In this review we will be looking at the latest sound effects library from Mattia Cellotto (Cactus sound libraries). Before we proceed I would like to remind you that you can find out more about Mattia and his libraries in our interview “The sound of commercials, games and sound effects libraries“. That out of the way, let’s take a look at Polarity, a sound effects library all about electricity.
Polarity features around 900+ sounds from various Jacob’s ladders, Tesla coils, Ruhmkorff lamps and other electrical sources. On top of that you also get additional buttons, switches and rotation sounds. The library is categorized in 6 main categories spreading from designed section to different labs and museums (Science, High voltage, Victorian and Electricity museum). There is also a cheats category which name I find very amusing and features all the Foley or sweetener type sounds.
I have to say that the sound palette is wide and offers a great variety of sounds to play with, but more on that in the next segment.
Polarity was recorded with Sanken, Sennheiser and Neuman microphones at 192 kHz and 24 bit which means that you will have plenty of room to experiment with pitching and stretching. In terms of sound quality I have to say that the library features some amazing sounds. The sound of recordings is clear and so powerful. For instance, Wimshurst machine features great sparkly details and interesting zaps without any cloth movement in the back. Sputnik launcher sounds, with minor sound design, can be used for interesting weaponry. Jacob ladder has punchy bursts and 1928 tram has beefy mechanical rotation. I am most impressed with the lower end of the sounds which were captured really well and don’t sound muddy or hollow.
One thing that bugs me with this library is the designed section. Not that the sounds are bad or anything but the way they are delivered. Brace yourselves, we are stepping into the subjective territory now. I feel that the designed sounds are way too loud for my taste. They also seem compressed to the point you can’t really pitch or stretch them. If you try, you will get unwanted distortion. Now, I know that these sounds are meant to be used as they are and there is nothing wrong with that, but I feel that they could be mastered on a bit lower volume, just enough to give you more room for additional sound design.
As far as embedded metadata goes, Polarity doesn’t offer embedded metadata which is kind of a bummer. All of the metadata is in the filename, so if your search is able to scan filenames than you should be ok. I found that in Soundly the library couldn’t be found using keywords from the filename. Perhaps this is also the limitation of Soundly because it works fine if you are using Reaper’s media manager. As for the filenames, I have to say that the naming conventions is good. Each filename is divided into four segments. Main Section (e.g. “Electricity Museum” or “Science Lab”), Main Group Name (e.g. “Arc Lamp” or “3D Printer”), Distance from Microphones (e.g. “3 Meters”), Embedded Metadata (e.g. Clunky,Metal,Sparks,Generator,Start,Stop”).
As always, I am attaching screenshots for you to look at them and decide for yourself.
In this example I created a short animation that features various sounds from the library. These sounds were not edited besides setting the volume levels. What you hear is what you get. The low hum sound is placed throughout the animation just in case someone has some naughty thoughts.
For the price of $85 US dollars I have to say, that you get for what you have paid for. The library just sounds great. I feel that designed category could have left some room for further tweaking and that metadata could be embedded. But, I don’t feel like the mentioned is a deal breaker. The sound is what is important and Polarity certainly managed to deliver just that.
VARIETY OF SOUNDS
VALUE FOR MONEY
- Fantastic sounds
- Great variety of sounds
- Additional button and switch sounds
- Designed section could leave more room for further editing