Acoustic Samples Sunbird Review: An Acoustic Guitar VST Plugin That ROCKS!
Where can you find a crisp recorded acoustic guitar plugin in a user-friendly interface – that doesn’t take up huge chunks of space on your computer? Prepare to be amazed by the Acoustic Samples Sunbird Acoustic Guitar library. Based on the 1962 Gibson Hummingbird guitar, the Sunbird library is an ideal tool for a multitude of musical genres. With its deep tone that isn’t too overpowering, the sky’s the limit!
In this article, I will walk you through the salient features of Sunbird and why it has become my go-to guitar plugin.
If you’re interested in purchasing this product, you can do so via Acoustic Samples’ website.
Chances are, you’re looking for a plugin that can replace the need of having an actual guitarist in the studio. Maybe you’re not a proficient guitarist, maybe you don’t have the budget to effectively record an acoustic guitar, or maybe you’re simply an on-the-go producer that doesn’t have the luxury of a studio while traveling.
We’ve covered a number of guitar plugins in the past, all of them with specific purposes, but Sunbird is a truly unique one!
I first came across this plugin through SoundAndGear’s awesome review. (below) I just had to try it myself!
Most guitar plugins I’ve tried were good, but couldn’t fool a trained ear.
I was pleasantly surprised with Sunbird! With a bit of tweaking – adding some swing and imperfections to your MIDI, adjusting velocities, etc – you can get a really realistic acoustic guitar sound without external processing.
Here are some demos on Acoustic Sample’s Soundcloud.
Sunbird guitar playing chords – with Telematic playing the lead
You can switch between four modes using key-switches C5 and C6.
- The Solo mode allows you to play melodies
- The chord mode is essential for playing strums and picking
- The Patterns mode does all the strumming and picking for you
- The MIDI mode allows you to use a MIDI guitar controller of your choice
The Sunbird sample library runs on the UVI Workstation 2 sample player that you’ll get free of cost with the purchase, making it a sweet deal for those who do not use Kontakt – a staple for Acoustic Samples’ close competitors.
Sunbird is also compatible with the Mach 5 Sampler by Unicorn for it is basically the same as UVI Workstation 2.
However, if you are a Kontakt or Play user, you will need some time to get accustomed to the process of saving, loading, etc as the user interface is quite different from the one you may have used before.
The good news is, the new user interface is straightforward, easy to use and doesn’t hog all the space on your computer. Sunbird’s cross-platform compatibility is also an added plus because it comes in all common plugin formats and runs on both Mac OS and Windows efficiently.
What You’ll Get With Sunbird
The Sunbird library is more vast than you can imagine. It has more than 8GB worth of uncompressed samples and over 1.5 GB of compressed samples in the lossless flac format, approximately 13,300 samples.
It comes with two mic positions and a pickup that you can toggle on or off and you can adjust it to your requirements. There’s a strumming engine too that comes with 67 pre-programmed patterns for use with a pattern or song builder to create different patterns for every section of your song.
That’s not all – The sampler also has a legato script and bend control with all the necessary articulations sampled at different velocities. You can select strings manually or automatically. It converts the hand position in solo mode and readjusts the chords the way the real guitar would play them in chord mode while simulating palm muting and reverb.
A Modern, User-Friendly Interface
Unlike other complicated samplers out there, Sunbird is like a breath of fresh air with a modern, easy-to-use graphical interface. You can tweak the settings using knobs and key-switches. For instance, you can simply toggle in-between the four modes. When you switch to the Solo mode, you’ll see controls right above legato and string selection.
As you move over to the Chord mode, a wide variety of controls pop up on the screen that gives you the freedom and flexibility you need to create your own melody. There’s also an interesting option that includes the choice of having the sampler ‘think’ like a guitar or piano player.
The Pattern mode lets you sync to your host if you prefer while the MIDI mode gives you more options for the mode of data entry you choose. Use the dedicated Microphones tab to load and unload mic positions, pickup and control and blend sounds. You will also have several options to mold the sound according to your taste.
The innovative Song Builder panel allows you to compose tunes quickly and accurately. This is a great feature to have especially if you don’t know how to play complicated chords. With the Song Builder feature, you can decide which chord will be triggered by picking just one note.
For instance, simply pressing the C will be identified as C Major. You may use the same trick for all the 12 notes of the octave to create new songs from scratch. You will have an extensive collection of presets to build on new song ideas, chord progressions, chord types and modes.
The Bottom Line
The great thing about Sunbird is its ease of use – a novice musician can play the instrument just as well as an advanced level player can; thanks to its user-friendly options. It will take a bit of experimenting, but pretty soon you’ll get used to the Sunbird workflow and will be able to compose acoustic guitar melodies and chord progressions with ease.
Apart from that, the strumming engine works wonderfully in tandem with chord recognition that allows you to play convincing guitar parts as soon as you become familiar with the interface.
If you’re looking to add a realistic acoustic guitar to your tracks including chords, mutes, strumming as well as pick/finger playing, the all-new Acoustic Samples Sunbird Acoustic Guitar won’t disappoint you.
Feel free to leave your thoughts below!