A few days ago, and with some intrepidation, I decided to have a go firing up Novachord 346 for the first time in what turns out to be 8 years having partially restored her back in 2008/9.
To my great relief, this now 82 year old quarter ton 163 tube beast came out of slumber with all 12 of her master oscillators in action and pretty much in the same order she was in last time!…
After some initial tests I made this recording consisting of one overdub of a plucked sustain over some sustained pads whilst occasionally moving some of her formant resonator controls. The recording was made directly from the line output of the pre-amplifier into delay and reverb but with no form of added modulation processing such as chorus or flanger.
It still truly astounds me that an all electronic instrument originally on the drawing board in the mid 1930s can sound like this.. and even moreso over 80 years after she left the factory!!
We are so used to hearing muffled scratchy recordings from the 1930s – but that is not to say its what it sounded like on the day of the recording – the HF the NC produces is amazing for its era.
Composition & Recording Copyright D.A.Wilson, Hideaway Studio, 2020.
Cory Pelizzari has very kindly featured the Hideaway Studio Kontakt libraries in a recent addition to his Synth Sample Gems video series:
Welcome to the 1980s: A Major New Era in Affordable Digital Technologies….
MICRO-5K is in some ways a celebration of a new era in which two increasingly affordable technologies came together to form something quite special – namely computer controlled digital synthesis…
The early 1980s were a time where most professional computers and electronic instruments were well out of the financial reach of the man on the street, or indeed of most educational institutions, and yet some very clever individuals managed to find a way to deliver sometimes surprisingly usable systems with affordable price tags…
In the UK two companies famously went on to dominate the race to produce affordable home and educational computing systems namely Sinclair Research and Acorn Computers. The head to head battle to gain market dominance for home computer supremacy in the 1980s was dramatised in the 2009 film Micro Men (BBC Four) documenting the sometimes intense rivalry between Sir Clive Sinclair (played by Alexander Armstrong) and Chris Curry (Martin Freeman).
The BBC Micro eventually won out as being the educational computer of choice in the UK with over 1.5 million sold into schools, colleges and university research labs. Both the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and the BBC Micro spawned what became a whole generation of home computer “bedroom coders” who went on to form the very foundation of the modern computer game industry. The UK’s contribution to what is now one of the biggest industries in the world cannot be underestimated.
What also cannot be ignored is that one of the BBC Micro’s key designers was Sophie Wilson, the very same legendary genius who co-designed the ARM Processor (originally standing for Acorn RISC Machine), which went on from its humble yet ground breaking roots in the 1987 32-bit Acorn Archimedes desktop computer to eventually finding its way into almost every mobile phone on the planet!
The BBC Micro was unusually well endowed with expansion ports and turned out to be the perfect host for a plethora of add-on peripherals. This included Hybrid Technology Ltd’s Music 500 system which was initially branded as an Acorn product but eventually became the Hybrid Music 5000 system following a major update to the software supporting the synth module.
Enter MUSIC 5000…
In a market largely dominated by analog synthesizers the MUSIC 5000 was in many ways not just affordable but actually rather ahead of its time. Originally designed by Chris Jordan it was somewhat close to being an inexpensive variant of Hal Alles’ proposed “Digital High Speed Oscillator System”. Detailed by Alles in 1979 in a paper called “An Inexpensive Digital Sound Synthesizer”, it originally formed the basis of the huge Bell Labs “Alles Machine”, the eye-wateringly expensive 1979 Crumar G.D.S. and the Digital Keyboards Synergy. All of these systems used a bank of wave-tables which were played back using the digital “phase-accumulation” method.
Having accurate high-speed phase control over the wave-tables allowed mathematical operations to be applied between pairs of oscillators in hardware in real-time. In the case of the MUSIC 5000 this permitted amplitude, phase and ring-modulation and osc-sync, all in the digital domain. Up to 8 stereo channels with 24-bit frequency control accuracy clocked at 47KHz could be utilised in a single sound or a number of different sounds played concurrently (multi-timbral). This was pretty impressive for an affordable digital music synthesizer module which was first released in 1983. Even more impressive is that the whole thing was implemented in a handful of stock logic and RAM chips!
Unlike its more expensive 16-bit counterparts the MUSIC 5000 produced its output at 8-bit resolution but it used companding u-Law converters which sounded more like 12-bit audio thanks to their improved low signal level accuracy. Obviously by today’s standards the MUSIC 5000 is very much outdated and pretty primitive but, like so many early offerings, it has a unique character all of its own.
All Controlled by a Computer Language called AMPLE?
