Review: Evolve from Heavyocity

Evolve, from Heavyocity, is a software instrument program that has the IT factor all over it for use in dramatic and game scoring, and sound design. To be sure, there are dozens of other uses. But for the composer who is looking to have an edge and is genuinely looking for the kind of “Hollywood” sound you hear in trailers and motion pictures, then Evolve belongs on your Buy List. To put this into a context, what Symphobia is for orchestral scoring, Evolve is for electronic scoring in that you literally have hundreds of sounds, loops and musical effects to audition and choose from.

Fortunately, both the manual and the free updates from the Heavyocity site gives you a list of all the sounds that you should definitely print out and put it into a notebook. Because you have different sounds mapped to both white and black keys, you’ll need to play through them and on the sound sheets, write prose statements to help you define how, when, where you’d use a particular sound.

Evolve is organized into five components each with its own “skin”. Descriptions below are from the Heavyocity web site.

1. Rhythmic Suites – Walls of cinematic percussion, punchy beats, and next-gen tonal elements make up 7 genre-specific loop suites (Dramatic EVOLVED, Dramatic Techtronic, Electro Tech, Industrial Elements, Industrial Grunge, Quirky and Cartoony, Rock Pop, and Tonal Suites.) Over 600 beat sliced loops arranged with an intuitive keymapping system.

2. Stings and Transitions – 5 categories of otherworldly sounds like Uncharted Metals, odd Noise and Buildups, and Atonal Stings, offer distinct new ways to heighten emotional impact. Perfect for adding terrifying sonic punctuation to a film soundtrack or bizarre textures to the breakdown of a pop song.

3. Seq and Arp – Utilizing a custom step-sequence arpeggiator, users can control Velocity, Pan, and Filter on nearly 60 presets, ranging from percussive hits to tweaked pianos. Develop your own groove, or choose one of the 12 factory presets to get started.

4. Percussive Kits – Over 30 modern percussive-type menus and drum-like kits containing sounds gathered from an array of bizarre sources (warehouses, amusement parks, murky stairwells, and more). Whether it’s a massive hit, an ear piercing screech, or a subtle clang, this category provides an enormous variety of sounds for beat production.

5. Tonality and FX – A mashed up array of instruments that stray from the traditional “meat and potatoes”. Including both instruments and pads like Frozen Piano and Lydian Choir Gods, this category will bring an innovative quality to your arrangements.

All of the loops are in 4/4 time and will lock to your sequencer’s tempo.

One thing you’ll need to consider is that all of the sounds are pre-effected. So if you’re using Evolve with an orchestral library, you’ll need to do some reverb matching.

Evolve is the brainchild of two fellow Berklee grads, Dave Fraser and Neil Goldberg, both of whom have nearly a decade’s worth of experience in production and sound design.

Not to be a punster, but you’re literally getting the sound of experience from Dave and Neil and their programming team whose credits include the NFL, Sony, Gillette, Atari, NBC, 2K Marin, MTV, VH1, Sci-Fi Network, NBC and many others.

From this experience and the obvious client need of being able to work quickly, Dave/Neil and Team have developed a program that clearly has a solid quality control design that leads to swift and efficient work flow. As bizarre as this may read, the menus are a joy to work with because they’re laid out in a simple, easy to follow format. And recently, the company gave away a free update that contains hundreds of more sounds, drum loops and MIDI files.

These guys take care of their customers!

Given the tight economy and the heavily competitive environment out there, Heavyocity Evolve, like Symphobia from Project SAM or LASS from AudioBro, is going to give you a serious edge. With so many sounds, you won’t run out of uses any time soon.

List Price: USD $399.00.

Minimum System Requirements:
Mac :
-OS 10.4.X or later
-G4 1.4 GHz or faster
-512 MB RAM or more
-DVD drive

Windows :
-XP SP2 or Vista
-Pentium IV or Athlon 1.4 GHz or faster
-512MB RAM or more
-DVD drive

Plug-in Formats :
AudioUnit, VST, RTAS, DXi and Stand Alone

Powered by the Native Instruments Kontakt Player 2 engine


  • Chris
    October 25, 2009 @ 11:02 am

    I agree-I’ve had this for a while now and used it on a number of projects and it’s money well spent. Very useful stuff. Only caveat is some of the programs have A LOT of samples so make sure you have memory to spare before loading a Dramatic Evolved Rhythmic Suite (or make sure you have the memory server in Kontakt turned on).

  • Sudeep Prahea
    October 26, 2009 @ 8:04 am

    Evolve is a GREAT library, but I will point out 2 things: everyone and their mother has it, and that’s a bummer because in the industry you can instantly tell when someone is using it. And number 2, that’s a seriously weird comparison to make between Evolve and LASS/Symphobia. They aren’t even in the same category. Evolve’s closest competition might be SampleLogic’s AIR or maybe Soundlabel’s X-Treme Whooshes Vol 2.

    Evolve is great though. They really know their stuff and it’s solid sounds that sound exactly like what you want them to.

  • October 26, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    My thesis statement: “To put this into a context, what Symphobia is for orchestral scoring, Evolve is for electronic scoring in that you literally have hundreds of sounds, loops and musical effects to audition and choose from.” I have both libraries. Major strengths within Symphobia are all the recorded string and brass effects that you cannot emulate with MIDI. Similarly, within electronic scoring, a major strength of Evolve are its effects. These are strengths of both libraries.

    My conclusion: “Heavyocity Evolve, like Symphobia from Project SAM or LASS from AudioBro, is going to give you a serious edge.” This is not a comparison, it’s a buying consideration. Besides their core libraries, the composer with Evolve, LASS, and Symphobia has an edge on composers who do not because they have orchestral colorations and special electronic effects not available elsewhere.

    I further stated that given the tight economy, and if you have a limited budget, Evolve, like these other programs, should be considered to be on your buying list, especially if you’re a professional composer and you’re looking for year end tax deductions.

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