The Mbira is a folk instrument originally from Africa.
Sometimes called a Thumb Piano, Sanza, or Kalimba, they are generally home-made and consist of metal tines attached to a piece of wood, which are plucked with the thumbs. They are mostly small, with a handful of notes.
Array Instruments, started by Bill Wesley and Patrick Hadley, have taken the concept of this ancient African idiophone to a whole new level, not only in terms of instrument design but also in purity of sound, and range of pitch.
The Array Mbira is no toy, it’s a highly advanced musical instrument built to exacting speciﬁcations.
The Mix page allows control of the separate mic and pickup channel levels, stereo width and pan. There is control of the amount of the 'Thumb' attack transient, and the phase alignment of the pickups with the mics.
Each channel for the Mic and Pickup channels features:
The Performance page contains the settings for the KSP Strummer script - including MIDI control and random velocity.
The Damping module provides control over the level of the note off damping samples, of which there are 8 per note. A MIDI note and controller can be defined to trigger this sound.
Array Mbiras have a stereo pickup output, shown here.
A shot showing the twin sound holes, straight through the body of the Mbira.
The Array note system marked on the mounting plates.
An overhead view of the mbira.
The Mbira sampling session, showing overhead XY pair and sound hole micing.
The Mbira's large sound box (this model is about 77 cm across ) allows for much deeper pitches to be heard acoustically: the lowest fundamental on our mbira is in the region of 33 Hz.
All Array Mbiras come equipped with a 2-channel piezo pickup system, allowing for easy ampliﬁcation and line-out recording. The low end from the pickups alone is surprisingly smooth and deep; combine it with mics and it's booming.
This is a Kontakt Player instrument. This means that you do not need to own the full version of NI Kontakt to use it. It will run as a plug-in instrument in any VST/AU/RTAS compatible host program or DAW eg: Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live, DP, Reaper, Pro-Tools etc.
No extra purchase necessary.
System Requirements: Windows 7 or Windows 8 (latest Service Pack, 32/64-bit), Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2, 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended) Mac OS X 10.7 or 10.8 (latest update), Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended) Requires Kontakt 5.1 or later