Unusually the MUSIC 5000 low-level control method was more akin to something found in a research lab ie. all of its synthesis and music production functions were programmed at the command line in a language called AMPLE. Although there were later front ends offering basic user interfaces to make things a little more friendly, the programming language still interfaced with the hardware itself.
No MIDI Input?
Nope.. not originally – the user had to hand code his music compositions into the computer. Later a keyboard was produced… and very much later I designed a custom MIDI interface which was put to great use to produce this library!
All sample material captured from a 1986 Hybrid Technology Ltd MUSIC 5000 synth module controlled by a 1983 Acorn BBC Micro Model B running the AMPLE music programming language. Sample capture in 24-bit audio using an RME Fireface fed via a 1969 Fairchild model 662 germanium pre-amp and model 664 transformer-coupled passive-EQ. MIDI control offered by Hideaway Studio’s M5KMIDI a custom MUSIC 5000 MIDI interface for the BBC Micro.
This library requires the full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher.
Approximately 700MB of free hard disk space is required.
595 24-bit Samples
100 Example Instruments
24 Example Layered-Multis
D.A.Wilson MUSIC5000 Install/Overhaul,Sound Design,Sample Set&Instruments.
Stephen Howell (Hollow Sun, RIP) Original Quad Layering Engine Concept.
Mario Krušelj Synth Engine Script.
Anders Hedström (Flavours of Lime) GUI Design & Graphics.
Simon Power (MEON) for very kindly helping with the alpha testing.
A very big thank you to Mark Haysman at RetroClinic for supplying the MUSIC 5000 synth module and helping me to upgrade the Acorn BBC Micro with a Gotek HxC floppy emulator.
As with all of my Kontakt instruments, the ethos behind them is not so much an attempt to capture and recreate the past but an opportunity to present the original source material as textures, elements and building blocks in order to create something new. At the same time, hopefully some of the original beauty and character of these rare and vintage instruments and equipment will shine through.
A long time in the making, I have been wanting to release for some time now a sequel to one of my most popular Kontakt instruments to date which has been a personal favourite of mine since the beginning. As I’m sure many are aware, I have always had a bit of a soft spot for evocative cinematic synth strings, and especially pseudo realistic string ensembles. It has been very exciting for me that some of these string ensembles and textures have found their way into a number of major music productions around the world.
My original String Collection was largely based on early string synths such as the ARP Omni and the Eminent 310U. I wanted to add several new offerings from several other families of synthesizer. The reasoning behind this was an attempt to broaden the sonic territory in what has proven to be a remarkably effective and easy to use layering engine. Some extra elements from my beloved 1938 Novachord #346 have been introduced including a very “warts & all” string timbre straight from the beast. Such elements may sound a little too antique to some in isolation but can form a remarkable secret element when layered with others in the layering engine. It is hard to believe this quarter ton 163 tube monster is 80 years old this year!
Around 30 instruments were captured and I’ve tried to draw upon a number of basic synthesis methods including divide down/formant, classic subtractive, DCO, digital FM and additive as well as capturing some tube synth textures from three vintage synths. Synths included the DK Synergy and ultra rare Mulogix Slave-32, Rhodes Chroma, Octave Cat Voyetra-Eight, Farfisa Syntorchestra, ProphetVS, Elka Synthex, Oberheim OB-X and Matrix 1000, Korg PS-3100. Tube synths included the Hammond Novachord, a Jennings Univox J6 and a heavily modified Cordovox CG-1.
I have also tried to introduce a number of unique processing methods to add tonal colour, character and movement to various sounds. This included a rather bizarre idea I had to play raw material through a speaker and record it using an old carbon granule GPO telephone mic. This imparted a wonderful crunchy antique character which when layered with the original source produced a rather beautiful effect. Other methods involved recording on and off of rather worn ¼” tape on a wonderful 1969 Revox G36 tube reel to reel. An original 1969 Dolby A-301 (the world’s first Dolby dynamic noise reduction system) and a DBX II 128 compander along with a gorgeous Binson tube Pre-Mixer were also used to good effect. A number of triple ensembles were used to process single string timbres from various synths into something much more akin to the original Solina strings. This included the often overlooked Korg SDD-3300 triple modulated delay and retasking the triple BBD chorus ensemble in the little Böhm Dynamic 12/24 as well as the wonderful “Orbitone” generator in the Eminent 310U. Truly uniquely, I used the latter to process some of the string timbres from the Novachord to produce some very special ensembles!
A number of layers and blends were brought together to form the basic 36 instruments loaded into the layering engine to form String Collection II.
Novachord #346 is now 80 years old & has proven to be a truly unique sonic ingredient!
