( www.ueberschall.com , $99.95 street)
Fig. 8. Ueberschall’s Elastik engine is ideal for loops.
This library isn’t gigantic—1.5GB—but Ueberschall has a unique approach that weds loop libraries with virtual instruments. Chillers Joint has 20 construction kits with over 1,100 loops that reference the vibe of ’60s and ’70s soundtracks, jazz, and soul.
But what separates this from being “another chill library” is Ueberschall’s Elastik engine (Figure 8), courtesy of zplane (whose algorithms you’ve heard in Ableton Live, Sound Forge 10, etc.). There’s a browser to choose the various kits, and a sync-to-tempo option as well as internal tempo (stretching is handled automatically); however sync-totempo must be invoked whenever you change the host tempo, so the Elastik engine can’t follow host tempo changes automatically.
A row of buttons representing a keyboard lets you select a particular loop (or choose it by hitting a MIDI key), but there’s a second “virtual keyboard” where you can drag loops from the first keyboard into the second one to create a custom sort of “playlist.”
The interface is optimized for looping. For example, the “loop eye” is a different way of representing a waveform, and has loop start and end points that can park at various points around the eye (or be locked, so that moving one moves the other), and snap for triggering on specific rhythmic intervals. Changing loop points alters the loop length seamlessly, and it’s convenient that you can edit these to offset or shorten the loop compared to other loops. Regarding DSP, you can transpose, choose a different transposition algorithm, reverse direction, and assign plug-in outputs. Furthermore, there’s resonant filtering (hipass, lowpass, bandpass, notch) with filter slopes up to 72dB/octave.
Each construction kit includes loops of varying lengths and functions, and each sample can have its own loop eye, filter, etc. settings, so you can create some pretty customized presets. As you can assign up to eight parameters to MIDI control, and the same sliders in different presets can have different controllers, Elastik is highly playable.
There’s more: Adjustable attack and release times are handy for tailoring fades (in and out), you can bounce one preset over to the second keyboard in slices, there are mapping tools, you can save original or modified loops as audio files, and the Elastik engine is pretty CPU efficient.
I found Elastik confusing at first, but once I realized this was an instrument more than a loop library, everything fell into place. If you’re into loops, the Elastik family is pretty amazing.