Instead, you simply explain that it’s the sound of four different fruit and vegetable sound effect libraries, combined with the very same music you submitted for the audition.

Let me explain:
Simply put, Reformer Pro allows you to combine up to four unique sound effect libraries with a dynamic input control from a number of sources like microphones for voice control, midi for keyboard control of transients, attack and other parameters, or directly from the user interface. The program works as a plugin in most major DAWS so you can quickly apply, control and render the effects in real time – making fast work of once tedious sound design chores. In Video Demos, you will see how easy creating this specific sound is. It may inspire you to think about how you might use this to speed Foley work, too.

Looking at the interface, shown here working as a plugin in Logic Pro, Reformer Pro’s main control screen is simple and efficient. The X/Y pad will be familiar to anyone used to working with sample libraries like “Thrill” from Native Instruments or many of Sample Logic’s products like Cinemorphx and many others. Move the yellow dot between any of the four library fields and adjust to taste.

Sounds within each individual library can be selected or excluded by muting the individual sounds within a library. Each of the four libraries can also be muted individually. This allows the user to precisely select sounds or let Reformer Pro randomize the sounds for each of the four selected libraries. Further variation to each sound can be achieved through specific controls like playback speed, transient control, voice control or dynamic input, using amplitude and frequency, bandwidth and variation.

 

Wisely, Krotos includes a tremendous bundle of clever sound effects with Reformer Pro such as Black Leopard Pro, Bengal Tiger, Sizzle, Leather Foley Pro, Electronic Pro, Gun Foley and a number of Fruit & Vegetable Foley products.

Each of these libraries are tremendous Foley products in their own right

Each of these libraries are tremendous Foley products in their own right, which will reveal themselves to be a great value over time. Take for instance the Leather Foley Pro library – which can be used to suggest a number of sonic possibilities well beyond a simple comedic movement of an aged rock star wearing leather pants. Perhaps the best feature of all is the ability to add your own libraries to Reformer Pro. The process is quick and easy but bear in mind that imported libraries cannot exceed 1 GB in size. With some careful preparation, however, this limitation can be easily overcome.

So, let’s assume you’ve built four individual libraries of sound effects to use in reformer. Next, you’ll want to import them using the Analysis Tool. You can drag and drop a folder or navigate to the folder’s location (in my case, on a separate drive,) choose the sample rate at which you plan to work, and the analysis tool does all the rest. After Analysis, you must close and reopen Reformer Pro to utilize your imported libraries. Using this process, I was able to create a metallic mechanical sound that might suggest movement from an old rusty pump or oil derrick. You’ll hear this briefly at the end of video #4.

Now that you have your sounds selected, what’s the best way to trigger them? Once again Reformer Pro gives you plenty of options, each of which can yield a different result. Starting with Voice Control, you can simply choose to trigger the sounds by speaking or making noises into a microphone. Think how you used to make explosion sounds when you were a kid. While this might seem counter-intuitive at first glance, you can be far more precise by making a noise with your mouth, than trying to find a source to mimic the attack and duration of a sound.

My video capture setup is too simplistic to demonstrate this feature properly but fortunately, there are several excellent videos and tutorials in the Official Videos below.

Conversely, you can select almost any sound as an input source – and as I mentioned in my opening example, I used a piece of music to trigger the continuous feeding sound of that (thankfully mythical) 50-foot centipede. There are no traces of the music in the file. Just a gentle rhythmic, gnawing sound that seems appropriate and disgusting all at once. Other options would be to manipulate the sound via the dynamic controls manually by adjusting the amplitude, frequency, bandwidth and variation sliders.

Only a few adjustments were required to settle on the sound used for this example. Note that in the screenshots, you can see that one of the four libraries is muted while the other 3 are not. Rendering the file in Logic Pro was fast and the file retains the project’s full sample rate and bit depth – from 44.1khz to 192khz!
An iLok account is required to utilize Reformer Pro and a free demo is available to those with an iLok account. A free version called, “Reformer” is also available from Krotos, however that version does not support dynamic input, nor will it allow you to import your own libraries.

You also may be interested to know that as of this writing, Krotos has just announced a new “Sound Design Bundle” which includes Dehumanizer Pro 2, Weaponizer Fully Loaded and Reformer Pro for just $999.00 (A savings of $398.00!) So, kids, if you’re reading this… Father’s Day is coming!

 

I strongly recommend watching the video tutorials that Krotos has assembled on their website. Be sure to check them out here.
I feel like this would be exceptionally good at creating motion sounds, impacts, and evolving sounds that include recognizable elements. I can also envision it being used for dropping in lots of complex mechanical sounds and work to picture simply by voice control. Think: repetitive robot movement or perhaps an army of men preparing weapons for battle.

Reformer Pro may not be for everyone but if you’re a producer working in sound design, Reformer Pro may be a great asset for you. I found it to be incredibly efficient in finding really useful sound combinations quickly, creating continuous sounds and extrapolating extra mileage out of my existing libraries. Honestly, I feel like I’m only scratching the surface with what Reformer Pro can do.

The is a lot of power hidden under the hood in this package.

The is a lot of power hidden under the hood in this package. Not once during my experimentations did I receive errors or suffer any processing bottle necks. The software is very efficient at doing its tasks. In turn, this allows you all the freedom to try complex sound combinations without worry of sluggish behavior.

Reformer Pro allows you to work with sound in an entirely new way. Use it to combine, manipulate, automate, trigger and perform sound through live or controlled environments, making it almost as fun to use as it is efficient as a creative tool. As always, I strongly recommend you check out all the information available at Krotos to determine if this is the right tool to meet your needs.

Facts

Reformer Pro is a single file weighing just about 110 MB for the 64bit Mac version. The Included “Krotos Bundle” sound effects library is a separate file of 3.84 GB. The 64bit Windows version is only 86 MB and of course both Mac and Windows versions are also available in 32bit, as well.

Reformer Pro sells for $399.00 from KrotosAudio

 

Several gallons of red ink were sacrificed to make this review moderately legible and mildly cogent. Please consider supporting Sample Library Review at Patreon.com to ensure that our editor can perform their duty without actually operating in the red.

 

Demos of Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio

Videos of Reformer Pro by Krotos Audio