1938 Novachord #346, Eminent 310U, Minimoog T2798E, ORLA DSE-24,
Böhm Dynamic 4×9, Oberheim OB-X, Jennings Univox J6 tube monosynth,
Studio Electronics Omega 8,Sequential Prophet 600, Sequential Prophet VS,
Octave Cat Voyetra Eight, Sequential Six-Trak, Rhodes Chroma, Korg PE-1000,
Korg PS-3100, Waldorf microWave I, Yamaha TX802, Yamaha TX81Z,
Custom Cordovox CG-1 tube polysynth, Oberheim Matrix 1000, DK Synergy II+,
Mulogix Slave 32, Evolution EVS-1, Roland D-110, Roland JX-8P, Roland JUNO-106,
Roland VP-330, Roland alpha-Juno II, Elka Synthex, Farfisa Syntorchestra,
Crumar Performer, Crumar Bit One…
Passive formant resonator circuit, GPO Carbon Microphone, Revox G36 tube half-track,
1969 Dolby A-301, DBX II 128 Compander, Binson tube Pre-Mixer, Korg SSD-3300…
This library requires the full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher.
Approximately 1.2GB of free hard disk space is required.
786 24-bit Samples
64 Example Instruments
* INTRODUCTORY OFFER EXCLUSIVELY VIA KONTAKT HUB *
Till the end of December The String Collection II will come with Collection I for free:
D.A.Wilson (Hideaway Studio) Sound Design, Sample Capture, Patches & Demo.
Mario Krušelj Synth Engine Script.
Anders Hedström (Flavours of Lime) GUI Design & Graphics.
Huge thanks to _BT for his enthusiastic support during alpha testing.
Its hard to believe its 5 years almost to the day that Hideaway Studio officially opened its doors and its a proud moment. Over the past 5 years I have captured tens of thousands of raw samples from hundreds of hours of recordings resulting in 23 releases for NI Kontakt. Tens of thousands of copies have been sold and I have been blown away by the kind response from so many customers and clients. I have also been extremely excited that my libraries have been immortalised in everything from major film scores and commercial albums to TV scores and computer games around the world.
Its also remarkable that over that period I have had over 350 pieces of cherished vintage studio kit in for TLC in The Lab much of which requiring major overhaul and including several major restorations. Several of these amazing beasts have provided the raw sample material for my libraries!
Rest assured there is indeed more in the pipeline and my passion for trying to present some of the magic captured from these wonderful old beasts for the modern world to enjoy is something that never fades…
Thank you to all of you for your kind support over the years – it is hugely appreciated and helps to keep me going.
D.A.Wilson, Hideaway Studio.
The Crimson Chameleon!..
The Polivoks (Rus.: Поливокс) was designed by Vladimir Kuzmin with input on the aesthetics from his wife Olimpiada who was apparently inspired by Soviet military radios of the time. In production between 1982 and 1990 the Polivoks was manufactured at the Formanta Radio Factory in Kachkanar, Russian SFSR. With a retail price upon release of 920 rubles around 100,000 Polivoks were manufactured – peaking at a production rate of up to 1,000 units a month! Despite this, the Polivoks is not all that commonly seen an instrument outside of Russia.
Although intending to appear and sound similar to the Minimoog it has been said that Vladimir never had access to the instrument or indeed any technical information. On examining the schematics, I’d have to agree and go so far as to say the Polivoks is a very different beast indeed on a technical footing. Some have said the instrument was a poor man’s Minimoog but I truly think this is disingenuous to say the least as it sports some interesting unique features such as looping envelopes, a particularly efficiently implemented duophonic note assigner, and a quite remarkable and unique filter design.
In fact, whilst producing the original patches for this library I have been particularly taken by the filter on this unique instrument which is like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Sporting both Low Pass and Band Pass modes it can be quite an untamed beast at times but with care also capable of producing some really quite beautiful timbres.
It may be full of bizarre old Russian transistors the size of small flying saucers, plastic that feels like it was made from recycled Christmas cracker toys and easily winning the most horrific key-action ever made contest.. I truly adore this wonderful old analog chameleon of an instrument!
As always with all of my Kontakt Libraries the raw sample material has been captured faithfully and directly from the instrument (including in this case a few samples taken via a gorgeous 1968 Bruel & Kjaer type 2107 all- tube swept band pass lab filter). The Solo Synth Engine retains the sonic character of the instrument and yet help to present it in a new light permitting a wide range of tonal colours, textures and landscapes to be explored. With this in mind I have included many example patches in the library which I think will help to show the full potential of the Polivox library.
