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Emergence Audio Viola Textures

Kontakt Instrument By Dave Gale
Published May 2024

Emergence Audio Viola Textures

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5/5 Stars

You could regard Emergence Audio’s latest Kontakt Instrument as string section closure, because Viola Textures completes a line‑up that already includes Violin, Cello and Double Bass.

If you are a bit of a string newbie, you’d be forgiven for wondering why you might want to plump for this edition, over the other variants in the Textures catalogue. The answer lies with the instrument itself. Despite often being the butt of jokes, the viola’s relative size furnishes it with the most amazing sonority. Pitched a fifth lower than a violin, and an octave above a cello, it’s lowest notes venture firmly into the bass register. This is traditionally a C, one octave below Middle C, but Emergence have seen fit to extend this to a B, a semitone lower, presumably by detuning the lowest string.

The interface adopts the same design as previous Textures instruments, with 3.6GB of sampled content when installed, all captured at 48kHz/24‑bit.

Each patch consists of two sample partials, which are selected from the left‑ and right‑hand side of the instrument, with a drop‑down list of articulations providing a selection that is far from the norm. These offer extended phrases of continuous bowing, with interjecting moments that might punctuate, by way of exaggeration in dynamic or playing. The 26 samples are labelled to offer some clues; Ricochet, for example, features the bow dropping on the string before it begins its travel. This is relatively randomised, with no tempo attached. Meanwhile the Normale articulation realises the full travel of the bow, before it reverses direction at each end.

The samples themselves are exceptionally pure and organic, and sound stunning in simple isolation, but it is the additional functionality that brings the movement to the library. Each of the two sample sections have their own set of parameters, such as ADSR for amplitude, high‑ or low‑pass filtering with resonance, panning and expression. Sitting centrally, a large virtual pot allows the blending of the two partials, while an LFO sited below can be deployed in a number of ways.

You can change the LFO’s rate and depth, synchronising to your DAW, and route it to the filter, pan and balance controls. This is where you can create real depth and movement, especially with a selection of contrasting samples panned in opposite stereo locations. As the LFO is equipped with five standard waveforms, with control of depth, the range can move from subtle to extreme, very swiftly. You can even create gating effects, using the LFO’s square wave.

Couple this very musical programmability with an extensive effects section (which includes convolution reverb, delay, and saturation) and you can create everything from scratchy strings to luscious, ethereal pad‑like tones.

These sounds are very contemporary, making it ideal for media and wider production work.

If you’re adding this to other titles in the Emergence Textures line‑up, the content is different enough to make it worthwhile. These sounds are very contemporary, making it ideal for media and wider production work.