These windchimes have hung in my backyard for over fifteen years, gathering wind, conversations, sounds, and character. The string that hung them up decided to break, so I took them inside and spent an afternoon converting my bed to a makeshift recording studio, sampling the chimes, cleaning them up, and finally making my first decent sampler instrument. It’s range is rather limited (Eb7-Eb8), but with a randomized arpeggiator, plus some reverb and delay, you can simulate the interaction between the chimes themselves and get a decently convincing windchime effect using a midi instrument.
Reviews for Windbeaten Chimes
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A charming first chiming!
After Static's hugeness, this Decent Sampler virtual instrument is small (600 x 300), and I couldn't get the mod and pitch wheels to go into their correct position in either DS 1.4.16 or 1.5.6. Changing the width and height parameters at the start of the UI section in the XML code partially fixed this problem, but the background graphics file isn't the right aspect ratio, and so there was a grey area on the far right hand side. This is all very easily fixed.
(One of the difficult things about making your first Decent Sampler virtual instrument is sorting out the background graphics file. In this case the aspect ratio is not right, but also, the chimes are framed for the whole background file, not just the visible bit of the file when it is used in context. It can take several goes to get the graphics correct!)
The playable zone is Eb6 to Eb7, which is quite high up in a world with a lot of 5 octave MIDI controller keyboards - you are going to have to find those transpose buttons! The samples have four round-robins, but no velocity layering (which is quite difficult to do repeatably when you are striking a small metal tube!). 8 samples cover the 13 note range, so this is dense sampling, but a very good approach with metallic sounds like this.
The damping varies with the notes - some notes die away very quickly, others hang around for quite a while. It would be nice to have more consistency with the times. However, extensive research with wind chimes reminded me that this is actually a common characteristic of this type of instrument, so perhaps I should say that it is reassuringly realistic in its inconsistent chime times.
A lot of the virtual instrument that I have looked at recently have only provided control over the Wet/Dry mix of the effects (Delay and Reverb in this case), so it was very pleasant to also have control over the Delay time as well as the Reverb room size and damping. The usual Decent Sampler low-pass filter 'Tone' control can take some of the edge off the chimes, but the useful range seems to be in the lower half of the rotation of the control.
Overall, this is a very usable set of wind chimes, especially for a first attempt at a Decent Sampler instrument. The background graphics are very much in keeping with the type of instrument, and I almost missed the wind chimes themselves, hanging jelly-fish-like on the right hand side. Most importantly, I didn't already have a set of sampled wind chimes on my hard drives, but now I do!
Simple high pitched chimes
This is a very simple instrument patch featuring a few individually sampled notes, sitting on a very high octave. In fact it is set so high up, that even if you own an 88key controller, you still have to shift octaves to get it all.
Some of the keys contain short, muted notes, and some are very resonant. The included reverb does a very good job on boosting the resonance, and the delay can make it much more swarm-ish. I'd personally prefer a higher release setting, but that can be managed via the sustain pedal or by programming longer notes.