Epic World is certainly an ambitious library of Cinematic Landscapes, and its glossy presentation is further enhanced by the wonderful box and manual artwork and attractive Best Service Engine 2-powered interface. It also covers a lot of sonic ground across its 7GB of total content, with over 350 presets and 1000 loops and phrases, encompassing drones, pads, instruments, voices, transitions and sound effects.
With preset names such as 'Sauron's Eye' and 'Cirith Ungol', no one will be in any doubt over one of the main sources of inspiration, although this magic extends to many other genres including Aboriginal, Indian, Mayan and Tibetan, to less specific locations, such as petrified forests and sounds in the fog, all the way through to dead cities, haunting horror and deep-space communications.
The bedrock of Epic World is its Ambiences, sorted into the four categories of Drones, Pads, Changelings and SFX. Drone libraries are fairly commonplace nowadays, but this collection is special. The secret of its richness is that up to eight layers are carefully blended into each one, with up to three pitched drones plus several additional layers of incidental noises. This not only makes for detailed and ever-evolving soundscapes that set the scene, but, since each layer has its own level slider, the GUI also offers plenty of scope for radical user tweaks: no 'instantly recognisable preset' worries for professionals!
The Pads extend the organic feel, covering a wide range of moods, from warm and serene to icy bleakness, and feature sounds such as flutes, harps, and voices, as well as more generic washes, while the Changelings (slow-attack transitions in 'soft', 'deep', 'jungle', 'metallic' and 'windy' flavours) add real atmosphere to the proceedings. The SFX include plenty of well-recorded nature ambiences (forests, streams, waterfalls, whistling winds, and so on), a wonderful menagerie of 'creature noises', ranging from dragons to ghouls and giant bats that have, thankfully, been done with great flair, and a few incidental sword clashes and robot noises.
The other half of the library covers Instruments & Voices, to let you add your more melodic contributions. A fine collection it is too, covering native drum loops, ethnic flute phrases, bells and chimes, plus exotica like the Egyptian Ney, Fujara (a wonderfully evocative overtone flute), Dizi, Duduk and medieval fiddles. There are fewer voices on offer than instruments, but there are plenty of gems in here too: highlights include a selection of chanting Female Nordic voices, Gregorian monks, Indian vocal phrases, ethereal Lost Voices, and even a set of 28 spoken 'Elven' phrases (these sound excellent, although I'd prefer to know what they were saying before using them in a composition).
What particularly appealed to me about Epic World was its immediacy: within a few seconds you can create credible atmospheres across a wide range of genres, from fantasy to futuristic, all with pristine audio quality, but still leave plenty of scope for stamping your own personality onto the results. Developer Eduardo Tarilonte has obviously put his heart and soul into this library, and it shows. A very worthy recipient of our highest five-star rating! Martin Walker
$344.48 including VAT.