Review of Khords virtual instrument (64bit VST / AU) by Loopmasters

Introduction

Loopmasters have introduced Khords, a focused instrument that brings sampled personality and classic character to your productions. It is available in VST / AU versions – 64 bit only – and is available from PluginBoutique typically priced at £69.95

Overview

What I love about Khords is how much fun and inspiration it brings to making music. It has the feel of an old school sampler but with the benefits of a modern sound and interface. 

It comes with 315 samples and about 550 presets yet still Khords offers so much more potential.  You can easily create your own sounds with a major, minor or open chord feel by layering two samples and then shape your sound with filters, effects and modulation LFOs. 

Khords encourages you to dive and experiment, it’s easy to use, sounds great and offers huge creative potential. Just playing through the presets you can get a feel for what Khords can do, there are some excellent old school jungle and rave sounds, as well as techno and more chilled, ambient vibes. You can easily create whole songs or use it to create atmospheres, textures or melodies.

I’ve used Khords to create the tracks embedded above. These are somewhere between deep tech, minimal and techno. All of the sounds were created in Khords, drum beats and vocals were sourced using Loopcloud. The songs were arranged and produced in MuLab and were scoped out using Scaler. Sounds were processed using a range of Eventide and Glitchmachines effects. The songs were mastered in MuLab using Magnetite (Black Rooster Audio), Stage (Fiedler Audio), Elevate (Newfangled Audio) and Youlean Loudness Meter.

In-Depth Review

The interface is clean and well laid out. At the top of the display is the preset bar with load and save options. The 550 presets are arranged in categories with an example of some of the pad presets shown below:

The display is split into three sections with one set of controls for the chord layer, one for the note layer and the voice, effects and master settings at the bottom.

The chord and note layers both have the same controls and can play any of the samples. The samples are arranged by major, minor, root or open or you can load a random sample. Each layer has an ADSR envelope, transpose and handy stretch feature to change the speed and formant ( frequency signature). There are 12 different filter types, a range of low pass, band pass and high pass with 6, 12, 18 or 24 dB/octave slopes and some ladder types also. The pre-drive is an excellent addition along with keytrack, filter envelope and filter LFO that enable you to shape your sound further. The master transpose control sits between the two layers.

Khords has 3 effects – chorus, delay and reverb. These are well featured and sound good although you can of course use external effects if preferred. I like how the signal routing is not fixed and you can use these effects in any order.

The master effects section contains a frequency booster which is effectively a multiband compressor with dry/wet, top, middle and bottom frequency controls. There’s also a master level control.

The voice section enables you to choose between portamento, glide and legato settings. You can also use the pitchbend wheel to change to pitch on the fly or use the mod wheel to control up to four different parameters with a single control.

Loopcloud Sounds