Hello Composers! Mike here, with my review of the Traveler Series of VST instrument libraries by Red Room Audio.
Here’s my overall summary:
If you want a true and authentic sound of traditional instruments, played on location by experienced players, in order to record the very root, heart and history of the sound…then Traveler Series by Red Room Audio will feel like a blessing to you.
For this review, I have tried out:
- Celtic Fiddle
- Bluegrass Fiddle
- Bodhrans & Bones
1. Celtic Fiddle
This was recorded in Dublin (Ireland), and features 20 articulations and traditional ornaments, plus Phrases & FX! 4 performance modes, customizable double stops, adjustable bow attacks and rebowing options & more! Features TACT articulation control system plus an 8-slot FX rack.
2. Bluegrass Fiddle
Recorded in Kentucky (USA) with over 25 standard articulations and traditional ornaments, plus Phrases & FX! 4 performance modes, customizable double stops, adjustable bow attacks and rebowing options & more! Features TACT articulation control system plus an 8-slot FX rack.
3. Bodhrans & Bones
6 unique traditional Irish bodhrans recorded in Dublin, Ireland. Each sampled with 5 stick types at a variety of locations on the drum, with sound design controls, multiple dynamic layers and round robins. Change pitch and dampen realistically on the fly. Bones patch features 2 sets of bones with hits and rolls. Library also features our robust 8-slot FX rack.
SOUND, FEATURES & PLAYABILITY
As a composer I am personally used to orchestral string libraries, and solo violins, so I was immediately struck by the articulations in these 2 fiddle libraries that are more about “ornaments” to add expression, rather than vibrato and legato speed.
But more importantly for me, they both have amazing playability. I instantly started playing The Shire Theme from LOTR, The Braveheart Theme, and others that simply felt natural as soon as I started playing these instruments.
That to me, is the ultimate test of a software instrument…does it inspire me to play, and does it feel natural to perform on? The answer is yes to both these questions.
The Bodhran & Bones instrument was an added bonus, as I mainly was interested in the fiddles. I had honestly never heard of a Bodhran, and playing with bones made me think of the Flintstones.
However, I was actually very surprised by how much I enjoyed the Bodhran because of the power and control it gave me as a composer…to control both the pitch and also to dampen the sound, with 2 separate sliders. This gave me ideas for making energy-rising rolls, crescendos, fills etc. for transitions.
The bones part of this instrument had this very clicky-ti-clack type of sound, which I had fun experimenting with. Dialed back this could work great for a subtle underscore type rhythmic bed.
Both the Bodhrans and the Bones give you an option to add players in an ensemble mode, with control of both timing and tuning variation.
There’s also a lot of phrases and effects recorded for these libraries, which sound great, but I personally have never really used phrases as a composer. Perhaps these can get me started?
INTERFACE & WORKFLOW
The design is very clean, but also inspiring with the added beautiful images of the instruments. And in the case of the Bodhran for example, you can actually see where on the frame you hit the drum.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Granted, this series is not something you will use in every composition. But whenever you want to add that traditional and authentic sound, you will be happy if you own these instruments. They sound amazing, playability is wonderful, and the workflow and design really sparked my inspiration.
Also, I actually found myself trying to use them as “augmentation” in the background in a non-traditional sense. And the Bodhrans & Bones went straight into my percussion template. There are no rules in music as you know, and you can always do things in new creative ways. =)
Learn more about the Traveler Series by Red Room Audio here. Get a full overview and specifications, listen to audio demos etc.