Here's a virtual instrument that has a truly original set of percussion samples. This new offering from established sample-library specialists, Yellow Tools, comes with its own library of nearly 9GB of samples, supplied on two DVDs. You get hundreds of single and multi patches using over 20,000 samples. The individual sets of samples on these discs can also be accessed, so if you're short on disk space, you can just copy what you need at the time and go back for more later. Culture works with Pro Tools or Digital Performer, or any VST 2.0 compatible host such as Logic, Cubase, or Nuendo. The library features instruments from all over the world, and every nuance of technique has been recorded. For example, the djembe has bass tones, closed, half-closed, open, damped, and fingered notes - and everything has been recorded with 16 velocity splits per note for both hands. Culture organizes its sounds into 'multis' containing up to eight 'layers'. Each of these consists of one or more keygroups, and these sounds can be played via the host software - using up to 16 audio outputs. The interface is straightforward. At the top-left, the name of the multi instrument currently active is displayed, with the layer display below this. At the top-right, the Audio section has controls for volume and pan, Pre Silence, and an output selector. Below this are controls that can be applied to each layer, including the Key Range, MIDI, Velocity Range and Polyphony. Below again, there are four groups of controls - for the Envelope; for various Audio parameters; for Pitch; and to let you set volume and pan. Finally, there's a Keyboard at the bottom of the window.


Culture is the first of what is intended to be a series of Modular Virtual Instruments (MVIs) from Yellow Tools that use a custom software 'engine' especially designed and optimized for sample playback with up to 32-bit resolution at sample rates up to 192KHz. You can't import samples for playback, though. But this is right on the money - whether you are working in world or industrial music, or you're looking for specialized orchestral percussion sounds for a film soundtrack. In fact, I would say that Culture is the answer to a film composer's prayers in many ways. These samples will sound amazing just about anywhere.

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