Review: Impact Soundworks Ventus Shakuhachi

If you're looking for a sample library for the classic eastern Shakuhachi instrument with tonal articulation control that sounds authentic then Impact Soundworks have a treat for you.  

The Ventus Shakuhachi is a great new sample instrument from Impact Soundworks. This is a deeply sampled library of the classic eastern Shakuhachi instrument. And what’s even better is that Impact Soundworks have included a new technology called TACT (Tonal Articulation Control Technology) which allows you to generate authentic-sounding phrases with the instrument. The Phrases feature really brings out the character of this instrument and adds realism to the MIDI performance. Let’s dig deeper and see how this instrument works! 

What’s Included in the Instrument  

As I mentioned this instrument has been deeply sampled, and includes multiple mic positions so you can tailor how you want this to sit in your mix by choosing different mic setups. 

The instrument comes with 5 presets: a low memory footprint patch, a true Pentatonic (as this instrument is meant to be authentically played using the 5 notes in the Pentatonic scale), Phrases, and 2 full performance modes which require more memory allocation. There are 15 techniques and 600 pre-recorded phrases, so you’re guaranteed to have a unique sound when samples are re-triggered.

Also on the instrument you can dial in settings for the dynamics, vibrato and flutter (the breathy sounds in the instrument). Tweaking these real help bring out the character of it.


Add In Some Flutter 

The control I really like is the fader that allows you to add in more flutter. You increase this and you just get this amazing detail to the wind instrument with it adding in this form of flutter realism to the performance. These breathes techniques make it really hard to distinguish that it’s a sampled instrument. What you can do is map this control to a CC fader and then record in differing flutter movements to really get a dynamic performance with the instrument. 


The Ornament Dial 

The one unique feature is the Ornament dial. This dial controls the level of probability in the instrument. If you increase it, you’ll have more random ornaments included in your performance. These include unique sounding attacks and release samples that are played. There are chance elements in the ornaments, such as grace notes, bend down notes, repeated notes, etc. And you can dial in a percentage of these ornaments. 

Ornament Dial

So between the Dynamics, Vibrato, Flutter and Ornaments controls, you can get some very interesting results before even jumping to the articulation switching.  


There is a separate section on the instrument that shows you the Articulations available. It’s quite an expansive list of 11 different types of articulations, which include true legato, multiple sustain, trills, ornament breath sounds, and so on. What’s even better is that you can choose how these are triggered: Via keyswitch, velocity, CC message, key route or pedal. So you have quite a bit of control over how this works with your preferred method.


You can even choose if the articulation for keyswitching is going to be latching. With latching if you press a key it stays latched, and if you choose not latching it only triggers the keyswitch when you hold the note. So little extra details like this really show how the developers have thought of other ways to implement articulation switching. 

Where Can You Use this Instrument?  

If you are working on ethnic pieces that focus on the East this is definitely an instrument to add to your toolbox, or it even fits in well with cinematic pieces like film trailers and such. It’s a very emotive instrument, and can evoke different emotions in the way it’s used in a piece.  


The Ventus Shakuhachi is a super rendition of this classic instrument. It has been sampled with great detail, and making use of the features such as the flutter, dynamics and ornaments can really bring out the character of the instrument  

Price: $99 

Pros: Excellent rendition of this classic Eastern Instrument. Very deeply sampled library with multiple Mic position, plus the unique TACT technology for phrasing 

Cons: Requires full version of Kontakt. It can’t be used with the Kontakt Player. The phrases aren’t tempo-synced. I know this is a long shot but it would have been nice if these could have been tempo-synced. But not a huge biggie, as the phrases are awesome. 




Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More


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