I’ve mentioned Chris Vollstadt and EWI Reason Sounds before. I’ve been using Chris’s sounds for my virtual EWI rig for pretty much as long as I’ve been using a virtual rig. I decided to make Reason the main engine for my virtual rig in no small part because of Chris’s patches and wonderful website. I had bought all of his Refills (a bank of patches for Reason) but then he came out with a new concept – a mini Refill for only $9.99. I had to get it and I’m glad I did.
Analog Dreams is a collection of 20 original “Dragon.fly” Combinator patches utilizing samples of vintage synthesizers in the NN19 sampler that is included with Reason. It also includes 30 NN19 patches (used to make the Combinators), some effects patches, and a comprehensive user guide in pdf format. It has sounds reminiscent of old analog synths from Moog, Roland, Oberheim, Sequential Circuits, and others.
I’ve been playing EWI and other wind synths for many years and I have done a lot of acoustic instrument emulations over the years but I’ve always preferred synth sounds for leads and solos because it’s really hard to be super creative and emulative at the same time. Synth patches free me up to just play. Because of that I am really happy with this collection of sounds. Chris’s patches are always very expressive and easy to play and these sounds take that concept to a new level.
Another great thing about the package is that all of the patches are “tweakable” whether it’s changing the filters, adding effects, or adjusting the relative brightness of the patch. Chris sets up each Combinator with knobs and buttons that are readily available and easy to understand. See the picture at the top of the post for an example of what can be tweaked in real time. You can even assign controllers to the knobs and buttons to make it easier to do while playing.
All of the sounds are very usable and there are no “clunkers” in the bunch. Of course, I have some favorites and I made a little recording with 8 or 9 of them below. Chris also has a cool audio demo on the Analog Dreams page of his website. My demo is just a quick and dirty sampling of the sounds with no tweaking at all…the sounds are how they sound as soon as you call them up but there’s a lot of variation available to you. I just used breath swells and other performance controls available on the EWI USB itself for this recording.
If you’re playing a wind synth and using a virtual rig then it’s likely you already have Reason. If not, it’s something you might want to consider because it’s a very powerful engine for both the EWI and for recording in general. If you have Reason then you really owe it to yourself to pick up Analog Dreams. The price is amazing for what you get and there’s tools there to let you create even more sounds on your own. Of course, if you already have Reason you should also check out Chris’s other products like Cyclone and his Rotators. You won’t be sorry.