Review: ZapZorn Master Collection by ZapZorn Composer Tools

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The ZapZorn Master Collection features a huge collection of quirky and interesting instruments made from unique and atypical sound sources. This bundle is sure to add interest and a new dimension to any score.

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Review: ZapZorn Master Collection by ZapZorn Composer Tools

Though we all have huge collections of the more typical instruments, where many of our sample collections fall short are in the small quirky and niche kinds of sounds. Here is where ZapZorn comes in! They have created a huge collection of quirky and interesting sounds derived from recordings of things like metal bowls, utensils, bottles, glasses, etc. Because of the uniqueness of the sound sources, even things like pads sound unusual and interesting.

ZapZorn Master Collection normally sells for $549 from ZapZorn Composer Tools

At the time of posting the ZapZorn Composer Tools Bundle was available for 82% OFF ($99.99) from Audio Plugin Deals

Thoughts

Solstice

The Solstice Green instrument was the first of the bundle I opened up. Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more unclear and cluttered interface. It’s hard to tell what is or isn’t a button or a knob and what anything even does. I found myself clicking around almost at random unsure what I was doing because the instrument was so unclear. Once I got over this however, the instrument actually sounds amazing. Even one key press allows for an extremely cinematic creation. Because the interface is so difficult to use, it’s nice that they include a series of curated presets which can be used as a starting point. Of the controls I could make out, there is an LFO, a Filter, Envelope controls, and a reverb. They have also included a randomize button which is a fun way to cycle through interesting and new sounds. The patches themselves are organized mainly into Tonal and Atonal sounds. The tonal seems to focus mainly on ethereal dramatic ambiences while the Atonal section features a gritty variety of drones and sounds that would make any horror composer smile.

Solstice Blue and Red contain much the same kind of content. I was greeted by the same eye sore of an interface and the patches were organized in the same way. Again many of the patches sounded awesome and feel like they would be instantly useable. I did find myself wondering why these were separate instruments. 80 dollars each seems a steep price for what essentially amounts to 1/3rd of a Kontakt synth.

Elements

Arps

After I had finished with the three Solstice instruments, I moved on to ZapZorn Elements which seems to be the meat and potatoes of the whole bundle. This instrument is the only one from the bundle which has a Kontakt library tab. Elements is a Kontakt synth which focuses on sounds derived from glass, metal, plastic, and wood and prides itself on its ability to create unique and interesting sounds. Playing around with some of the instruments reveals that this is indeed correct, the sounds are quite interesting. The interface, though quite dated looking is at least very clear. The patches are divided into several categories: Ambient, Arps, Clean, Distorted, Overtones, Pads, and Percussive. I found the Arps section particularly fun to play and potentially very useful. The instrument features an arpeggiator tab which allows users to create rhythmic patterns. Though this categorization is useful, at times some of the organization choices do feel a little random. For example many of the patches in the Overtones section would equally have been appropriately placed in the ambient section. The percussive section felt all together useless as nearly all the sounds in the instrument are percussive in nature. I assumed these sounds would be more suited for non-tonal rhythmic percussion but it was simply more of the same pitched percussion.

A common problem I found myself having with a lot of these sounds is it felt like there weren’t enough samples. I was hearing Kontakt pitch artifacts as I played through things on a keyboard as if there was only one single audio file being mapped across a whole keyboard. In many cases I felt like the sounds were fairly unusable because of the lack of round robins.

Solo

The Solo instruments I found to be a stand out in all of this. Even though they seem be marketed oddly enough as “leftover sounds” that weren’t included for whatever reason in Elements, they have been some of my favourite sounds in the bundle. I also like the a la carte pricing model where if you want to buy, for example, Glass Bowls, you can buy just that for 19 dollars. The solo instruments, like many of the sound sources in the bundle feature interesting and non-typical sound sources such as utensils, glasses, bowls, jugs, bottles, all which comes together to create an interesting and very pensive sounding set of instruments. Many if not all of these sounds would find themselves right at home in a score for a medical drama or any other kind of procedural drama.

At the time of writing this review, the entire bundle is on sale for 99 dollars. This seems a fair price for all of these sounds as a lot of them are frankly a little dated sounding and there seems to be a lot of overlap within itself. A major problem I had with this bundle in general is that this bundle, when not on sale retails for a whopping 549 dollars! I would not recommend purchasing this instrument at full price  What I would highly recommend though are the solo instruments. They each retail for around 20 dollars, making them the perfect price for an impulse buy. Though they are small and a tad limited in scope, they do their job well and would be sure to add a spice of interest to any score.

Facts

The ZapZorn Master Collection features every product that ZapZorn Composer Tools makes. This includes ZapZorn Elements, which features a Kontakt library tab, the three Solstice sound design modules, and a large collection of solo instruments including sounds like bowls, glasses, utensils, pipes, and more.

The instruments require Kontakt 5.8+ and will not work with the free Kontakt Player.

At the time of posting the ZapZorn Composer Tools Bundle was available for 82% OFF ($99.99) from Audio Plugin Deals

 

Demos of ZapZorn Master Collection by ZapZorn Composer Tools

 

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Contributor Shaun Chasin reviews ZapZorn Master Collection by ZapZorn Composer Tools
“The ZapZorn Master Collection features a huge collection of quirky and interesting instruments made from unique and atypical sound sources. This bundle is sure to add interest and a new dimension to any score.”