Mixing Bowl

Here is a Mixing Bowl, my favourite sample that’s got me out of many tricky situations!

The story

Here is a Mixing Bowl, my favourite sample that’s got me out of many tricky situations!


Reviews for Mixing Bowl

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • Best Bowl I've Ever Played!

    Great sound and inspiring instrument.

    What really stands out for me is the "klang" you can get when playing the notes with a high velocity.

    While this might not be useful in every musical context, it should find a home in many genres and many places.


    dafingaz12 August 2022
  • Truly surprising

    This bowl really is 3 different sounds rolled into one: a glass-like timbre in the high register, becoming a ceramic one in the middle register, and then transitioning into a metallic one in the low register.
    Also, the thickness of the sound varies in the aforementioned registers: starting from the high register, it is thin and ethereal, the middle register is earthy and round, the low register is explosive and thick.

    UPDATE: Somebody mentioned that the original EXS version uses the Mod wheel to crossfade between 5 groups (6 velocity layers for each), something that got lost in the conversion process to the DS version. It was mentioned that there is a new DS version where that behaviour will be correctly implemented
    I was surprised to see 30 different single note groups, but that is what contributes to make up the sound and character of the instrument. However, this setup can easily get REALLY loud, particularly when whacking the low register, or playing too many notes simultaneously, so take that into account to avoid seeing the instrument volume going in the red when playing chunky chords.
    Another thing I noticed is the panning, which tends to be dwelling on the left side of the stereo image most of the time, not a problem, but worth bearing it in mind.

    I agree with Christian, this instrument really is a "get out of jail" card!

    Marco Iannello03 August 2022
  • Unexpected in every way! (And then some!)

    (Decent Sampler version reviewed here...)

    It turns out that the Decent Sampler version I reviewed isn't right in several ways (despite me enquiring about it!). There are supposed to be 6 velocity zones and 5 'how it was hit' timbres that are selected with the Mod Wheel None of which survived being imported from EXS into DS. So here's what I said when I was trying to figure out what was going on and why it sounded so very strange...

    - - - - - -

    This is a quirky little instrument. It breaks convention in so many ways that I'm almost at a loss for where to start.

    Let's start with the sound. At the high end, by about A7, the plinky, glassy sound is very short and has almost lost its sense of pitch, so whilst there are a few clicks above that, I would say that the highest normally usable note is A7. And A7 is short and brittle.

    As you move downwards in pitch, then that brittle character becomes almost metallic. So C7 is very metal-bar in nature. This continues down to C6, giving an octave of bright metallic strikes. From C6 down to C5, then the metallic sound gradually hollows out, until by C5, then it has started to acquire the characteristic struck ceramic sound that you would associate with a piece of crockery being hit with something hard. But the pitch is still high - and so it sounds like a very small mixing bowl!

    Actually, if you turn looping on, then C6 sounds just like a small child's bicycle bell, being frantically rung! Transports me back in time, that does...

    The octave from C5 down to C4 doesn't resolve quite as you might be expecting. As the pitch drops, then there's a lower harmonic that starts to give a buzz tone that isn't metallic, and isn't ceramic either. This fuzziness continues as we drop from C4 down to C3, and takes on more and more of a noise-like character. It's as if the descent in pitch is opening out the buzz into something broader in bandwidth, and more random. At C3, there are two sounds: one is the ceramic bowl that would be expected, but there's also the buzz-that-is-becoming-noise at about the same volume.

    C3 down to C2 is a journey. The ceramic bowl seems to recede into the background, whilst the noise feels increasingly structured and dominant. From C2 to C1 the noise strengthens, and C1 is almost all noise, but with a hint of a ceramic bowl in the background. There's also a growing sense of hollowness in the timbre.

    C1 sounds like a strange non-metallic gong. Wonderful!

    C1 down to C0 increasingly feels like band-limited noise. Connecting the sound to a ceramic bowl becomes more and more difficult. The final two octaves, from C0 to C-1, have just a hint of a pitched thump at the start, but mostly, it is just descending down to lower bands of noise.

    So, just a little unexpected! Not the glassy tones of a resonant ceramic mixing bowl that I was expecting, and instead something much more like a spread-out tone poem going from high pitched metal at one end, to band-limited noise with a thump at the other.

    The XML in the .dspreset file is even more enigmatic! There are 30 samples, and each is in its own group. All the samples are rooted to MIDI Note 68, which is G#, and ALL of the samples are spread out across the entire 128 MIDI note range, so loNote="0', and hiNote="127". This is highly unconventional. I have never seen a Decent Sampler virtual instrument like it, and I haven't explored this type of structure myself, and I thought that I was a fearless explorer! Wow!

    (I'm still trying to come to terms with this. All of the samples are spread across the whole keyboard, so the pitching that is heard is an emergent artefact of the way that Decent Sampler repitches samples, and so what is heard is probably some sort of wavefront phenomenon. This is way above my pay-grade!)

    The XML is...interesting. Each of the 30 groups has an incomplete end element that probably shouldn't be there - it says: 'effects/' but inside the chevrons that are stripped out when you post text in Pianobook.co.uk. (I do wonder if this is an artefact from an EXS24 to DS converter that has not completed a conversion correctly.) This is supported by more incomplete ends: a 'keyboard/' inside the UI tags, and another 'effects/', then a 'midi/' then a 'tags/'. (Again, the chevrons won't be shown in the text that you read here...)

    It is illuminating that Decent Sampler ignores all of these fragments of incomplete XML elements and manages to make sounds! I'm hugely impressed at the tenacity and robustness of Decent Sampler.

    In conclusion then. This is probably, and very close to definitely, the strangest, wildest and most astonishing instrument that I have ever seen in Decent Sampler. It is truly amazing! When I first looked at the XML I was astonished that it would make any sound at all! The fact that it works is forcing me to re-assess the way that I think about programming Decent Sampler. The sound is undeniably a ceramic mixing bowl in places, but it also is not the cliched resonant 'singing' bowl that I was expecting. It is more like a granular version of a sampled mixing bowl, but spread out across a pitched keyboard, instead of being smeared in time. I'm gobsmacked at the audacity and sound design being exhibited here. Total amazeballs from a guy who, up until a short while ago, thought he had a pretty good understanding of Decent Sampler!

    I'm going to go and hide under a rock now that I've been humiliated big time by an amazing instrument that I'm still trying to figure out how it can work at all! And... the ultimate humiliation for someone who is known for over-the-top UIs, is that there are no controls at all!

    - - - - - - -

    Looking back at this now that I know about the velocity layers and the Mod Wheel timbre selection, then I'm still amazed that Decent Sampler manages to play something which sounds so good, given the melange of samples all playing at once!

    I have been told that there is a revised version in the pipeline. I also submitted an 'Extras' preset, which extends the original version in new and different ways. If ever you wanted an advert for Extras, then I think that 'Mixing Bowl' is a perfect example! It shows how the samples can be interpreted in many ways, often completely different from how the original samplist intended.

    So I'm less humiliated, more embarrassed that I assumed that this had to be the intended implementation. I'm also relieved, because it turns out that Decent Sampler does work the way that I thought! Whew!

    synthesizerwriter29 July 2022