By Daniel Fisher, Chief Soundware Engineer
Happy New Year from the Soundware Development Facility! I'm now starting my third year here and it seems like we've been exploding with new products lately. The recent release of our Ultimate Guitars CD-ROM for the K2000/K2500 has already generated a surprising amount of mail, e-mail and phone calls from professional musicians who have been completely knocked out by this amazing collection of new and vintage guitars.
Ultimate Guitars contains over 100 files filled with more than 400 Megs of acoustic, electo-acoustic, clean electric and distorted guitars (plus basses, of course) all sampled to perfection by our own Jim Miller (Stratus Sounds). Jim not only writes our Tech Notes column, but he has also written tons of articles for Electronic Musician on the subject of sampling (there's one in the current issue, in fact). Jim personally played all the guitars on this CD ROM, and considering how long he's been playing the guitar (his band opened for Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s), you know he's come up with some absolutely killer sounds.
Most importantly, these incredibly well-recorded samples are not made from random guitars we just had lying around. Each guitar was selected for its reputation, rarity, tone quality and stylistic uses. These instruments would cost over $60,500 to own, not including the thousands you'd need for all the vintage and hi-tech amps and effects which were used in the sampling process.
The professional quality instruments found on this library are set apart from the many other third party guitar CDs by their playability and musical response, not to mention their superb programming. Some companies' "big haired" guitarist CDs and CD ROMs allow you to do little more than rearrange "their" guitar solos like a sliding-piece puzzle. Other CDs have nothing but strumming chords that may or may not be in your key and/or tempo.
I personally spent many long nights in the Sweetwater Soundware studio putting the finishing touches on these guitars using the magic of V.A.S.T., adding amazingly playable controllers to every file. You'll find slides, whammy effects, wah-wah, a unique "key bend" technique, brand new custom reverbs and other effects, plus a special "fret slide" which allows you to pitch bend up as if your fingers were actually sliding across several frets, just like a real guitarist would do when sliding up a whole step.
At the last minute, just to make sure we had just about every sound you'll ever need (and despite the fact we had over 300 megs worth of guitar and bass samples already), I flew down to Florida where Jim and I produced a set of classic, raw blues samples from a B.B. King "Lucille" and my personal favorite, the aptly named "ZZ Lead" on a Les Paul Signature model with four velocity levels of left hand fifths and five levels of right hand lead notes (including three full levels of harmonics!). Wow! Every time I play this one I get chills!
Of course, there's more to life than guitars (or so I've heard), so we're also excited to announce the release of two very special low priced CD ROMs: Finger Juice and Pocket B-3 for the K2000/K2500. Finger Juice contains over 125 Megs of Hip Hop production tools like BreakBeats, Live Loops, 808 and 909 Kits and Loops, many vintage Drum Machines, plus lots of Synth Basses and Woofer Food along with Breaks, Tape Stops, Hits and Slurs. There's even a bunch of funky Organs, Electric Pianos and Basses for your mix.
Up until now there's been a shortage of truly grungy, "grainy" dance music samples for the K2000/K2500, but for only $99 you can now add that missing element to your own productions at a price that just can't be beat. We also have Finger Juice CDs available for E-mu samplers (ask your sales engineer).
Now if B-3 Organs are your thing, get ready for the grooviest product you can actually fit in your pocket. Our Pocket B-3 CD-ROM for the K2000/K2500 has over 75 files of classic Hammond B-3 Drawbar settings which were recorded direct from the Leslie pre-amp. These files are an amazingly small 600K, yet they contain the straight B-3 sound plus the luscious Chorus/Vibrato sound and can simulate your choice of one or two Leslie Rotors. These tiny sizes mean that you can have many of your own favorite Drawbar settings always loaded during your gig or studio session and still have plenty of RAM for your other samples (like some guitars from our "Ultimate Guitars" - hint, hint). We've also included a number of B-3s recorded with a real Leslie that allow you to "morph" between Slow and Fast speeds. And the best part about the Pocket B-3 CD ROM is that with a price of just $99, it won't take very much out of your pocket to own one.
Finally, I'd like to clue you into what has to be one of the hottest keyboard deals around: Sweetwater is offering an unbelievably low price on demo versions of the Kurzweil PC-88 Performance Controller. Before I started the Soundware Development Facility at Sweetwater, I was a Soundware Engineer at Kurzweil R&D. One of my projects was designing the GM set that ships with the PC-88mx, so I can tell you from an insider's point-of-view that this is one powerful, awesome-sounding keyboard that really feels great to the touch. Ask your Sweetwater Sales Engineer for your special price on this exceptional instrument or check out page 7 for more information.
That's it for this issue, but I'll be back next time with some important news about several very cool new projects that are in the works even as I'm writing this!
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