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Asian, Chinese, Arabic Libraries

Hi all - looking for an all in one good library of Eastern instruments...

voices, strings, erhu, harps, percussion

I see EastWest Silk is good - but any others out there?

Thanks in advance
 

Heledir

Member
Sonica Instruments: http://www.sonica.jp/instruments/index.php/en/products
A Japanese company making very detailed Japanese instrumental libraries.

Premier Sound FActory: http://www.premiersoundfactory.com/
Has a Koto and a Shakuhachi library.

Impact Soundworks: https://impactsoundworks.com/products/category/ethnic/
Also has some Asian instruments in their Ethnic section. Among them an instrument from Kazahkstan and a collection of Iranian instruments, which you don't see every day.

And you can always looks at big packs like Ethno World 6 and World Suite
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I super-regret buying anything (and especially as much as I did) from EWQL, as there is so little in the way of articulation and expression in those libs, and they can't be re-sold.

Silk is moderately better than the other old libs, but possibly only because there's still not a lot of direct competition for some of its content.

You can't go wrong with Ancient Era Persia, but of course it doesn't cover everything. There's a lot of competition for middle eastern sounds compared to what else you asked about, which is why I bother to give it my endorsement (I don't have time right now to canvas the others; maybe later tonight or tomorrow). Nothing else comes close when it comes to expression and modeling natural playing styles.

Impact Soundworks is doing a great job too, mostly with single-instrument libs, so it's less complete and also more money. But for certain instruments, I can never go back now that I have experienced the depth of what they have to offer with theirs. Very flexible in terms of manual vs. automatic expression and phrasing nuances.

Impact Soundworks has Koron (a collection from Iran), Koto Nation, Sitar Nation (both best-in-class), bouzouki, Kazakh Domra, Turkish Oud, Gu Zheng, Shou Drum, Bansuri, Shakuhachi.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
It looks like those are still Windows-only, having just checked the site for the first time in a while. I hate looking at their site, because it always frustrates me when I see no Mac support, so I almost prefer not knowing they're around. At least by now, much of what they do has also been covered by other vendors. But piecemeal, and by multiple vendors, so Chinee Kong is still the best way to get a consistent "orchestra" of instruments from that region... as long as you're on Windows.
 

SoundChris

Active Member
Ilya Efimov Bawu & Hulusi. Tarilonte Forest Kingdom 2 & Ancient Era Persia. Evolution World Percussion, Taikos & Ghuzeng. Embertone Erhu & Shan Bawu. Sonica Kabuki & Noh Percussion. Bestservice Peking Opera. PremierSoundFactory Princess Kaguja Koto, ImpactSoundworks Ventus Winds.
 
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Lode_Runner

Senior Member
Not all in one, but Premier Soundfactory and/or Sonica for Japanese music

Soniccouture has some East/South East Asian instruments.

Sonokinetic has some Middle Eastern libraries (just be aware a lot of it is phrase based)

+1 to Ilya Efimov, Impact Soundworks, Evolution Seriess and Embertone.

Crypto Cipher for some Indian instruments.
 

Mason

Active Member
I also recommend Koron by Impact Soundworks.

And definitely check out the discovery series by Native Instruments. Both India and Middle East is super quality.

I’m not a fan of Ethni World, Silk or Ra, they just doesn’t sound real to me.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
I have most of SoundChris's suggestions and can recommend them all. The only one on his list that I don't own is the one from Premier Sound Factory.

For BFD, there is a collection for Taiko and another for Kabuki & Noh Theatre. I'm weaning myself off BFD stuff as I've recently switched to Superior Drummer for my main drum workflow and to non-drum hosts for percussion work, so shoot me a PM if interested in those. They're both pretty deep and dry, and take a different approach from other libraries that cover that material.

Actually, I think Sonica (mentioned by Lode-Runner above) is the one who produced those two BFD expansions (I'll check later, and also see if they've done other stuff besides those two). There are also pattern libraries available for them.

