For those of you who have read my posts before, I am a post production dubbing mixer (spelt “re-recording mixer” in the US!) and a such, often have a section in a documentary or a drama where more tension or feel is needed for the scene. If this section has not been scored by the composer, the first quick response is often to borrow a bit of music from elsewhere in the programme and attempt a cheeky edit or two. But what if there is nothing suitable? How many times have we all been caught thinking I would love a bit of suspenseful underscore or drone here?
Whilst looking for a solution for this problem I came across Sample Logic and their unusual mission statement…
to design cutting edge tools for composers, producers, sound designers, musicians and performers of all musical styles and genres and to develop new concepts for sample libraries that focus on blurring the line between music and sound design.
As both a post mixer and a hobbyist guitarist, I can’t speak MIDI very well (I can barely even order a beer in it) and panic if a chord on on the keyboard needs more than four notes (root, third, fifth and “the other one”), so I have always traditionally hit fast forward when people spoke of samplers and other such dirty words. This “blurring the lines” really caught my eye and Joe Trupiano at Sample Logic took great pity on my sad & sampleless life and sent me some of his wizardly sampling cook ups to taste….
So what on earth is Cinematic Keys and the Sample Logic product line all about?
The idea behind this (for the sampling nubes out there like me) is that Sample Logic have spent a considerable amount of time recording and creating instruments & multis (a collection of instruments) in this particular case derived from a range of keyboard instruments to give music/sound design patches ready to go with a cinematic feel. They have bashed, plucked, sledgehammered, scythed, e-bowed and destroyed instruments ranging from an upright piano & harspsichord etc down to a lowly toy pianos. They have let their imaginations run riot.
All these incredible sounds are then layered up for you ready to use them in Native Instruments’ free Konakt 5 player. All the hard work of arpeggiating, triggering with 64 effects, step animation and fx animation - and all sorts of wizardry that is way beyond my simplistic understanding is neatly packed up in a easy to use new interface. So when you buy Cinematic Keys, you are buying a plethora of fabulously different and creative samples (8Gb), and a load of interesting patches and ways for either a novice like me to use (yes -really!) or an expert programmer to dive into and tweak to their hearts content. You really can be a one finger merchant (and impress your clients with your prowess) or a “lost in the sampler for weeks” junkie - its all up to you!
Cinematic keys Installation
Sample Logic send you an email with a link to the Continuata powered installer app. Once you have installed the installer app, enter your software key into the app and it will begin to download the 8GB library in manageable chunks. The downloading is managed and once downloaded, it auto installs the software and media into a folder of your choice. Easy peasy.
The next job is to pop to Native Instruments website and set up an account. Once you have an email verified account you can download their Komplete players bundle - which includes the all important Kontakt 5.3.1 Player. Once you have installed Kontakt, run NI’s Service Centre which installs any required updates etc. Next open Pro Tools and create an instrument track and instantiate the Kontakt plug-in itself. The next job is point the Kontakt library at your Cinematic Keys folder and Kontakt will add it to your library. then enter your registration code again to release the samples from demo mode. Job done! Even I could manage this with little trouble!
Cinematic Keys Sample Library
The Cinematic Keys library is divided into the two main categories, Instruments and Multis:
- Atmospheres - Continuously sustained soundscapes that are static or full of organic motion.
- Ambience - Continuously sustained soundscapes that are static or full of organic motion
- Stingers - Strategic transient hits for emphasizing events
- Arpeggiated – Customizable tempo-synced arpeggiator driven melodic loops.
- Harpsichord – Traditional and morphed variants on Harpsichord sounds
- Organs – Morphed variants on organ sounds
- Pianos Acoustic – Traditional variants on piano sounds, including unconventional articulation
- Pianos Effectual – Morphed variants on piano sounds
- Synths – Morphed variants on synthesizer sounds
- Toys – Traditional and morphed variants on toy piano and xylophone sounds
- Wurlitzer – Traditional and morphed variants on Wurlitzer electric piano sounds
- Percussives – Strategic rhythmic gestures for blending and bridging events and musical ideas
- Hit Ensembles – Multi-voice percussive hits
- Impacts – One-shot percussive hits
- Kits – Drum set-like instruments
- Loops – Sub-categorized percussive sequences
- Sequenced - Arpeggiated percussive hit patterns
- Transitions – Strategic rhythmic gestures for blending and bridging events and musical ideas
MULTIS – Powerful templates combining various CINEMATIC KEYS instruments into all-in-one presets.
- Construction Beds – Various instruments types mapped out across the keymap in zones.
- Instrument Stacks – Several instruments stacked on top of one another, sharing the same key range.
- One Note Glory – Several instruments stacked on top of one another, sharing the same keymap range, to be performed by playing one note.
Cinematic Keys Interface
The Interface within Kontakt has been enhanced by the Sample Logic guys and is bright and colour coded with easy to see gentle pastel tones. There are a plethora of editing pages for the expert where you can easily get lost for a weekend. But don’t panic as the heavy lifting has all been done for you. Its my favourite sort of software, simple to use, but capable of deep editing for the expert.
Cinematic Keys FX Animator
Sample Logic are proud of their new FX animator. This allows the presets to have dramatic movement and modulation that separate them from the vanilla sample mob. There really is some clever wizardry under the hood here. there are over 150 different presets to choose from with features including Step Animation, FX Animator, Triggers (with 48 effects chains), LFO sections for wobble, Wave (for additional synthesis), and Multi Script Macros for real time parameter control. Getting the picture?
Cinematic Keys In Use - The Conclusion
This has to be one of the ultimate engines for creative sound and music, it’s the most fun I have had with one finger (in a sound studio) and it bought huge grins to my face. Happy ears indeed. Sample Logic this is a winner and you deserve to do very well with this indeed. It is for all, from “Muppet MIDI Mixer” to “Composing Maestro Superheroes”.
Its not for sound designers, its not for musicians , its not for idiots, its not for nerds - its for ALL of these at the same time. An encompassing product indeed. Bravo!
I hope to have a quick video show and tell to wet your appetite shortly - your wallet has been warned!
Also standby for some more sample mayhem from the Sample Logic boys to arrive at the Pro-Tools-Expert sound labs for another audio cook up shortly….
Sample Logic have just announced it’s available 8th of September. If you pre-order the price is discounted from $349 to $275.