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PulseSetter-Sounds Handpan: Machina Kontakt Instrument Is Here



It’s a library of interesting processed Halos. What are those and can we have one?

The answer is embedded in the title of this release: the halo is a handpan, a kind of steel drum. Check out the links for demos. They’re very cool.

Here’s the company release, featuring a 154-word opening sentence (quite impressive even if it’s below the world record):

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA: PulseSetter-Sounds is proud to announce availability of HANDPAN : MACHINA — multi-sampled Halos injected with the cinematic sound design company’s distinctive brand of creative modern processing to produce otherworldly pads, drones, plucks, and loops shaping up as its most powerful KONTAKT instrument yet, one which involved closely collaborating with award-winning film and television composer Greg Tripi to combine his unique Halo playing and style with a modern hybrid approach to virtual instrument-making, duly designed by composers for composers as a highly- capable and complex tool hiding behind a simple GUI (Graphical User Interface) that truly inspires, its bird’s eye view of all effects and controls creating a simple approach to working with several types of sounds that can easily be mixed and matched with effects and sequences to even go as far as producing full music cues in one pass owing to its extensive flexibility and content — as of July 25…

It is fair to say from the outset that HANDPAN : MACHINA is far from a typical multi-sampled hand pan KONTAKT instrument. But before digging deeper into what, exactly, it is and does, it is worth looking back, briefly, at the origins of its source samples before putting them into their rightful context. History has it that a Halo is the original American hand pan — itself a term for a group of musical instruments that are classified as a subset of the steel pan. As a circular piece of steel with circular indentations in it that — once shaped — looks more like a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) than a musical instrument, its soft, yet highly-energetic, ethereal sound combined with its simple playing method are beloved by both experienced musicians and novices alike. An American company called Pantheon Steel, founded in 2004 by expert steel pan-maker and accomplished tuner Kyle Cox, can be credited — with significant contributions from fellow artisans along the way — with creating the Halo that to this day rightfully represents its flagship instrument.

It is little wonder, then, that award-winning film and television composer Greg Tripi — truly talented as a multi-instrumentalist and synthesist based out of Los Angeles, California — got turned on to the Halo in a never-ending quest for new sounds and inspiration in pursuit of his chosen craft. Composing credits for television include The Fix (ABC), Manhunt: Unabomber (Discovery/Netflix), and The Knick (Cinemax), collaborating with well-known American film composer Cliff Martinez on the latter. Meanwhile, motion pictures benefitting from his musical input include MaDriveContagionRememoryDark Places, and Hotel Artemis, while he has also worked on a number of Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning independent films, as well as video games and commercials.

Duly designed by composers for composers as a highly-capable and complex tool hiding behind a simple GUI that truly inspires, it is little wonder, too, that PulseSetter- Sounds closely collaborated with top-tier industry player Greg Tripi to combine his unique Halo playing and style with a modern hybrid approach to virtual instrument- making. As a result, HANDPAN : MACHINA is effectively a combination of natural and sound design elements with PulseSetter-Sounds carefully crafting no fewer than 342 cinematic loops and pulses from the most pristine Halos available. Indeed, it is far from a typical multi-sampled hand pan KONTAKT instrument, instead seamlessly combining those multi-sampled Halos and loops with the cinematic sound design company’s distinctive brand of creative modern processing to produce otherworldly pads, drones, plucks, and loops, shaped as its most powerful KONTAKT instrument to date.

Dual XY pad environments are central to the KONTAKT instrument in question’s powerful GUI; the left one for performing and automating four layers of samples capable of combining loops and multi-sampled instruments — themselves the result of Greg Tripi going above and beyond the call of duty with his Halos, while the right one is dedicated exclusively to controlling custom mixes of several effects, so users can perform full cues in real time while recording or automating almost anything. It is worth noting here that there is an independent effects sequencer for each layer’s LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), ENV (envelope), FILTERDIST (distortion), EQ (equalisation), and DELAY, as well as four advanced sequencers with three modes — namely, Chord (plays chords that repeat), Arpeggiator (plays one note at a time), and Sequencer (whereby each step can be set to a specific note). Out of the box, HANDPAN : MACHINA is a powerful KONTAKT instrument with 15.80GB of content and 12 menu instruments ready to be used. Ultimately, however, it offers more experienced users a deep and versatile programming experience, with hundreds of options and much in the way of control, covering synth-like capabilities — like LFOs and envelopes, for instance.

It is also fair to say, though, that HANDPAN : MACHINA can conceivably be thought of as a live performance instrument — route its XY pads to a MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) controller, and it feels like a living machine. Musically speaking, this is incredibly useful when composing to picture, allowing users to perform in real time and save a lot of time while doing so. It is often observed that deadlines are your friend, but — on the strength of HANDPAN : MACHINA alone — PulseSetter- Sounds is friendlier!

For example, HANDPAN : MACHINA’s performance matrix makes it easy to control and manipulate those four layers of samples capable of combining loops and multi-sampled instruments since users can see all the layers with their parameters, effects, modulation, and effect sequencers in the same window for quick access, while it is also possible to edit the parameters for all the — SPACE and COLOR — macro effects, the master — FILTEREQCOMP (compressor), DELAYVERB (reverb), LIMITER, and MASTER FILTER — effects, and the four sequencers.

Saying all that, then, HANDPAN : MACHINA is not simply a typical yoga class-sounding Halo. Having had a lot of fun processing the hell out of the loops and multi- sampled instruments involved in its creation, HANDPAN : MACHINA rather represents the musical manifestation of PulseSetter-Sounds duly designing it with the working composer in mind, allowing them to quickly lay out cues when needed using its carefully curated instruments or dive deeper into its programming capabilities to create custom instruments that contain all available instruments in the sample library itself. It is finally fair to say that with so much material and modulation possibilities to play with, serious users would need to spend some serious time to fully explore HANDPAN : MACHINA as a highly-capable music production tool — one which is worthy of taking the cinematic production company concerned’s notable name to the next level in KONTAKT instruments designed by composers for composers. 

HANDPAN : MACHINA can be purchased as a 15.80 GB (9.17GB compressed) KONTAKT instrument for a time-limited introductory promo price of $69.99 USD — rising thereafter to its regular price of $99.99 USD — via its dedicated webpage, which also includes more in-depth information (including some superb-sounding audio demos), here: (Note that HANDPAN : MACHINA requires the full version — 5.8 or above — of KONTAKT, Native Instruments’ advanced flagship instrument platform for macOS and Windows.)

See and hear HANDPAN : MACHINA in action in PulseSetter-Sounds’ contextual walkthrough video here:

Watch PulseSetter-Sounds’ tantalising trailer video for HANDPAN : MACHINA here:

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