Ash’s Harmonium

A hand-pumped harmonium from a music shop in Abingdon, Oxfordshire....

The story

I bought this hand-pumped harmonium on a whim from a music shop called Haken & Bell (now sadly an estate agent’s) in Abingdon, Oxfordshire when I was sixteen in 1995. It’s a rather romantic instrument – in the sense that as much as I love electronic music and electronic tools, it’s nice to have an instrument manually powered and driven by reeds and air.

I did come upstairs once, however, to find that my three-year-old twins had completely dismantled it (it all slots together with wire pins and grooves – no screws) and were meticulously inspecting each constituent part, and spent days putting it back together again. Anyway, it’s as good as new and sounds as good as they day I bought it.

I recorded it with a stereo pair of AKG C1000S’ and have left it untouched other than a touch of EQing down the bottom end. I’d love to map volume intensity to the mod wheel for more expressive playing but I don’t know how to do that! Can anyone help a brother out?


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

  • Not really that playable

    This is a nice sounding harmonium but unfortunately you can't REALLY perform on it. There is some noise in the samples, but the main issue is that the attack is set way too slow, and there is no way to control that. In addition to that, if you sustain the notes, you may notice that the sample loop comes with a huge volume increase which is not really ideal. There is no GUI to control anything, so you are pretty much left with the default patch as it is.

    Alex Raptakis26 October 2021
  • A nice library that sounds great when sent through an FX chain.

    Beautiful pad textures from this harmonium library and sometimes almost synth like character. But a lack of tweakable GUI tools make it hard to fit into pieces of music of varying tempo. Load this up with FX however and you will find you can create some amazing unique deep drones.

    R.Treves18 October 2021
  • Very nicely captured, has some warm and country music texture.

    Great sounding instrument! I did not know about harmonium, but it has some country like warm texture. Nice to have and add extra layer to the music.

    Asuka Amane17 October 2021
  • Cool sounding harmonium

    This is a very authentic sounding harmonium. It's well recorded, and there's a nice wide stereo image. I downloaded this a while ago, and when I went back to write my review just now, I discovered that I'd enjoyed the sample pack so much that I had endeavored to tweak it for my own personal use. The big issue I had with it was the the beginnings of the samples aren't trimmed up very tightly, so there's a noticeable delay when play a key, and so it's very difficult to get this sound to play in time in a mix. I trimmed up everything music tighter, and it's a lot more playable and a lot more fun after that.

    Sam Ecoff16 October 2021
  • Shut your eyes and you're in an Icelandic church with Sigur Ros

    Great authentic sound and well recorded.

    Jim Sanger17 October 2021
  • Very nice, authentic sound...

    This library was really well sampled and has a great sound. My only complaint is that the stereo field for the samples is really wide low notes are almost entirely in the left ear and high notes entirely in the right. This can make it a little bit difficult to mix in with other libraries, but it's a pretty easy fix. Not much in terms of a GUI either.

    Christopher14 October 2021