What is it?
Origin X is a loop-based sample library for the Native Instruments Kontakt platform and is the first release from developer Artistry Audio.
As an NI Kontakt format library you can use it in your own full version of Kontakt (VST, AU, AAX, standalone), or run it in the Kontakt Player which is free to download. Whichever you opt for, Origin X requires Kontakt version 6.4 or later to work.
In the beginning
In the beginning Origin X is designed to deliver production-ready, beat-driven and melodic sounds that are easy to play, program and manipulate, and a quick spin through the 350 master presets indicates that the 1400 loops (4.5GB) are excellently produced.
There are just two versions of the Origin X Kontakt instrument, one of which accesses the above mentioned sample set and a second one which lets users load up to 24 of their own loops.
For the main instrument, Artistry Audio have designed a highly capable Kontakt workspace based around four key panels – Main, Sounds, Effects and Macros. Here you can access one of 350 master (Instrument) presets as well as sub presets that pertain to specific aspects of the instrument (Kits, Sounds, Effects and Macros).
The instrument has a two-part interface that accommodates two layers (Layer 1 and Layer 2), and each layer loads the same set of 12 loops. The 24 total slots (called a Kit) are mapped across the keyboard and each Layer has its own two-stage processing (Sounds and Effects).
This creates the potential for two very different sound sets based on the same core samples, and this is precisely what the master presets demonstrate. In addition, presets for Kits (75), Sounds (130) and Effects (100) allow you to move beyond an Instrument preset in a quick and fruitful way.
Manipulation of Origin X’s core loops is handled in the Sounds panel. Here you can set a loop’s start and end points, its pitch (+/- 3 octaves of real time pitch shift) as well as loop and reverse. There are also two layer-specific step editors (Loop Remix and Play Direction) that reorder and reverse sample slices respectively.
Further layer-specific features include pitch and amplitude envelopes, 3-band EQ, volume and pan LFOs, stereo spread and a vintage tape effect. The lower half of the panel provides an overview of all 12 sample loops in each layer, while the waveform view at the top focuses on the currently selected loops.
In the Effects panel, each layer gets its own effects chain (compressor, filter, drive, lofi, delay and reverb) and this is followed by a global effects chain (compressor, EQ, tap saturation, chorus, phaser, reverb and delay).
Clearly Origin X has a pretty impressive set of tools for manipulation and finessing, but we also really like how playable it is.
First up, Stack mode allows you to play both layers from the lower octave, and you can also set the mod wheel to act as a layer crossfade control. There are also three key-switching features. The first changes global playback speed (x1/2, x1 and x2). Second, you can select 1 of 12 preassigned Sound presets.
This can be monetary or latching, and this option, along with the choice of presets, are assigned in the settings page. Next up, you can apply real-time pitch shift. This defaults to +/- 12 semitones, although this can be changed in the settings as can momentary and latching behaviour.
Finally, Origin X follows host DAW tempo and includes adjustable MIDI input quantise, both of which make track construction very easy.
Performance and verdict
The Origin X sound set is pretty eclectic even within a single instrument, and sounds range from keys, basses and beats to brass, pads and even vocals. Much like a construction kit, each instrument’s loops are designed to be played together both sonically and harmonically.
This makes it incredibly easy to create complete tracks. Overall, the sonics of the library are contemporary, so there are plenty of arpeggiated or stutter-style sounds. What’s more, the sounds are processed, so if you’re after instant textures you’re spoilt for choice. The only real limitation is that you can’t mix and match Kit samples.
If you want to be a bit more creative, Origin X includes a user-definable randomisation engine. This encompasses presets and layers as well as more specific parameters, and it’s great if you’re looking for inspiration.
Alternatively as mentioned, an additional Kontakt instrument allows you to load up your own samples, so you can make full use of Origin X processing and save the results as user snapshots.
Alas what you can’t do is combine these with its own library samples. In the spirit of Origin X’s own Kits, we found loading construction kits worked really well, with Origin X adding an extra dimension to existing sounds.
All told, Origin X is a powerful sample based instrument that makes impressive use of the Kontakt platform. It’s not particularly cheap, but the sample set sounds great and will appeal to those making beat driven textures as well as contemporary music styles.
MusicRadar verdict: A powerful environment with top class loop-based sounds for both soundtrack creators and contemporary music makers.
The web says
"There isn’t a single musical target going on but rather it provides you with a wide range of loops from etherial and ambient through to retro funky beats and spacy electronica. You will find loops here for dance tracks, for pop music and for soundtrack composition in fairly equal measure. They sound great too, often heavily washed in delay and reverb, though of course you can tweak this."
"There’s a lot of great in-your-face content and some engaging processing going on this sound library that feels quite fresh and current. It makes great use of the Kontakt interface but ultimately it comes down to whether the library content appeals to what you’re trying to do. In the right situation it feels like this could drop right in there."
Sample Library Review
- TYPE: Sample library for Kontakt (VST, AU, AAX, standalone)
- KEY FEATURES: 350 master presets, 1400 loops (4.5GB), 2 layer-specific step editors (Loop Remix and Play Direction), Sub Presets (Kits, Sounds, Effects and Macros), pitch and amplitude envelopes, 3-band EQ, volume, pan LFOs, stereo spread, vintage tape effect
- SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Kontakt version 6.4 or later;
- CONTACT: Artistry Audio