For melodic instruments, it is still mostly a piecemeal affair. I'll check my sound source list a bit later to see if I have anything else listed that hasn't been covered so far, but I think the early mentions (Tarilonte primarily) and SoundChris's list cover most of the top-end stuff available.

Ethno World is better than it was, but due to several generations and no improvements on earlier material, it's hit-or-miss with each instrument based on when it was introduced to the library.

The UVI overhaul of World Suite (formerly World Traditions, and almost the same library as MOTU Ethno v2 combined with Spirit of Gongs), is a third-generation product that adds lots of new material but also actually improved the older material so that it is overall a fairly consistent library, and it also does a better job than most of the catch-alls of covering actual real-life playing techniques. I'm actually using it quite a bit; more than any of the other "big libraries".

RA is awful; poorly recorded and glitchy. But I still have to use it for a few rare instruments that no one else has done yet. Silk doesn't seem as good as other options for anything where I have something to compare against, and also seems problematic from a phrasing point of view (since I aim for actual realism and authenticity vs. "flavour of the month" colouring of the sonic background), but it still has a few options that may be unique to that library.

Don't forget Garritan World, which often goes on sale. I bought it for $40 as I recall, primarily for its user manual, which is the best ethnomusicological background sheet I've ever seen that helps me to be aware of what is out there (though nothing is truly complete) and to better understand the differences between instruments that are often mislabeled, such as afuche vs. shekere vs. cabaca.

I'm sure I'll hit upon others when I consult my thorough sound sources document that I have maintained and expanded over the years. I don't always bother annotating all the huge orchestral percussion libraries though. Or stuff like Spitfire Labs, which might include some of the desired instruments (if so, most likely middle east stuff).

Speaking of which, there are indeed some very well done Asian wind instruments by Spitfire, in Andy Finton's Kitbag, and Soundiron has a few libraries as well (though their stuff can be a bit uneven in quality and depth).
 

Lode_Runner

Senior Member
I have most of SoundChris's suggestions and can recommend them all. The only one on his list that I don't own is the one from Premier Sound Factory.

For BFD, there is a collection for Taiko and another for Kabuki & Noh Theatre.

Actually, I think Sonica (mentioned by Lode-Runner above) is the one who produced those two BFD expansions (I'll check later, and also see if they've done other stuff besides those two).
Yes Sonica did those. They have a new kabuki and noh percussion library for Kontakt on the way. They also have koto, shakuhachi, shamisen and sho. Very high quality (probably the best available), but also quite expensive. Premier Soundfactory also does shakuhachi and koto at half the price. The demos sound very good too.
 

antonyb

Member
Asian, Chinese, Arabic Libraries
voices, strings, erhu, harps, percussion
Such a broad request! (and... isn't Chinese part of "Asian" or you meant to direct your Asia request toward China's instruments?)

I'll only comment on the "Arabic" side of your request and what I have experience with.
EWQL RA has served me well to learn the difference between various percussive instruments (Doum-Ka-Tek anyone?), and their winds are realistic enough for me (using Play of course).
I added Tarilonte's Ancient ERA Persia late last year and that's way enough to get going (even if it's on Engine 2). A lot more choices. There are plenty of articulations and sound to make a line decently realistic.
At this point I am more limited by learning the instrument technique and programming time than the library itself.

For additional flavor, but not great playability (ie lots of programming needed), don't ignore Rast Sound, they have some cool stuff (but needs some focus time on them)
 
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M

Mr. Edinburgh

Member
thanks for all suggestions guys and gals.....
I think the 2 that appeal to me most are Silk Road and Ancient Persia
I'll buy them and let you know....
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
There's a new Asian library from Rast Sound this week, which you'll also see on the commercial announcements here. It's mostly focused on vocals and loops, but there are at least three individual instruments, one of which is a Khmer stringed instrument, alongside a plucked string instrument and one other. Not sure if those will help the OP or not.

https://rastsound.com/downloads/asian-colours/

I have a lot of material from this vendor, and some of it is deeply sampled single hits, but some libraries are more oriented towards hybrid composers. It's usually pretty easy to suss out which of those categories a new library falls into by looking at the library contents and/or listening to the demos.
 
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