The latest title in Zero‑G’s Ethera series is Ethera EVI (Electro Virtual Instrument). The vocals of Clara Sorace are again featured but, in addition to three different sets of vocal presets, the library also includes a sizeable collection of instrument sounds. Given the fairly modest price, it’s not difficult to argue that, with some 18GB of samples in total, Zero‑G are offering plenty of bang for your buck.
Ethera EVI requires the full version of Kontakt 5.7.3 or higher and uses the Quickload system for accessing the various presets. The 800‑plus presets are spread across four main instruments, each with a different front‑end. The Synth instrument provides access to the aforementioned instrument sounds and these include synths, guitars, leads, pads, drums, drum loops and various sound effects‑style groupings. While these are perhaps not intended to be the star of the Ethera EVI show, and you do have to do some digging to discover what’s available, there is plenty to get your teeth into here. Indeed, more than enough to craft an endless array of musical/sound design beds to underpin the vocal samples.
The three vocal instruments are designed for different tasks. There is a straightforward ‘phrases’ instrument where a different vocal phrase is mapped to each key. These are vowel‑based vocalisations and you can easily ‘play’ unique phrases by triggering different MIDI notes in sequence. A preset with reversed samples provides an interesting sound‑design alternative. The Vocal Builder provides a further means of chaining together different vowel‑based phrases. This is actually quite flexible and you can coax all sorts of ‘world’ style vocals and chants or more contemporary electronic backing vocals from it.
However, if you’re after epic cinematic vocals, the True Legato Instrument is the most expressive of Ethera EVI’s options. While the range of performance styles this offers is perhaps fairly narrow — think mid‑ to slow‑tempo haunting vowel‑based melodies — played with suitable finesse, the sound is utterly convincing. This instrument uses four velocity layers per key, so you get some very expressive dynamics. All four instruments also include a range of effects (with a convolution reverb and nice delay) and filters. The synth instrument also offers a compact arpeggiator and options for tweaking the sounds.
While the synth instrument does take some exploration (that’s not particularly a criticism; there are simply a lot of presets), the vocal instruments are all easy to use. Yes, you do have to work within the style of the vocals but, for media and electronic music composers, there is plenty of scope to get creative. The impressive range of instrument sounds means you can easily create complete musical pieces without leaving Ethera EVI. And those vocals do sound epic. At this price, and given the sheer volume of content, Ethera EVI also offers excellent value for money.