I’ve had this old op-shop toy in the house for over twenty years. It’s a simple rock-it-back-and-forth-and-it-makes-a-noise kind of toy, really sturdy, made in Korea, and with a gorgeous bell sound. The chime inside is really only a couple of notes, and not quite in any standard key, so it was little challenging to make a sample instrument from! Hence, this library is an “inspired by” rather than a faithful reproduction. The main section of the keyboard plays single bell chimes, but you can also dial in some “rattle”, which mimics the sound of the toy as it moves back and forth and the bells strike each other inside. You can vary the length of the rattling, as well as tune the intervals of the sympathetic chimes. There is also an infinite sustained pad based on the tail ring of the bells, as well as some reversed bell sounds, because, well, who doesn’t love reversed bell sounds? And for some bottom-end, there is an octave of bass bells. Plus some tweakable retro sounding echo and reverb.
Reviews for Toy Bell Bird
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Great for building atmosphere
I can already see the scenes that this can be used to build atmosphere for. Great replacement for those tired music box tones.
The UI features the bird bell front and center, with some additional flexibility digging deeper behind the bird. It looks stunningly professional.
Hours of play
This is really an ingeniously crafted library. Relatively simple base material has been given just the right treatment and user-toggles to provide for a huge depth of sounds, particularly in the spacey, sci-fi vein. The different 'patches' are arranged across the keyboard - colour-coded and described in the 'info' tab to aid in identifying, though I think having these on a keyswitch or button-selection could make the instrument a little more user-friendly. The info tab is very useful, particularly for navigating the 'rattle' knobs.
The tone knob in the second 'settings' tab is down by default, which I think actually does the instrument a huge disservice, as it cuts a lot of the really rich atmospheric sounds / echoes, particularly in the 'swell' notes. Crank it up to full and go explore the depths of audio space with the Bell Bird.
More than just a toy!
I was not expecting such a diverse patch of sounds on such an instrument! It has this mallet vibe to it, but it also comes with some extra options that make it super fun to explore through the incredibely designed GUI.
As a more negative thing, the pitches are not well-represented on the keyboard - except for the pink section (highest). The Blue and Red sections seem to be tuned 2 whole steps down (C is actually an A) but it doesn't matter too much since if you introduce Rattle you are going to get different pitches anyway.