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Cinematique Instruments Marble 2

Cinematique Instruments Marble 2

Cinematique Instruments’ inspirational virtual instrument receives a major reworking.

I always look forward to exploring a new Cinematique Instruments release because, more often than not, I know I’m going to get something that is just a little bit different from the mainstream virtual instrument crowd. In that respect, Marble 2 — yes, a follow‑up to the original Marble instrument reviewed in the August 2016 issue of SOS — doesn’t disappoint. It’s a very attractive combination of familiar concepts, a somewhat quirky UI, and some unusual instrument choices and combinations.

What’s New?

The underlying idea remains the same as the original. You get a carefully curated suite of 63 all‑new core sound sources (each with round‑robin and dynamic layers as required) that can be blended via the engine’s two independent sound slots. Both of these slots offer a fully featured step sequencer with options to sequence 11 different parameters, including a range of sound‑shaping/effects parameters. Compared to the original, the UI has had some restyling but there are also new features, the highlights of which are improved hands‑on mod wheel sound design (via the Shape page) and a more efficient browser based upon 23 description filters and that improves the preset selection process.

The core sounds fall into four categories: organic sounds, powerful synths, textures and percussive instruments. While 60+ instruments might not sound like a lot compared to some modern sample libraries, as ably demonstrated by the 400 supplied presets, the number of potential pairings and the sound‑design options provided mean that you can conjure a huge range of very usable sounds from Marble 2. Indeed, with the combination of excellent melodic sounds (both lead and bass), some impressive sustained/texture sounds and plenty of percussive/rhythmic options, you have all the sonic building blocks required to build a complete musical score.

Engine & Shape

The Engine page provides access to both the 16‑step sequencer and the capability to browse for individual core sounds. You can specify different step counts for each of the two sound slots and then easily build note and sound parameter sequences using a familiar step‑style grid system. Sound parameter sequences can actually be created using up to 64 steps and, via the Rep (event repetition) parameter, even with just 16 steps in the main note sequencer lane, you can generate some complex note/sound rhythms.

While the Engine page allows you to sequence changes in your sound, the Shape page allows you to map multiple parameters to the mod wheel for hands‑on control in real time. This is neatly implemented and, essentially, allows you to create custom curves for the mapping of each available parameter through the full travel on the mod wheel. Obvious candidates are volume, note length and low‑pass filter for each sound slot, but you can also control attack, sustain and drive, among some other options. The Random option is particularly interesting as this allows you to control a randomisation amount applied to volume, pan, tune or distortion for each sound source. The results can be somewhat unpredictable (I guess that’s the point!) and a little goes a long way, but it’s very cool in use.

Hats off to Cinematique Instruments for keeping things left‑of‑centre in a world that's overflowing with mainstream ‘me too!’ sample libraries


While there are plenty of sound options available here, both in terms of the underlying sounds and the UI’s options for shaping them, Marble 2 does have a particular sonic character. The blend of organic melodic, texture and percussive sounds, alongside the selection of (mostly) analogue‑style synth sounds, gives Marble a suitably quirky vibe. As such, I’m not sure it’s the kind of instrument you might pin a rom‑com or super‑hero score around. However, if your project suits a more experimental approach to its music, Marble 2 might be just the thing. Equally, if you need something a little different for your next crime‑based/tension/drama cue, this instrument has plenty to offer. The price point is perhaps a little beyond ‘causal purchase’ territory but working media composers would find plenty to enjoy here and an engine that encourages the creative process. Hats off to Cinematique Instruments for keeping things left‑of‑centre in a world that's overflowing with mainstream ‘me too!’ sample libraries; Marble 2 sounds great.


Marble 2 is typical Cinematique Instruments; quirky, creative and slightly outside the mainstream. Ideal for media composers with an experimental streak.