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Ethnic library collection resolution


Geffen Studios
Hi all,
Recently I found myself searching for ethnic sounds like didgeridoo, pantam, irish flute and some more ethnic instruments... I decided I need some more information about the collections offered for comparison.
After some research on this forum and other sources, I found out there are 3-4 popular ethnic collections that composers talk about:
1. Ethno World 6.
2. UVI World suite
3. EW Quantom leap RA
4. EW Quantom leap silk

I must say I couldn't get as much info as I wanted so I address you, composers with the libraries mentioned and experience working with a lot of instruments there.
Surely a collection (as opposed to buying each individually) has a downside, when having a lot of instruments something must be degraded like quality or usage/articulations of instruments.

Before I make my purchase, I need to know more about the samples of every instrument.
I'm a bit concerned about a collection that offers loops, does some instruments have only loops and no individual notes?
how are their GUIs?
Do most of the instruments have a variety of articulations?
Are the volumes controlled via CC1 or velocity?
which collection is the closest to buying a bunch of instruments separately? - quality wise.

This is it for now, thank you all.


Active Member
Can’t remember all the details you are asking but I never liked Ethno World for that exact reason, it’s more about quantity than quality.

I demoed Silk and Ra and it sounded very poor.

So get the ones by Tarilonte (Era, Persia, Celtic) and Native Instruments discovery series, and Evolutionseries for percussion. Stretzov’s Balkan Orchestra also has some great samples instruments.


Senior Member
Ethno World and World Suite have a time span going back more than 15 years. Obviously, the older sounds are not as accurate as the newer ones. Ethno World also includes a list in the manual, and shows the information in the patch itself, telling when the instrument has been added to the collection.

The more recent additions are comparable to many dedicated libraries. In some cases, they are acquired directly from those libraries. I recently compared the lute in EW6 and the one made by Bolder Sounds: this latter is better in many ways, for accuracy and flexibility, but the former can sit next to it without problems.

Comparing Ethno World and World Suite: they are directly comparable, and the choice can be driven by the individual instruments included. However, I find essential the ability of using non-equal scales in EW6, that on WS are only available with Falcon.

Voices are another plus, for me, in EW6. They are more, and more focused on what I need.



Senior Member
I bought UVI world suite for a TV show I was working and it was like half price. Some things are not too bad, but I'd say this is also the case for quantity over quality.


Active Member
@Fermile Not sure why Eduardo Tarilonte's libs are not on that list as IMO (and many others would agree) they are the gold standard in ethnic instruments. Strezov's Balkan Ethnic Orchestra is also excellent for a certain type of ethnic music.


Geffen Studios
Thank you all guys for your comments.
I didn't see Eduardo Tarilonte's and Strezov's libs before. They sound great but they don't cover American & Australian instruments as I like.
I saw some reviews and decided ethno world and world suite is not what I look for.
Considering East West RA, research to see how good the samples are, they are on valentine sale now.

Ben H

Senior Member
I own all four of the libraries you're looking at (as well as too many other ethnic libraries), and if I had to pick just ONE from your list, I would say Ethno World 6 is the best.

Ethno World 6:
A lot of people on here seem to criticise Ethno World for being old, inconsistant and not detailed enough. But a lot of the criticism comes from people that are only really familiar with the older AKAI version.

Sure, the original library is 20? years old, but the majority of the content is less than 10 years old

Ethno World 1 & 2 - ???
Ethno World 3 - 2005
Ethno World 4 - 2008
Ethno World 5 - 2011
Ethno World 6 - 2017

As to the level of detail of the instruments, I would say:
Vol 1-3 is good enough for flourishes or colours
Vol 4 is usuable in a mix with other instruments
Vol 5-6 I would not hesitate using exposed in a piece or as a solo instrumeht

With regards to being inconsistant, I think that is a valid criticsm. But I prefer their approach to include everything, rather than exclude the older stuff, because I still might find some of it useful for something.

I also often read that there are "not a lot of dynamic layers." But a lot of people unfamiliar with ethnic instruments don't realise that there isn't a lot of dynamic layers in real ethnic instruments anyway.

UVI World Suite:
This library is okay. Not as good as Ethno World 6, but still pretty decent. The programming is funky though, e.g Bagpipes, GH Pipes, Northumbrian Pipes, Bombarde, and Uileaan Pipes are all on one patch, and you have to switch between them via Keyswitches. I would much prefer seperate patches for each instrument.

That said the instruments are mostly decent.

Eastwest Ra:
I would not recommend Ra. It is too old. Even though the original samples into the new PLAY engine, they have not really done anything to improve the programming, and have not recorded additional instruments. Really the instruments are so small, you could really only use them for ethnic colours or flourishes at best.

I bought this during a 50% off sale and probably would not buy this, if I was starting again.

Eastwest Silk:
As for Silk, it is certainly the most detailed of the instruments. However the AMOUNT of instruments is the smallest of any of them. The recordings were certainly a lot better than Ra, but I just don't like the TONE of some of them. The Bansuri is particularly awful.

I also bought this in a 50% off sale and rarely use it because I have other libraries with the same instruments that I like better. I probably wouldn't buy this one again either.

Also the PLAY player is a turn off for me.


Geffen Studios
But there are MUCH better libraries that you can put your money towards. ANY of the other suggestions above. Plus, you'll get better winds and strings to boot!
Thank you very much for the detailed response, this is the level of detail that I wanted to hear.
So, you would recommend ethno world 6, what would you say a reasonable price to pay to it?
currently 449USD, what is the lowest you've seen it on sales?

