Virtual Instrument Development

Over Summer 2023 I became involved with the launch of the new NKS 2.0 standard from Native Instruments and I worked with an advance model of one of their new mk3 keyboards to develop virtual instruments for Orchestral Tools for the release of these new keyboards and the new NKS 2.0 standard.

In the video here – you can see an exploration of the patches from Reuben Cornell starting at 6:28

The development that I undertook for Orchestral Tools was to update the products Time Macro and Time Micro to the new NKS 2.0 standard to enable seamless integration with the mk3 keyboards.

In addition to this, I scripted a series of brand new instruments designed to be used with the new aftertouch capability of the NI mk3 keyboards.  Rather than add this to the older instruments, these aftertouch instruments were completely built from scratch with freshly written code to take advantage of the latest kontakt functionality.

Creative ToolboX

In 2022 and 2023 I have been scripting instruments and working on UI/UX for the well known and respected Kontakt developer Strezov Sampling.

The instruments that I have taken part in building with Strezov Sampling have all been built to the NKS standard and encoded by Native Instruments.

I have been working on The Creative ToolboX for Strezov sampling which aims to provide some high quality songwriting and composition tools in a free Kontakt Player instrument.  the first instruments released were Drums, Percussion and Drum Machines.

This Pristine Steinway Grand is another installment in the Creative ToolboX series that I had the honour of scripting for Strezov Sampling.  Scripting a piano was a first for me – perfecting the release triggering was a particular challenge which I managed to overcome.

The result is a wonderful sounding instrument as displayed in the demo videos below.

The most recent library that I have released is the first in my Ultimate Cello Series which plans to explore the cello in great depth

This is the third library that I have scripted and delivered to NKS 2.0 specifications.

The Ultimate Cello series will be a modular library focusing on specific areas of the cello.  The first Volume, coming soon, will explore Harmonics.  This library is from a parallel series which I am calling “Textures” which takes source samples from the UIltimate Cello series and then uses them in unconventional ways to make contemporary sounds through Sound Design.  In the case of “Ultimate Cello Textures – Harmonics Pad”, the instrument is a pad designer.

I started developing Virtual Instruments for Kontakt as a way of adding extra value to the remote recording sessions that clients booked me for.  After completing a session, I would send a free sample library through with the final files.

During this period I also recorded some private custom sample libraries for different media composers.

Being a cellist, I specialised in creating Cello based sample libraries at this stage.  As a media composer myself with Primetime TV credits I also have excellent insight into the needs of Virtual Instrument users.

Recording Electric Cello

After developing these first instruments between 2016 and 2020 I have gone on to live and breathe Kontakt for the last 4 years working on the instruments below initially with basic concepts and experimentation and advancing to developing complex instruments for major developers to NKS specifications.

In September 2020 I started my own boutique sample library label called It’s All Noise with a simple free sample library called “Soft False Harmonics” which was a single dynamic layer (soft) of Artificial Harmonics played on the Cello in whole tone intervals.  This was so popular that I decided to attach a price to it and sell it in limited numbers.

It's All Noise Logo

The first commercial library that I released on It’s All Noise was “Cello Percussion”.  This library has been very popular and has filled a gap of cello sounds that media composers have found useful from a cello.  This library showcased 50 different percussive FX using a Cello using 531 samples.

Cello Percussion User Interface
User Interface for Cello Plectrum

The other major library released by It’s All Noise was “Cello Plectrum”.  This was larger in scale than my previous libraries and levelled up my scripting abilities.

Inspired by experimental contemporary cellists such as Aaron Minsky and Rushad Eggleston and the string arranging on ‘Burn The Witch’ by Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, this library brought a previously unsampled cello articulation to Kontakt.

The free sample library “Wok” was the result of experiments that I was doing into sampling practices.  Inspired by the sampling practices of companies such as Soniccouture I wanted to try sampling an instrument with a large number of velocity layers and less round robins to see what resulted.

For Wok, right hand and left hand hits were recorded separately at up to 27 velocity layers across 10 separate articulations.

In addition to this, Wok was recorded in a mid/side mic configuration.  I did this because I have not seen many mid/side Kontakt libraries and I wanted to experiment.

At this point I embarked on a major personal challenge to develop a modular cello sample library. The first volume will be released soon to the NKS standard on It’s All Noise and focuses on Cello Harmonics.  I recorded cello harmonics with multiple articulations such as several sustains, fp, different kinds of shorts, tremolo and various FX.  In total I recorded 15 hours of cello performances for this first volume.  For this library I separated bow noise from the pitched element for the user to mix to taste.

In addition to the instruments listed above, further projects, including for other major developers, are currently in development and will be listed here upon release.  I am also available for Kontakt development projects including for private custom libraries. Contact me for futher details.