Review: ModWheel The Bends for Kontakt

Imagine a Kontakt instrument where all samples are struck, scraped and bowed while immersed in water. That's what ModWheel's The Bends is. Sara Simms dives in to review this intriguing instrument.  

I’ve always enjoyed the sounds of any recordings that involve water, so was pleased when my editor from Ask.Audio asked if I could review The Bends. All the way from New Zealand, The Bends is a unique sound library for Kontakt that features metallic percussive instruments. What makes this library unique is that all of the samples were recorded while the instruments were struck, scraped and bowed while immersed in water. Sound intriguing? Read on to discover more…

The Bends is the second sound library available in Modwheel’s Creative Differences series. After installing The Bends into Kontakt, I began to explore the patches in The Bends (Note: a full version of Kontakt 5.3 or higher is required for installation). There are 30 different patches included with the library, including big gongs, plates, cymbals and more eccentric samples with names like camp oven, talempong, and water hands. Altogether there are 750 useful samples (up to a minute long) recorded at 24–96 k.  





If you press the Keyboard at the top of Kontakt, a keyboard appears at the bottom of the GUI. The blue keys on the keyboard represent the places where samples are assigned.  Each patch also features a Stutter key on C5 that’s coloured black. Some of the keys are coloured other colours; red represents round robins, and green are reversed samples. Using the keyboard feature to find samples will save you a lot of time when searching for new sounds.


Adjustable Parameters 

What makes The Bends unique is the fact that it blurs the lines between sound design and a conventional sound library by offering users the ability to tweak parameters including: Echo, Reverb, Pitch, and Envelope Shaping (attack and release). There’s also an Arpeggiator that can be turned on and off. I particularly like the sound of the Reverb, which made each sample sound full and lush. 




One of my favourite features of The Bends is the Arpeggiator. The Arpeggiator panel can be accessed by clicking on the Arpeggiator tab at the bottom of the front panel. Parameters that can be adjusted in the Arpeggiator include: Pitch, Timing and Rhythm. Most patches make use of the Mod Wheel controlling the Velocity Sensitivity (This is noted in each sample’s name: e.g., MW_Vel). I found that I was able to create new patterns easily and intuitively by adjusting the velocity sensitivity in the rhythm window. The rhythm and velocity levels that are set on the Arpeggiator Panel are fully on when turned on and flat when turned off. The Arpeggiator is a cool feature that takes The Bends into a deeper level of sonic exploration.  

Here’s an example of how you can use The Bends to modify the Library’s sounds: 

Insert audio:  

Sample from The Bends:

Adjusted with The Bends:

Arpeggiator On:

Overall, the samples themselves sound great even before making adjustments to any parameters. I think music producers and sound designers will find this collection of samples inspiring and unique. I could see this sample library being useful to those who are looking for original effects for their music or sound libraries. Its also great for producers who like to modify and tweak their own samples, rather than simply using a pre-made collection of samples. Worth looking into this cool collection of sounds.

Price: $25 USD for a limited time, regular price will be $35 USD

Pros: 30 great sounding patches, 750 unique samples, Arpeggiator, Adjustable parameters to customize each sample.

Cons: The manual didn’t include installation instructions for loading into Kontakt. If you’re new to loading samples into Kontakt, it may take few minutes to do some online research so you can learn how to do this.



Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More


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