The Concept

I really love the approach that SOUNDIRON takes to instrument sampling. Very unique and conceptual. Previously I reviewed an instrument of theirs: Imbibaphones, which is based entirely on wine glasses and champagne flutes. These objects have actually been used as musical instruments over the years, but I’m not sure if the subject of Luminabells have.

Light bulbs.

Simple everyday objects that, as you will see, possess remarkably complex sonic potential.

The Instruments

The library consists of 1 Master patch, 44 solo Luminabells patches tuned across the keyboard, 3 swooshes, 12 FX patches, 11 ‘loops’ patches and 45 impulse responses for the convolution reverb (25 effects & 20 rooms). There is up to 6 velocity layers per patch and 10x round robin for each layer.

The “Master” patch contains all of the solo patches at their original pitches mapped across the keyboard and smoothly cross-faded into each other. The Stepping knob can adjust the pitches +/- 24 semitones. All of these 44 patches contain knobs to adjust the attack and release of each sample as well as an offset to start the playback at a different point in the sample. This can come in handy because some of the patches contain some interesting bounces and you may just want those sounds instead of including the main strike or tap.

A very cool way of modifying the sounds is to go to the reverb page and dial in any of the 45 included impulse responses. There are knobs to adjust the dry and wet mix as well as a lowpass filter. The IR’s aren’t just of rooms though. There are things like ratchets, bells, thumps and plucks that can modify the patches in very intriguing ways.

The 3 swooshes are just that. Swooshes…but with some nice filament vibrations in there. The thing to be careful of in a lot of the patches(especially the swooshes) is the low frequency content of the samples. There can be a surprising amount of it! For such little objects they sure can contain a very wide frequency range. At times you may not even notice a lot of low energy there but it is and it can muddy up your mix if you’re not careful. You will probably need to roll off the bottom on some of these patches.

The FX patches are looped and modified with usually some pitch or mod wheel data to morph the samples.

The Loops are sustained sounds of hums and filament shakes. Very cool. The shakes have a wind chime type sound to them and the hums can sound like organs.

Overall Impressions

I was really looking forward to delving into this library, but when I first opened it up the possibilities weren’t at first evident. You know when you hear a sound and you know EXACTLY where you want to use it? These sounds are fascinating but in order to really appreciate the library I think you will need to spend some time with it. Unlike Imbibaphones, this isn’t an instrument that you would compose a whole piece with. This is what you would use to add texture. It just so happens that I love adding texture.

If there would be one suggestion I would make to the developers it would be one of organization. The solo patches are labelled “Solo_Luminabells_01” right up to 44. I know it probably would have been difficult, but a little more description in the naming of the patches would have been helpful. I found that there was some time wasted opening up and previewing all of the different instruments to see which one I wanted. That wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t 44 of them.

On the whole though, it’s another winner from SOUNDIRON and a very intriguing library containing sounds that are familiar to all of us, and yet sound quite out-of-the-ordinary. It, like I said earlier, is a textural library for spicing up and ‘enlightening’ your track.

I think Edison would have been proud.

The library is in an unlocked format with open wav directories, so you will need a full version of Kontakt to use it.

Luminabells by SOUNDIRON



all music ©2011 Shannon Penner