Review: Vertigo Cello by Cinematique Instruments

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Vertigo Cello is a new experimental string library by Cinematique Instruments. Thanks to a fully customizable interface and a “Dice” function that sets all the articulations and parameters randomly, you can create your own textures and experiment between different kind of sounds. It’s particular useful for composers who aim to write music for horror, thriller and trailer purposes.

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Review: Vertigo Cello by Cinematique Instruments

Vertigo Cello is the newest addition to the Vertigo family by Cinematique Instruments. It features an acoustic cello recorded using 15 different articulations that can be mixed together to get a lot of inspiring textures. The library comes with two patches, a main one and a fifth portamento patch with one or four cellos in up or down intervals. It’s made for the full version of Kontakt (5.6.8 or later) so it doesn’t work with the free Kontakt Player. Since it’s not NKS-Ready, nor “powered by Kontakt”, the patches can be just dragged into the player with no need to activate the library using the Native Access panel.

Vertigo Cello sells for €107.10 from Cinematique Instruments

Thoughts

When I first put my hands on the keyboard with the Vertigo Cello patch loaded inside Kontakt, I suddenly realized that this wasn’t just “another Cello library”. From the very first moments it’s clear that this library isn’t meant to emulate a real Cello but to be used more as a sound designing tool. But first things first.

The GUI is not quite intuitive at first but everything becomes clearer after watching the short walkthrough by the developer itself. No User Manual is apparently available but if you click on the small “info” button at the left low corner, the names of the controllers will appear on the interface.

The main part is split into 6 sections, from left to right Regular, Special, Motions, Leap, Resynth and Bow. The Regular section features two independent cellists playing in a normal and in a more fragile way. Each fader is dedicated to one player and a different technique.
The second category is dedicated to the “Special” articulations: the abbreviations under the faders stay for Circulating, Harmonics and Sul Ponticello. Moving on to the third group, called Motions, you’ll find a Tremolo and two random playing styles. The “Leap” section features the Spiccato articulation. You can decide the speed that the repeated Spiccato notes will play by clicking on the pop-up menu at the bottom of the fader. Normal (Off), Half, 4th and 16th speeds are available. Finally, the Resynth category includes two kind of pad sounds, and in the last section you’ll find the scratchy and creepy sound of a bow on the strings.

You can use all these faders individually or mix them together. You can adjust the volume and the pan of each one of them and, by clicking on the small rectangle at the top of every channel, you can solo them.

You can even set the interval of any channel individually, so you can create very dissonant textures, or cover a wider range by setting them one octave higher or lower, for example. To do that, click on the small number under the fader and move it up or down using the mouse. If you click on the “Inval” button just on the right side of the GUI, you can lock the Intervals avoiding any unwanted change.
In the lower zone of the GUI, you’ll find a menu including 13 presets to get started with. If you click on the Reset button, the preset’s name turns to “Custom”, meaning that you can build your own sound from scratch. The Dice button is another cool feature: it sets all the parameters randomly. I personally find it very interesting and useful because you can experiment a lot of different sounds and then start building your customized presets from that. It’s a very good starting point.

On the right of the Presets section 7 knobs control different parameters of the overall sound. The first two control the Attack and the Decay; the third controls the tone of the entire instrument: turning the knob counterclockwise will boost the low and reduce the high frequencies while turning it clockwise will do the opposite. Moving to the right you’ll find the Rotary and the Old Tape knobs, which let you play the entire sound respectively through a rotary speaker simulation and an old tape echo. Finally, we’ve got the Reverb (you can choose between 7 different types) and the Mod Wheel knobs. By turning the small rectangle on, you allow the Modulation Wheel to control the volume, which brings more emphasis to the texture. You can, for example, make the sound start from “niente” or at a very low volume and then gradually increase it as the high point approaches.

The library comes also with a Portamento patch.

The playable range is split into 3 sections, differently colored on the keyboard: in the blue range you can play each actual note individually to create your own melody, the yellow notes play 5th portamentos down, and the orange notes play 5th portamentos up. Only two knobs are available on the GUI: the left one controls the Reverb type and amount, and you can still choose between seven different reverbs, while the right knob controls the amount of low and high frequencies. By moving the Modulation Wheel up, you can morph the portamento sound through 1 or 4 voices.

The overall impression about this library is quite good. Thanks to the dedicated faders, you can choose to use it both as an acoustic cello and as a powerful sound design tool. Anyway, I don’t think the main purpose of this library is to emulate a real Cello and use it as an acoustic instrument, and also it would be a bit tedious for some people I guess: there is not a keyswitches system, articulations are limited and there are not mic positions available, so, even if you set the reverb to zero you’ll still have a minimum amount of room ambient. Indeed I think this library is a very interesting addition for scoring horror and thriller movies, as well as for some trailer purposes. Thanks to the faders and knobs system, you can create very interesting textures and moments of tension that would perfectly fit into one of these genres. From this point of view, the library it’s fully customizable and the Dice function gives you the chance to experiment even more with the sound. The Portamento patch isn’t customizable as the main one: the sound of this cello is purely acoustic but you can try to mix it with other kind of sounds to get interesting textures.

Facts

This library comes with 2 NKI instrument files
It requires the full version of Kontakt (5.6.8 or later). It doesn’t work with the free Kontakt Player
It includes 15 sound sources and 14 presets
It weighs approx. 1 GB compressed

Vertigo Cello normally sells for €107.10 from Cinematique Instruments

 

Demos of Vertigo Cello by Cinematique Instruments

Videos of Vertigo Cello by Cinematique Instruments

Contributor Giuseppe Corcella reviews Vertigo Cello by Cinematique Instruments
“Vertigo Cello is a new experimental string library by Cinematique Instruments. Thanks to a fully customizable interface and a “Dice” function that sets all the articulations and parameters randomly, you can create your own textures and experiment between different kind of sounds. It’s particular useful for composers who aim to write music for horror, thriller and trailer purposes.”