I never heard of Lux Nox or Perc+ before. What really got me interested was, that the Perc+ library isn’t sold for a given price, but is available via donation for the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Honestly, I think I could stop the review right here and tell you to buy this instrument just because the money will reach the right people. Not only in the UK also here in Germany budgets for musical education get smaller and smaller and nearly all my teaching friends complain about weak equipment and missing support for pupil concerts etc. on a weekly basis. But this library is massive and the good cause by far not the only reason to take a look into it.
After purchasing / donating you get send your individual download link with ten 1GB big .rar files (10 GB). The cool thing about it is, you will get your individual design with a headline you can choose (like your name or other). The 64 instruments playable with Kontakt player 5.1. or higher consist of 48khz / 24 bit stereo samples in .ncw format.
For each instrument there are two tabs in Kontakt. “Main” & “Effects”. They do always look the same and feature the same knobs for each patch. “Main” features the most important settings like “response”, “limiter” and “EQ”. “ Effects ” displays eight more of Kontakt’s own effects; transient master, saturator, compressor, rotator, tape and three effects routed as send fx; chorus, flanger and reverb. The graphic design is simple and yet attractive. With a dark background and bright knobs, the settings are very well displayed; The keys of the keyboard are sorted by colors within the patches. This color – code gives you a hint which sounds are similar and sometimes are even the same sounds in various velocities.
This was mapped like this to have playable (de -) crescendo rolls across your master – keyboard. This works really well and will be a great feature for many producers. Unlike most, as a percussionist, I like to play my midi drums with a drum pad. For a drum pad the mapping doesn’t work and I would have preferred different dynamic recordings on one key. But probably there aren’t many like me out there, but still I wanted to mention.
The name Perc+ isn’t wrong at all for this library, but if the name was “creatively played cymbal sounds” it would fit as well. When first browsing through this instrument it feels like the focus is on the cymbals. There are plenty of crash, ride, china, splash & trash cymbals as well gongs. Played with different sticks, mallets and hands or even bowed. C hocking, rolls, hits – everything is featured.
Therefore you can very easily come up with realistic sounding cymbal rolls on the one hand and play strange sounds that could origin from unknown sources on the other hand. Speaking of unknown sources, there are a few patches, which feature other instruments than cymbals.
My favourite is the piano patch, where a piano is hit with various sticks. Other great examples are tuned vacuum flask & tamtam. The sounds are predestined for further processing. And with the FX delivered with this instruments & the pitch (lot s of the sounds have a tone) you can create bright sound scapes or odd hits with a bit of tweaking. This also means (at least it seems to me) some of the sounds aren’t meant to be played “as is” but are waiting for you to get creative with. The recordings of the sounds are very well and I couldn’t find any cutoff sounds or crackles. Also the room is very well chosen and leaves you a lot of space for all kind of further processing (as f.e. the built in reverb).
There are two different groups that will love this instrument. First the people looking for realistic sound that slightly differs from the standard drum libraries, especially when it comes to playing style. And also for sound designers looking for sounds that are made to be manipulated. Horror fx, electronic sounds for EDM producers, unique hits and sweeps are produced very fast with a few knobs.
If you are looking for realistic & odd cymbal sounds, there is no way around this library. Nearly every articulation you can imagine as a drummer is playable with Perc+. If you want to use this library for sound design you got to be aware, that it will require some effort on your side, but if you put in some extra processing (and really just some) you might come up with some extraordinary and astonishing sound effects. If you need more details, check the video by Lux Nox http://vimeo.com/106647034.
The best thing about it. There will be small content updates soon. Darabuka, frame drum, chinese opera gong, bell cymbal and industrial coffee maker, just to name a few.
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