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Wave Alchemy TRIAZ

Virtual Percussion Instrument By Simon Sherbourne
Published September 2022

Wave Alchemy TRIAZ

Wave Alchemy’s TRIAZ could be all the percussion software you’ll ever need.

Wave Alchemy have made a name for themselves creating sample‑based instruments, focusing on drums and classic synths. Their primary platform is Kontakt (and the free Kontakt Player), although they also have packs for Maschine and Live, as well as pure sample libraries. I reviewed their Revolution classic drum machine instrument back in 2017, and was hugely impressed by the sounds and the depth of Kontakt programming.

TRIAZ is WA’s new flagship drum instrument, with an all-new sample library, modern design and freshly coded engine. It’s a refreshingly simple instrument on the surface, with 12 channels, a mixer and a sequencer. But it has hidden depths. The name references the standout feature: each drum voice has three layers, with an X/Y pad for quickly perfecting a blend between the three. And it has a built‑in step sequencer with the mod cons for electronic drum production. So could this be your new go‑to virtual drum machine?

First Kontakt

TRIAZ is Kontakt powered, so if you don’t already have Kontakt you need to install the free Player. Third‑party instrument installation in Kontakt is now slickly coordinated in Native Access, Native Instruments’ product manager and installer app. You enter your serial number here to activate, and point to the location you’ve stored the library.

It’s also worth installing NI’s Komplete Kontrol, which you’ll have already if you’re using a Komplete Kontrol keyboard. TRIAZ is nicely integrated into the Komplete Kontrol environment, where it takes advantage of tagged kit browsing and auditioning, saving, MIDI macro controls, and — if you have an S‑series controller — the invaluable colour light guides on the keyboard.

The streamlined sample browser makes for fast drum searching and layering.The streamlined sample browser makes for fast drum searching and layering.

Once installed, TRIAZ appears in Kontakt’s libraries tab and directly in the Instruments Browser in Komplete Kontrol. I preferred the latter for most situations, as it hides all sign of Kontakt and makes TRIAZ appear like a standard plug‑in. TRIAZ has a nicely compact, dark‑grey panel with colour used to make waveforms and channel parameters pop out.

The layout is easy enough to figure out. The default Sound view shows the currently selected channel and sample controls, with a mixer below, and the focused sound’s sequencer lane. Next there’s a Sequencer view, which shows the full 12‑lane pattern grid. Lastly there’s an Options view which is mainly devoted to MIDI and output mappings.

The Magic Number

The Sound panel is your typical waveform‑plus‑parameters affair, but what’s unique is the ABC tab selector to the left coupled with the X/Y display to the right. The tabs focus each of the three sample layers that make up a drum channel. The layers have independent settings in the Drum, Pitch and Filter sections, or can be linked.

The X/Y display is a three‑way crossfader that blends the three samples. It’s pretty intuitive: place the dot over A and all you’ll hear is A. In the middle you’ll get an equal mix of all three sound layers. I did wonder if the blender should have been triangular instead of stretched into a square, but this shape was probably chosen with a thought for mapping MIDI or automation controls in the future (currently you can’t do this). Anyway, in practice it works well for blending by ear.

There are hundreds of preset kits split into genres, which, to give you a flavour of the sound palette, are: Drum & Bass, Electronica, House, Lofi, Pop & Disco, Rap and Techno. There’s also a series of ‘Drum Module’ kits devoted to particular categories of sound. Then there are Percussion Loops — kits with a sequence that make ready‑to‑go loop layers. In fact all the kits come with one drum sequence to showcase the sounds.

Clicking the sample name in the Sound editor brings up the sample browser in place of the mixer. This uses a two‑level categorisation scheme to sort and display samples. The first is the drum type, with the type of the sample in slot A determining the name and colour for the channel. The second is a descriptive tag. I love that at least one tag pair is always active and that this always filters down to no more than...

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