FEATURES

* 44.1kHz/24-bit sampled raw with authentic deficiencies

* Kontakt 3.5

* Unique sounds from 1939

* Custom scripted panels for Kontakt with...

-- 'Resonators' and filters to emulate the original

-- FX designed to re-create classic sci-fi movie sounds

-- Control of attack and release times

PRICE - £50
 

Back in the 1930s, there was a man called Laurens Hammond, an electronics engineer, inventor and innovator. At the age of 14, he had designed an automatic transmission mechanism for motor cars (which was rejected by Renault!) and later would invent, in 1922, a 3D movie playback system as well as a clock motor.

However, he is best known for the patent he took out in 1934 for a tonewheel organ which was to become, of course, the B3 and C3 and various other models.

In 1939, however, Hammond released something altogether different - the world's first polyphonic synthesiser.

Yes - you read that correctly ... a fully polyphonic synthesiser ... in 1939!!

Using divide-down oscillators (the world's first?), the Novachord was fully polyphonic. The oscillators pass through resonators, hi-and lo-pass filters and a simple but effective envelope shaper. What is particularly impressive is that the Novachord had LFOs and envelope shapers for every one of its 72-notes so that the instrument was TOTALLY polyphonic! This is actually very impressive as even string synths 40 years its junior such as the ARP Omni, Moog PolyMoog, etc., were paraphonic - i.e. all voices sharing a single LFO/envelope. This means that combined with the huge polyphony, six octaves and a superb sustain control, you can combine massive chords and arpeggios with no chance of note stealing. The electronic architecture that makes this possible is beautifully elegant too. It also has vibrato but not like the type found on analogue synths - instead, the modulation is polyphonic which imparts a rich ensemble effect to its sounds.

The Novachord character always shines through. From the moment you load the first of the 120 presets, it’s obvious that you’re playing a living, breathing instrument full of quirks, and it’s these imperfections that bring everything to life. This library exudes warmth, a little grain and wheeziness, plus a dash of authentic hum, low-end rumble and background noise. The subtle tuning differences between notes — as well as timbral and envelope variations — constantly remind you that it’s 100 percent analogue ... you can almost smell the warm Bakelite and glowing tubes.



Through painstaking sampling and editing, Hollow Sun have produced over 130 patches that capture the essence of the original. The sounds are at times reminiscent of string machines and sometimes of 60s organs like Farfisas but they're at their most distinctive when using the Novachord's own electromagnetic vibrato. Terrific stuff!

Without these samples AW's score would miss one very important layer, the touch of something that's been there for a long time, waiting for resurfacing. It's incredible what the patches can do, they fatten the sound up without taking space and cluttering the stereo image. I've recommended this library to practically everyone I've worked with.

Petri Alanko - composer, Alan Wake


I bought the Novachord set a while back and it's my favorite sample set ever. That synth has so much character it's almost impossible to believe how long ago it was made. It's like an artifact from an alien civilization.

Dan - via email


BRAVO!
what a stunningly beautiful sample set!!!

Congratulations on the LONG-anticipated release. Saying it was worth the wait is the understatement of the year... and it's still January!!!

Len9 - KVR


I purchased it yesterday and spent the evening playing with all the presets. The samples are very organic sounding, but I can't seem to play anything that doesn't sound spooky!

taijiguy - KVR


I've been going through the patches and each one is so iconic I can imagine the movies or TV shows where I first heard these.
It's obvious the main vibrato patches are the original because the sound is so identifiable. Great job on the looping for these.

Jamie - V.I.Control


I got your samples today and I have to let you know that they are superb!!! Excellent job! Worth every cent!!!

Stefanos - Greece


i have to say this is just amazing, especially when you start to layer patches (which is not possible in the real thing). Last time i was so much excited when i first played a real Minimoog model D!!

ingonator - Germany


as i'm sure you've been told...the novachord library is freaking fantastic. totally settles my dark shadows fetish. i just went through every patch and my face is hurting from smiling so much!!!

