The story

A few years ago, I bought this music box in a museum shop. You can make your own music by punching holes in paper strips, but it is also ideal, for sampling this instrument. I built a resonating body, a wooden box, and added a piezo transducer on the inside just below the music box. I sampled the 15 notes of the music box and the associated mechanical noises (transport sound of the paper strip, sound of the paper strip dropping out of the music box) using a Rode NT-2A microphone and the build-in piezo.

Since some time, I am experimenting with artificial Impulse Responses for use in the Kontakt and Ableton’s Convolution Reverb modules to create swarms and pulse decays. A perfect impulse contains all frequencies from 0-20Khz. When you use this impulse in the convolution reverb you get an exact copy of the original signal. By filtering the impulses the convoluted signal is also filtered.
I generated 21 swarms and exponential decays of impulses using Ableton’s sampler and the Max for Live Granulator II for use in this instrument (“Poor Man’s Swarm”)

You can download the swarm/decay IR files separately from my website.

Walkthrough video:


Reviews for Swarming Music Box

  • Sound
  • Character
  • Playability
  • Inspiration
  • GUI

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

  • I love swarm instruments

    I absolutely love swarm instruments. Spitfire Orchestral Swarm is pretty close to the top of my wishlist. This instrument has so much awesome mechanical noise and artifacts that gives it alot of character. The GUI is really professional and gives you some nice options for controllability and effects. As i said before i really love the swarms, theyre so versatile and fun to you. Theres so many things you can do with them like stack them, reverb, delay, reverse them, etc. Seems like alot of work went into this and its really fun to play.

    septemberwalk11 November 2021
  • A top-tier musicbox, for free!

    This instrument is fully worth it even if you only consider the default setting, just the single-play one. Upon launching the instrument you will find a blend-slider between two mics, and you will also notice that there are some separate keys for mechanical noises, which I absolutely love!

    There is also a bunch of Impulse Responses to choose for your reverb, and most of them are pretty neat. But there are also the swarms, lots of them! You have some kind of control over them, but unfortunately I find kind of difficult to make them fit properly because the duration can sometimes be exhausting to the ear and you can't really control it unless you pick a different kind of swarm. The best for me would be the White Noise options. There is a wet/dry slider but it doesn't work that well for me.

    Nevertheless, this is a very well made instrument and I easily recommend it to everyone!

    Alex Raptakis01 December 2021
  • Nicely warm sound of music box

    A very nicely captured music box! Higher range has only music box sound and lower range comes with the sound of paper rolling, I think. Very interesting, easy to play library.

    Asuka Amane16 October 2021
  • Whoah! Super Awesome!!!

    For people who love granular synthesis and pedals like Microcosm, this is a phenomenally awesome sample library. It's instantly playable, and it's tough to see how this could be improved. The GUI is top notch, and the swarm feature is amazing. Instant inspiration, and super musical. I love everything about this!

    Sam EcoffSamplist 18 October 2021
  • Full of character...

    Contrary to many music box libraries, this one seems to truly embrace the "dirty" qualities that many have, and it truly shows. The samples feel very authentic and realistic without any sense of synthesized or fake elements. The GUI is simple, but it gets the job done. The room and mechanical noise in some of the samples may not be for everybody, but I think that they add nice character to the sound. Great job!

    Christopher13 October 2021