With the release of ETHERA Soundscapes 2.0 this week, we thought now would be a better time than ever to put together a definitive guide to the ETHERA series...
Firstly, what is ETHERA?
ETHERA is a vocal instrument for Native Instruments Kontakt, with the original title (ETHERA 2.0) being geared towards cinematic and Celtic vocal styles. The voice of every ETHERA release is Clara Solace, an incredible and accomplished vocalist from Italy. Her husband, Stefano Maccarelli, who is a Hollywood sound-designer/composer, was searching for a vocal library that would meet his needs - and after finding nothing, decided to make his own.
As well as including stunning voicebanks, ETHERA titles come with a host of in-built features. Using tools like the phrase builders and arpeggiators gives users a huge amount of creative and sonic control over the samples. The FX section gives you control over audio effects inside of your instance of Kontakt, and the recent 'True Emotive Legato" in ETHERA Soundscapes 2.0 is possibly the absolute best realistic representation of a live voice that you could get in any vocal library.
What titles are in the ETHERA series?
Each title in the ETHERA series is a completely unique library (they are not ETHERA 'expansions') and is geared towards a certain vocal style (despite their applications being broad and varied).
Currently the ETHERA series includes:
Legacy versions include:
ETHERA Soundscapes 1.0
ETHERA Soundscapes 1.2
(Most of these can be upgraded to the current editions for a nominal upgrade price)
So what are the differences?
ETHERA 2.0 is a cinematic vocal instrument geared towards Epic, Fantasy, Celtic and Operatic styles, however there are also presets for World, EDM and Soul as well. The Fantasy/Celtic style comes through strongly with the vocal palette and it certainly lends a weight and gravitas to your compositions. The tools available in ETHERA 2.0 are also shared by ETHERA Soul Edition, and allow a stylistic flexibility that means that you may be able to fit ETHERA 2.0 into some project that you never dreamed it would work in!
ETHERA Soul Edition combines stunning Soul and Gospel vocal samples. These range from your solo and choir ‘oohs’ to lyrical vocal phrases that will let you construct full length songs using this library. Whilst the samples and phrases are quintessentially Soul and Gospel, some of the team in the Zero-G office find uses for them in EDM and cinematic projects, due to the flexibility of the ETHERA interface and tools, you can see ETHERA Soul Edition popping up in some rather unexpected places...
Certainly the largest release in the series is ETHERA Soundscapes 2.0. Weighing in at almost 24GB, ETHERA Soundscapes is not only a vocal instrument, but also includes a full atmospheric ambience library, and another full library of custom synth instruments. There is a huge amount of ‘bang for buck’ in this instalment. the voice of ETHERA, Clara Sorace describes the sound in our interview with her on the Zero-G Blog... "Ethera Soundscapes contains a deeper vocal palette...a stronger sound and many different vocal approaches (from dark and powerful to soft and dreamy).
What do users think of ETHERA titles?
We absolutely love the ETHERA series, and a huge amount of our customers do as well, in fact they are now the best-selling titles in the Zero-G store! Not only that, the whole series has been a huge critical success in international publications – none of the ETHERA libraries have been given less than a 9/10 review rating, with the quality of the instrument, sounds and value for money receiving particularly glowing praise.
"Ethera 2.0 sounds absolutely amazing and the range and variety of vocal noises that can be coaxed from it is endless - 9/10" - Computer Music Magazine, UK
"Just like Ethera, Ethera Soundscapes offers a top quality sound with variety. Clara's voice is second to none and will bring any music project to life, coupled with the awesome voice of Marco to deliver a male voice to compliment. Soundscapes also offers pads and other effects that are very useable and easily tweaked to get the sound or effect that you may want. This software is top rate and is a must have for anyone wanting to add something special to their music." - Jamie M (Zero-G Customer)
"I am loving these, these are fantastic" - SampleLibraryReview on ETHERA Soundscapes 2.0 update Click here to watch the video
"Packed with vocal phrases ("oohs, "ahs", etc) emotively and soulfully sung by Clara Sorace and also featuring more in the way of actual words. The Phrases and Phrase Builder instruments are the main events, the first drawing on 12 presets that map phrases up the keyboard for stretching, shifting, shaping, processing and stringing together; the second for creating phrases by arranging words and phonemes in a step sequencer. Legato control and effects wrap things up, and it all comes together in an effective, capable package. Rated: 9/10" - Computer Music Magazine, UK (ETHERA Soul Edition)
"If you're after a multi-talented sample-based instrument that covers all kinds of composition and sound design uses, Zero-G's Ethera Soundscapes might be just what you've been looking for... This is a powerful and genuinely useful toolbox for anyone working with sound design or scoring for games, TV or film. The textures and synths are great and the vocal section is an added bonus, providing authentic sounds that can fit into a number of different situations. It’s easy to subtly or radically alter the character of most sounds using the onboard controls, and the price is really attractive too considering how much content you get." - ASK AUDIO
Still not convinced? Here are three video demos for you to sit back and enjoy...