Sounds: Heavyocity: Evolve

This virtual instrument is billed as a sort of “soundtrack creation toolkit” with over 600 beat-sliced loops, cool percussion instruments, over 250 tonal instruments, thousands of samples, etc. However, thinking of it solely as the basis for scoring the next Bourne flick doesn’t do Evolve justice, as many of the sounds and loops are equally applicable to other musical styles—particularly dance.

I didn’t post audio examples on the EQ site because Heavyocity’s site has a ton, and they represent the product accurately. Instead, we’ll cover what it’s like to work with Evolve. (And incidentally, writing this review was not easy, because just about every time I called up a sound, I wanted to stop writing and make some music.)

Evolve is based on the cross-platform Kontakt Player 2—a great playback engine for sample libraries, as covered in previous reviews (the high points: lots of effects, surround capabilities, aux buses, etc.). Note that you can also load the sounds into Kontakt 3 for additional mangling.

Evolve is organized in four main sections. Rhythmic Suites offers percussive loops but also tonal loops (the bass loops are killer), arpeggiations, and other sequences. Percussive Kits has tons of kits with both conventional and unconventional sounds; I don’t know if Heavyocity intended this, but if you stack percussive kits, they often work together superbly. Stings and Transitions are full of complex washes of sound that range from eerie to transcendent. Tonality and FX includes subfolders for bass, piano, synth, etc., but these are highly creative sounds and treatments.

You’ll also find 25 multis, which are basically “ready-togo” atmosphere/soundtrack generators. I ended up using these almost like Foley—watch the scene, hit the keys, cool sounds pour out.

The biggest “problem” with Evolve: It’s all good—so even if what you call up seems perfect, there’s always the nagging possibility that you’ve missed something even better. After a while, I just figured hey, if it sounds good, I’ll use it; over time, I’m sure I’ll learn the instrument well enough to exploit it to its full potential.

The biggest advantage with Evolve: It covers all the bases, in one very reasonablypriced collection. To do this kind of music before, I had to mix and match several different sound libraries, and hope for the best. Evolve not only fills in the holes in my libraries, but everything has an integrated, cohesive feel that works well together.

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I try to be as objective as possible, avoiding both superlatives and slams in favor of giving the facts, and letting the readers make their own judgments. But in this case, that’s just not possible: I am totally taken by the functionality, musicality, cost-effectiveness, and above all, quality of this library—which is without question one of the finest sound libraries I’ve had the pleasure to review.

Contact: Heavyocity,
Format: Kontakt Player 2-based virtual instrument (AU, VST, RTAS, DirectX, standalone) with 5.7GB library; 16- and 24-bit/44.1kHz
List price: $399

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This intoxicating mix of dance hall and Latin rhythms covers the emotional spectrum from joy to menace. Unlike Big Fish’s Revolucion Reggaeton (reviewed 07/09), which leans more toward a dance hall vibe, Caliente sounds more “Latinized” with a precise, almost hiphop- like feel and clean tonal quality.

The 15 construction kits typically include bass, drums/percussion, breaks, guitars, synths, and keyboards, with multiple variations on parts (e.g., several related guitar loops; most kits have between 20–30 loops). Unlike many Sony libraries where you can almost pick loops at random and have them fit, Caliente seems to work best if most loops come from the same construction kit, particularly because many loops follow chord progressions. However, the drums/percussion/breaks, along with 58 “bonus beats” that aren’t part of specific kits, are highlights of this collection and of course, work with pretty much everything. There are also one-shots of the drum hits.

As expected with Reggaeton, the kits tend to be minor key and exotic, although one of my favorites, “Isla Verde,” borders on the downright positive (check out the online example at—9 of the 14 loops are from this kit). Overall, while I didn’t find Caliente quite as flexible as other Sony libraries, the construction kits are stellar and let you put together cookin’ music—fast.

Contact: Sony Creative Software,
Format: CD-ROM with 508MB of loops and 740KB of oneshots; 15 demo songs in Acid format; 16-bit/44.1kHz
List price: $39.95

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