…oh and look out for the secret button!! :-]
This library requires the full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher.
Approximately 685MB of free hard disk space is required.
845 24-bit Samples
64 Example Instruments
66 Example Layered-Multis
D.A.Wilson (Hideaway Studio) Sound Design,Sample Capture,Example Patches & Demo.
Mario Krušelj Synth Engine Script.
Boris Chuprin Cyrillic GUI Translations.
Anders Hedström (Flavours of Lime) GUI Design & Graphics.
This time it was a gorgeous 1983 Rhodes Chroma!
After a very deep clean inside and out followed by a visual inspection it was quickly realised the original rather large and somewhat grizzly linear PSU had burnt out and was showing signs of several past repairs. News got round that a new cooler running switched mode PSU retrofit had been made available and was duly installed. Having returned power to the beast it quickly transpired that at least two voice cards had serious issues and were failing the dreaded auto-tune. This rapidly became a can of worms when it became apparent that almost all of the considerable number of analog multiplexors within the beast were practically dying in front of my eyes due to age and after the shock of being pressed back into action for the first time in several years. Following removal and replacement of some 40 or so unsocketed ICs much of the instrument returned to life leaving a final stubborn voice card really determined not to play ball. On discovery of a number of leaky transistor arrays and tired charge pump oscillators the final voice card eventually succumb to my continued harassment only to have a third voice card fail during soak testing!
After two weeks of intense toil this 16 VCO beast returneth to life… and what a beast!
Having sifted through and loaded up over 1000 patches during soak testing over 5.5 Hours of raw audio was captured directly from the instrument.
ARP’s Last Gasp…
ARP Instruments, the hugely influential name behind a string of famous instruments such as the ARP2500, ARP2600, Odyssey, Avatar, Omni, Quadra and Axxe, was in its prime during the 70s but by the early 80s the tables had turned for the worse and the company was losing money hand over fist thanks to a series of unfortunate business decisions, excessive cost of sales figures and overheads.
Work had started on the Chroma in the autumn of 1979. After two years of intense development interspersed by the project being temporarily shelved on a number of occasions things were looking decidedly shaky at ARP on the financial front. This was no fault of the R&D team behind this technically challenging design but due to increasing resistance from management who had their own battles to fight.
Philip Dodds was left to head a company dying before his eyes and several months of development were lost to company politics. The situation became dire and he was eventually left with little option but to close down the R&D department. Despite the ongoing stress of the situation he succeeded in selling on the IP rights to the Chroma design to CBS Musical Instruments and in the process was hired to oversee its production. If it wasn’t for this last gasp for survival the Chroma would surely never have existed.
The Chroma was an advanced digitally managed 16 VCO analog synthesizer released after the initial success of the Sequential Prophet-5. Both instruments offered patch memory with the Chroma sporting a bank of 50 user programmable patches. It was one of the first analog synths to offer multi-timbral operation, voice layering and keyboard splitting with velocity sensitivity. The voice architecture was unusually flexible whereby the firmware could route signals through two low pass filters, in parallel or series, or switch the VCA before or after the filters. Through a bespoke digital interface (Chroma pre-dated MIDI) it was even possible to edit voices in a program on the Apple II computer.
CBS released the Chroma in 1981 with a list price of $5295 and proved to be pretty successful with estimates of around 1400 units eventually sold.
56 Unique Instruments Presented in The Layering Engine…
Chromatix features a deceptively powerful layering engine which allows the user to create new sounds and textures with ease by selecting up to four out of a bank of 56 partial voices to be layered. Each layer has its own fine and course tuning, ADSR envelope, panning, velocity sensitivity, LFO and tone controls. This permits anything from huge pads to complex evolving sounds. Many of the demo instrument patches included are good pointers as to how some of these effects are achieved.
Above of each of the four voice panels there is an orange LCD display showing the selected voice. By clicking on each of the displays a pull down menu appears allowing one of 56 voice partials to be selected. With a potentially vast number of layered permutations at hand two different banks of 28 partials are available the first set assigned to channels 1 & 3 and the second bank of 28 partials assigned to channels 2 & 4.
Naturally the example instruments packed with the library can be used as is but where the fun starts is having a go dialing in your own sounds using the intuitive layering engine. All of your creations can be saved as .nki instruments simply by using the save as function by clicking on the files icon in the main Kontakt control pane.
The layering engine consists of four identical programming panels and an effects section. This release is the first to use a recently updated version of the layering engine which has recently been revised to include separate velocity sensitivity controls for each layer.
