The story

Created as part of the Pianobook Discord challenge to create a new sample library for Decent Sampler starting with only the LABS IIO / Afrorack collaboration samples and your imagination.

I’m not sure that creating your first ever sample pack should be so open-ended. There are 360MB of textures and sounds in the original pack that could be the gateway to anything at all. Advice to the novice samplist – have an achievable goal in mind before you start!

I started looking (well, listening) through the available samples full of hopes and ideas. I imagined myself creating a veritable playground of sounds with a complex, detailed UI to rival anything that Martin Russ has ever put out. The reality, however, has been somewhat different.

Finding the time to sit down and learn Decent Sampler whilst also curating something that sounds suitably ‘decent’ in between the day job and family life has been tricky. Realising that time is running short and you still haven’t even started thinking about a UI makes it trickier still.

I have, however, hopefully made something actually practical to use – in composition terms at least – and also figured that, as it’s Pride Month, I’d make the UI suitably colourful. I’ve taken a portion of the original Afrorack samples, stretched and slowed them down, then thrown them through some filter and convolutional reverb stages to make something unique whilst not being too outlandish.

There are three main sounds available – something resembling a long-release marimba, a slower-evolving slightly stretched out version of the same, and a third more ‘breathy’ sound.

Attack, decay, sustain level and release are available individually for each sound, along with some global dials for tone [also mapped to the mod wheel], delay and reverb.

Hopefully someone finds a use for it in one of their projects.


Reviews for Afrorack Marimba

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

Leave a review to let others know what you thought of the instrument!

  • A remarkable ambient marimba!

    This marimba is not really the basic mallet you might be familiar with. It's something bigger! It's based on three different layers of sounds, where each one can be adjusted individually. In a way, you could say that you can make your own "evolutions", which is simply wonderful. The soundscape is very wholesome and the sound quality is also very good. Inside you will also find some depth-fx settings which will greatly affect the ambience in a good way, depending on how deep you want everything to be.

    All in all, it's an unexpected goodness, highly recommended!

    Alex Raptakis23 June 2022
  • Soft Attack Marimba

    Cool selection of sounds here that can blend very nicely together. I would have liked the 'struck' sound to have a stronger attack, seeing as we have 'stretched' and 'breathy' to look after the sustain components. Still a very nice and usable sound.
    I may need to steal your delay and reverb code for my next instrument.

  • Marimbesque!

    True confession time - I have a particular weakness for marimbas! And looking inside the .dspreset XML file, it seems that this was how this started... But, instead, we have something quite fascinating (and something that I would love to have made), a transmogrified marimba, with a soft strike version, an almost metallic rather than woody stretched version, and a pipe-like breathy version that is gorgeous in the lower registers (I love it!)

    Decent Sampler has one or two traps for the unwary, and QorbeQ's bravery for such an ambitious virtual instrument as a first attempt is huge. Just about the only imperfections that I could find were the slightly narrow 'width' aligned to the 'Reverb Size' label (DS squashes the text if the width isn't wide enough), and there's a little 'ting' sound a few seconds into the 'Stretched' sample (which actually adds quirkiness to the character of the instrument, so it may be deliberate!)

    The UI has lots of controls, but is logically laid out, so I had no problems figuring out what controlled what. For the separate envelopes (this Month's definite trend!), then I might have preferred vertical sliders instead of the standard rotary controls, but hey, this is a first instrument!

    Delay and Reverb are good choices for the effects - I would have gone for the obvious and done Chorus instead of Delay, but upon reflection, I think that the slow attacks work better, in context, with Delay. The 'Tone' control is beautifully tamed - I have to confess that this is something that I still struggle with myself, so it is good to see someone who has conquered this!

    Given the name, then the three variations on the timbre are completely complementary. (I would have probably fallen into the trap of trying to make too may contrasting sounds) This virtual instrument does exactly what the name suggests - it provides sounds which a general listener is going to probably classify as an 'unusual marimba' type of sound, and I love timbres which are ambiguous in their realism. I'm also impressed that I couldn't immediately recognise where the timbre came from (unlike some entries in this competition!) from the source material.

    Overall then, a very impressive first Decent Sample virtual instrument. A considered and restrained choice of timbres, which results in a timbre that is 'marima-esque', but also 'more', and which all adds to the sense that this is a recording of restored relic - an obscure long-lost member of the marimba family, found washed up and abandoned on the shores of a silent sea, on one of the mysterious moons of a distant gas-giant planet...

  • Struck and Stretched Samples

    A good curation of sound for the Struck and Stetched patches- however, the breathy patch is a bit too much bandwidth and is made better with some reverb and a lower tone. The GUI elements are helpful, and although it is nice to have a very fine tuning when it comes to the ADSR of each sound, I would personally prefer to just have overall ADSR control for the entire instrument. It's a great effort thoug!

    23 June 2022
  • Synth Marimba +

    The title-character of the pack is a synthy marimba sound that you might expect from some kind of retro 80s/90s keyboard. In other words it doesn't sound a whole lot like a marimba, but it has its own marimba-esque character which sounds reasonable across a wide range. The stretched and breathy samples provide more pad-like options which complement the staple sound pretty well, complete with the possibility of huge reverb from the built-in controls. The UI is simple and useable but a little difficult to see/read, and could probably be better spaced to avoid overcrowding of the text.

    EamonSamplist 24 June 2022
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