It seems almost impossible for me to choose between them all. Its an Aladdin's Cave of synth treasure! I am Loving the Cathotron and Altaerion - very creative manipulations of some classic sample sources. The Cathotron strings have refreshed my interest in the mellotron (which now sounds a little hackneyed in its original format). Pulstar is a Colossus of a Pad Machine. You are a real 'texturist', rare that one comes across a 'texturist'. YouKnow6 is the best Juno replacement I have come across, my Juno 60 is now unplugged!

Liam Howe - Producer of Adele, Lana Del Rey, Marina and the Diamonds, Ellie Goulding, Tom Vek, Jessie Ware, Sophie Ellis Bexter, Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile.


i can be silent no more! The Hollow Sun folder on my sample drive is wearing out because i go to it more and more. The inventiveness of the Laboratory Machines are staggering and a true friend to creativity.

At Hollow Sun, you clearly understand that it is LIMITATIONS, not infinite versatility, that the artist sometimes needs to focus the muse. The Lab Machines are diabolical, clever, and strangely wonderful and unpredictable - they help me to "Re-experience innocence" at the keyboard, and have kick started dozens of fruitful ideas.

The detail and integrity of these instruments have cemented my relationship with Kontakt, and make me grateful to be a synth player in 2012.

Harvey Jones, NY composer, producer and player with Robert Fripp, Jerry Marotta, Sting, Tony Levin, Carla Bley and many others.

We used Hollow Sun's excellent Vintage String Synths, VP330 and Crumar Performer samples on our interactive music iOS app Dimensions. The samples are extremely high quality and feel just like using the real thing.

Robert Thomas, Composer / CCO at RjDj, makers of 4.2 million downloads 'Inception the App' & 'Dimensions'.


Just a note to tell you how great the music lab synths are... great and inspiring. Really, really great work. i look forward to making music with these.

By the way, triosc and oscillisine work very nicely with my wind controller.

Judd Miller. EVI player for composers such as Maurice Jarre, Stewart Copeland, Joel McNeely, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, John Williams and James Horner and programmer to Yellowjackets, Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Vince Mendoza and many, many more.

The Music Laboratory Machines make you feel like you snuck through a time
warp into some top secret 50's military installation and found a stash of
brilliant noise making machines constructed in an attempt to communicate with aliens, or to replicate their technology.

To say that these user interfaces are inspirational is an understatement, and ditto for what they generate of vintage oscillations. I also virtually got my old VP-330 back for next to nothing, as well as getting to "play the RMI" for the first
time, both authentic sounding and very playable. I'm looking forward to

Cato film composer / recording artist / remixer. Credits include "Stone"
starring Robert De Niro and "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" starring
Michael Douglas.

LOVE your CP70! Instant nostalgia and you nailed it. Thank you Steve!

Lyle Workman - composer for the films 'Superbad', '40 Year Old Virgin', 'Get Him To The Greek', session and touring guitarist with Beck, Sting, Todd Rundgren and others.

I really like the Radiophonica library, these are sounds that we're used to with Jean Michel Jarre but it's great for people who don't have access to those old goodies

Congratulations for the idea and the realisation of this original library, that I personally think can add an original touch in film soundrack. I'm impatient to come back to composing again when we're finished with touring to use these sounds in a 'real' composing situation on my next CD projects or soundtrack/video games composing.

Claude Samard Polikar - Musical director, musician and arranger for Jean Michel Jarre and and award winning film/video games composer

I'm not normally one for contacting companies if I'm happy with something, being of the Stiff Brit' Brigade that thinks "you pays yer money" etc. Anyway, for some time, I've coveted the real VP330, even more so when a couple of years back, I was fortunate enough to have a play on one.

However, my covetousness has now been totally quelled as I've just purchased the VP330 pack and I have found it necessary to say how utterly pleased I am with it. In terms of usage, it's simple, it's straightforward and above all, it sounds absolutely amazing so expect to hear it on my next album!!!

Neil Fellowes - Composer/performer Geigertek, Code Indigo, Callisto

They're really good.

Really well recorded..... Like them.

Using them on "Driver"..... we're working with James Lavelle on that so it's a goody!!

