Monday, 20 April 2015

Spitfire Audio eDNA01 EARTH Review: from Blockbuster Movie Scores to Scorching Dance Production, this Instant Classic is Sure to Excel

Much-loved UK Company Changes the Game with it's Attention to Detail and Ambition

Spitfire Audio is synonymous with excellence in sound design, especially revered for its gorgeous orchestral sounds; with fans including such luminaries as Grammy Award winning composer Craig Armstrong OBE, singer-songwriter powerhouse Gary Barlow OBE and multi-award winning Composer (and Spitfire collaborator) Hans Zimmer to name but a few.
 
A game changing sample library, 'EARTH' is immense, both in its scale and sonic quality.
Released late last year to much deserved fanfare, excitement and praise, Spitfire's 'eDNA ('Electronic DNA') 01 EARTH' takes the lush instrumentation that Spitfire is known for and flipped it on its head.

By mangling a diverse and extensive - and I do mean extensive - collection of Spitfire's recordings through numerous effects and scripting, 'EARTH' turns a set of sounds that were once flawlessly lifelike into an other-worldly sonic palate.  These sounds are sure to find many a welcome home in the more uncompromising and abrasive corners of the dance music world as well as TV, Cinema, video game and documentary soundtrack work.


Get acquainted with Spitfire Audio's game-changing 'eDNA 01 EARTH', your new favourite library.

Every preset, bar none, gives instant gratification.  This is no mean feat, considering that 'EARTH' is a massive 45GB's worth of samples, losslessly compressed to 27GB. I did say it was extensive.

Every preset gives instant gratification, no mean feat considering that 'Earth' is a massive 45GB's worth of samples...This is frankly, in both size and quality, a staggering collection  

With over 1900 sounds and 1001 presets, it would be impossible to even attempt to cover everything that this sample powerhouse has to offer, but here's a very brief overview of what users can expect from each of the six stylistic folders, referred to as 'cartridges', that make up what is frankly, in both size and quality, a staggering collection:

0001 APOCALYPZ (Formerly known as 'Dyztopia')

As the name suggests, this gnarly cartridge is crying out to be used in the more abrasive corners of EDM, as well as TV, movie and video game soundtracks.  Filled with 'Atmos', bass, drops & rises, drums & percs, effects, keys, leads and sequences which have all been tortured in a variety of ways; even the 'simple' hand claps sound beaten and battered within an inch of their lives.

Here's a little demo I put together using APOCALYPZ, the suitably menacing 'Interfearance' (sic).  Many thanks to Phashara / Corry Banks of bboytechreport.com for the vocal contribution.  I put this together in minutes, which is testament to just how inspirational and intuitive 'EARTH' is.

Effects such as ‘all hell lets loose’ and the brain-tickling ‘super ill rocket motor’ sound like they’d find a loving home on Doctor Who.  The sequences, such as ‘Angry Rhythm MW is Res Filter’ will jump-start many a producer’s creative process; working just as well as the foundation for a track as a little something to add extra zing to an already jumping production.  Call these sequences the perfect antidote to creative block.


Angry and attention-grabbing, cartridge 0001 APOCALYPZ (Formerly known as 'Dyztopia') is ideal for sci-fi TV, movie and video game soundtracks; and in-your-face electronic music.

0002 Sound Swamp

This is where things start to get really spooky.  This cartridge contains drones, effects, keys, sequences and synth pads.

The massive selection of synth pads in this cartridge really deserves extra special attention.  These are broken down into three equally breathtaking sub-sections, namely 'Archaic', 'Ethereal' and 'Mystic'.

Whilst each pad is very inspirational, two that immediately caught my attention were the unnerving but beautiful ‘church pad’ and the ‘Onyx Growl Pad Surround MW’ which sounds like a haunted spaceship floating on the edge of the universe.


Cartridge 0002, Sound Swap, is sure to send a shiver down your spine, with a great selection of haunting pads being one of it's main strengths.

0003 Discoman

As the name suggests, this is where we take time out from being terrified by presets which sound like possessed pieces of heavy machinery, or messages transmitted by a remote dying star, and get funky, thanks to a wonderful selection of bass, keys, leads, pads, sequences and strings.

Like every other cartridge on here, it would take days, if not weeks, to just audition all of the sounds.  With that in mind, instant faves include the foot stomping ‘5th Hall Bass – Auto Pan’.  This funk-filled bass is sure to get feet tapping, heads nodding and, erm, booties shaking on any track it blesses.

Elsewhere ‘5th Keys Gate’ is a glorious set of 90’s dance keys.  ‘Breathy Keys 12ths’ would be right at home in anything from dance, to future R'n'B and hip hop.

As well as keys, another of 'Discoman's  immediately evident strengths is it's collection of strings. 

In another instance of Spitfire going above and beyond, the beautiful ‘Slow Strings MW’ is comparatively unmangled.  Its sister preset however, the ‘Space Laser Strings’, is a more effects-laden affair.  Both of these presets also have handily sidechained counterparts for easy access to that all-important ‘ducking’ sensation.

The commitments to detail and user experience is in-keeping with the ethos evident throughout this fantastic piece of software.

    …the more knowledgeable musician can tinker to their heart's delight...the novice will spend less time getting frustrated by their technical limitations and more time getting inspired and enjoying making music…

The 'EARTH' user interface includes numerous effects including LFO's, filters, gating, tape style saturation and more, which means that the more knowledgeable musician can tinker to their hearts delight.  Such a wide amount of dials and graphs may intimidate the newbie.  Thankfully, however, the staggering quality of the presets, and the nice 'hand-ups'-like 'sidechained strings' will ensure that the novice spends less time getting frustrated by their technical limitations and spends more time getting inspired and enjoying making music.


