Soundiron Kalimba 2

Modernised version of the ancient African Mbira with a melodious percussive plucking sound

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Often called a thumb piano, the Kalimba is a modernised version of the ancient African Mbira. It has a humble, melodious percussive plucking sound with a marimba-like warmth and tonal body. It is often used in conjunction with pianos and other tuned percussion instruments to add a sharper attack and playfulness to the sound.

The instruments used by Soundiron for the recordings of this library were made of wood and coconut shell, with hammered steel tines suspended over their sound holes. The notes span about an octave and a half for the smaller of the two instruments and over two octaves for the larger kalimba.

Soundiron recorded them in 3 different environments: Up close in a dry recording studio; at medium distance in a small bright chamber; and in a large, long linear hall, at close (1 meter) and far (15 meters) microphone distances. We call it "The Bunker", because that’s exactly what it really is – a deep underground World War 1-era artillery bunker.

The Soundiron Kalimba now features 62 unique soundscapes, pads, atmospheres and drones to the library, each crafted by manipulating the source recordings. These ambiences make ideal accompaniment to the acoustic portion of the Kalimba library, due to the naturally sonic properties shared between them. All of it is wrapped up in a customisable performance control system, with lots of sound-shaping tools, arpeggiation sequencing and flexible DSP effects, such as convolution, EQ, resonant filter, chorus, flanger, phaser, delay, amp and speaker simulation, distortion and compression.

Note: Version 1.0 of this library was originally released by Tonehammer Inc in 2009. The new version 2.0 now adds 62 new custom ambiences and atmospheric pads, a full graphical user interface with multi-layer sound blending and selection, a full range of performance shaping, mapping and tuning options and a comprehensive DSP multi-effects rack with dozens of custom convolution reverb impulses.

The dry recording was done with a stereo pair of large diaphragm condensers at 2 inches away in a very dry space with up to 10X round-robin and up to 11 velocities. You'll hear a little bit of wood scuffing and creaking. These elements help stitch the sound together into a believable performance. The attacks have been kept rather tight and while that means you lose some of the natural finger scuffing at the start of the notes, you get a cleaner tone and can play much tighter melodies and more accurate and consistent rhythms. There's no way you could physically play a real Kalimba as quickly, nimbly and tightly as you’ll be able to play Soundiron´s. It would quickly fall out of tune, fumble from your hands and generally sound like a mess.

Soundiron recorded two mic distances in the bunker: 2 feet away and 50 feet away. The samples' reverb decay is linked to ADSR sustain, so that it fully rings out if you hold a note down or hold down a sustain pedal. You’ll notice that the reflections go on for quite awhile.

The final set is actually an older Kalimba recording. This one had 12 tines, but was close to the same physical size as our 7 tine Kalimba. It was recorded it in a small, bright hall from about 10 feet away with a pair of small diaphragm condensers. Soundiron figured they'd just throw it in this library for the hell of it. There's only one velocity layer, but each note has 8 round robin variations. It's tuned over 2 octaves.

  • Dry Studio Plucks
  • Dry Studio Muted Plucks
  • Medium Bright Chamber Plucks
  • Bunker (Large Hall) Plucks – Close
  • Bunker (Large Hall) Plucks – Far
  • Dry Studio Strummed Articulations
  • Adaptive meta-arpeggiator System
  • Custom DSP Mulit-Effects Rack
  • 62 Unique Soundscapes, Pads, Atmospheres and Drones
  • Dozens of Custom Convolution Reverb Impulses


  • 1,098 Samples (standard pcm wav)
  • 5 .nki files (unlocked format)
  • 2.05 GB installed (1.22 GB Download)
  • 24 bit / 48kHz stereo PCM wav format
  • Format(s): Kontakt 5 .nki and pcm .wav

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Tech Specs

Product Type:

Sample Library


  • Kontakt files
  • Wav

Product Specs: