Meticulously created by using techniques similar to those used by BOC, including creative analog and lo-fi processing.
Pros: – They succeed at emulating the quirky character of BOC pads – Very affordable
Cons: – They could generate hordes of BOC copycats
Audiowarp’s Boards of Canada Synthesis packs (BOCS1 and BOCS2) offer some hazy warm pads and drones inspired by the Scottish masters of downtempo. The samples were meticulously created by using techniques similar to those used by the band, including creative analog and lo-fi processing. Most importantly, nothing virtual was used, and the results reflect this attention to detail. They’ve created a simple Kontakt GUI that allows blending of 2 sounds in any patch. There are independent volume, envelope, and filter controls for each sound, and the combined output shares a basic modulation bus.
While the simple architecture may not be of much interest to someone interested in deep synthesis, that is not the point of an instrument like this. The uncluttered design of the BOCS series makes it so simple to quickly pull up a satisfying library of timbres that are evocative of the dusty dreamscapes of BOC.
I really like the fact that they’ve chosen to focus on one thing and do it well. The sounds already have a lot of subtle micro variations built in (i.e they sound like analog synths, not a static sampler patch.) Merely by combining 2 sounds in each of the modules and making some basic adjustments to the modulators I was able to get a surprising variety of spectral textures.
After adding some SoundToys EchoBoy delay and UAD AMS RMX-16 reverb I got lost in the clouds for a few. Things got even more interesting when I loaded both BOCS1 and BOCS2 into a single instance of Kontakt to create some dense layers.
It’s easy to go overboard and lose the airy quality of this instrument, so make sure to take advantage of the built-in hi and low pass filters on each module to avoid build up in certain frequency ranges.
At only £5.99 and £7.99, these Kontakt instruments are a good value and can be an inspiring time saver if you’re looking for sounds in this genre. Audiowarp provides thorough demos (see the videos above) that you can use to determine if BOCS1 and 2 are the pads you’re looking for. We’ll definitely keep an eye on Audiowarp. Given their peculiar sampling methods, we’re truly looking forward to checking out their next libraries.
Note: Audiowarp products are hosted by Sampleism, a cool community-based sample library outlet. Check out their other stuff while you’re there, you may find some more hidden gems…
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About The Author
Jesse is a musician, engineer, and Apple Certified Logic Pro Trainer in Portland, OR, USA. He is the keyboardist and co-producer for Sutro. You can reach him here.