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Recommend me some ethnic libraries!

DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
So, I am working on a personal project right now, for which I require a lot of world instruments. I am mainly looking for African, Asian and South American instruments. Kwaya is already high on the list, as is Forest Kingdom II. Any suggestions are welcome.

I already own Native Instruments' Africa (which I like) Stormdrum 3 (which I love) and Omnisphere 2.6 (some lovely instruments in there, very surprising!).

Hit me!
 

kessel

wagakki-electro-otaku

Lode_Runner

Senior Member
Not sure what your budget is but:
  • Evolution Series World Percussion
  • Ilya Efimov Armenian Duduk and Impact Soundworks Turkish Oud
  • Sonica or Premier Sound Factory for Japanese instruments
 

Mason

Active Member
This is what I’ve got in this category and which I would recommend:

NI India
NI Middle East
Stretzov’s Balkan Ethnic Orchestra
Ilya Efimov’s Duduk
Ilya Efimov’s Uilleann Pipes
Spitfire Cimbalom
Tarilonte’s Era 2
Embertone Shire Whistle
Ilya Efimov’s Accordion
Cinematique Instruments Hammered Dulcimer
Tarilonte Era Persia
Impact Soundworks Koron
Impact Soundwords Shakuhachi
Soundiron Electric Saz
Sonica Shakuhachi
HZ Percussion
 
OP
DS_Joost

DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
Thanks for the mentions people!

As for budget, I am selling my Novation Peak hardware synth for this. It's up for a 1000, though it'll propably end up between 900 and 800 euros. Still, it doesn't hurt looking out a little already, doing some research...
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Are you looking for percussion or other categories? The two are rarely together in the same library, and percussion is MUCH easier to come by.

This is especially important for making recommendations on South American libraries, as this remains a very neglected region of the world by sample developers, but much less so for percussion. This means that there's no one library that gives broad and deep coverage of non-percussive SA stuff, but I can canvas a couple of dozen such instruments to see if there is a shared library that contains them all (if this is of interest).

Asia is too broad of an area. Do you mostly mean East Asia, or also India, Iran, Turkey, Middle East? Again, these areas tend to be segregated library-wise. For East Asia, Silk can be a good start.
 

composerdk

New Member
I forgot to mention these, never tried them, but maybe an alternative depending on budget...
I own World Suite. I bought it to have many ethnic instruments at a low cost and I’m satisfied with it. Its sound is okay, but if I have a dedicated library for an instrument I would use it instead of World suite.
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Exactly, but there's a LOT of instruments that are fairly limited in coverage and some that are even unique JUST to World Suite. Most of these are also standalone Precisionsound libraries (which I already owned) but are better-scripted and better-edited in the UVI versions on the whole, and of course much more affordable that way.

Similar critique applies to best Service Ethno World. Both are well worth their price, in my view, but I do tend to reach for single-instrument specialty libraries and stuff from Tarilonte when available.
 

TigerTheFrog

Amateur
My advice would be to get Best Service's EthnoWorld 6 or UVI's World Suite, as they offer the widest selection.

Start by exploring what instruments will work best with your project, or just inspire you most. Depending on your project, you may find some of them good enough to use as is.

Otherwise, once you know the instruments you want, you can get great advice from people on this forum about the best single instrument libraries, although everybody will have a different opinion. :) Generally, that's your best bet, although some of my favorite instruments are in Tarilonte collections. The Evolution series is unparalleled for world percussion.
 

Mason

Active Member
I see Silk, Ra and Ethnoworld is recommended here. I’ve tried them all and although they have a big collection of instruments it’s more about quantity than quality. I would also stay away from Sonokinetic when it comes to world instruments.
 

TigerTheFrog

Amateur
There are 320 instruments in World Suite and 264 in EthnoWorld 6. Many are in one and not the other and if you have both, you are still missing a hundred or more other world virtual instruments currently available, in other collections and solo libraries.

Now, for example, if you decide you want a great Guzheng, you can get one from Best Service/Yellow River, Impact Soundworks, Evolution World, Soniccouture, Wavesfactory, and Sound Magic, and there are probably more I don’t know about. Bolder Sounds has the Vietnamese Dan Tranh, which is similar. Everybody here would have an opinion about which one you should get and I doubt anybody has them all.

Even if you limited your search to a small list of the most important world instruments, what would it cost to go first class with every single one of them? The Sonica Koto alone lists for $240.

This is why I suggested that it’s a good plan to start with EthnoWorld 6 and figure out what instruments you like and suit your music the best. What you like is something nobody can answer for you. IMHO knowing what is a great oud or duduk isn’t relevant to you until you know that you want an oud or a duduk.

Let me say this. I have spent dozens of hours playing different examples of the expensive, well-reviewed solo libraries and I think I know them well. I have also spent a lot of time playing their counterparts in EthnoWorld and World Suite, because it was only through playing them that I decided to upgrade. The world collection instruments usually have numerous articulations and countless ways to refine their sounds. I absolutely disagree with any blanket statement that there are no quality instruments to be found in these libraries. There is definitely a variability in quality, as they come from different sources, and some were sampled a long time ago, but all are good enough to introduce you to the joys of world music and set you on the path to buying other libraries, if you desire. Or, in my opinion--to use. Which I often do.

What is far more important IMHO is how you play these instruments. If you gave a world class piano virtuoso almost any decent piano virtual instrument, it would sound infinitely better than me playing a “better” one. World instruments are exactly like that--people spend lifetimes mastering them. And learning about the cultures and playing styles will help you understand why another library might help you achieve more musical and/or authentic results.

