Established in 2007, UK-based Spitfire Audio have been consistently releasing some of the most charismatic and meticulously crafted sample-based instruments in the industry. Perhaps best known for their orchestral Albion series, Spitfire continues to extend their profound knowledge of deeply sampled sound sources across a wide variety of noise-making objects. With a quick stroll through their catalog and a few “add to cart” clicks later, one could find themselves exploring the musicality of everything from kitchenware to otherworldly musical artifacts of near-mythical stature. And if you’re lucky enough to experience one of Spitfire’s orchestral libraries (which you should do, today) then you will very quickly understand the level of craft and esteem which Spitfire graces upon all of their instruments.
DC Noisemaker: The Library
Here we will be taking Spitfire’s latest release in their Producer Portfolio range for a spin; DC Noisemaker. Aptly named after its creator David Coulter, in collaboration with Martin Ware, together these two sonic adventurers have created this library which is comprised of 5592 samples, weighing in at 4.9GB (uncompressed .wav) in size. The download process requires 9.2GB of disc space during install, and is handled through Spitfire’s proprietary Library Manager software. Spitfire states that DCN is “Possibly the most original set of sounds yet to be presented in a Spitfire library,” and after playing through those sounds I tend to agree. On the surface, DCN is a very specific library, which might come across as being limited in its effective use. That wasn’t my experience with this library at all, particularly once I began diving deeper, combining patches and setting up FX chains.
DC Noisemaker’s DNA is based around the musical saw. Not a saw wave, mind you, but a literal piece of metal, played with a bow. A sound that could be characterized as equal parts Theremin, sci-fi wind-up from the silver screen era, and something you might expect a bevy of ghosts to rise from. Spitfire has captured the subtle nuances of this unique instrument, and translated them to a Kontakt instrument brilliantly. From the highly playable performance legato patch, down to the more player-specific effects and spirited articulations, this is an instrument that has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. Begin drowning it in reverb, playing with mic positions, or setting up complex FX chains, and the original simplistic beauty of the saw turns into an otherworldly beast altogether. At times it sings softly, other times it cries, while other times it produces a sound that they never invented a word for.
Beyond the included saw patches and articulations, DCN also includes an extensive array of deeply sampled recondite sound sources—ranging from mouth harps to metallic scrapes and mallets, the likes of which could feasibly have been sampled on the set of Mad Max. Also included is an inspiring collection of drones and backdrops to be found in the “Warps” section, as well as the idiosyncratic “Nose Flute”, which apparently is a very real thing, and exactly what one would imagine it to be based off of that name. Across the board, Spitfire’s reputation for creating one-of-a-kind, highly playable sampler instruments can be found in every note played from DC Noisemaker.
If I were to find one potential point of friction with this library it would be with the User Interface of the Kontakt instrument. As much a bi-product of Kontakt’s limited fixed dimensions than anything else, a new user might overlook some of the functionality of this instrument, or might avoid it altogether from simply not knowing what certain elements control or effect. This of course can be avoided—and should be avoided—by simply reading the manual. Or, even better, in typical Spitfire fashion, they provide very informative walk-through videos on their site for each of their libraries and instruments. Highly recommended in order to maximize the use of any Spitfire library.
If you’re looking for a unique set of instruments that are a bit off the beaten path, yet highly musical and inspiring, DC Noisemaker is certainly worth checking out.
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