Rich Aitken - Producer

I'm a huge fan of the Hollow Sun libraries. Steve has a knack of sampling the instrument so that it sounds and feels as if you are playing the original. He also tends toward the eclectic and revels in the unusual, the Novachord for instance is like stepping into a Time Machine - some of the sounds are positively scary!

Fabulous products, very well thought out and instantly playable.

Chris Blackwell - Drummer, Composer

Just thought I'd drop you a line and say a big thank you. I mean a REALLY big thank you. I've spent the last month working all hours and going slightly insane doing a retro album for De Wolfe. I completed it today.

Your products gave me a new palette and a ton of inspiration which was greatly needed because I was struggling for a while. I used the Novachord and Vox alot - these products are amazing.

Again, many thanks.

Keep producing those great products!

Chris Salt - Soundtrack composer

What I like about your libraries is their subtlety - what I mean by this is that I get fed up of these libraries with megaton huge, over the top, bright & shimmery stuff - all very impressive from a superficial point of view but often not that playable.

I like the understated quality of these sounds - they play nice & can easily fit in a mix.

Ian Boddy - Composer, sound designer

Without these (Novachord) samples, AW's score would miss one very important layer, the touch of something that's been there for a long time, waiting for resurfacing. It's incredible what the patches can do, they fatten the sound up without taking space and cluttering the stereo image. I've recommended this library to practically everyone I've worked with.

Petri Alanko - Composer for Alan Wake

i'm JUST starting to write for the next 'postmarks' album, using your novachord, vox continental and crumar performer VERY heavily.

what amazes me about your sampling is how organic it is. It does not feel stiff and actually breathes. The Vox is amazing and the Crumar shimmers in a way that makes me have far less desire to crank up my real Solina.

your libraries are super super inspiring to me!!! ;)

again...thanks for all your continued sampling brilliance.

Christopher Moll - The Postmarks


"The Novachord character always shines through. From the moment you load the first of the 120 presets, it’s obvious that you’re playing a living, breathing instrument full of quirks and it’s these imperfections that bring everything to life. This library exudes warmth, a little grain and wheeziness, plus a dash of authentic hum, low-end rumble and background noise. The subtle tuning differences between notes as well as timbral and envelope variations constantly remind you that it’s 100 percent analogue ... you can almost smell the warm Bakelite and glowing tubes."

Read the full review HERE

"This pack samples a refurbished Novachord from around 1940. Famous for its creepy pads, the original was designed by organ supremo Laurens Hammond. It's basically a 72-note polyphonic subtractive synthesiser, but of course, it's rammed full of valves rather than transistors. Hollow Sun have produced over 130 patches that capture the essence of the orginal. Terrific stuff!"

"Hollow sun's Steve Howell and Dan Wilson have done a stellar job re-creating the sounds of this vintage synth behemoth. The rich analog weirdness of the Novachord is expertly captured, and adds a great new element to every keyboardist/composer's sonic arsenal.

All the uniqueness of each analog circuit is captured..."

Read the full review HERE


Since 1998, Hollow Sun has specialised in authentic recreations of vintage - and often rare - electrical and electronic musical instruments and other curios and obscura bringing these classic and innovative instruments (often wheezing and spluttering!) into the modern age. Hollow Sun is now drawing on several decades of experience to design and create our own unique synthesisers for Kontakt 4.

HOW TIME FLIES... is really uncanny, isn't it? 365 days have already passed since the world lost Stephen Howell, leaving a huge gap in lives of many people, especially his daughter Alice and his wife Angela. And in mine, as well - I don't think I've yet came to terms with it... I must say I still have this little nagging feeling that he'll jump on Skype and start one of his usual rants about... well, whatever came to mind at the moment! I miss that dearly. I miss our brainstorming sessions, they have been so intense sometimes! I miss that whole process we had from the moment an idea sparked in his mind, and then together we totally made it happen. I just want to let everyone know - it's not easy filling in for Steve, taking the helm of HMS Hollow Sun. This is why there are no new products yet, unfortunately. I am not ready to release anything until I have something I feel is worthy Steve's name and legacy, and that is not easy to come by. But, rest assured, there are things in motion, and in due time, I think you will all be stoked as I'm sure Steve would be!

Since I'm not as good with words as Steve was, I thought instead of me trying to come up with a nice writeup that would mark one year of Steve's passing, why not ask some people Steve was in contact with to do so in my stead. So I received several of such writeups, which I am going to post here to commemorate Steve's passing.

