12-Bit Crunch is a sampler instrument company created by the Grammy-nominated record producer Dan “Utters” Radclyffe. A lifelong crate-digger, Dan is now releasing unique sampler instruments that replicate the feel of chopping up a solo instrument vinyl sample on your MPC or keyboard. Producers and musicians such as King Krule, Gotye, Guy Chambers and AlunaGeorge have flocked to the site to purchase software, which up to this point has only offered two products, 'Jazz Machine' and 'Powerhouse Breaks'.
Soul Machine is his new instrument. It's inspired by the highly sample-able sound of Atlantic and Stax records and inspired by the sounds of artists like Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway and Wilson Pickett. It contains 84 gospel chords (seven types in all twelve keys), each individually played on 4 different vintage instruments: A Challen upright piano, a Fender Telecaster electric guitar, a 1950s Wurlitzer 720a electric valve piano and a Hammond C3 organ. You can switch between these four instruments on-the-fly, making it very easy to audition the perfect sound for your track.
Soul Machine sits somewhere between a sample player and a chord generator. When you hit an individual key, you hear a different type of gospel chord. There is no MIDI outputted, instead you hear a chord played by a real human being, on a real instrument, recorded to 44.1kHz/16-bit .WAV files (then compressed into an easily downloadable Kontakt patch). Just like when you sample a vinyl and map it to a pad or key.
The instrument has a real-time display which shows you exactly what chord you're hearing. You can drag from this chord name direct into your DAW to export the voicings themselves, for playback on other VSTis, in case Soul Machine doesn't give you what you need.
As each octave on the keyboard corresponds to a flavour of chord, you can quickly learn what to expect when you hit a particular key, and you have the convenience of not being limited to the original pitch of a typical sample from vinyl - Soul Machine has all its chords in twelve keys! This also means you can work backwards: embue a pre-written chord progression with sampled charm and character.
Depending on how hard you hit a key, and whether the modulation wheel is up or down, you access one of the 4 different articulations: a straight chord, the same chord with its attack chopped off, a raked chord, and a top melody note. When you combine them all is when Soul Machine starts to really sound like a lost vinyl gem.
The (optional) vinyl crackle that you hear on Soul Machine is not a permanent effect. Vinyl crackle is embedded into each file. When you re-trigger a key, you re-trigger the same vinyl crackle. Just like you would when sampling off a real record!
There's a fun Warble effect which adds wow and flutter, and you can control the instrument's envelope by engaging the Choke button.
Here's a link to exactly what Soul Machine can do:
Price: $29.99 (on-sale for just $19.99)