Review: Torsion by Sampletraxx

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Torsion is the latest release from Sampletraxx and it pulls no punches with a range of ready to go hi-tech sounds. It is dark and aggressive, geared firmly towards epic big screen action.

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Review: Torsion by Sampletraxx

Alessandro Romeo of Sampletraxx has been releasing effects based sample libraries for a while now and is starting to get some testimonials from top Hollywood composers, so when he brings out a new product it is worth serious consideration. Sampletraxx previous releases have been quite specific in nature (see my past reviews of Harmonics and Braams), but this one is a bit more varied in content, whilst still maintaining a trend towards trailer music or heavy hitting soundtracks.

Torsion sells for $79 from Sampletraxx

Thoughts

Torsion Interface

Torsion is a treasure trove of cinematic effects with 300 samples packed into 86 patches. Sometimes it is a single sample pitched across a range, other times you get one sample per key. All the SFX familiar to those making trailer style tracks are here – braams, downers, glitches, hard and soft hits, pass-bys, stingers, reverses, risers, textures, whooshes and arps (phew!).

Torsion is a treasure trove of cinematic effects with 300 samples packed into 86 patches.

They are powered by the extremely intuitive Forge engine by Audiority. This simple but effective GUI features independent low and hi pass filters, 2 envelopes (amp and filter), a bunch of effects, sequencer, arpeggiator and gate. A feature I have not seen on many Kontakt engines is the stack button, which layers up your voices with separate interval control – very useful for making your impact sounds go from massive to planet sized!

Torsion Sequencer

Undoubtably all the sounds are superbly produced and really hit hard. The Tech Arpeggios are ferocious, as is the Braams Glitch Distortion with loads of dirt baked into the samples. I really liked the Dark Hits and Hit Soft Accent as these are not often covered by such libraries and can be really useful in the less high octane parts of your composition where you want punctuation, but not the sledgehammer mega hit variety. It was also good to discover the Tech Stingers follow host tempo as many of them have movement as part of the sounds. The two Tonal Feedback patches are worthy of mention and can give you everything from a bleepy, trippy vibe to caustic atmospheres.

The Synth Mellow and Tech Bass Synth patches in particular are arguably a tad out of place.

However, some of these sounds I feel don’t fit as well in this library. The Synth Mellow and Tech Bass Synth patches in particular are arguably a tad out of place. We all have our fave synths we use already and the Torsion synths lack both the quality and the tweakability you can get from dedicated soft synths. Also, the Vocals patch is tiny and does seems like a rather random add-on.

The sonic signature is very much on a sci-fi tip and that does limit the use of this library quite a bit, though conversely one could argue it gives it focus. That being said, the sounds certainly lack an organic quality that might have made them more interesting. Some patches like the Braams may sound immediately impressive, yet they are also quite similar to SFX we have heard on the big screen for some time now. Although you can tweak to taste using the Forge engine, as I scrolled through the patches I kept longing to hear something just a bit more experimental.

Torsion Presets

It would also have been good to have all the pitched patches in a single NKI, using key switches lower down to trigger pitch, as it is laborious to load each one to check the sound out, especially when they are named quite poorly – “Tech Stinger 16” anyone? You need to do a fair bit of exploration to find the precise sound you want and the library would be well served with an easy way to find sounds via a searchable database.

For heavy, dirty hit effects Torsion should be on the shortlist

Personally this library will get some usage as some of the sounds are just too huge and fun to play that it would be hard to resist, however, it fails to bring something really fresh to the cinematic sound effects niche. For my own tastes I also find it a bit too processed and metallic across the tone of the whole library. There are a number of similar products out there offering, like Torsion does, the full gamut of cinematic SFX making it a tricky choice for the composer. For heavy, dirty hit effects Torsion should be on the shortlist, but it cannot compete when it comes to the more musical synth patches. There is a very good walkthrough, so I would advise listening to that as it reflects the whole library very well.

Facts

There are 300 wav samples at 96khz 24bit resolution giving a total of 1.3 GB of content. 86 Kontakt instruments are all powered via the Forge engine by Audiority. You will need the full version of Kontakt to run Torsion.

Torsion sells for $79 from Sampletraxx

 

Demos of Torsion by Sampletraxx

 

Videos of Torsion by Sampletraxx