UVI World Suite – Travelling to parts unknown
UVI’s ambitious new World Suite contains a collective of over 320 traditional instruments from around the globe which promises to be, at the very least, an education in music diversity.
(Review updated November 2021) UVI instruments all require installing either the freebie UVI Workstation or purchasing the upmarket Falcon sampler, World Suite is no different. If you’re unfamiliar with the UVI platform check out our full reviews on both UVI Workstation and Falcon right here. Installing World Suite is a breeze as the downloadable file just lives in the UVI directory assigned without any special installation or mucking about.
World Suite is UVIs first multi-instrument collection since the original Ultimate Sound Bank days of Plug Sound Pro back in 2005, though it differs greatly due to its focus on traditional and ancient instruments. Though it’s a sizable download, World Suite is surprisingly frugal for such a massive collection of instruments. Somehow packing 320+ instruments with more than 8,000 loops and phrases into a 28GB library is quite frankly amazing. A testament to the solid UVI Engine platform providing a lot of the heavy lifting DSP and processing.
At $300 USD it is, however, a sizable investment. Call me Mr Cautious, but I have been stung in the past by multi-instrument libraries delivering plenty of content and very little quality. I’m hoping for something pretty special for the price.
Downloading and installation are mostly painless, though you will need to set up an iLok account and go through all the installing and updating gauntlet to get that working. Fortunately, it’s nowhere near as horrible as it used to be in the days when you needed to further purchase a $80 dongle, everything is local or cloud-based now, hallelujah for that.
All aboard! Tickets, please!
Considering UVI World Suite is such a massive library, the browsing menu is very well-organised and easy to navigate. The root directory is clearly organised by region type, loops and phrases, travellers and vocals categories.
The main instrument patches are sorted into twelve region and type groups with the loops and phrases categories showing every sample listed, which in itself is impressive. A vocal samples category contains regional and ambient options, again sharing all of the samples into two easier-to-navigate sections. And finally, the traveller’s category which holds the amazing multi-sample player patches.
World Suite offers three basic ways to operate the library, either as a single playable instrument with expression controls, as individual samples you can drag and drop into your DAW, or as a ‘Traveller’ multi-sample player.
All of the single-instrument patches share a workflow, so once you’ve mastered the structure of one patch you’ll be familiar with the rest. Though some of the controls change depending on the instrument, the same basic performance, expression and effect functions are always present. World Suite has a simple interface for the most part, with each patch featuring a small number of articulations you can select with keystrokes or mouse click. There are nice graphic UI elements but, unfortunately, no background information on the instruments, which is a shame if you’re not intimately familiar with the rather exotic instruments on offer.
I’m not an encyclopaedia of knowledge when it comes to some of the more esoteric offerings in the library, but I feel everything sounds authentic. I’m sure players of the genuine instruments will point out inconsistencies, but on the whole, everything is fairly well recorded and presented in a playable way to replicate a convincing approximation.
There are a lot of fairly predictable choices for regions and quite a few surprises. Australia, for instance, has the didgeridoo and jaw harp – about as Aussie as you can get. The Indians are a lot more diverse, with unusual morsing harp, sarod and pungi – all instruments I recognise by sound, but have never played in digital form before. I am particularly interested in the middle eastern selections, all of course sound very authentic and atmospheric.
The occidental category contains some really interesting alternatives for Western mainstays, such as the Finnish kantele harp, Nordic whistle along with a very cool Parisian accordion I can’t stop playing.
Moving on to the loops and phrase category you’re presented with a large collection of well-played and recorded grooves from the majority of the single instruments above. The loops can be dragged directly into your DAW for cutting and processing, and as far as I saw responded well to time pitching and layering.
World Suites’ Traveller categories are the real showstoppers being one of the best implementations of sampled elements I’ve seen for some time.
There are two traveller types, regional and vocal. With the regional variant, you get a 6-channel multi-patch which is played single-finger style. Each includes its own rudimentary controls for volume, pan, filter, pitch and global reverb. Each part also contains a regionalised mix of drums, percussion, bass or some type of melodic instrument. You are then presented with a number of tempo designated presets, though the whole thing syncs to your DAW tempo this is more an indication of the original intended speed.
You are able to swap out the default samples to any of the like samples from the region, with everything just seeming to slot in nicely and play well together. There is a handy dice button for randomising things up to create some instant grooves. Unfortunately, you can’t lock elements from the random button meaning it randomises everything whether you want it or not.
Along the same lines is the equally awesome vocal traveller. This time you get 5 channels, one being an ominous drone sample with 4 human voice sections. This is again a very cool way to create some quick and effective atmosphere foundations for your projects – I was immediately able to simulate the Gladiator soundtrack. Randomising the samples always brings great results, everything sounds otherworldly and immersive.
UVI World Suite is a fantastic collection of sounds and textures, supported by a simple and elegant interface – a true musical tour de force! I can foresee many uses for this in my music and I can’t wait to get composing with it myself.
I’m pleased UVI has also included the traveller multi’s which brings out so much more from the included samples, which easily could be looked over as not many people like to use samples in their arrangements.
Playing through individual instruments is a real joy. Though the vast majority are new to me I recognise the sounds and feel they are mostly fairly authentic. The playability of pretty much all of the instruments is immediate and responsive.
It’s hard to find any real faults with UVI’s World Suite, though if I had to pick something it would be the reverb intensity is very subtle, even on max cathedral mode it’s more an ambience wash than a lush verb. It’s no big deal, of course, to insert an extra 3rd party reverb on the chain, but a little more wet signal wouldn’t go amiss.
This is again an excellent product from UVI which doesn’t seem to be capable of doing much wrong. I hope they expand on this collection again soon with an Mk2 – not that there’s any chance of getting bored with the current library, but the world is a big place with many more places to travel for this brilliant series, I’m sure.
Full details on World Suite and purchasing options over on UVI’s main site right here www.uvi.net
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