Enough of being scared witless.  Time to boogie with basslines dripping with funk and keys that evoke a vintage 90's dance sound, courtesy of cartridge 0003, Discoman. 

0004 Moviedrome

Moviedrome lives up to its name, with a staggering amount of blockbuster-ready sounds.  Included in this kit are a vast array of strings and a nice selection of woodwinds.  If you are looking for a more straightforward set of sounds to compliment the more 'alien' sounds elsewhere, this is a good place to start.

One immediate favourite on this cartridge is the divine bubbling stream of ‘Celestial Reveal’.  However, there are again numerous sonic treats within this cartridge.

In fact, I found this cartridge so inspirational that I put together the below demo in just a few minutes.  I cannot wait to get started on creating a fully-fledged track, based around several of 'EARTH's sounds.

All of the sounds on my above demo track 'Pyramids', aside from drums, come from 'EARTH'.  Again, like 'Interfearance', 'Pyramids' was put together in several minutes, thanks to the inspirational and intuitive nature of 'EARTH'.
 
It's no exaggeration to say that I'll be sure to spend the next few months not only working on new ideas with this trusty tool as an essential piece of kit, but also going back to older tracks to give them an 'EARTH' makeover.  


Cartridge 0004 'Moviedrome' will have you scoring soundtracks to your favourite 80's movies in no time.

0005 Analoganaut

Looking for plenty of funky analogue basses and pads which will have you scoring 80's movies soundtracks in no time?  Analoganaut has you covered.  There is a wide selection of basses, an equally large range of pads entitled 'Dawn of Digital' sounds, keys, leads, pads and sequences.  The sounds on offer pay homage to electronic pioneers such as Wendy Carlos and Vangelis, 'Droog Pad Voweled' and 'Deep Plinks Voweled mw' being two of the immediate standouts.

  The movie theme continues with cartridge 0005, Analoganaut, which evokes the sounds of legends Tangerine Dream, Wendy Carlos, Vangelis and more.

0006 Disphoria 

Last but certainly not least, Disphoria has a welcome mix of  bass, falls, leads, plucks, sequencers and synths. 

One of the things that is so good about this cartridge is that, in a style similar to 'Moviedrome', it mixes, for want of a better phrase, 'every day' go-to staples, e.g. nice, clean basses, brassy synths, etc., which every musician needs in their tool kit, with more outlandish and unique sounds.  This means that, perhaps more so than any of the other kits, musicians may find this dark horse of a cartridge the one they use most often.

Mixing 'every day' staples - nice, clean basses, brassy synths -  with more outlandish and unique sounds means that this cartridge may be the one artists use most often.

Highlights include the wonderfully snappy 'Hardstyle Gated Bass Filter Is MW' and the space invader sounds of  '8ue Fall MW is Mouth' and 'Bitey Filter Drop MW is Res LPF', which are just two of a very generous amount of attention grabbing falls.  The 'Misunderstood Pluck' lends itself very well to Disclosure-style funky house and garage whilst sequences such as 'Clicky Clarinets Is MW is LPF' are begging to be used on a big D'n'B track.  The beyond funky 'Squelchy Pulser MW' also shines as a synth highlight. 


Ending on a high, 0006 Disphoria will find a home on anything from UK funky house and garage hits, through to D'n'B bangers. Wonderful. 

Overall Impressions 

It's obvious that I hold 'EARTH' in the very highest of regards.  Now, one word of advice to very new musicians / beatmakers: 'EARTH', like many other libraries, uses Native Instrument's Kontakt Player.  This is free and can be downloaded and registered from the Native Instruments website here.

If you have not used Kontakt before, it is worth familiarising yourself with how it works via the free libraries that come with Kontakt before buying 'EARTH'.

You could even donate £2 to Unicef and get a nifty sample pack from Spitfire here.  That way, you will gain experience in loading and enjoying Spitfire products in Kontakt before investing in 'EARTH' and you'll also get a nice, warm fuzzy feeling for helping out a very worthwhile cause in the process.

A game-changer and an instant classic, 'EARTH' is a must for any musician, be they professional, semi-professional, or a dedicated enthusiast.

At £149 at time of press, 'EARTH' is an absolute bargain.  This is a library that will grow in value as the new beatmaker / musican grows in knowledge and experience.  The sounds on offer cover such a wide spectrum of applications that, if your musical direction changes, 'EARTH' will still be right there with you.  A game-changer and an instant classic, 'EARTH' is a must for any musician, be they professional, semi-professional, or a dedicated enthusiast. 

Verdict

Pros:
An absolutely massive range of FANTASTIC preset sounds.
A wide range of process and control possibilities.
A very reasonable price.

Cons:

None.  However, new beatmakers should perhaps practice installing and using sample libraries in Kontakt Player before buying 'EARTH'. 

Total Rating:5/5

This product is a classic and deserves top marks by The New Beatmaker.

'EARTH' is the much-deserved recipient of our first full mark rating, earning itself the first ever The New Beatmaker Award for Excellence.  Bravo!

To buy Spitfire Audio 'eDNA 01 EARTH' and for more information, visit: http://www.spitfireaudio.com

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1 comments:

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