The other big question is: are you trying to make music the way it is done in its native land, or are you just looking for new kinds of sounds?
 

Mark Schmieder

Senior Member
Extremely good points made by Tiger the Frog. I also meant to say earlier that although the NI Discovery Series is somewhat uneven, the more recent additions have been of astounding quality as well as depth and authenticity, with excellent user manuals that you can learn a lot from (regarding ethnomusicology). I just figured no point in mentioning it as few buy them outright; they come with Komplete and so it's more a matter of not forgetting you already have them and actually spending time with them (something I've been doing of late).
 
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reimerpdx

Meat Popsicle
Extremely good points made by Tiger the Frog. I also meant to say earlier that although the NI Discovery Series is somewhat uneven, the more recent additions have been of astounding quality as well as depth and authenticity, with excellent user manuals that you can learn a lot from (regarding ethnomusicology). I just figured no point in mentioning it as few buy them outright; they come with Komplete and so it's more a matter of not forgetting you already have them and actually spending time with them (something I've been doing of late).
Very good point. Hard to keep track of what we already have sometimes, but worthwhile, when everything seems to have a gem somewhere (hidden or not).
 

Jazzy_Joe

New Member
Some great advice I got a few years ago with Ethnic instruments is to watch videos of them being played and note the techniques and sounds produced. It's easy to dismiss patches if you are playing them like a piano!
 
OP
DS_Joost

DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
Very good points, thanks everyone! For now, my surefire libraries will be Kwaya and Forest Kingdom II. I have also been eyeing Ethno World 6 Complete, but is rather expensive (though seriously packed). Anyone has experience with this? They don't need to be best in class instruments, as I want them to add flavor to an orchestral suite, however, is this worth it? Especially the voices, how useable are they?
 
OP
DS_Joost

DS_Joost

One day I'll fly away!
There are 320 instruments in World Suite and 264 in EthnoWorld 6. Many are in one and not the other and if you have both, you are still missing a hundred or more other world virtual instruments currently available, in other collections and solo libraries.

Now, for example, if you decide you want a great Guzheng, you can get one from Best Service/Yellow River, Impact Soundworks, Evolution World, Soniccouture, Wavesfactory, and Sound Magic, and there are probably more I don’t know about. Bolder Sounds has the Vietnamese Dan Tranh, which is similar. Everybody here would have an opinion about which one you should get and I doubt anybody has them all.

Even if you limited your search to a small list of the most important world instruments, what would it cost to go first class with every single one of them? The Sonica Koto alone lists for $240.

This is why I suggested that it’s a good plan to start with EthnoWorld 6 and figure out what instruments you like and suit your music the best. What you like is something nobody can answer for you. IMHO knowing what is a great oud or duduk isn’t relevant to you until you know that you want an oud or a duduk.

Let me say this. I have spent dozens of hours playing different examples of the expensive, well-reviewed solo libraries and I think I know them well. I have also spent a lot of time playing their counterparts in EthnoWorld and World Suite, because it was only through playing them that I decided to upgrade. The world collection instruments usually have numerous articulations and countless ways to refine their sounds. I absolutely disagree with any blanket statement that there are no quality instruments to be found in these libraries. There is definitely a variability in quality, as they come from different sources, and some were sampled a long time ago, but all are good enough to introduce you to the joys of world music and set you on the path to buying other libraries, if you desire. Or, in my opinion--to use. Which I often do.

What is far more important IMHO is how you play these instruments. If you gave a world class piano virtuoso almost any decent piano virtual instrument, it would sound infinitely better than me playing a “better” one. World instruments are exactly like that--people spend lifetimes mastering them. And learning about the cultures and playing styles will help you understand why another library might help you achieve more musical and/or authentic results.

The other big question is: are you trying to make music the way it is done in its native land, or are you just looking for new kinds of sounds?
Great post TigerTheFrog! I intend to use these to add flavor. Now, Kwaya is on the list because of the fact that I want an African choir as a centerpiece, not as a simple flavor. Kwaya seems the be the only option if you want that. Forest Kingdom II is on there because of the fantastic playability of the instruments as well. Instruments that can really stand on their own. Ethno World I am looking at to compliment those two libraries. If I can sprinkle some voices here and there, that would be really great too. They don't need to be the most flexible or realistic, just add some flavor. However, there is a difference between adding flavor and being near unusable because they are too set in how they are (like, only phrases).
 

TigerTheFrog

Amateur
Very good points, thanks everyone! For now, my surefire libraries will be Kwaya and Forest Kingdom II. I have also been eyeing Ethno World 6 Complete, but is rather expensive (though seriously packed). Anyone has experience with this? They don't need to be best in class instruments, as I want them to add flavor to an orchestral suite, however, is this worth it? Especially the voices, how useable are they?
I only purchased the EthnoWorld 6 instruments, which cut the cost in half. Based on the manual, there wasn't enough variety to be worth the money for me. 2/3 of them seem to be Native American and Peruvian voices, and there is even stuff like yodeling that I know I won't use.

There are sales at Best Service now and then (recently one for 25% off) so you can save money on EthnoWorld, the Tarilontes, including Kwaya, and their other world libraries. If you can hold out until Black Friday, last year everything was 40% off.

As you have Omnisphere, have you explored the Phrase Library? There are a lot of great African , choirs, chants, solos, and instrument phrases.


You get there by clicking on one of the A,B,C or D sounds, and selecting the Phrase Directory.
 
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