However, before I do that, there are a few words that Steve's wife Angela would like to share with you all:


We are so grateful to Mario, David and all of you who have continued to support Hollow Sun this past year. For us keeping Hollow Sun alive is a way of keeping Steve alive. We miss him so desperately and know how he must be missed on the many forums he would love to tell us all about. He was a man of many words and most of those words gave us the happiness we have now lost.

With kind regards to you all,

Angela and Alice xxx


I vividly remember learning of the passing of Stephen Howell in a Cakewalk forum thread entitled simple “RIP Stephen Howell”. I recall staring at that phrase for a few moments, trying to process the information. Never have I felt such a personal loss coming from the news that someone I had never personally met had died. It turns out that I was far from alone in having this reaction. Many people later expressed the same sentiment: I never met him in person but I regarded him as a friend.

Stephen was a brilliant individual who had a wicked sense of humor and splendid communication skills in addition to his obvious technical audio acumen. While we can regret that he’s no longer here to augment the body of his work which is so widely appreciated in the Kontakt community, his contribution continues to grow. He showed how things could and should be done, and I’m convinced there are a number of practitioners of his craft whose work is more inspired and excellent as a result. He set the bar very, very high.

I suspect that people like me who enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties share a fantasy in which we could invite anyone in the world to one marvelous event. Stephen most certainly would have been at that table – he was definitely on the A-list. Oh, he’d be sitting a bit further down from the head of the table, maybe next to Phillip Glass. The seat of honor at my right would be occupied by Wendy Carlos and to my left would be the incomparable Yuja Wang. I suspect Stephen not only would have understood those choices, he would have enthusiastically endorsed them.

You are missed, Stephen.

David Baer, editor and writer of Soundbytes magazine

I'm amazed it's coming up to a year since Stephen died, it feels a lot less. Big personalities leave big holes when they're taken away, and so it is with Stephen. I've often noticed when reading obituaries that people always point out the 'really great guy' stuff, and studiously ignore the fact that the deceased was on occasion a gigantic pain in the arse. Well, I can tell you right now, at times Stephen was an infuriating pain in the arse, and I loved him all the more for it. Why? Because real people are like that, and Stephen was really real.

I'd known him from various synth forums on the internet for getting on for ten years, and he gave his time freely to anyone exploring the world of synthesis, which was indeed his great passion in life. I share this passion, having first heard Switched On Bach when I was about four years old, and thinking, like most synth-folk do, 'Wow! I want to make noises like that!'. I learned a lot from Stephen, and I still do, using the Hollow Sun instruments in some form on most music that I write and record.

Of course, that wasn't the infuriating bit - for that I refer to many a discussion on non-synth matters, where Stephen loved to argue the toss with vigour. I always had a lot of respect for him, and I we both engaged in a good old fashioned joust on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure we both regarded it as light-hearted sport rather than having proper arguments - because let's face it, having a different opinion on something doesn't mean you don't like them.

So, I think of Stephen very regularly still, his world of sound, his amusing approach to discussions, and a sense of humour matched only by his kindness.

And Stephen, if you're listening: Thank you for everything.

Jon Dickinson, HS customer and composer of several HS demos

One year on, and I still can’t quite believe that Steve has gone. I know that sounds terribly cliched but I still keep expecting him to pop up on my Skype with some well meant abuse or simply a “Hi”. But it never comes, nor will it ever. And as soon as I start to reminisce in my head, I start to get angry. And that is odd. I am still angry at Steve for buggering off the way he did. I’m also still angry at him for leaving behind his amazing wife and daughter, not just because they will miss him every day of their lives, but because he is going to miss out on his daughter being so bloody amazing. She was, as he often pointed out, his finest creation, and after meeting her, I was in complete agreement.

This industry loses fine people all the time. The difference is that with this industry, when people go, the gap they leave behind is disproportionately large. When they go, it’s not just the void they leave behind on a personal level, it is the creative void that gapes, struggling to not collapse in on itself after the sudden loss of something so important, so essential to its very existence. I was overwhelmed at the response on the on the online book of condolences I set up, and equally overjoyed at the comfort and healing power it gave to Steve’s family. My main intention behind it was to demonstrate the breadth and depth of love, affection and admiration Steve garnered over the many years in this business. From our very first communication, I knew he was a genuine, honest, trustworthy and sickeningly talented man. I treasured our friendship and there are few days when he doesn’t still spring to mind, whether it is in some conversation about music, or whether it is some philosophical meandering that reminds me of the countless gems of wisdom he would often come up with.