The TONE control is a deceptively powerful feature. In the fully downward position the signal is unaffected. As the control is moved upwards a continuously evolving complex EQ curve is applied. With some experimentation this feature can be used for embellishing formants within each voice partial and helping to sit each of the layers together in the mix.
This library requires the full version of Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher.
Approximately 1.35GB of free hard disk space is required.
1030 24-bit Samples
56 Partials/Voices presented in 4 Channel Layering Engine
75 Example Instruments
D.A.Wilson (Hideaway Studio) Rhodes Chroma Restoration & Sound Design, Sample Capture, Example Patches & Demo. Stephen Howell (Hollow Sun, RIP) Original Layering Engine Concept. Mario Krušelj Synth Engine Script,GUI Design & Graphics Anders Hedström (Flavours of Lime) GUI Graphic Design.
“Great sounds… I love learning about instruments I never knew about. Hideaway always does a great job of digging up the esoteric. This library is great for having some real character in your eighties homages and also is very useful for ambient. There are great features here and the character is this library is what makes it a triumph. Love everything Hideaway does.”
Nicholas Johnson (via LootAudio on MICRO-5K)
“Quality Sounds… Wow, as almost every synth from Hideaway Studio, this is really excellent, lush and warm sounding. Crazy good.”
Michael Wiedmer (via LootAudio on MICRO-5K)
“Huge Sound!!… Well, as the title says, this instruments lib as huge sounds. Gorgeous ‘spacy’sounds with nice ‘lil modulation here and there, big bottom, great Filters, EQ, sat touch to colour enough patches. Each sound is carefully mastered in the way that you open it and can play with it right away. Again well done Hideaway Studio (clap clap) worth the penny for sure who likes big sounds with a great large palette for ambient stuff but not only.”
David Aknin (via LootAudio on MICRO-5K)
“THE ULTIMATE STRING PAD LIBRARY!.. Pure fun to play with this ultimate string pad library. Smooth, expressive, with depth. A lot of diverse sources are interweaved to create a very unique, powerful collection of undeniably artificial, but nevertheless superb sounding (mostly) pads. Fun to play with and inspiring to explore it… Recommended!”
Martin Juenke (via Kontakt Hub on String Collection II)
“INSPIRATIONAL SOUNDS.. You know those special instruments you occasionally come across, which have the ability to inspire and trigger a burst of ideas and creativity? The Blue Zone is one such collection. In the short time since I purchased it, these sounds have made their way into a number of tracks I have in progress for a new album of production music I’m releasing next month. There is an expansive and indefinable quality to these sounds, and Dan from Hideaway Studio has a golden ear for creating highly musical & timeless virtual instruments, with the soul & essence of the original hardware from which they are derived. Great stuff.”
Craig Richards (via Kontakt Hub on The Blue Zone)
“Polivox is a nice surprise! I expected a more generic-sounding synth instrument, but this thing has tons of character. It can do rich/evolving or cheap/oddball equally well, with a nice depth and texture throughout. The whole thing sounds more interesting and has more variety then I expected. Hideaway Studio has done a fantastic job in both the patch programming and sampling, and a lot of the character and quality of the final instrument are due to this. By the way, my Russian isn’t so good either—but when you hover your mouse over a control, it is labeled (in English, of course) in the Info pane at the bottom of the Kontakt window. In any case the interface is nicely designed and simple to learn, and the user manual is well-written, with some nice advice on playing the instrument and using the GUI.”
Loïc Forsyth (via Kontakt Hub on Polivox)
“I have to say I’ve fallen in love with the sounds you created for the Blue Zone, they’re beautifully recorded and sampled and by far my favourite Kontakt library right now.”
Neil Davidge (Massive Attack).
“These Blue Zone sound libraries are some of my favorites. Shimmering, murky, distant, distressed, and very evocative. I love sounds that feel like they’ve been through hell on their way to the speakers, and these are right on the money. Highly recommended, and such a bargain!”
Charlie Clouser, Film & TV Composer
“Like All Hideaway Studio Products… this is stellar. It is actually hard to overstate how excellent these sample libraries are. They are clearly a labor of love. They convey the “analog” spirit, while also adding originality, musicality and taste to the mix. All of the presets are done with care, but they can be tweaked considerably as well. In my opinion these are some of the very best sample libraries available anywhere and possibly the best value of any you will find.”
“So Happy I Found This!.. I love playing strings and this instrument is one of the best if not the best I’ve found. Right out of the box, every patch is beautiful and I look forward to building on what was provided. Sonically everything is superb, as is the great efx included with the program. Even though synth-generated, some of these patches sound better than my orchestral string programs. You can tell the value of an instrument by it’s inspirational quotient. I am 100% inspired by these. Very nice software, Hideaway Studio. Looking forward to your next products. Well worth what I paid.”
