The Soniccouture Array Mbira is a 9 GB Library of very realistic sounding piano’s, strings, and more. I have used Array Mbira with Kontakt 4 and it works great, if you don’t have Kontakt then you can download it for free and use Array Mbira with it. The system requirements are very important, your Windows system needs to be up to date on the service packs in order for Mbira to work correctly and on our Mac you need at least 10.5 OS or better. I run Array Mbira on my i7 core processor with 8GB and it works great just like most of the Kontakt based patches always do.
The Array Mbira works great in my DAW, with both Cubase and with FL Studio. I have not been using it long, probably only about 3 months or so but I have got far more than my money’s worth. The price of Array Mbira is 99 dollars, and that is a steal!
The sound quality of the patches/instruments are great, they are realistic, rich and full. The bass is probably my favorite part. You can get a very low deep bass, and still keep it clean without any muddy frequencies clashing. The Array Mbira is just an all around must have for anyone looking for realistic sounding instruments. You will get over 4000 samples when you purchase the Array Mbira and all of the patches have a 5 octave range. I am happy with my purchase and look forward to digging dipper with Array Mbira, I am sure I will be using it for a long time to come. Since this is the first version of Array Mbira that I have used (not sure if there is a previous version) I was a little skeptical at first but did some reason and now I love it. It is a must have.
I run this in Kontakt 5 on a Macbook Pro i7 core with an RME Fireface 800. I run Kontakt as a standalone, as well as in Logic 9 and Ableton 8. I push my MBP pretty hard during performance using a lot of software and running various Sampled instruments in Kontakt. When I load this into my configuration at a buffer rate of 126 samples, it eats my CPU up and can cause some serious drop outs and glitches. I don't hold it against the Mbira though because, when recording, even multiple tracks, I can get the latency down to where it's unnoticed, and I don't experience any of those issues. Point being that this instrument is so meticulously sampled, with so many options and even some nice effects that it's nature is to be cpu hungy.
If you are used to Kontakt, this is very well laid out and very easy to navigate so you really shouldn't need the manual to get started. I haven't myself looked at it yet. This has to be one of the best GUI's I've ever seen in Kontakt. It's well laid out with the use of Tabs/Pages so there is less clutter. Even the graphics they used are crisp and easy to read with good color contrast. I truly hope that other Library developers pick up on this.
So far, except for the cpu issue mentioned above, it functions very well. No complaints on that end. It is also completely stable. No crashes, no lost work. As for plugin, sample performance, the Array is solid. When it comes to performance, the nature of the Instrument itself can be tricky. It has many overtones and as you climb the "keyboard," it seems to reverse itself as an octave above sounds lower on some notes. It can make creating melodic music a little tricky at first, but it can be provocative as well. I have been using this since mid November.
What I like most about it is obviously the GUI which I gushed about earlier, but the quality of the samples and the amount of flexibility as well as all the bonuses like not only effects, but having those effects in a send/return configuration. What I don't like is I'm realizing I might need to get a Mac Pro for my performance rig to run all those Kontakt Samples I have been collecting. Well, it's debatable how often this will get used in the studio when you do a lot of Rock, Hip Hop, and singer songwriter. But for me personally, I love having interesting percussive and melodic instruments, and this is both. So for $90, I think it's not only worth it, but probably an undervalued amount for the amount of work these guys probably put into this. This is the only thumb piano sampled instrument I have ever heard of, but I have recorded real thumb pianos before and this could fool me. I definitely recommend it.