Christopher - The Postmarks


I ended up buying the Kontakt instrument, and (even though I'm not really a keyboard player) it's one of those instruments you can just get lost in as the hours go by... They did a great job; it's got a character that's truly unique.

Tremolounge
Harmony Central


I love how some of the notes have things happening in the background. Like harmonics or something. It sounds very alive as you said. I am going to use the shit out of some of this stuff on my next collection of stuff.

Rod - USA (via email)


Novachord is a really unique library. The high end is particularly penetrating.
One pressed key goes a long way. You can accomplish a lot with just one finger!

I like the simplicity of the interface, with only a few knobs to play with.

Charles Parente - NY


I can't believe these amazing sounds are made in 1939. My parents weren't even born then. Incredible.

Stephan (via email)


It is very spiffing indeed. I'm going to have to have the carpets professionally cleaned.

Jon Dickinson

The technology of the time, however, was such that inside her there is a staggering number of valves (163) and capacitors (over 1,000) and miles of wiring. To get a sense of proportion,below is a picture of Laurens Hammond calibrating one board of a Novachord!

But reaction to this magnificent instrument was mixed at the time.

Traditional musicians couldn't grasp the concept because it wasn't a piano (even though it looked a little like one in its magnificent wooden cabinet) and those who had embraced Hammond's tonewheel organs were confused because it wasn't an organ either. As such, most people didn't know quite what to make of it or what to do with it.

Hammond tried to sell it as a 'home entertainment' instrument claiming it could make any sound of the orchestra!!! Errrmmm... a bold claim and obviously they didn't have a Trades Description Act back then. But that claim was enough to get the US Musician's Union in a panic which imposed limitations on how it could be used in recording sessions. they couldn't ban it outright because, ironically, that would restrict their members' ability to work because an MU member would be needed to play it!

However, it was a sure fire hit with the movie and TV industry who used it in soundtracks primarily for the eerie sounds it could create and its haunting sound could be heard in movies as diverse as 'Gone With The Wind', 'The Maltese Falcon' and 'Rebecca' to sci-fi classics such as 'It Came From Outer Space'. 'This Island Earth', 'The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms' and others. It also featured in TV programs such as 'The Twilght Zone', 'The Outer Limits' and 'Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea'. It was also used in 'Hawaii Five-O'. Book him Danno!

Despite all this, unfortunately, like the Theremin, it failed to gain 'serious' musical credibility because it was seen as something of a novelty. However, Dame Vera Lynn, the forces' sweetheart, was acccompanied on one by Arthur Young in several of the wartime songs she recorded including 'We'll Meet Again'. Arthur Young along with Dimitri Tiomkin, Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith took the instrument seriously and Goldsmith was using one as late as 1966.

Only 1,069 were ever made. Production stopped in 1941 when parts were difficult to get hold of due to the war effort of WWII. It never went back into production after hostilities ceased. Unfortunately! Imagine how electronic music might have been had Hammond continued with this amazing instrument - it would have had a 20 year head start. Like so many innovations, it was ahead of its time and most people couldn't understand it.

Very few remain today and even fewer are in working order.

However, Hollow Sun is dragging this phenomenal instrument into the present day in its unique sample set which brings the rich and haunting sonorities of the Novachord into the 21st century ... where (arguably) it belongs.

The Novachord in question (serial #346) belongs to one Dan Wilson of Bath, England. As well as being an accomplished muso with an impressive studio, he is also something of an electronics whizz and is lovingly restoring his instrument. Dan is avoiding replacing components with modern equivalents because that can adversely affect the sound. Instead, he is fixing the originals so that the instrument's sound is carefully preserved.

It is unknown how many working Novachords are in existence today but this is almost certainly the only one in the UK.

The textures are unbelievable - quite unlike anything we've heard, Vaguely familiar and reminiscent of modern synths but with a 'quality' that, like this library, is totally unique.

Please also visit our sister site, novachord.co.uk, for more information on this unique project.


Kontakt Control Panel


 
NOTE : It will work with the Kontakt Player but only in 'demo' mode and the session will be time limited.

 

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