Ben H

Senior Member
So, you would recommend ethno world 6, what would you say a reasonable price to pay to it?
currently 449USD, what is the lowest you've seen it on sales?
Best Service usually do a BOGOF sale once a year on BS branded libraries.

Because Ethno World 6 can be bought in 2 sections (either Instruments or Voices), you can buy the Instruments section during the BOGOF sale and get the other Voices section for free. ;)

Or if the Voices half of Ethno World doesn't interest you, you could buy JUST the instruments and then choose one of Tari's libraries as your free library (which are also usually included in the Best Service sale).

Pick any of them, they are all excellent. Although be warned, if you buy one, then you will probably also want all his others. :P

The only thing to note is that they usually exclude the latest library though, especially if newly released, (within the last year). So Dark Ages will likely NOT be included in this year's sale. All his others should be included though.
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I think that World Suite and Ethno World 6 (instruments) make a great combination to get introduced to a LOT of world instruments.

Each one has many instruments that the other one lacks, and if they have the same ones, the approach is different. You will usually find something you prefer between the two of them, and you can combine them if you want. While they may not be the most authentic representations of an instrument available, they usually have a lot of articulations and some of them sound IMHO excellent, particularly the newer additions to the collections. For example, many of the most recent instruments added to World Suite have samples ported over from PrecisionSound, so if you like PS tupans, you will like WS tupans. They both offer a lot of loops, in addition to instruments.

World Suite can be purchased for around $210 in one of the regular UVI sales (and recently sold for around $170). I purchased Ethno World 6 (instruments only) for $155 last Black Friday from Best Service. EW6 has NKS, which is useful.

If you can only buy one, I would go for EW6.

In my case they created the desire to buy Tarilonte's Ancient Era Persia, Balkan Ethnic Orchestra, a few of the Evolution Percussion series, Koron, and various solo libraries. I also like the NI Discovery world libraries, particularly the new Middle East one.

Tarilonte is in a class of his own, so if you want to get instruments that sound really, really good, go with him. If you want a larger quantity, go with WS and EW6.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Paolo, good catch on the scales. I will try to remember that so I don't steer someone towards UVI World Suite who does not own Falcon. I never use UVI Workstation anymore, so do not always remember which features are unique to the paid version (Falcon).


Active Member
The thing is that every time I’ve needed a specific instrument I’ve always found dedicated libraries better than the ones in Ethno World 6. So if having a big collection of everything is not that important, but rather have high quality samples of specific instruments, I’d recommend:

Pantam: http://www.soniccouture.com/en/products/26-percussion/g29-pan-drums/


Irish Flute:

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Ooh, be careful with terminology there, even though terms are often used to mean more than one thing! The tin whistle is a very different instrument from a wooden Celtic/Irish flute! And of course comes in many sizes, registers, and keys.

Didgeridoo is covered well by the out-of-print Spiritual Wind by Tari, and also his Forest Kingdom. Ethno World is OK for that and Bolder Sounds, but Tari really nailed it. I thought I had everything from Fluffy but am missing that one somehow, so can't compare it.

For Low Whistle (not Irish Flute; very different recommendations there), aka Penny Whistle, there are well over a dozen choices as it's a popular instrument. The Tin Whistle and Low Whistle from Ilya Efimov are definitely amongst the best. I would rank Celtic Era a bit above, and if the range is right for what you need, top honours go to Ventus Ethnic Winds Tin Whistle (Impact Soundworks). Embertone's Shire Whistle is pretty good, as is the specialty vendor Xtant Audio's O'Malley's Irish Whistles. There's even a few in Era Medieval Legends as well. None of my other six choices cut the mustard.

The Steelpans in Pianoteq, though 100% modeled vs. sampled, are absolutely amazing, and of course allow for extended range with realistic timbre to match. The top three sampled libraries are kind of a tie, because they cover slightly different instruments (traditional Steelpans vs. modern custom boutique vendors' variations of Hang Drums), but I highly recommend the aforementioned Soniccoutre Pan Drum alongside Rast Sound's Hang Melo and 8DIO's Alien Drum -- all were recently expanded to stay competitive.

If looking specifically just for traditional Steelpans, 8DIO has a separate library for that, called Steel Drum, and the one in Xsample's library was traditionally the only choice for many years and still highly competitive. Sonokinetic also has a dedicated Steelpan library, and Spitfire's Steel Drums library is also highly competitive. Then there's another specialty version from Impact Soundworks called the Shou Drum, which is made from tempered steel. Other choices aren't so good.
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Ben H

Senior Member
I think that World Suite and Ethno World 6 (instruments) make a great combination to get introduced to a LOT of world instruments.

I pretty much went on an ethno instrument sample library buying frenzy, and purchased nearly everything out there.

I would recommend the Ethno World 6 + UVI World Suite combo for people looking for a broad range of ethnic instrumets, as it would probably cover most of your bases.

Then you can buy some specialist libraries if you require greater depth for anything. (Although you may even find that you do not need to).
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New Member
A bit of a specific question about Balkan Ethnic Orchestra, but how dry are the base sounds? I felt in the hour long video where the creator solos different sounds, everything still sounded a little wet.

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
There's another thread that covers other material in that library, where the developer tells how to make it less wet. Not sure if I'll have time tonight to try the rec, but if I do, I'll try to remember to post the results here as well. And indeed, I mentioned that the wetness in the demo sampler is the main reason why I didn't buy the library during the recent sale.
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