U-He has released a new soundset for Zebra 2.5 called Dark Zebra which includes over 400 presets resulting from a collaboration between Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr . Here is a video teaser.
Why This is Worth a Look
Even if you are not interested in having the Batman soundtrack palette, there are some reasons to consider this $99 update. First off you get a special version of Zebra made just for Zimmer called ZebraHZ (more on this next). Second, there are some very cool patches by Hanz Zimmer and Howard Scarr that will both inspire and teach you new ways to use Zebra to create your own signature sounds.
What is ZebraHZ?
ZebraHZ is a customized version of Zebra 2.5. According to the manual, ZebraHZ adds “classic analogue filter models like in Diva, a resonator
effect module like in the old Polymoog, polyphonic compressors (especially good for
drum sounds) plus two more modulation mappers.”
Yum! Of course yum with more of a CPU hit – but as with DIVA you can throttle accuracy.
I really like this idea because I’m much more fluent in programming Zebra than DIVA so it’s pretty fantastic to get to those DIVA bits through the familiar Zebra GUI.
A Precursor to Zebra 3?
Over on KVR someone asked if this was a fully supported product and that would continue to be maintained and Urs’s reply was:
Yes, we'll keep a parallel build available with Zebra2 updates/maintenance/compatibility fixes.
Then the question was asked will ZebraHZ provide any features Zebra 3 won’t. Ur’s replied:
Well, Zebra3 won't exactly have Diva's filters. We're merely aiming at filters of same quality but not necessarily very same authenticity, so we can make them process stereo and less cpu draining.
I think Z3 will sound much more refined (if that's audibly possible), with more options to add character. Z3 won't sound the same as Z2, and presets might not be easily transferred.
I think most people will use both - Zebra2/ZebraHZ for the vast existing library, Zebra3 for things new and things to come.
Screen Grabs from Manual
Here are some screen grabs from the manual to wet your appetite. First the Low Pass filter.
Next the compressor.
“Each lane in the main grid has its own polyphonic (i.e. per voice) compressor.” !!!
And how about this? A resonator!
”One of the very first polyphonic synthesizers ever included a 3-band peaking filter that could be used to dramatically shape the overall sound… The ZebraHZ version is similar, but has an extra full-range band. To see the Resonator, click in the effects grid and select the Res1 module from the very bottom of the list.”
Back Story – Turn to P. 9
Page 9 of the Manual documents the back story of how all this came about and is worth a read.
Coexistence with Zebra 2.5
You need a Zebra 2.5 license to use this update. So how does the install work?
Although you will need a Zebra2.x license to run ZebraHZ, they will appear as separate plugins with separate preset folders. You should never try to install them in parallel. If you already have installed Zebra2.x, simply install ZebraHZ over the top. No worries, the ZebraHZ installer also contains Zebra2.5, Zebrify, Zebralette and Zrev. Note: Whenever ZebraHZ-specific updates are ready, they will be available in the user area at u-he support. We recommend setting up an account there.
Last But Not Least Here is “What you need to know”
- you need a valid license of Zebra 2.x to use these sounds
- upon purchase you will receive an email with the download link
- the download contains installers for Mac and PC
- The Dark Zebra and ZebraHZ install alongside Zebra 2.x
- ZebraHZ is VST2 and AU only (no RTAS, but AAX and VST3 are in the works)
- presets have been made to suit Hans' workflow - read patch info on how to use them!
- Although ZebraHZ has prototype character, it worked flawlessly during scoring sessions
- ZebraHZ features CPU-expensive Diva filters but does not have Diva's multicore support