Logic Pros Review: Sample Science brings VHS/vinyl-inspired sampler instruments with the new Hexagon Sky
In this week’s episode of Logic Pros, it’s time to add some serious character to our setups. While we tend to focus on the big releases from major companies when it comes to virtual instruments and the like, sometimes it’s the little guy that brings the most creativity to the picture and diversity to your sound palette. Today we are taking a closer look at Hexagon Sky, the latest from Sample Science…
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There are loads of smaller, boutique options out there for a fraction of the price of more mainstream offerings doing some seriously interesting stuff. While the big boys focus on getting the baddest bass tones and the most lush synth patches, everyone else can dig into the more rare and unique sounds.
We first mentioned Hexagon Sky (HS) in our new weekly Logic Pros Music Production News feature when it dropped last month. It is the latest from Sample Science, makers of some of the most interesting and boutique virtual instruments out there. You’ll find everything from Famicom chip tune players and sampler instruments based on very early software from the 1960’s, to toy keyboards and more.
HS is a virtual instrument for all major DAWs that features over 100 sampled-based patches heavily inspired by artists like “Boards Of Canada, Com Truise, Lone and Tycho”. For those not familiar with those artists, we are basically talking about a really moody, lo-fi sound with lots of elements of location field recordings (outdoors sounds, busy street noises, kids playing in the background, etc.), tape/vinyl sound, and, I think you get the picture.
The preset patches certainly represent that vibe with everything from heavily detuned basses that sound like they’re playing off an old VHS tape, to wonky strings and melting atmospheres, There are “acoustic instruments sampled from public domain documentaries” like weird sounding flutes, guitar-like tones and other oddities. It’s all there.
Along with the main sound (labelled “Main Oscillator” on the plug’s UI), a patch includes a “Sub” oscillator and 2 “Field Recordings”, each with their own envelope, volume and pan. We can’t freely choose which of the included field recordings to use at any given time as they are tied to the preset you have chosen. It certainly would have been nice to be able to select which 2 field recordings to use, but at this price I can’t really complain. You can expect to hear everything from kids playing, to wolves howling, crashing waves/wind, waterfalls/drips and more. The Sub sounds like it’s your basic octave (or two) down waveform and adds some nice warmth and girth to just about any patch you’re working with.
On top of that, we get a fairly basic synth engine that includes one LFO, basic amp controls, a simple built-in reverb and your typical master volume and pan controls. We are able to modulate, pitch, pan and expression via the LFO and our controller’s mod wheel.
The actual preset patches are certainly the highlight here for me, but that “Electronics” module is very cool. We get 4 rotary pots allowing us to blend various noise types into the sound including Vinyl, VHS, Tape and something labelled Broken I can’t seem to stop using at this point. While it may have been nice to be able to modulate these parameters more directly, I’m absolutely loving this aspect of the instrument. The Vinyl hiss/scratch sounds great and I can’t get enough of the VHS and Broken options.
Clearly this is a basic instrument. The synth engine is nothing to write home about with a single LFO and some basic envelopes for shaping the sound. While the sound design capabilities are limited at best, it’s all about the sound sources here. This is essentially 100 very unique sampled instruments you almost for sure won’t already have in your library, 4 noise loops and a bunch of awesome field recordings for $30. That’s an automatic purchase for me. And now that I haven’t been able to put it away for the last couple weeks, I recommend anyone interested in these kind of sounds to go grab it now. Especially if you like what you hear in the audio demos:
Hexagon Sky is available now for $29.99 in all major formats.
- 101 sounds inspired by Boards Of Canada, Tycho, Lone Com Truise.
- 4 sound layers engine for a rich, deep sound.
- LFO depth rate controls/destination and source selectors.
- 4 background noise layers: Vinyl, VHS, Tape Broken Cassette.
- Individual output for each sound layers.
- Sub oscillator.
- Global reverb, pitch and velocity curve.
- Compatible with Windows 7 up or Mac OS X Snow Leopard up.
- The plugin requires 1.28 gig of HD space.
- Windows VST plugins in both 32 bit and 64 bit format.
- Mac OS X Universal VST and AU plugins format (compatible with both 32 bit and 64 bit systems).
See any interesting products/gear you would like us to review/cover? Let us know in the comments below.
Want more Logic Pros? Check out the archives here and stay tuned for a new installment each week in 2017.