Riot Audio releases Bionic: Plucks & Mallets (£79 intro sale) and offers Bionic: Plucks & Mallets Lite Edition for free download.
Bionic is a transient splicing engine for Kontakt 6.5.2 and higher. The instrument requires the full version of Kontakt (read our article about Kontakt Player limitations).
The idea is that you create new hybrid sounds and recreate classic sounds more organically through layering various transients and tails. Despite the name Bionic, combinations blend mainly organic transients like taps, mallets, and plucks with a mixture of organic and synth tails.
The GUI has 3 pages; the main page, settings, and effects. On the main page, you’ll see 4 available layers, 2 transients, and 2 tails. Each layer has dedicated controls for offsetting the sample, octave, tune, fine-tune, and humanize. Before you get to any global controls, you can already manipulate each layer quite a bit. The humanize function adds the desired amount of random pitch variation, which works well in organic sound design.
You can adjust the mix of the transient layers (A/B) and the tails layers (C/D) before setting the overall transient/tail blend.
The settings page provides more in-depth sound shaping options. You can alter the crossover point, crossfade curve, apply LP/HP filters, and adjust envelope settings. It allows you to control everything from the transient attack shape to how the layers interact when they meet to how the tail plays out. There are velocity mapping and vibrato controls to round off the basic sound and playability of your patch.
The effects page covers saturation, filtering, EQ, delay, and reverb. Everything does what you’d expect and provides ample sound design potential before you even think of external effects.
Bionic Lite Edition comes with 20 presets, including Hammond bass, house organ, and expansive xylophone. From what I’ve heard so far, there are some nice presets, but I think it’s more about exploration than ready-made sounds.
If the Lite Edition isn’t enough for you, the full version is on introductory sale for £79 (£99 value). The full version has 50 presets and lots more short and long sound sources.
With libraries like this one, it’s going to suit different users in different ways. From a media composer’s perspective, I think it has some interesting possibilities.
The nature of Bionic’s transient splicing engine makes it ideal for creating ambient soundscapes and textures. I also think recreating classic sounds with these transients and tails is far more interesting when done in the context of music for film.