KontaktHub Customer on the String Collection..
“Amazing Diverse Beauty – The snapshots in this instrument are so inspiring. You can hear the love the developer has for these old synths and all the cool outboard he uses as well to add great flavor to the sounds. Love it!”
Jacob Golden on The Blue Zone..
“BEAUTIFUL SAMPLING OF SOUNDS. I got no further than a handful of patches before I was compelled to start turning a couple (stacked) into song form. there’s inspiration in abundance here unless you lean towards the noisy and dissonant (at least that’s my initial impression). there’s plenty of pricey synths out there for that, this is rather more a treasure-trove of useful, elegant sounds, some with a very unique twist. all functions appear to automate with ease….the interface is spare but rich….and most-importantly these instruments are immaculately sampled and presented. indeed a bargain!”
Clay Colgin on The Blue Zone (via Kontakt Hub)
“Blue Zone was my very first Hideaway Studios Kontakt library. It’s the one that got me hooked! 🙂 The fact that you’re making these great libraries with all the esoteric sources and signal chains that you use, really takes the pressure off – it means I don’t have to! LOL. Seriously, its a huge thing for me.
Thanks again Dan for making such great tools out of your experiments.”
Chromatix is proving to be a popular new Kontakt library.
A review was recently published by David Baer in the on-line music magazine, SoundBytes: Chromatix Review in SoundBytes
And a selection from a string of kind feedback from customers over the past few weeks:
“Thank you for this collection! I have always wanted to play a Synergy and now I can. I have only been playing for less than an hour but already am incorporating the sounds into a piece I am working on. I also appreciate the history of the instrument you relate here. What a great job!”
“I’ve been playing around with Chromatix for some time now and I think this is the best Sample-library I’ve purchased for Kontakt. Being the restless guy I am, I usually make small tweaks to existing patches to suit my needs.
But Chromatix have made me make quite a number of sounds of my own. (If you know some of the latest releases from Hideaway you’re also aware that the way you can build sounds with different layers of samples isn’t new, So I’ve had the opportunity to make sounds this way already, in other libraries.) But there’s something about the Rhodes Chroma that appeals to my taste and makes me dive deeper and deeper into a search for new sounds. Thanks Hideaway!
I know I’ve already made a comment on this library further up, but I haven’t used any other sounds for nearly two weeks now and I thought Chromatix (or Dan) deserved a ‘thank you’.”
M:) KVR Forum
“Bought this last week -well into double figures with my Hideaway sound sets now and this is right up there with the best of them!
I’ve never actually got my hands near a Rhodes Chroma, but I have had the privilege of hearing one in concert on a couple of occasions and this sample set captures the warm, powerful sound very well indeed.
What I’ve always particularly liked about the original Chroma’s sound is its potential for complexity and movement – that layering system! Dan has captured this aspect perfectly -as always, the GUI is superb – simple and intuitive, with the layers feature adding lots of options for experimenting and creating your own sounds.
Already using some of the sounds in a new piece and starting to create my own patches!”
ChamMusic, KVR Forum
“Just to say, I’m absolutely loving the new Chromatix sounds, particularly the minute attention to detail you’ve put into every patch. Things like Trails of Light, Galileo and Unknown Territory have a wealth of things unfolding and then the decay will offer a fluttering twist to give you just an extra sparkle of magic. Wonderful stuff!”
Simon Power, Meonsound
“Sublime. majestic. flat out gorgeous. I’ve spent about an hour just previewing patches, and I’m only through the “N”s. 🙂 I can only hope to compose pieces that are worthy of these sounds.”
Stroker_ace, KVR Forum
Just received news of a nice review by David Baer on three of Hideaway Studio’s libraries at the Sound Bytes Magazine:
Some of the Many Kind Testimonials Received From Customers on Other Hideaway Studio Libraries
“This is some of the purest, strongest ear candy I’ve encountered in years.”
GreyLion, KVR Forum
“A Little Gem.. How did I miss this one? I own many Hideaway products, but somehow this one passed me by! This is a fantastic little synth – warm, rich, punchy sounds that have that certain magical ‘something’ that makes them very special! It’s based on the old Yamaha CS01, a synth that I owned and used a lot way back in the late 1980s! ZERO 1 goes way beyond the quality of sounds that the original could produce and this is all down to the post processing done by Dan at Hideaway… That touch of tube warmth and subtle tape delay movement have produced a very capable synth right across the board…use it for leads, bass, pads etc…sounds that gel very well together in the mix. A serious bargain!”
