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Sample Logic Havoc Kontakt Instrument

Sample Library By John Walden
Published May 2014

Sample Logic's Havoc comes with the subtitle 'Tools Of Destruction' and, given that the product description suggests that it provides the ultimate percussion suite, you could easily be forgiven for thinking this Kontakt‑formatted library (that works fine with the included Kontakt Player or the full version of Kontakt 5.3 or better) was going to contain a collection of unconventional clangs, bangs, scrapes and crunches suitable for a sci‑fi soundtrack. And, at one level, you would be right but, because of the absolutely brilliant user interface, and the fact that Havoc is just as much about loops, includes a decent smattering of melodic sounds and features some fabulous audio processing options, it is considerably more than just some composer‑friendly 'impact' sounds.

The sound sources used here are weird and suitably wonderful — drills, machines, car body parts, chains and so on — but it's what the programmers and that Havoc engine allow you to do with them that is the real treat. The library requires 2.4GB of hard drive space and the samples are spread across a number of Kontakt categories including Instruments and Multis. You get an impressive collection of individual hits and impacts among the Instruments, but the sections that really got me excited were the Arpeggiated and Loops folders. If you want some instant industrial rhythms, these are top‑notch stuff.

However, the fun really starts with the tools you get for manipulating the samples and loops. These include filters, distortion, pitch‑shifting, LFO, pan, volume, delay and EQ, and many of them can be automated on a slice‑by‑slice basis and in response to MIDI velocity. The result is a hugely flexible and creative environment in which you can generate almost endless variations from a single loop. While media composers will have a lot of fun with these sounds, this aspect of the library is also going to appeal to those into industrial and/or electronic music styles. It's perhaps not for the faint‑hearted (think Nine Inch Nails), but very, very inspiring. And while Havoc doesn't major in melodic sounds, there are instruments within the collection that can be played in this way, so the arpeggiator options offered within the Havoc engine are not just for adding rhythmic variations to percussive sounds.

It is very easy to create a complete sound bed with Havoc, but add in some additional synth elements to taste and the combination can be absolutely massive. Havoc is as much fun as I've had with a sample library in a long while and, if you do indulge, be prepared to devote some time and effort to the exploration in order to fully realise the potential. For media composers or for the more experimental electronic musician, Havoc comes highly recommended; cheap it is not, but brilliant it most certainly is. John Walden