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Sample Logic Xosphere

Kontakt Instrument By Tom Flint
Published February 2015

As you might have guessed from its name, Xosphere is specifically designed for creating atmospheric sounds. Unlike products that have folder-loads of Kontakt instrument (.nki) files, Xosphere packages everything within a single ‘instrument’ with a single interface.

Right at the top of the interface is the Instrument Browser, where seven categories (Bizarre, Dark N Scary, Electronic — Effectual, Euphoric — Spiritual, Mixed Emotions, Mysterious and World — Organic), are listed. Naturally, every category has its own menu of options, all of which have such colourful names that it doesn’t take long before they start to stick in one’s memory.

Each and every instrument is made up of four sound engines, which Sample Logic call oscillators. Complicated sounds are created by giving each oscillator a different setting, and this can be achieved fairly quickly by selecting from each oscillator’s drop-down menus.

Sample Logic XosphereAll oscillators have two presets menus, and whatever options are selected from those menus can be morphed with one another by animating a control knob, or drawing in the animation on a graph display. What this means, in effect, is that each patch is made up of eight sample sources.

Each oscillator has controls governing volume, pan, pitch and sample start point, as well as a resonant filter with low- and high-cut knobs, an ADSR envelope and a convolution reverb. Nothing ground-breaking there, for sure, but what makes the oscillators particularly powerful is the addition of what Sample Logic call FX Animators. These Animators are step sequencers which can have as many as 128 steps or as few as two. The user has independent control over the length and level of every step and the option of drawing in a profile or adjusting them a step at a time. There are also options for generating a random sequence, quantising it and inverting it.

Impressively, there are dedicated FX Animators in each oscillator section for volume, pan, pitch, low-cut, high-cut, and even the convolution reverb, altogether providing oodles of ways to modulate sounds.

Rounding it all up in the output path is a compressor, EQ, phaser, reverb and stereo widener (with hi- and low-cut filters), as well as distortion and delay processor with their own FX Animators.

The library size is 5.25GB, which is not huge by today’s standards, but the sample content is really just a starting point. Ultimately Xosphere does everything its designers wanted it to do: it is very complex but remains easy to use, and provides sound designers with a glut of sound-shaping tools.

There can be no complaints about the quality of its sounds either, which, admittedly, do seem to share the same ‘digital’ fingerprint, but cover everything from gritty and scary to huge and anthemic. Its high price is the only drawback. Tom Flint