Wave Alchemy TRIAZ Review
By Nate [KVR] on
TRIAZ is the latest offering from respected sound design label Wave Alchemy. Having built a reputation for their excellent drum and percussion sample libraries over the years, their more recent offerings have included numerous sample-based instruments such as Drumvolution, Bass Synth, Revolution and more. TRIAZ, which runs in Native Instruments' free Kontakt Player, is the newest entry to this line of instruments.
TRIAZ ships with over 10 000 individual samples and the styles covered is extensive. While mostly rooted in electronic music production, pop, urban, house, techno and bass music aficionados will all be equally satisfied by the sound palette on offer. Sample sources range from analogue drum machines to more organic and acoustic sources, and the selection of foley and layer sounds are a great addition allowing you to add a level of complexity to layered drum sounds. Finding your way around the library is easy via the sound browser, and there are some great randomization functions which can be employed to create new sounds when inspiration is lacking. Each kit in TRIAZ comprises 12 'pads' and each pad, comprised of three individually editable layers, has extensive sound shaping tools to leverage the most out of the supplied samples. On hand are options to control pitch, filtering, drive, velocity sensitivity, random panning and more as well as LFO's and envelopes available for modulation per layer. Choke groups can easily be set via the sound page and a convenient XY pad easily lets you blend between all layers within a pad. Additionally, each pad also has its own dedicated FX chain featuring EQ, compression, a transient shaper, stereo widening options and rate reduction for those lo-fi MPC style sounds. Despite the FX options on hand, the raw samples are incredibly well processed and generally sit well in a mix straight out of the box. Special mention should be given to Wave Alchemy too for not locking the sample library behind the Kontakt files. You are free to use them as you see fit and thanks to smart categorization and folder structure, they are a breeze to integrate into whatever workflow or sampler you wish to use outside of the TRIAZ instrument itself. Sample import via drag and drop is also supported.
TRIAZ's sequencing options are inspiring and intuitive. There is a wealth of humanization controls from global and per pad slop, sample offsets in the sequencer and swing controls making the creation of organic sounding beats surprisingly easy. An option to add various sampled noise sources such as tape hiss and vinyl crackle as a bed for the samples serves to add to this too. Additional sequencer lanes are available for repeats, the aforementioned offsets and a probability setting, which plays very nicely with the sequence randomization feature for experiments and unusual rhythms. On that note, the ability to set time signatures and loop lengths per pad is fantastic for quickly generating evolving polyrhythmic grooves and unorthodox sequences. Pads can be selected for pitched input via MIDI and played via a keyboard, however it's a shame there isn't a dedicated sequencer lane for shift pitch of the sounds in the sequencer. Another great feature is the traditional style step sequencer which allows editing of sequences much like on a 909 or similar drum machine. A single click will set a note at half velocity, an additional click full velocity and a third to disable the note. This sequencer is omni present throughout all pages of the UI and serves as a great way to quickly dial in patterns whilst working from the sound design view. Lastly, there are 12 pattern slots for variations sequence variations available and are selectable via keyswitch.
On its own, TRIAZ is quick, easy, and intuitive to use, but there is enough flexibility built in to really mould it to your desired workflow. Being a Kontakt and NKS compatible instrument, I immediately loaded it up in Maschine 2 and, although not designed with Maschine in mind, I was surprised at how well it integrates into the Maschine workflow with a few tweaks to a user group. Routing the hardware pads to TRIAZ allows you to trigger sounds from Maschine's sequencer, whilst the ability to enable a multi out mode for the 12 loaded sounds in TRIAZ enables quick routing back to Maschine's individual pads for mixing with the internal effects. Poly step sequencing isn't possible in Maschine with pattern lengths restricted to whole bars only, so the combination of TRIAZ's sequencer inside of Maschine fills that gap superbly and the MIDI export feature allows for quick transfer of poly rhythmic patterns back to Maschine's sequencer lanes for further editing. On the sound design front, whilst layering is possible via pad linking, the ability to randomize sound selection and then blend layers together is a great addition to this workflow.
Primarily, TRIAZ sounds fantastic, and the quality of the sound library alone warrants picking it up. Although not the most complex and detailed sequencer, there is just the right amount of control on offer here to generate interesting and convincing drum loops quickly and effectively without becoming over complicated. As a sound design tool, it is a pleasure to use and leverages the included sound library incredibly well to easily generate interesting new drum hits. If you're in the market for some fresh drum sounds or some inspiration for your drum tracks, TRIAZ is a no brainer.
TRIAZ is available from Wave Alchemy for £149.95 (£119.96 on intro at the time of writing)
About the author
Nate Raubenheimer is a member of the KVR team and an accomplished producer, audio engineer and self-proclaimed gear junkie with a career spanning over twenty years. Producing under his Protoculture alias (amongst others) his production and remix credits include the likes of Armin van Buuren, Paul Oakenfold, Bryan Adams, Ferry Corsten, and Johnny Clegg to name but a few. A sound designer for his own Marula Music label, his work includes commissioned patches for various UVI instruments, Brainworx, Knif Audio and more. He is a regular guest lecturer at Sonic Academy.