Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Kirk Hunter Studios have added to their range of Kinetic sample libraries with a new release titled Kinetic Solo & Chamber Strings. As the name suggests, the library offers the entire string section — violin, viola, cello and bass — in one Kontakt instrument (full version required), with the solo library featuring one of each instrument, and the chamber library featuring the four instruments in pairs.
One of the key features of all the Kinetic libraries has been the ability to program each instrument independently by placing it on one of four timelines, each equipped with its own velocity, articulation, note duration, accent, and rhythm pattern controls, all of which can also be applied globally. This library continues that tradition and offers 40 preset rhythm patterns, ostinato presets and intervals, and velocity controls for each of the 64 note and rest events in each timeline. For articulations, you get to choose between spiccato and pizzicato. The library also offers three mic positions: close, mid and far; multiple EQ and reverb presets; and panning controls.
Since creating motion is the focus of the library, it’s no surprise that the best features relate to playability and the ability to create movement for each instrument. The variety and flexibility of the preset patterns is a major plus, as is the fact that they automatically sync to the tempo of the project, and speed scaling allows you to modify the existing tempo. This makes ‘playing’ each instrument very easy even for those who might be less skilled at the keyboard — you can skip the frustration of not playing perfectly in time and move straight on to idea generation.
The dynamics can be tricky to understand at first. The library uses velocity to control dynamics, but depending on what you load, the default note volumes are set up differently. When loaded standalone, each instrument has uniform note volumes across its range. Load the entire string section in one instance and there are volume variations across the notes, hidden away in the timeline note mixer. So if you’re wondering why certain notes won’t sound loud no matter how hard you play, you’ll have to find the mixer and sort it out there. Also, if you want fine variations in expression, say a softly brushed spiccato stroke as opposed to a harder one, that seems difficult to do.
While the more musically literate already have the tools needed to begin a composition, the play‑it‑by‑ear type of musicians will appreciate the ability to dive in...
Rhythmic movement is the strong suit of this library and it offers a great deal of flexibility to manipulate the performance and sound of each instrument. While the more musically literate already have the tools needed to begin a composition, the play‑it‑by‑ear type of musicians will appreciate the ability to dive in, instantly program different patterns, and let the feel of the groove provide the inspiration upon which to build a composition.