Review: The Halfling by Production Voices

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Imagine a small, charming piano that dwells in a forest and has tiny vocal sprites living inside who like to tap pieces of glass all day. Strange I know, yet you have just imagined The Halfling from Production Voices. This beguiling fantasy-based hybrid instrument is not only magnificently unique and vast in scope, it possesses a bewitching sonic palette that will enchant any fantasy score.

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Review: The Halfling by Production Voices

The Halfling, though tiny by name, is a 12 GB library for Kontakt 5.7 and above. Combining instrument samples such as piano, vocal and glass with an intuitive GUI, crafting endless timbres or adjusting one of the 300+ snapshots is easy and just plain fun. After several hours getting to know The Halfling, I’ve been amazed, enchanted and often spellbound by what I have heard.

The Halfling sells for $39.00 Intro Price. $139.00 after the intro price ends. from Production Voices

Thoughts

At its very core, The Halfling is based around what Production Voices have described as an “apartment-sized piano.” While other companies tend to sample the most grandeur piano possible in the most majestic environment, The Halfling is an intimate sounding piano in a living room setting. This ensures the piano itself is full of character which has had me lost in several hours of nostalgic piano musings. The core piano itself has eight snapshots ranging from a warm upright to heavily processed dream like tones. There is even a “pop” piano setting that wouldn’t sound out of place in a singer/songwriter or even EDM setting. Now there is some versatility.

So aside from a pint-sized piano, what else is in the box? Upon accessing the snapshots, this is where the true might of The Halfling is revealed. First, three more categories are introduced to us. The first being called simply “The Halfling” which contains the pianos, voices, glass and other sampled instruments such as music boxes and a church organ. Second, we have “The Halfling Reverse” with “The Halfling Sings” making up the other two categories. The reverse samples create a whole new and often captivating range of atmospheres and effects while the vocal patches range from pad like shimmers to an army of tiny goblins living it up inside your DAW. These snapshots contain everything you need to create a spellbinding fantasy type score or embellish a more grandeur one. I say this as The Halfling does not contain orchestral instruments or percussion, nor does it claim to. Yet with a single patch such as “Heros Journey Begins”, you can set the scene of your score and provide your cue an instant atmosphere. The Halfling shines when either composing intimate romantic themes using countless music boxes, pianos and atmospheres, or when adding to bigger scores as a sound design instrument.

As mentioned previously, the GUI is intuitive and simple, yet it is also a huge amount of fun. The Settings page allows you to change the mix levels of the different sections of the piano and other instruments. Here you can change velocity curves which is really, important depending on which controller you use. You can also change different settings such as pedal noise which is a great atmospheric touch. The Master Effect page has transient designer and tape effect to further customise your sounds. The most fun page from a composing and sound design view point is the Enchantment page. Here you can morph and manipulate your sounds using all manner of envelopes, filters, delays and even a Leslie effect. This level of customization had me entranced for hours with the result being many weird and otherworldly custom presets, the like I have never heard before. In short, not only are the snapshots instantly playable and in most cases all you will ever need from the instrument, the sheer depth of customization is worth the admission price alone. To say there is value for money here is a serious understatement.

To conclude, The Halfing is a hybrid instrument that delivers exactly what it sets out to. There is a warm piano, enchanting glass and either friendly sprites or an army of tormented goblins. Included are dedicated sound design instruments, reverse instruments and pads galore. Playing through this instrument stirred up memories from thirty years ago watching fantasy epics as a child yet The Halfling is as much of a contemporary sounding composition tool as you’d expect to find today. The Halfling has found a place in my fantasy orchestral template and quite rightly so.

Facts

The Halfling is an instrument for Kontakt 5.7 and above which downloads at 12 GB. The Halfling includes over 300 snapshots covering sampled instruments such as piano, glass and voice. The Halfling is not NKS compatible.

The Halfling sells for $39.00 Intro Price. $139.00 after the intro price ends. from Production Voices

 

Demos of The Halfling by Production Voices

Videos of The Halfling by Production Voices

Contributor Pete Checkley reviews The Halfling by Production Voices
“Imagine a small, charming piano that dwells in a forest and has tiny vocal sprites living inside who like to tap pieces of glass all day. Strange I know, yet you have just imagined The Halfling from Production Voices. This beguiling fantasy-based hybrid instrument is not only magnificently unique and vast in scope, it possesses a bewitching sonic palette that will enchant any fantasy score.”