Void and Vista Strands: What is it?
The Kontakt instrument format has become a universal model for many sound creators, providing everything from sampled acoustic instruments, to the sonically diverse.
All have their uses, but finding an instrument that includes both acoustic and electronic elements, and can take you to exciting creative places, is more of a rarity.
Void and Vista Strands: Performance and verdict
Getting creative is the main Strands mantra; it’s complete with 32 sound sources, all of which are unique, but with elements of control that invite creativity at both the sonic and musical levels.
The initial sampled sound sources are divided into three categories, beginning with Bows. You can hear the rosin of the bow creeping across the string in many of the eight included bowed sounds, but there is substantial variance, such as the inclusion of an Ebow, creating an ethereal texture which resonates randomly. This sound confirms the presence of numerous round-robins, meaning that repeated notes will yield a subtly different performance.
While the Bows section is overtly acoustic, the Effects sound sources are an abstract collection of real-world samples, processed instruments and synths. As a case in point, the first sample, Cymbal Textures, is clearly acoustic in makeup, but it’s been heavily multisampled. To our ears, it sounds like a mixture of different playing techniques and processing, but whatever we think, it’s incredibly novel. Most of the other sources in this section adopt traditional chromatic tuning, with some instances providing pitch modulation, such as the Broken Tape sample. You can guess how this might sound, as the pitch meanders with Aphex Twin-style proportions.
The final sound category is more utilitarian in approach, formed from traditional subtractive waveforms and noise.
Strand and deliver
Once you’ve located the sound source you wish to use, the construction process can be relatively simple - or substantial and complicated (should you wish it to be). The initial makeup centres around two partial layers, blended through the Morph control which occupies the bottom of the instrument’s window. Adjusting the Morph fader activates the central graphic, where a ghostly hand leans from one side to the other, to endorse the fader’s movement. Being within the Kontakt domain, it’s simple to assign the Morph fader to a MIDI CC. Each partial is equipped with quick-access parameters for controlling pitch, making it easy to create Morphs which appear in a different octave, although you can also adjust the pitch micro-tonally, which we discovered releases some very creepy possibilities.
There’s access to a pair of ADSR envelope generators from the lower part of the window, but it’s the seven controls in the upper part of the window that demonstrate greater modulatory designs. You’ll need to dive into these to find out exactly what they do, as the offered description isn’t always apparent.
Filter is at the more obvious end, with Low, High and Band-pass filtering options, with spacing and resonance control. The filter types may also be selected at the partial level, which is useful. Meanwhile, the Character and Lofi sections present lots of different effects, from compression and distortion, to imaging and saturation. All of these elements invite control over time for creating very musical structures.
Strands is billed as a perfect instrument for cinematic-style music and productions, but what does this mean? In essence, Strands provides capacity to create textures which are rich and textural, but with capacity to build and reduce, as you might expect if music were being placed with a moving picture. The key to this form of work lies firmly within the capacity to offer real-time control through a relatively abundant set of parameters, which may be automated within a DAW environment, or controlled in real time, through the use of hardware devices, such as a bank of MIDI programmable faders.
It is this level of musical operation that shores up the inclusion of the word ‘cinematic’, but it is also a product which could be exploited elsewhere. The electronic content is capable of simple and snappy sounds, meaning it could simply be transferred into other production settings.
Strands comes with 2.5GB of sample data, organised into over 900 snapshots/patches. These offerings provide a great representation of the instrument’s capabilities, but it’s the huge layer of real-time control, coupled with its ease of patch creation potential, that make Strands such fun. It can sound reminiscent of similar instruments but the editing and control elements yield a portfolio of sonic potential which goes far beyond the norm.
MusicRadar verdict: Armed with a host of significant control and editing capabilities, Strands is a worthy provider of unique textures, otherworldly patches and creatively inspiring content.
Void and Vista Strands: The web says
"Strands sound fabulous and would grace any project, regardless of how ‘Hollywood’ the budget might be."
Sound On Sound
Void and Vista Strands: Hands-on demos
VOID & VISTA
Sample Library Review
Void and Vista Strands: Specifications
- Kontakt 6.7.0 or higher.
- macOS 10.14 or above. Natively compatible w/ Apple Silicon.
- Windows 10 & 11.
- VST, AAX & AU.
- CONTACT: Void and Vista