In this review, we check out two new tonal percussion libraries libraries by Soundiron: Noah Bells and Alto Glockenspiel. Previously, we reviewed the incredible Soundiron Symphony Series Brass and Symphony Series Woodwinds. As with most Soundiron libraries, these were recorded in the same large cathedral so that they all sit beautifully together in the mix. Noah Bells and Alto Glockenspiel are small libraries that can be bought very inexpensively. They are not limited, however, as you can extend them with tons of sound design capabilities that Soundiron packs into most of their instruments. They are MUCH more than their name implies, thanks to the extensive tweaking and exotic patches included in these libraries.
We have included video reviews, a custom demo piece using only these two libraries, and lots of tech and articulation info for both of these libraries in this article. We also conducted a video interview with Soundiorn Co-Founder Mike Peaslee, which you can check out here.
Demo Piece by Lawson Madlener
This piece only uses the Alto Glockenspiel and Noah Bells. I used the different mallet types for each instrument as it’s own part, so I was able to get more depth out of two instruments than one would expect. Orchestration-wise, I basically wrote for them like three marimbas. The exception is the light rhythmic percussion which is pitch-shifted swipes in the Noah Bells, creating some counter rhythms in the background. I used both close and far mics on the glock, and just the close mics on the bells. There is no external processing at all.
Noah Bells – Unique library, with the Khadki bells having a very interesting tone and range in size from tiny to huge.
Alto Glockenspiel – Very pure sound; one of my favorite Glockenspiel libraries. Great glisses and FX patches perfect for a wide range of uses from children’s music to horror games. Comes with a toy version as well!
Noah Bells – the Khadki bells have a slightly detuned quality, making them very interesting sounding, but not a “pure and clean” sound like Tibetan Singing Bowls. I find that they are not perfect for meditation tracks, but they are great for adding unique sounds to any ethnic music.
Alto Glockenspiel – Toy version seems a bit “underpowered.”
List Price: Noah Bells: $39
Alto Glockenspiel: $29
The Alto Glockenspiel is a tuned percussion library of a compact 25-key alto glockenspiel. This instrument is typically used in student orchestras and has a natural range from A4 – A6, but Soundiron has pitch-shifted its playable range from A-1 to G8 to allow extreme high and low notes. It is recorded with 3 different articulations: hard mallet, soft mallet and choked. There is a bonus hidden inside as well: a classic little children’s toy glockenspiel library!
Each articulation has multiple dynamic layers and lots of round-robin variation to create a very dynamic and naturally playable virtual instrument. The Alto Glockenspiel was captured in a close, dry stereo position and a far, wide position out in the same cathedral where the Soundiron Symphony Series is recorded.
Video Review – Overview
In Depth Review
Alto Glockenspiel Tech and Articulation Details
- 25-Key Alto Glockenspiel with 3 articulations
- Independent Close and Far microphone positions
- Sweeping glisses
- Toy Glockenspiel
- 4 Custom FX Presets
- 63 unique ambient pads, leads and atmospheres
The Noah Bells tuned percussion library is a collection of 21 authentic Indian Khadki bells in a ascending range of sizes and pitches, from resonant deep notes to brittle high notes. These hand-crafted bells are smelted from simple mixtures of copper and other metals, producing a golden or bronze hue. They range in size from over two feet to less than an inch in diameter, with carved wooden clappers. They have a dark, raspy tone with heavy low and mid-range body, variable sustain and complex overtones and undertones.
Each bell is recorded in multiple velocities with plenty of round-robin variation to create a naturally dynamic and truly playable virtual instrument. They were captured up close and dry in wide stereo and from afar in a large open cathedral sanctuary to give you very distinct tonal and atmospheric flavors to blend and choose from.
Video Review – Overview
In Depth Review
Noah Bells Tech and Articulation Details
- 21 Indian Khadki Bells
- Close and Far microphone positions
- Mallet Articulations
- Finger Articulations
- Brush Articulations
- Slap Articulations
- 12 Custom FX Presets
- 34 unique ambient pads, leads and atmospheres
Soundiron continually releases smaller libraries throughout the year as they work on the larger Symphony Series and other big libraries. These are very nicely priced and full of capabilities, not only the core sounds but the rather infinite tweak abilities built with the engine. With these highly playable and extremely useful libraries, one would expect to pay much more for such functionality and originality. I personally would purchase these libraries for easily 3x the price! A lot of props to Soundiron for creating these incredible libraries that are available to everyone.