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Orbis Rack Extension Review

Orbis Rack Extension Review

This Orbis Rack Extension Review digs into the new synthesizer by Skrok music. It is a great choice for musicians looking for a drifting 80s-style synthesizer. It works if you’re running Reason 7+. And it’s great in Reason 9 with the new scales + chords.

Click here to download 5 free Orbis Combinator patches.

However, it’s not perfect.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Orbis synthesizer, it’s right here. Otherwise, keep reading for more details.

Orbis Rack Extension Review of the Sounds

Orbis nails those analogue oscilators, and the filters just interact in beautiful, surprising ways. The aftertouch and expressiveness of the Orbis Rack Extension are great, too. It is a joy to play.

I really like the way the filter cutoff is set to control high pass, band pass, and low pass simultaneously. Orbis also includes a really cool “Hi Shelf” knob which adds or subtracts some nice sounding high end.

Here are some samples of the types of lush keys and pad sounds it excels at:

However, it doesn’t do a great job with leads, and the Orbis synthesizer also only does an average job with bass type sounds.

Thankfully, Skrok music makes a couple a companion rack extension, Solaris, which offers incredible 80s style analogue synth and analogue bass sounds.

Here are some demos of the lead instruments:

Orbis Rack Extension Reviews of the Intangibles

Like I said, the Orbis isn’t perfect. First, the interface is crowded, and I find that it discourages experimenting because there’s just too much to read, without enough intuitive design. Second, the buttons don’t easily reset to ‘zero’, so it can make dialing in your favorite settings difficult.

My biggest gripe, though, is that there are no CV inputs for anything other than note and gate. While you can always use a combinator to get access to all the features, I’d prefer to have the most common controls (filter, res, etc.) readily available for CV input.

Best Sites for Free Samples And Free Loops

Best Sites for Free Samples & Free Loops

The only thing better than good samples are good free samples or free loops. Don’t worry. I’ve done the digging for you to find you some great sites.

Since rap exploded on to the music scene, the use of loops and samples has become ubiquitous in all genres.

Whether we’re talking about pop music, rock, hip hop, or EDM, there is always a place for samples .

For example, in rock recordings, producers often layer the sound of real drums with sampled kicks and snares. Electronic music has relied on vocal samples and percussion loops since nearly the beginning.

Of course, samples and loops can be expensive. And that’s not to say that they’re not worth it. I’ve pick up some absolutely amazing sample packs over the years that were worth every penny.

But sometimes money is tight. Or maybe you don’t feel like you need an entire sample pack, just a sound or two.

Whether you’re looking for a song starter, a banging drum loop, or some horn samples, this list of the 5 best sites for free samples and loops will get you making music in no time. Some of these sites are a little on the obscure side, but if it sounds good, it is good.

Some of the links below may be affiliate links.

The 6 Best Sites for Free Samples & Free Loops

  1. Loop Cloud – Loop Cloud, by Loop Masters, is the ultimate tool for musicians making sample-based music. It keeps track of ALL of the samples on your computer, lets you sort by instrument, style, key, bpm, and more. And it comes with 1GB of free samples, plus 150 free samples a week!
  2. Loopmasters.com – Loop Masters sells some of the best sample packs out there, with a huge variety of styles. The quality is professional grade and you can find just about anything. If you sign up for its mailing list, you get 500 mb of free samples. Plus, many of the Loop Masters sample packs allow you to download free demo versions with about 15-30 samples and loops.
  3. Sample Magic – Sample Magic also makes incredibly good sample packs (I’m in love with the samples and loops in the Sunset Sessions!). If you click on the “store” tab on top of the page, you’ll see a link to “free downloads.” There you can find about a half dozen high quality free packs.
  4. Converse Rubber Tracks – Converse, the shoe company, has created an absolutely amazing royalty free sample library. Which is weird. But let’s not look this gift horse in the mouth. As of June 2016, it had nearly 40,000 free samples, made by some of the best producers in the business. Free samples by the likes of RJD2, Com Truise, and the Gospel Choir All Stars. There are samples in dozens of genres. The only real downside is that samples are very well organized, and it can take a while to find what you need.
  5. Producer Loops – Producer Loops has one of the biggest collections of free samples & loops available. And the library of these free loops is really easy to navigate. But… there’s a catch (there’s always a catch). You can get 2 free sample packs for each sample pack that you purchase. Still, it’s a pretty solid value.
  6. Hip Hop Makers – Hip Hop Makers offers a lot of great samples and loops for free download in the hip hop genre. It also offers a great community for producers looking to get into the hip hop music production game, including a section on how to sell beats!
Bonus Free Samples & Free Loops

Bonus Free Samples & Free Loops for Reason 8+ Users (Image by Carnagenyc)

Bonus Free Samples & Free Loops for Reason 8+ & Propellerhead Figure users:

Update: Propellerheads stopped supporting Alihoopa, so it is now dead. RIP. With Reason 8, Propellerheads also launched a website called Alihoopa. Alihoopa is loaded full of free samples & free loops, but requires Propellerhead’s software to actually download and open. Nonetheless, this is a great resource (though I miss all the free third party samples the Props used to host on their website so many moons ago).

Why I

Why I’m Upgrading to Propellerhead Reason 9 DAW

It’s (almost) here. The new Propellerhead Reason 9 DAW. (update: you can find my full Reason 9 review here)

I’ve been a longggggggggg time user of Propellerhead Software’s Reason DAW.

Reason is my favorite piece of music production software, because if find it so creative and intuitive.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I treat it like an instrument, and I sometimes get frustrated when I can’t use my real instruments the same way I use reason.

My Journey with Propellerhead to Reason 9

 

I got version 2.5 back in 2003. It came in a box and ran on Windows 2000.

I ran Propellerheads' Reason 2.5 on Windows 2000

I ran Propellerheads’ Reason 2.5 on Windows 2000

Jeesh.

Fast-forward to today, and I run Reason 7.5. I never upgraded to Reason 8, because I didn’t think that the workflow improvements were enough, by themselves, to justify an upgrade.

Plus I was really comfortable with the design and layout that I’d gotten used to in the past few versions.

But Reason 9 changes all of that.

I made a video describing why I’m upgrading in detail.

But the short story is this:

  1. Workflow improvements. I think the browser in 7.5 is really old and tired.
  2. The new input features including an advanced dual arpeggio, scales and chords, and note echo. I use similar features in Maschine all the time, and there amazing.
  3. The ability to bounce audio to midi, and vice versa. This should open up some interesting possibilities.
  4. The RV-7000 MK II reverb with convolution (this was included in 8.0, but I never upgraded).
  5. The addition of over 1000 new patches to Propellerhead Reason 9. Who doesn’t love more sounds?
  6. Propellerheads has been a great company to their users, offering lots of free upgrades, rack extensions, and support over the years. Loyalty is earned, and they’ve put in the work.

For more information on Propellerhead Reason 9, check out their site.

It’s set to be released on June 21. It will cost $129 to upgrade and $399 to purchase new.

Stay tuned and sign up for the email list if you want to hear my review of Reason 9!

The bottom line: I can’t wait to make music on Reason 9!