Rating: 4/5 Stars
Though media composers love creating colossal orchestrations, there comes a time when you have to think small. Intimate travelogues, sensitive wildlife documentaries and sun‑drenched holiday ads don’t need bombastic brass and battering drums. Such productions require a light touch, and that’s where Orchestral Tools’ Creative Soundpacks come in. In contrast to the epic sweep of the company’s symphonic titles, these budget‑priced mini‑libraries focus on smaller, more intimate sounds such as living room piano, ‘forest percussion’ and the other‑worldy verrophone, combining a subtle organic approach with a sense of exoticism.
The latest sound pack is Rimba, a 6.6GB sample collection which compresses down to 2GB installed. It runs exclusively on OT’s Sine Player, an efficient if somewhat limited sample engine undergoing an update at the time of writing. Recorded drily from two mic positions at the company’s T‑Rex Classics studio, Rimba’s nine instruments are presented au naturel and also in 10 processed patches featuring various layering, echo, filter and distortion treatments.
As the title suggests, the main instrument is a very decent Musser M250 concert marimba sampled at multiple dynamics over its full A2‑C7 range. Played with medium‑soft mallets, it sounds clean, resonant, incisive and sweet‑toned, though resonance is noticeably reduced in the top octave (a defining marimba characteristic). Finger hits provide a nice alternative timbre when played at higher velocities, hot rod hits (which suffer from round‑robin dropouts on their top Ab and Bb notes) could pass for a xylophone in the upper register, and the swishy brush hits work well for light rhythm patterns.
There’s much to enjoy here: the idea, instruments and price are all agreeable, and although its scope is limited, this sound pack refreshes the parts other libraries cannot reach.
Also included are a melodious, soft‑toned log drum (aka tongue drum) and a cheerful South African kalimba, both ideal for programming bubbling, jungly tuned perc grooves. The remainder of the instruments are unpitched: the hefty, cajon‑like bass thump of the Jicara de Agua (an upended pumpkin gourd floating in a larger, water‑filled gourd) makes an excellent kick sample, while a custom‑made pair of toms with birch wood playing heads and small wooden boxes turn in a slender selection of single‑hit knocks and scuffling quiet rolls. Meanwhile, gentle rainstick shakes and bamboo wind chimes add a relaxing and therapeutic head‑shop ambience.
Exhausted by all this nature, I dipped into the processed patches and enjoyed the ethereal ‘Mountain Alder’ ghost‑choir pad and the seismic bass rumble of the ‘Oak‘ patch. The high point was the wonderfully atmospheric pitched rainstick rolls, low chords on which evoke images of life forming in the broiling Cambrian seas.
Credit for this eclectic collection must go to OT’s Frederik Thyssen, who played the instruments, created the processed patches and devised product ideas for the entire Creative Soundpacks range. There’s much to enjoy here: the idea, instruments and price are all agreeable, and although its scope is limited, this sound pack refreshes the parts other libraries cannot reach.