The good folks over at Boxed Ear put together an excellent 1.5gb sample kit of the super rare Macbeth M5 analog synthesizer. This sample library is available for a mere $49. It’s perfect for those of us who happen to be less fortunate in the way of coping a $5000+ mega synth. To that effect if you own Kontakt Player (version 5 in my case) you can be the proud owner of this “monophonic, three oscillator, two filter, semi-modular analogue synthesizer, crafted by master Scottish synth wizard, Ken Macbeth.”  Well, in actuality you’ll only own samples of it. Still, bear in mind that these samples are masterfully crafted into a huge sample library with which anyone can bang out a variety of dope beats.

I love it when you come across a cool, little known sample library / kit like this. I can nearly guarantee that using this synth sample library of patches and drum shots will become your secret weapon.

The M5 sample pack is organized into 2 folders. One for the actual wav files and one for the Kontakt instruments. There are 4346 WAV files. Each of which were meticulously sampled at 24bit/44.1KHz. According to Boxed Ear, “Every instrument is multi-sampled, with up to 16 velocity layers to capture as much of the instrument as possible.”

There are a whopping 108 Kontakt instruments organized into 6 categories including;

– Raw mono
– Raw poly
– Processed mono
– Processed poly
– Drums and FX
– Waveforms

So here is what boxed Ear has to say about their Kontakt sound set as to what makes it different from other Kontakt sound sets.

“Many Kontakt Instruments and libraries come with scripting, often presented in a custom interface for the instrument. In order to present a suite of instruments which all share a generic interface, certain compromises must be made when sampling the instrument. In the case of a synth, this might mean using Kontakt filters or envelopes instead of the synth’s own. This takes away some of the character of the original synth, which for us defeats the purpose of sampling it. We do include some “processed” instruments in our products where Kontakt filters, envelopes and scripting are used to further enhance the sound, but these not the norm, and each patch is created differently depending on what sounds good. A generic one-size-fits-all interface script wouldn’t work.

Concentrating time and development on scripting gives the benefit of more flexible instruments but at the expense of some authenticity. We would rather spend the time sampling more patches from each synth to give you the most authentic vintage sample sets on the market.”

So when all else is said and done nothing matters more than this one question; How does it sound? My answer… Like modern-day vintage. It has a very full, rich and warm sound. Presets range from lush pads, quirky efx, even acidic leads and smooth leads. The M5 can even be a bit ringy yet still pleasing to the ear. But throughout all of that its always fat and sweet like analogue should be. The samples are masterfully sampled. Long sustains sound natural as opposed to sounding looped for a sustain effect. Playability is easy and inspiring even. The multi-samples are quite nice for dynamics as the slightest touch renders a different dynamic than a more thrustful touch. This is one of the reasons that playing the M5 set via Kontakt makes it feel like you are playing the real instrument.

Digging in a bit further the using Kontakt effects on the samples render an even more beautiful sound. Not that it’s needed at all but it sure works well. The percussion sounds really remind me of sounds I’ve heard on a few of Kanye West’s more synth based experimental joints from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and 808’s and Heart Breaks. One things for sure, the percussive sounds and the wealth of full-bodied pads, basses, efx and on and on are wildly inspiring. It’s worth mentioning too that the sound is unique enough that it pulls you away from the norm yet its all very familiar in a new sort of way.

Overall, I have to say the M5 this sound set is one of the best sampled vintage instruments I’ve heard. I am a fan of Arturia’s vintage modeled instruments and I think if Arturia ever did an M5 set it would sound like this. $49 is a mere drop in the bucket to get your hands on this incredibly versatile unbelievably analog sound set. Even the designer of the original synths himself says “These sound samples are just fantastic.” I agree. The Boxed Ear Mighty M5 sample set comes highly recommended for any style of beat-making as far as I am concerned.

Great job, Boxed Ear. I wouldn’t change a thing.

For more info on the Mighty M5 head over to the Boxed Ear website.


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