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Sounds Ok K2000 Sound Software

The SOS team review 4 discs of synth sounds. By Paul Ward
Published March 1996

Programmed by Simon Rae, these four disks from Sounds OK are for use with Kurzweil K2000 and K2500 synthesizers. Two of them are purely keymap/program/effect data, requiring no sample RAM to make use of them. Many excellent patches are to be found amongst the 100 in Acoustica. I was particularly taken with some of the plucked string sounds, such as the zither and the guitar/flute patch, which kept me enthralled for quite some time. The brass patches are also pretty good, most notably 'Hot Cookin' Brass', which has some vicious bite at higher velocities that I had not previously heard from a K2000. Both solo and orchestral strings fare well too — the inspiring 'Film', with its control slider phase‑shifter, has gone straight into my main work bank! Anyone building a library of general acoustic and orchestral sounds should find much to their liking here.

Vintage to Modern aims to provide a selection of 100 synth sounds, ranging from old analogue simulations to modern digital textures. This is the best disk of the four in my opinion, making extensive use of the Kurzweil's powerful VAST synthesis engine to produce a wide range of usable material. Highlights for me are the obese 'Larry's Big Moog', and the smoothly evolving 'WS Traveller'. Most of the basses are good, with many offering resonance and cut‑off control on the data slider and mod wheel, for TB303‑style tweaking on the fly.

The other two volumes, Matrix 12 and Vector Waves, form part of the K2000 Sample Series and, as such, require your K2000/K2500 to be fitted with at least 2Mb of sample RAM. The samples are taken from the MetraSound sample library.

The Matrix 12 disk was a disappointment. Anyone who has experience of an Oberheim Matrix 12 in the flesh will be well aware of the fat, warm and gutsy sounds of which the machine is capable — and these samples and programs just don't do it justice. I was hoping for more from the Vector Waves disk too. Although I'm not naive enough to believe that wave sequencing could be coaxed from the K2000's synthesis engine, I would have hoped for a better choice of samples to avoid the obvious changes in speed across the keyboard. Many of the programs on each of the four disks make extensive and effective use of the K2000/2500's performance controls in changing texture and character — sometimes quite dramatically. The control pedal seems to have been ignored as a modulation source, though this is easily remedied with a quick edit or two.

In conclusion, I'm happy to recommend the Vintage to Modern disk, with Acoustica arriving a very close second, but the Sample Series are considerably less successful, and even at their lower asking price, I can't help feeling they are best avoided. I hope Sounds OK take this as constructive criticism, since the samples are more at fault than Simon Rae's program construction. Paul Ward