Mark Taylor, KontaktHub Customer on the Zero-1 Synth..
“Dan, I finally had the chance to purchase Synergenesis …WOW, this is even better than expected. I’ve only been playing around with the presets for an hour or so, and BOOM, Immediate inspiration! The Synergy has been my long time favorite Vintage Synthesizer for many reasons. Thank you for bringing the Synergy back to life, especially for those who have dreamed of actually playing/programming one. You will always have my support …Long Live Hideaway Studio!”
“Wow, Dan! What a fantastic story. I cannot thank you enough for going through such enormous efforts for not only preserving these unique technological wonders for the world, but also make them available for us to play them and enjoy them for such an affordable price!! Simply awesome!”
“Like many guitarists, I love the retro-analog world, but can’t always reside there. But thanks to Hideaway Studio’s Dan Wilson those ‘primitivo’ tones can flourish in my digital domains. Dan is easily one of my two or three favorite sound-mongers. He doesn’t just have access to the “right” gear — his recording, processing, mixing, mastering coupled with great GUI designs by Hollow Sun’s Stephen Howell are unfailingly hip and musical. At this point I don’t even audition Hideaway’s audio demos — I just buy everything Dan makes the instant he announces it. How convenient that his products are as affordable as they are awesome!”
Joe Gore [Tom Waits,Tracy Chapman, PJ Harvey, Eels, Courtney Love, DJ Shadow, etc.]
“GREAT JOB!! I love these new old sounds. Wobbly, retro, noisy as hell in some cases, worn, distressed, evocative of a bakelite world…
Death to the Giant Silver Workstation…
Just great programming from an enviable source library. Unique. Saliva-prompting. Above all a profoundly musical collection of refreshingly flawed tones.”
Harvey Jones, Synth player with Sex and Sorrow, Nadia Ackerman, and Blow Up Hollywood
“when I first came across them, I spent a whole afternoon listening through in absolute wonder. They are without a doubt, some of the best tones I have ever heard & so meticulous in their detail. I’ll look forward to using them on up coming film & media production cues and in a variety of other projects, too.”
Simon Power, Composer & Sound Designer for BBC’s Doctor Who audiobooks
“Some jaw-droppingly beautiful sounds, and highly recommended!” DavyAch, KVR Forum
“This instrument is really made with the creative musician in mind , simple , efficient, reliable and inspiring…” Claude Samard-Polikar Musical director, musician and arranger for Jean-Michel Jarre and award winning film/video games composer. www.claudesamard.com
“I have Gforce VSM, K8U, Synth Magic, Tronsonic, etc. But after playing the demo song against a few of my fav’s, I feel like hideaway really has its own identity and spin on a familiar territory. I like the sound of its playability. It just works! Check it out.” KK, Chronic Audio NYCwww.chronicaudionyc.com
“Just to let you know – I hate you. I was really only going to look at your page and admire the work. Suddenly my mouse started clicking away. Now I have spent all my “play” money and part of my food allowance. Expect me for dinner at some point if I can ever get away from my computer. This stuff is just Gorgeous!” hueynym, KVR Forum
“This is startlingly beautiful! Well done – it’s a privilege to own such a great collection of synths, and I’m happy you share them with the world. I love the sound of real orchestras, but there’s something about the synthetic voices of the 1960s and 1970s that really works well with modal and minor key pop music.” Ray Savage
“Thanks so much for yet another great sounding, great looking and very cleverly programmed instrument! The price is equally great. 11 stars (of 10)…” Tpot, KVR Forum
“I love the The Pentodian Resonator Choir library. I thought it would be good, but I seem to be reaching for it every time I need a choir-like sound at the moment.” Shangsean, KVR Forum
“Pentodian Resonator Choir … Love it, absolute no brainer!!” don1thedon, KVR Forum
“Love this thing, and not the first I bought from Hideaway and really clicked with it straight away. Keep up the good work!” Vicshere, KVR Forum
“The Bass Machine has an awesome analogue sound to it! Loving what you can do with a bit of tweaking. Congrats on a great product.”
