East West Fab Four Virtual Instrument

Yeah, it sounds like a gimmick: sounds the Beatles used in their groundbreaking albums. But if you thought they’d only be good for doing a Beatles tribute album, you’d be way wrong. The star here is the sounds and production, not necessarily the Beatles; while the sounds recall the heyday of the psychedelic ’60s, they have an integrity and charm that works in all kinds of musical contexts.
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Fab Four uses the Play audio engine, which is stellar: 32/64-bit, Windows/Mac, ASIO/Core Audio, VST/AU/RTAS with convolution reverb, delay, artificial double tracking (chorus), and amplitude envelope. As you play the instruments, you’ll recognize many signature sounds—guitars, keyboards, drums, sitar (no brass, though)—but that doesn’t mean you have to play the licks they provided for the Beatles. In fact, using them in other contexts provides an intriguing combination of freshness and déjà vu; these are highly playable, “organic” sounds that have intrinsic merit and coolness, regardless of their lineage.

The set is not cheap, but the quality is undeniable. I can’t imagine what East West must have gone through to track down these sounds (and get engineer Ken Scott on board), tweak them to perfection, and adapt them to a virtual instrument format. Bottom line: There are many great sound libraries out there, but this is a tour de force.

Contact: East West, www.soundsonline.com
Format: Virtual instrument with about 13GB of 24-bit/44.1kHz samples; requires iLok (not included) for installation
List price: $395