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Big Fish Audio Vital Series: Mallets Review at Sample Library Review

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Pros

  • All 8 Instruments in one window
  • Good velocity sensitivity and response
  • Multitude of layering & sound design options
  • Roll Builder
  • Large selection of presets

Cons

  • Lacks microphone position options
  • Sustain on certain instruments samples is too loud

Vir2’s Vital Series Mallets is a heavy-hitter when it comes to functionality rich percussion libraries combining eight different instruments into a melodic montage. This is not your typical percussion library offering unique capabilities to turn your musical ideas into reality in no time.

Thoughts

I was impressed with the responsiveness and versatility of this library. I must say I was underwhelmed when I first opened the interface because it does not have that bright aesthetic appeal that many new libraries have. I found, however, as is often the case, looks can be deceiving, and the functionality of this instrument far exceeded my expectations. One of the most appealing part of Mallets is that it places eight patches at your fingertips. The interface is quite large because each of the instruments has different mallet types and knobs to control ADSR, EQ, Delay, Panning and Distortion. Having all these options in one patch makes it incredibly easy to switch between instruments and combine different sounds.

The instruments by default are set to play in the concert range of their organic counterparts, but with the flip of a switch, the range can be extended to the length of the keyboard. Initially, the instrument’s range will be highlighted on the keyboard, and each instrument has its own colour so you can keep track as you layer different combinations. You can layer any number of them on top of one another, and even move the range of the top layer (for instance layer glockenspiel and glass marimba but shift the glockenspiel down an octave).

Mallets is incredibly responsive: basically, as fast as you can hit the keys, it can keep up without an issue. The rolls builder is a very helpful tool nonetheless. The rolls builder assumes you want two mallets alternating when hitting one note, but if you select two notes in your roll, it will automatically alternate between those two notes, just like a player using two mallets. The rolls can be set to a specific tempo sync rate. Programmed rolls always worry me to some degree because of that dreaded MIDI quantized machine gun sound, but with this library, you’d actually have to override several presets in order to produce that result. Mallets has a knob to “humanize” the roll. This knob essentially randomizes the velocity and tempo sync, meaning at a low percentage (roughly 20% or less) you get a more humanized performance of a measured roll, while at a high percentage, (roughly 80% or higher) you will get a random chaotic effect, which could be useful for aleatoric passages.

One of the greatest features of this library is how easy it is made to combine and recombine different instruments to create new sounds. Aside from the flexibility to create your own sounds, the library also comes loaded with two presets folders of layered options: one is Organic layers and the other is Processed. The Processed bank has a number of very interesting textures. Some of my favourites are “Deep Blue,” “Buried Treasure,” “Golden Palace,” and “Sunrise on Mars.”

Overall, this library is a heavy-hitter for its size, and I would highly recommend it as an addition to any percussion collection. I look forward to later installments in this new Vital Series by Vir2 Instruments.

As with all of our reviews, be sure to check out the official videos and demos to make sure this instrument is right for you before you make a purchase.

Facts

  • The library downloads at 4 GB (uncompressed).
  • This is a Player instrument and requires either the Player version of full version of Kontakt 5.65 or higher.

Original Source - Sample Library Review

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