Review The Foundry from Sonicsmiths & Stand Out Features Walkthrough
With it's nearly unlimited amount of sound design possibilities and very well designed randomize engine The Foundry is an instrument that has come into it's own and pushed the boundaries of how you interact with a hybrid instrument.
Crafting a great sound is a little process - to be fair no more so than digging through hundreds of presets. I found that purely relying on random generation to find an exciting sound was . . . random.
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Full Review The Foundry from Sonicsmiths
The Foundry a Hybrid instrument from Sonicsmiths’ creates an exiting new approach to sound deisgn
Instead of having thousands of presets to dig through to find the perfect sound, The Foundrey contains Sonicsmiths AARE (Adjective Assignable Randomizer Engine) that allows design through randomization and allows creation of new patches based on your selection of adjectives.
The Foundry contains over 15 thousand samples, 19+GB of sample content and has literally a trillions combinations of sounds it can produce. Each of the 4 banks can be loaded with samples and effected with the many effects including a 3-Mode Step Sequencer, Body Designer (IR), Filters, Pitch, Amplitude, Surround Panning, Graining Synthesis, Filters, Distortion, Compressors, Delays, Panning and Rotators.
From the front page of the GUI you can see you have 4 different banks to load samples into. You can load up to 4 different “core” sounds into The Foundry. Each of these sounds has independent processing, manipulation, and can be morphed via X-Y pad designer, key range, velocity or CC. .
In the The Foundry 4 banks for samples , you have the option to start creating your sound by-
1. Loading them directly the 15,000 included samples that are categorized as Non-pitched, Pitched, Simple & Complex Beds and Pads, Textures, FX, and Rhythmics or
With 2 or more samples loaded into the banks you are then able to morph between the sample by using the X-Y Pad. The Morph Pad also offers options for recording X,Y morph movement over time (see my Review video) by allowing record, playback, and playback on trigger options as well as a sync button.
From the front of the interface you also have the ability to toggle on/off the effects for each sample bank you have loaded up.
The real power of The Foundry however comes from the AARE. You can get to the AARE by clicking the “RANDOMIZE” button on the top left below the Sonicsmiths logo.
Once on the AARE you are able to select a number of adjectives then hit the “random” button and using Sonicsmiths specially scripted algorithm the instrument is loaded up with samples, filters, effects and sequencers that fit the criteria you had chosen.
This isn’t the only place you can randomly load in the samples and parameters, anywhere you see the “die” it acts as a randomizer – on the main interface the die at the bottom right acts as a randomize as well as the dice on the main interface to the right of the effects on/off buttons corresponding to each using sample bank. When using the dice anywhere on the instrument the adjectives selected on the AARE page are used to control your random sample/effect pool.
The Foundry contains a 3-Mode Step Sequencer. Depending on which setting you use the sequencer will lend itself to Melodic, Rhythmics and FX creation allowing quickly designs of rhythmic sounds, tonal beds/textures or lead lines, arpeggios or chordal patters.
You can get really creative with all the pan, pitch, velocity setting you would expect from a sequencer, but the GLID control is an unexpected control that I am sure will help you to create very unique patterns.
The Foundry contains a Graining Synthesis engine. You can take most of the patches in the library and add granular synthesis. This effect can add stretching, panning and many other ways of manipulating the sound.
It is important to note that rhythmic patches are meant to be used with the Rhythmic Sequencer engine, and not with the grainer engine (the other reason why we disabled Grain control on Rhythmics), so if you try to grain a Rhythmic voice it won’t work.
The Foundry contains a Body Control IR that comes with over 60 different body types. From this you can manipulate each of the loaded samples by sending them through different material types, such as tubes, bricks, glass, dog bodies, and More!
Effects also include fully adjustable Filters, Distortion, Compressors, Delays, Panning Rotators, Reverb and Surround routing abilities.
The Surround controls offer all 4 banks to go out different channels as well as pan in surround.
Another cool feature is the ability to use Templates in what Sonicsmiths has called “Template Mode” these load up effects and sequencing settings to help you create drops or rises, or instantly put Foundry into other settings such as pulsing, hark attacks, etc.
With the sequencer you can set it to 3 modes: Rythmic, Melodic & FX mode. You can get really creative with all the pan, pitch, velocity setting you would expect from a sequencer, but the GLID control is an unexpected control that I am sure will help you to create very unique patterns.
With it’s nearly unlimited amount of sound design possibilities and very well crafted randomize engine The Foundry is an instrument that has come into it’s own and pushed the boundaries of how you interact with a hybrid instrument.
I have a number of instruments in my cue to review and make videos of and I normally wouldn’t go back and make another video for an instrument I had previously examined in a First Look Video (see The Foundry First Look Video) but I after using it for a couple weeks I felt it would be a dis-service to my readers/viewers if I didn’t revisit the instrument for a full review and a video to showcase some of the stand-out features that made me a big fan of The Foundry.
The more I played around with the instrument the more I learned how to envision a sound I was going for and achieve it with The Foundry.
That said I do have a couple critiques of the instrument. As I explained in my review video at 12:00, the interacting loading or selecting samples for the sample bank I am unable to click on the name of the sample on the front of the interface to jump into the samples parameters. Instead you need to go up to the tab for the bank. Even after a week of working with the instrument I still find myself clicking on the name of the sample in the front page of the GUI.
Although I do love the AARE engine and knowing that I have the ability to create completely unique sound design and eliminate digging through presets, I would have loved to have gotten a dozen or so presets from Sam Estes or Michael Hube (founders of Sonicsmiths) so that right out the gate at unboxing/ first look I could get my hands on some really cool sounding instruments.
As I explained in my review video crafting a great sound is a little process. Albeit probably less time consuming than digging through hundreds of presets I found that purely relying on random generation to find an exciting sound was . . . random.