If there has been an obvious trend within the sample library/virtual instrument world over recent years it has been the rise of the products aimed fairly and squarely at media composers. Sample Logic have been an active part of that trend and products such as Cinemorphx, Bohemian and Morphestra 2 offer some petty sophisticated and powerful tools in that regard. Many of these products cross the border between music composition and sound design. However, Sample Logic’s latest release — Trailer Expressions — while appealing to the same potential audience, is perhaps more firmly situated on the sound design side of that line.
The library consists of a collection of WAV-based samples (just over 4GB in total) spanning atmospheres, drones, risers, stingers, scrapes, whooshes, impacts and other all-out sonic mayhem. You can work directly with the WAVs or, if you have the full version of Kontakt, via a dedicated Kontakt front-end that organises all the sounds into a number of themed Kontakt instruments and provides a number of additional ways to manipulate the sounds for maximum flexibility.
Each of the Kontakt instruments contains a number of related samples mapped across the keyboard, and patch names such as Hits, Risers, Scrapes, Pulses and Stingers give you a good guide as to what to expect within each of these collections. The front-end provides various global tools that are then applied to each sample within that patch. This includes the ability to adjust the playback start point in the waveform, playback pitch (variable over two octaves), attack and release controls, delay and reverb options, and a low-cut and high-cut EQ. Towards the top of the UI are the Energizer and Polisher options. These are both types of multi-effects, with the former offering a combination of compression, saturation and distortion while the latter combines EQ, saturation, transient enhancement and stereo width. Both are very effective to make the already ‘big’ sounds even bigger. All these on-screen controls are available for MIDI Learn and automation within your DAW/sequencer.
In terms of actual content, I’m not sure there is a huge amount that’s really new amongst the raw samples but they are all pretty impressive. Indeed, impressive enough that a little most certainly goes a long way; just two or three of these sounds layered in any sound design cue is going to pack a serious sonic punch. Where Trailer Xpressions does really score (d’oh!), however, is in just how easy it makes the task in hand. It might not be the cheapest sound design instrument you can buy, but it sounds great and makes it rather too easy to create a Hollywood-ready sound design cue in a matter of minutes. And, for working media composers up against yet another deadline, that could quite well be reason enough to meet the asking price.