Review: UVI World Suite 2

In its second incarnation, World Suite 2 adds even more instruments and functionality for composers. With a comprehensive sound set and detailed performance features, has UVI succeeded in creating the ultimate world-encompassing collection?

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Excellence
10

MT VERDICT

+ Beautifully sampled instruments
+ Extensive instrument collection
+ Works in Falcon or the free UVI Workstation
+ Inspiring loops and phrases
+ Traveler Instruments are cool and fun
+ Excellent price for so much content

- The Travelers could use more percussive loop content

This is the most extensive collection of ethnic instruments this reviewer could find. And at this price range, it’s the most logical choice. Everything sounds excellent and this suite would make a substantial addition to any composer’s toolkit.

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Price £266
Contact UVI

There’s a sizeable market for plug-ins that cover world instruments of all kinds. From the African Udu to the West Indies Sun Drum, from the well-known to the less-known, almost any instrument can be found in sampled form. The problem is that, in most cases, you have to piece together instruments from numerous libraries to really get significant variety in world instruments for your compositions – and this can get expensive very quickly.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could mix and match all the ethnic instruments you could ever hope to have into one massive library? And if it also included tools like keyswitches and effects to further enhance those sounds? It’d be nice too, if it boasted loops and phrases that highlight the instruments in their native context, yet allow you to use them in any genre of music? Well, that’s what UVI aims to offer in the reasonably priced World Suite 2.

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UVI World Suite 2

Around the world

World Suite 2 can be used either with UVI’s Workstation (3.0.14+) or Falcon (2.0.9+) synth platforms. The library comes in at a whopping 39.15GB, so you’ll need 40GB of disk space just to install it. WS2 requires at least 4 GB of RAM, but UVI recommends 8GB+ to run it – especially if running it inside a DAW. Additionally, the platform supports standard formats (AU, AAX, VST and standalone)

Installation itself is a breeze using UVI’s Portal and WS2 can be registered using a free iLok Account. Fortunately, it no longer requires the iLok Dongle to work and you get three activations for your license, so you could assign an activation to an iLok and two computers or two iLoks and one computer, or to three computers.

It’s instantly apparent to our ears that the programming of these brilliantly sampled instruments is very deep. UVI has made sure that composers can adjust a number of things for each instrument. In some cases, it’s the timbre of the instrument, with adjustments to the transient, body amount, octaves, and more. In other cases, it might be the amount of fret noise or tremolo. They’ve given these instruments expression controls that are often unique to that instrument. They also included equalisation and a really nice sounding reverb to further enhance the sounds.

On safari

There are no less than 369 instruments at your disposal in WS2. When you think about the amount of time it took to sample each of these instruments in loving detail – and then the amount of time it took to program the patches with all the tonal enhancements and performance features – it’s quite obvious that it must have been a true labour of love.

The instruments are categorised by Region and by Instrument Type and you can search by either grouping. If searching by Region, you’ll find no less than 12 groups, arranged by geographic region and/or ethnography. They include: Africa, Asia, Australia, Celtic, Eastern Europe, India, Indonesia, Middle East, Occidental, South America, Spanish Gypsy and West Indies. Searching by Instrument Type allows us to find instruments by categories. Those are: Bell, Metal and Gong, Fretted Strings, Keys, Percussion, and Stringed and Woodwind. This makes it quick work to find what you need.

The whole world in your hands

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There are also over 10,000 loops, melodic loops, phrases and vocals included in World Suite 2. They include everything from percussion loops, to acoustic guitar riffs, to harp glissandos and everything between. There’s even a selection of Gypsy Hand Claps should you need to pepper them into a mix. All loops are handily labeled with the tempo and key (in the case of melodic loops). By default, melodic loops and phrases will time-stretch to fit the tempo of your project, though this can be turned off, if necessary. Percussion loops have an additional option called Slice, which convincingly allows the loop to be played at higher pitches without changing the tempo.

Though you may think that this pack will be of primary interest to soundtrack composers and those that need ready access to international sound palettes, the reality is that makes of any and all genres of music will find loads of usable samples and loops here. And they can all be drag-and-dropped straight onto an audio track in your DAW. It presents a totally fresh, unique bedrock on which to experiment.

Have sample, will travel

Travelers are truly innovative six-track loop tools, there are ten in all and each is unique to its style or region. Each contains six different instrument performance loops. These are played tempo-synced – either together – or individually. The Traveler interface consists of six channel strips. Each channel contains a different instrument and there are arrows on either side of the instrument that lets you choose a variation of the performance for that instrument. Below the instrument is a Power button and volume dial for tweaking the individual channel’s level or turning it off completely. Below these, there’s a Solo and Mute button, as well as a panner. Just below the panner are Low- and Hi-Pass filters and a Tuning slider. This tuning control lets you tune the instrument in semi-tones and, yes, you can even tune percussion instruments. Finally, there’s a reverb dial that allows you to place the instruments in the ambience space as much (or as little) as you like. Ctrl-clicking on these parameters allows you to automate them via your DAW’s automation.

UVI World Suite 2

UVI thoughtfully include a Play button to the left of the patch menu, so you can try out the whole loop. The loops in each Traveler are arranged by tempo. Once you find a loop you like, you can begin to tweak it with the controls in each strip. If you want to experiment with the loops, click the Dice icon to the right of the Patch menu and the Traveler will select random instruments and their loops (from those hard-wired into that particular Traveler). Most of the percussion instruments sounded exactly the same. The difference tends to be in melodic instruments like Sitars and other stringed or wind instruments. More variety in these instruments, particularly with percussion patterns and instrument sounds would have been nice considering the staggering number of loops on offer elsewhere in the library.

There’s also the Vocal and Vocal Ambience Travelers which are both meant for creating vocal ambiences and phrase. Both are five-part multi-track instruments and each includes one drone instrument and four vocal phrase strips. These, too, are immense fun to use and even have sample start and speed, filters and basic envelopes. These are a bonus that are fun and inspiring.

This is a remarkably impressive collection. It radiates with the love and attention that UVI has undeniably poured all over the sampling process, as well as the package’s extensive programming capabilities . This could serve as your new repository of world sounds for more obvious soundtracking purposes, or this could be your starting point for a whole new world of sound design.

Do I really need this?

If you’re a composer who paints in diverse flavors or you’re just looking for something interesting and unique to add to your productions – regardless of genre – then this suite of instruments is a great choice. With 369 instruments and over 10,000 loops and phrases, you’re bound to find the sounds to add flavour to your productions. There’s no collection out there that is as comprehensive – specially at this price point.

Key features

  • Massive collection of ethnic instruments
  • 65,000+ samples
  • 369 instruments (48 are new)
  • 10,000+ loops and phrases (over 2,000 are new)
  • Automatable parameters
  • Used in Falcon, microtuning is available
  • Loops can be dragged-and-dropped into DAWs

Alternatives

Impact Soundworks
Complete World Bundle £515

A collection of some of Impact’s most popular world instrument sample collections, this bundle boast authentic sounds from culture’s as diverse as Japan, India, Ireland and Kazakhstan. A good source of region-specific flavours for soundtrack composers

Garritan
World Instruments £140

Sampling over 350 world instruments, Garritan’s World Instruments has been a go-to for a plethora of international sounds for a decade, allowing you to build instrument groupings to your own specifications and explore some of the more unusual offerings.

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