And so, on this painful anniversary, I am simply thankful that I knew Steve Howell and that we were friends. I’d not have it any other way and I desperately wish we were friends still, merrily conversing into the early hours about everything and nothing. I miss the ingenuity and inventiveness he brought to his creative work and how he went about carving his own, utterly unique niche in what can be a very dull and densely populated world of music making tools. But most of all, I miss my friend, my inspiration and my mentor.

And I know that Angela, Alice and all of his other friends miss him too. My thoughts are with them as we mark this occasion.

Rob Puricelli, Failed Muso blog owner and Steve's friend

I started out as just a client of Hollow Sun, enjoying Stephen's marvelous recreations of classic synths and tools plus his highly imaginative musical “flights of fancy," and as time went by I became his friend. I am an older musician, a violinist (like his extremely talented daughter Alice). In retirement, I was trying to expand my musical horizons, catching up on a whole era of electronics that a violinist like me managed to miss.

Stephen was immensely helpful in giving me the kind of guidance that only a crusty expert like him could give. So we started writing back and forth about everything from rock musicians who look down on classical players like me and Alice but can’t play their three chords properly, to flooding in Wales, to anti-vaccinators, to bitter complaints about jerks cracking his software that was so reasonably priced he was almost giving it away. By the spring of 2014 he was a friend to me like very few have EVER been during 40+ years in the trenches of the music business. People throw around terms like “generosity of spirit” a lot, but that was just how Stephen LIVED. That was his ESSENCE. There have not been many like him. God, I still miss him. I’m choking up all over again just writing this.

One thing I would like to add, very emphatically: STEPHEN HAD NO PATIENCE WITH WANKERS!

John Tenney, professional violinist, HS customer and Steve's friend

It has been a year now since Stephen’s tragic passing and I dearly miss him. Although the sands of time have helped me come to terms with the loss of a very good friend I still find myself welling up from time to time...

In fact only this evening as I read about a past session player for Peter Gabriel who now plays for Will’s Moog Ensemble I find myself becoming teary eyed recollecting one of Stephen’s wonderful stories about how he helped Peter out of a fairly disastrous situation during a recording session for Last Temptation of Christ when they couldn’t manage to get a fantastically expensive new sampler to work. Stephen triumphantly stepped in with a humble little AKAI S900 and saved the day going on to create a number of ethnic loops drawn from material Peter had previously recorded. Not only did Stephen’s samples make it to the album but, like all of his great stories, the anecdote thrown in about Peter personally rushing to his wife’s aid when she started to feel a little wobbly is the kind of thing I will never forget.

This was Stephen through and through – a hell of a talented chap who always had a great story to tell in that wonderful Welsh accent of his and was always so eager to help those around him.

Rest In Peace Stephen – I will always miss you my friend...

Dan Wilson, Hideaway Studio owner, Novachord restaurator, Steve's friend

Thank you, guys, Angela, Alice, for these words. I don't think anything I'd wrote myself would have the same depth and impact. Also, special thanks to Jon for the commemorative music piece he sent, which is playing back on this page as you're reading this.


I would just like to add that I'm very grateful for knowing Steve and having him as my friend. Thanks everyone for reading this commemorative post!

Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon



It has taken me less than expected, but after a little over a week of doing all sorts of things, I can say with confidence that Hollow Sun is back in business after a slight setback created by the EU and the new VAT regulations. The whole Hollow Sun product range has been migrated from Payloadz to FastSpring distribution service, and this brings a few changes in the way HS operates.

Firstly, some might notice prices will adjust according to their geological position. FastSpring requires stating the product price in USD and GBP. I did both - USD prices are slightly higher now (1 GBP = 2 USD), but this will bring the prices more in line with what Europeans pay for HS products + VAT now. Payment is still possible via credit card and PayPal. Use whatever you like better.

Secondly, you might notice I fumbled around slightly with Hollow Sun site. Mainly the menu bar on top. We now have a dedicated F.A.Q. section, and a dedicated Contact section - which now utilizes PHP form to send out support e-mails. This will hopefully reduce the amount of spam that has been coming to HS e-mails (mario/steve (at) hollowsun (dot) com).

