Quick Pick: Sonivox Anatomy (Mac/Win) - EMusician

Quick Pick: Sonivox Anatomy (Mac/Win)

Imagine creating a groove from breaths, burps, snores, cheek pops, heartbeats, and bones. Layer that with a few bees, chanting robots, bubbling water, and sea monster pads, and you have a few prime examples from the new sound library, Sonivox Anatomy
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Sonivox Anatomy contains dry and processed sounds derived from the human anatomy.

Imagine creating a groove from breaths, burps, snores, cheek pops, heartbeats, and bones. Layer that with a few bees, chanting robots, bubbling water, and sea monster pads. Throw in some tempo synced frogs, dancing bulls, and warlock circle rhythms, and you have a few prime examples from the new sound library Sonivox Anatomy ($219 [MSRP]).

Designed and built for Native Instruments Kontakt 2 and 3, Anatomy contains more than 4 GB of content arranged in over 800 scripted Kontakt instruments. To install it, you simply drag the contents of the Anatomy DVD to any hard drive and point Kontakt to it.

BARE BONES

Anatomy requires Kontakt 2.2.4.001 or later or any version of Kontakt 3. The manual states, and I verified, that other versions will not open any of the Anatomy instrument files.

Anatomy comprises two main categories: Machine and Man. Machine is divided into Body Percussion, Drum Kits, FX, Leads, Pads, and Tempo Syncd (FX, Leads, and Pads). Man is divided into Choirs, Drum Kits, Foley & FX, Leads, Pads, Tempo Syncd Pads, and Vocal & Body Percussion. Each of the Anatomy Kontakt instruments displays the same custom-scripted interface.

A wise creative decision was made to facilitate easy access to the controls Sonivox felt the user would need the most in the Kontakt sampler; only a handful of controls are on display at any one time. The main interface offers Attack, Decay, Sustain, and Release knobs for the amplitude envelope as well as filter on/off, type, frequency, and resonance controls.

Clicking on the FX Settings button reveals an additional page of effects settings. A drop-down menu offers Reverb, Delay, Chorus, Flanger, and Bit Crusher effects, along with a button to turn effects processing off. Each choice has associated controls — for example, Delay offers Time, Feedback, and Return.

MIDI Modulation and Pitch Bend provide other ways to tweak the sounds for everything but the drum kits. Whereas Pitch Bend is usually assigned to pitch, the effect of Modulation is undisclosed; simply turn the wheel and experiment with some real-time creative control. You also have the full power of under-the-hood Kontakt instrument tweaking at your disposal.

TRANSMOGRIFY

Happily, the presets are not huge and are programmed so they load quite fast. Running through the various subcategories, you quickly realize that nothing else is quite like this instrument. The Man sounds are much less processed than the Machine sounds, which, according to the manual, “are recognizable as human elements, but the point has been to transmogrify these into something patently unquantifiable.”

The best way to appreciate Anatomy is to open some sounds and go for it. Angelic Bee Pad (Man: Pads) is very cool. Playing a simple chord progression up two octaves is perfect for kids' TV work. Chattering 1-Touch Pad (Man: Pads) is right out of a sci-fi film, and the Mod wheel not only affects the filter, but it also alters the pitch (see Web Clip 1).

Things like the Male Choir Ohhs (Man: Choirs) are more traditional yet still retain an oddly eerie quality. The choir samples are from the Arlington Master Chorale in Texas. With patches such as this, I achieved the best results by turning off the Kontakt effects and busing out to something a little deeper (see Web Clip 2).

Anatomy is a powerful tool for sound design. Some samples, such as Breathing (Man: Foley & FX), have a separately triggered release so you can take air in (note on) and breathe out (note off). You might follow that up with Breathy Arctic Thrusters (Man: Foley & FX), which sounds like a giant monster is coming to attack you on an ice cap (see Web Clip 3). These clearly show how the programmers manipulated basic samples to morph them into wild sounds.

More highlights include great body percussion like heartbeats and foot stomps. You get full drum kits made of cell-phone beats, industrial farts, and laughs and coughs. I also liked the Tempo Syncd sounds such as Computer Vowel Arp and Hard House Voice Pad.

It's impossible to cover the wide range of offerings and options in a short review. Anatomy is a unique and highly creative tool. Whether for reaching for the unknown and unexpected or simply for thinking outside the box, this is a go-to software instrument. Check out the free samples on the Sonivox Web site.

Value (1 through 5): 4
Sonivox
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