Heavyocity, a leader in imaginative sounds and sampling, has released Gravity, a virtual instrument specifically geared for use in film scoring and game audio. By using Native Instruments Kontakt 5, the developer has given Gravity a great deal of programmability, along with a few wrinkles you won’t find in a hardware instrument. The library ships with 12 GB of uncompressed content, featuring 2,200 sound sources and a slew of presets.
In the center of the instrument is a window with three or four tabs above it. Tab choices differ depending on whether you’ve selected Hits, Pads, Stings, or Risers. For example, Pads have Mix, Pitch, Punish, and Twist controls. Mix provides faders for each of the three sample channels in a patch: Change levels, mute or solo, modify or randomize sample-start time, and modulate relative channel volumes with an LFO. Hits, Stings, and Risers offer a Sample tab, which lets you adjust or randomize sample start time, in addition to altering tuning, panning, and level.
Common to all main categories are the Punish and Twist controls. These display as glowing orbs that circumnavigate the center window with a high-contrast, radiant fader that regulates the effect amount. The red button, below, toggles the effect. Punish is Heavyocity’s custom blend of compression and saturation, while Twist offers frequency-dependent modulation based on EQ, often altering tonal qualities in subtle and sometimes indescribable ways. You also get knobs for Tone and Rate.
On the left you’ll find controls for other effects—reverb, chorus, delay, and distortion—with access to basic parameters (such as predelay, size, and mix, for reverb, in addition to a pull-down menu for the convolution reverb’s 23 impulse responses). Although the controls for the effects are fairly standard, they allow for significant timbre shaping—but that party is just starting.
Your sound-design options increase when you use the EQ/FIL, TFX, Motion, and Designer windows, which can be used to alter your patch radically. (TFX are triggered effects settings that instantly transform your sounds using keys mapped outside of the playable range of the patch.) The Designer page (found in Risers and Hits) lets you recombine sampled elements through key mapping.
Motion is perhaps the most radical and immediately gratifying of the controls, comprising a bank of step sequencers for volume, pan, and pitch. Grab any step, sweep over the entire cycle to reshape them into interesting envelopes, or select from preset patterns to create LFO-type shapes.
Gravity’s tonal qualities range from thick and overdriven to gauzy and breathy. You’ll find dark, moody, and otherworldly ambiences and pads, startling and electrifying stings and hits, and dramatic risers.
Throughout the collection, the sounds provide the high degree of mixing precision required for film and gaming applications. For example, Risers have pull-down menus that let you adapt a patch to varying bar lengths and tempos. In many cases, sounds are divided into smaller groups of elements, with separate stems for a patch’s whooshes and sweeps that let you quickly create hybrid sounds.
Heavyocity has created a virtual instrument that scores high in terms of sound and flexibility. Visualmedia composers will find lots to be excited about with Gravity, as will musicians of all stripes.
A tremendous variety of timbral variations comprising pads, risers, and stings. Expressive and moody sounds.