Thirdly, a couple of products are now moved to Freepacks section (Stylophone and JayPea, as well as 2013 Spring Bank Special named as 'Big Synth') - these were too cheap to be economically viable when VAT is accounted for, plus FastSpring's per-order fee. There might be some more products that were previously specials for certain occasions showing up in the Freepacks section, so keep your eyes peeled!

And on the subject of e-mails, I would like to kindly request all Hollow Sun users to redirect their e-mail queries pertaining to Hollow Sun to either the new contact form on Contact page, or the newly created support e-mail (support (at) hollowsun (dot) com)! Steve's e-mail is likely to become phased out at some point, so there will be no replies from it when that point is reached. For the moment both Angela and myself are checking out the inbox of Steve's e-mail, but don't say I didn't warn you! :)

I believe that about wraps it up. I would like to shout out to mr. David Brenan who was a lion in helping me out with the migration to FastSpring. He uploaded all the products to their servers - my upload speed over here in Croatia is quite atrocious! Thanks, David - you're a legend!


Awfully tired but in good spirits, yours truly,

Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon


Happy belated holidays, dear Hollow Sun supporters!

I would like to take a minute and explain some changes that will happen starting January 1st, 2015. First I'd like to apologize to Dan, Dan the Novachord man for shamelessly stealing his statement about the situation from his own Hideaway Studios newsletter. But he's a good chap so I'm sure he won't mind! :) So, here goes:

Due to fundamental changes in EU VAT legislation which come into play on January 1st, 2015, all B2C digital download service providers selling direct into the EU must charge VAT at the customer's local rate. The new "place of supply" directive affects very many world-wide online businesses including most sample library developers who sell and supply direct to the public over the internet. Frustratingly the new directive was very poorly publicised in the UK and left a tremendous number of smaller businesses unaware of the impending situation. To achieve direct compliance would require VAT registering in all 28 EU states posing a huge burden on small businesses due to a mountain of extra paperwork. For this reason Hollow Sun and several other independent sample library developers are in the process of migrating our payment and digital download facilities to fully compliant intermediary services. The migration and subsequent testing is likely to take a number of weeks to undertake and I regret that during this period the current purchase and shopping cart functions will be disabled from 1 Jan for customers from ALL regions.

Or, perhaps it's better to show this all with a picture (to the left - click on it for full size)!

For more info about all of this, please check this site if you're interested.

I apologize for any inconveniences caused by this, but we really need some time to make things work according to the regulations, and this will take some time. Note that the website with product information and demos is still going to remain online, but all "Add to Cart" links will be unavailable. Thank you for understanding and your unwavering support!


Here's to a successful 2015, everyone!



Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon


Hello, everybody!

Today, November 5th, is Steve's birthday and his daughter Alice's 18th birthday as well! A very sad and poignant day because he should be there to celebrate it with them... Steve always used to say that his daughter and him were twins separated by 39 years!

I would like to say that they both want you all to know that Hollow Sun will continue and develop as Steve would have wanted. Something is slowly brewing in HS Towers (currently residing in Croatia), and we'll see, perhaps as soon as next month we might have something new in store. Stay tuned!

Yours truly,

Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon


Greetings, Hollow Sun users.

Most of you have probably already witnessed the news on one of the music-related forum boards I posted. For those that did not, I am beyond sad to report that Stephen Howell, founder of Hollow Sun, unfortunately passed away on May 31st, 2014, in the early hours of the morning, at 56 years of age.

I was informed about this all by his daughter, Alice, and I've been in contact with her and Steve's wife, Angela, ever since. We have to figure out what will become of Hollow Sun from this point onward. It would not be the same without Steve, of course, but I am adamant about keeping his legacy in some way, if at all possible.

For now, all I can say is that Steve will be greatly missed, and that is an understatement. He went away far too soon.

There is a book of condolences set up by Rob Puricelli (a.k.a. Failed Muso), so please visit that site and pay your respects to the great man and the legacy he has left behind.

I will post any updates regarding Hollow Sun's future right here on this site, and on KvR Hollow Sun subforum.

Yours truly,

Mario Krušelj, a.k.a EvilDragon

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