Array M’bira

An Array M’bira with a history....

The story

A Quick Note: If you have access to Logic’s Sampler (EXS), please use those samples rather than Kontakt or Decent Sampler. The EXS Presets have *way* more options, including the ability to use only the left or right notes (the same notes appear on both sides), velocity triggered strums, and lots of other options I never got around to implementing in the Kontakt instrument as this was my first attempt at creating a Kontakt instrument.

I first heard an Array M’bira when I saw Imogen Heap playing one. I instantly loved the sound. It’s so organic and unusual. I saved my pennies, and finally the day came when it was time to purchase one. I obsessively checked the tracking number as the package wound its way from San Francisco to me in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I didn’t want to miss the delivery, so I had it send to the conservatory where I teach. When I arrived that day, I received a nasty surprise: someone in the postal service used the box my m’bira was in as a step stool, and the entire back was caved in, complete with a boot print. It was the sort of thing that made you sick to your stomach to look at. I know it was unintentional, but it felt really tragic that something so beautiful had been destroyed. However, I had an album deadline, so I stared recording with the damaged instrument, which still played well since the damage was to the underside. However, to make a claim at the postal service, I had to return that instrument with the packaging. So, I was stuck using sample libraries of Array M’biras to complete some of the pieces I’d started working on. Meanwhile, I ordered (and paid for) a second Array M’bira, which is the one that appears in the included sample libraries. It was even more expensive (but more beautiful) than the first one, and I was completely pleased with it when it finally arrived. The postal service took *nine months* to honor the insurance claim, but I did finally receive the check from them.

Reviews for Array M’bira

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • One of the coolest instruments you've never heard of

    This thing feels great to the touch, sounds lovely, and isn't like anything else in my collection. Thank you Sam for sharing this, you've sampled this thing well and given us a lot of options. Not much else to say. Giving bonus points to GUI as this instrument is available in a good variety of formats, so nobody has an excuse not to download it!!!

    Conner04 November 2021
  • Very nice sound kalimba library...!

    This is such a nice instrument!!! Very well sampled, kalimba library. I have many libraries with kalimba sound but this is really nice.

    Asuka Amane25 October 2021
  • My favorite mbira sample instrument

    Sam Ecoff's library has a more organic and open sound that embraces subtle imperfections that make this sound less clinical and robotic. Basically, this one sounds less like.... a sample library.

    One thing I really like about this library is that with the onboard controls, I can make it sound something like a pseudo-harp or pseudo-dulcimer. A little additional Valhalla reverb and delay can turn this into something magical. I like to manipulate the samples I use and with this one, the raw tone that I'm starting with is good. I can go far out there with it depending on what direction I want to go in. It's very adaptable to different situations where you might want something that is Kalimba-like but not exactly a kalimba. You can get creative with this because the pure tone is inspiring.

    Sam's work is among the best on Pianobook.

    Bob Guido06 January 2022
  • Surprisingly haunting

    This is quite a versatile library. I appreciate the amount of patches that it ships with, giving the user plenty of options to chose from in terms of the specific sound, and even in the individual patches there's still a lot that can be achieved. I found that this instrument could, quite easily, be used for both ambient and more relaxing music, and for more unsettling music. It also works really nicely as a layer for larger compositions. The only gripe I have with it is that I wish it could go to a higher register, but I suppose that's just a limitation of the recorded instrument, and not so much of the library. Real solid work, and something that can't go wrong

    Hidde Pieters12 October 2021
  • Don't sleep on this hidden gem!

    DS version reviewed This comes packed with a multitude of articulations. The instrument itself sounds can approximately described as somewhere between a traditional Kalimba and a Vibraphone with a warm and pleasant overall characteristic. It comes with lots of resonance - the good type of resonance - adding to the unique character. When playing chords - probably not possible on the real thing? - the sound becomes slightly reminiscent of electromechanical pianos like the Fender Rhodes, thus effects like phasers and flangers can work well. Attack and release controls allow to adapt the sound to each use case, which is crucial.

    Synthiemental20 October 2021
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