Phil Meadley (aka Lucidity Lo-Fi)
“Sounds beautiful. If you keep makin’ them, I’ll keep buyin’ them.” bharris22, KVR Forum
“Quite pleased inventive and creative work still happens like this. Also pleased it happens to come at this price!” thisplace, KVR Forum
“a truly inspiring, deep and unique treasure trove of organic sound. In fact, I got stuck on preset #1, Apollo Strings, and time just flew…” Joachim Smith
“I bought S-VX yesterday and am liking it a lot. I have only just scratched the surface but I can see lots of warm, moving tones and plenty of mangling opportunities. Well done. I look forward to more from you. And the Multis inspired me to try out a few of my own – there are loads of possibilities.” DarkStar, KVR Forum
“just bought this (S-VX), and been playing around for a bit, and every single noise that comes out of this beast is warm, lush, and straight-up INSPIRATIONAL! i have a suspicion i’ll probably be (over)using this beast for quite some time!” Funky Lime, KVR Forum
“First, the Noble Horns would make any soundtrack maker very happy. It has exactly the right blend of “almost acoustic” and “ageless” and “epicness”. I really, really dig the “grrraaaawwwwrr” of the sound. Amalfi Strings… yum. I think you’re at something that speaks to me in the exact right words. I cannot describe it better.” Petri Alanko, Game & Film Score Composer (Xbox 360 game, Alan Wake)
“Listened to the demo, concluded it was a bloody lovely sound library and bought it on the spot. Great bargain! I think it’s a lovely set of sounds. Really. Right in the zone for the work I am trying to do. Gorgeous. You have a very good ear.” tropicalontour, KVR Forum
“Dan, I saw your website on Rekkerd.org recently and checked out your demos. I got thru the first Orbitone example and immediately bought both of your sample sets. From earthy to epic, it’s all there. What really impresses me is the warmth of the samples. I’ve had some real fun combining both the Orbitone and S-VX Hybrid patches. I think the best thing that can be said of your sample sets is that it inspires me to make music! Great work!!! Keep them coming!” Rick G
“The sounds are so human and expressive and made me want to record something/anything immediately. I think that’s a rare skill you have, to be able to create sounds of such delicacy, detail and warmth that are also eminently playable and feel so right under the fingers.” maestroeden.com
Dear all – firstly may I heartily apologize for the lack of recent postings on the blog. I want to make it very clear that I am still very much committed to my sound design and that a considerable amount of raw sample material for new products is very much in the can awaiting attention. As many of you know, there are two sides to my passion in electronic music both in my sound design and returning cherished vintage studio gear to its former glory. What with there only being so many hours in the day, it is sometimes very difficult to strike a balance between these two obsessions in my life and I often end up feeling like I have let the other side down during times of particularly hard graft.
The last couple of months have been exceptional but more importantly represent a once in a lifetime opportunity…
Some of you may already be aware that I have practically lived with two extremely rare early groundbreaking digital synthesizers in my new synth workshop for several weeks now working very hard to return them to their former glory. The two instruments in question represent literally two out of the three known complete existing examples in the world. They are 1979 General Development Systems (aka GDS) originally costing $30,000 and designed in part by members of Bell Labs and MTI/Crumar. The GDS is the instrument that became the direct basis for the wonderful DK Synergy which you have all recently heard in sampled form in Synergenesis.
One of the two examples shown here in the recent photo was owned by a very famous pioneering German EM composer and founder of a very influential EM group. It was used extensively in number of well known recordings from the early 80s. This is just the keyboard console – the system comprises of a very large 8-bit computer with twin 8″ floppy drives running CP/M and a large serial terminal. Both systems are now back up and running for the first time in very many years and have been retrofitted with HxC disk emulators which is most definitely a first for this particular model of synthesizer. This has resulted in all of the original software and the factory sound library on 8″ floppy disks being safely immortalized in a modern digital format.
For those who are interested I have blogged the progress of both restorations at the Vintage Synth Explorer forum:
It is worth pointing out that such distractions on the hardware front are actually a great thing because all of my time spent working on such technical wonders of yesteryear serve much potential for capturing new sample material and subsequently lead to the basis of new releases. With this in mind the hope was to release such a major release for Christmas based on a significant amount of material captured from a wonderful old beast I restored earlier in the year. This library is still due for release but will now be expected in the New Year.
That said, I hope to have at least a little something to allow you all to have the opportunity to play some material captured directly from the KS GDS during testing along with a small offering with a festive edge in the next few days captured from a very rare vintage tube amplified electromechanical instrument. Also lookout for some festive offers on libraries from Hideaway Studio in the near future.
May I also take this opportunity to give you all my sincere thank yous for being so supportive over the past year. It has definitely been a year of highs and lows and the tragic loss of Stephen Howell has been extremely painful for myself and Mario and his family. During the summer I channeled a lot of my energy into building a wonderful new synth workshop which really helped to take my mind off of things. I even managed to finally construct an area dedicated to all of my vintage test gear which has since grown substantially. A large chunk of these vintage wonders were used in the making of The Blue Zone series and are now very much cherished so its great to finally have a dry and warm place to store them for future use.