This instrument is sort of blatantly the result of a meme.
Before I say this, I am not affiliated in any way commercially with the company, but:
I’ve recently acquired Kilohearts’ Phase Plant synth through subscription and have gone on an adventure of designing all new kinds of new sounds in the realm of synthesizers. One thing that is often requested enough in their discord server that I find a little humorous, is multisampling capability.
The synth itself is already quite massively powerful, and if I had one tool to turn to most of the time when figuring out how to create something innovative, this is the first weapon chosen from my arsenal. Phase Plant DOES have a sample generator, and so I thought “In theory, you could use the synth to load in all of the samples individually and have it interpret input MIDI note and velocity values to modulate the volume / precedence of every single voice and act like a multisampler” (maybe less eloquently than that).
So thats what I did.
The result isn’t clean, it isn’t Hi-Fi, and it’s not even close to lightweight on the CPU.
But gosh darnit, the thing works! (And I do think its sounds pretty in its own way)
All odds (but more realistically convention) against me, in the span of about 40 minutes I had made something that I would even use. And a lot of the time that’s what this comes down to, right?
We, the sampling community, have a drive to find some unpolished shoe out there, take it and give it a home, and polish that shoe! And that’s how we love to create art — sometimes resulting in things of beauty we might never otherwise expect.
The sampling specs are 3 velocity layers per 3 different notes sampled: E4, F half # 4 (oops), and G#4. In the original instrument I forgot to name the samples, but I wanted people to know the notes and velocities used so I provided the original file name set along with the proper names. I left the half sharp out so that anyone attempting to have software recognize velocity and pitch from filename would have an easier time. The microphone is an AKG C414 running into a MOTU 828x with some slight dehum applied and an accompanying computer fan singingly contributing to the noise floor behind.
I hope you all enjoy, and honestly this was mostly just a litmus test to see if I could get away with submitting a synth patch at 2am in the morning.
I’ve auto-sampled this instrument and provide a couple more common-platform versions of it as well as the original Phase Plant version so more people can try it out instantly. The original patch is the best sounding version as it includes all the actual fx processing heard on the adapted versions, but hopefully this makes it a little bit more accessible for the community. Cheers!
Reviews for Shaku Realm
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Deep and warm sounded instrument
Simple but the sound is very nice. Higher range has such a nice vibrato which is really beautiful.
A beautiful spin on the traditional instrument
I have been looking for this for a while. I have tried some expensive paid plugins but never felt happy with the results. Just 5 minutes of playing with this and it has hit the spot! It has a rich yet subtle character. Whilst the sound quality won't win awards it all adds to the overall uniqueness. I have used in some Lo-fi pieces and it works amazingly well for that!!!
Great sound with limited control
The actual sound of this is fantastic, especially in the low and mid ranges. Once you start getting up high it gets a little distorted for my taste. I think this works really well for interesting chord textures in the low/ mid range because of the way the sample speeds up the higher you get. If you play chords with the notes not that far apart you get a really interesting undulation sound. However i don't like how it speeds up so much in the high end, its going really fast by the time you get to the high end. I wish the sound character and relative speed was retained in the high end but i can still see myself using this in the mid range.
Desperately needs a GUI...
If there's any instrument that's being held back by the lack of a GUI, this is the one. I hear so much potential for the sound, but without any way to alter or control it, there's not much that can be done. I'd recommend getting a GUI on this instrument yesterday. It'd really make it super useful and fun to use!
Limited but with a nice character
A fairly simple yet interesting take for the Sakuhachi, though I am sorry to say that this is not executed that well. At first the instrument sounds very nice with a nice twist on it. With the little warp-like effect it is able to create a kind of creepy vibe, which is kind of unexpected, since the Sakuhachi is usually very calm and soothing.
Sadly the sampling and processing is not very good. You can listen to a click sound that happens when the sample loops mid-way, resetting to a spot that makes a very unnatural transition. Also the speed of the "warp" slows down as you go low, so it is kind of weird to play chords. The only use I can think of is something like a single ambient note, which will have to be processed a bit as well. The GUI has nothing to be found, so you are all alone with your imagination and the rest of your tools.