* 44.1 kHz/24-bit samples
* Advanced Retro Synthesis Engine
* Accurate recreations of Tesla coils
* 3-band EQ for tonal modification
* Distortion and cab sim presets
* Pitch and tonal 'variations'
* Simple envelope shaper
* Stereo spread control
* Stereo/mono echo section
* Convolution reverb with custom impulses

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Back in 1856, a genius was born in Croatia. He was called Nikola Tesla. 'Genius' is a word too often bandied about these days but Tesla certainly was one and many of his maverick inventions, designs and patents influence our lives today.

He pioneered AC motors/generators, was dabbling with radio, radio control and X-ray, had run-ins with Thomas Edison who couldn't see Tesla's unique vision, put forward ideas and patents for the wireless transmission of electrical power and much, much more. A bit of a stubborn and awkward bugger by all accounts but a true visionary. whose work, as I say, still has ramifications in our modern world, our AC electrical power we all take for granted being just one of them.

But another of his inventions/patents was his 'Tesla Coils' in 1891.

You've no doubt seen them - they are pretty dramatic both sonically and visually.

From the Santa Cruz Institute…

The Tesla Coil is used to produce fantastic high voltage long sparking displays. It takes the output from a 120vAC to a several kilovolt transformer and driver circuit and steps it up to an extremely high voltage. Voltages can get to be well above 1,000,000 volts and are discharged in the form of electrical arcs. Tesla coils are unique in the fact that they create extremely powerful electrical fields. Large coils have been known to wirelessly light up florescent lights up to 50 feet away, and because of the fact that it is an electric field that goes directly into the light and doesn't use the electrodes, even burnt-out florescent lights will glow.

Well... whatever! I don’t understand it either! But 1,000,000 volts?!          

All I know is that Tesla Coils make a bloody phenomenal noise and generate big, lightning-like sparks as well… which is a bonus! They generate raw and raucous high frequency electricity approaching sparks are generated very spectacularly as they fly from the the 'torus' and discharge to earth of the nearest conductor.

Now, laying one's hands on a Tesla Coil (and then recording it well) is tricky so we decided to recreate the sound on the studio's modular synth...

The sound of a Tesla Coil is very harsh and raspy so I used a thin pulse wave but that oscillator was modulated with another audio oscillator generating a pulse wave. That was fed into a State Variable Filter with the bandpass output selected. But this filter was also modulated by another audio oscillator to add further rasp. Furthermore, I employed the Sample&Hold to randomly wobble the modulation sources slightly.

All this was then passed to the Clipper and Rectifier and then onto the Fixed Filter Bank to refine the tone. These were sampled over a five octave range at minor thirds. However, for each sample, the controls were adjusted slightly for each of the samples AND, as the sample was being recorded (each one at least a minute long), the controls were adjusted to animate the sound in real-time and add the variation and instabilities found in the real thing. I think the results capture the essence of ‘the real thing’ but there’s much you can do with the samples in Kontakt to either tame them or make them even more extreme.

There's a flexible 3-band EQ for quite profound tonal modification which passes to several in-line distortion units and cabinet simulators to add 'edge' and further - but crusty - tonal change. The VARIATION switches add subtle and random pitch and tonal, errmm, variation. There's a simple envelope shaper, a stereo/mono echo unit and a convolution reverb with custom spring and plate impulses.

The result is an electrical cacophony of sparking racket. It can be played chromatically like many of the musical Tesla Coil events you might have seen on YouTube. Not an obvious choice of instrument for mainstream music and don't expect smooth pads, funky, hip-hop, trip-hop or dubstep basses, leadlines (well... maybe) but it's damned good fun and ideal for more experimental stuff, IDM and all that.

Samples : Hollow Sun
Sample Editing : Hollow Sun
Scriptmeister : Mario Krušelj
Programming : Hollow Sun and Mario Krušelj
GUI design : Hollow Sun
Graphics : Hollow Sun
Audio Demos : Hollow Sun

Kontakt 4.2.2 full version
Windows® XP (SP2, 32bit) / Vista® (32/64 Bit), Windows 7® (32/64 Bit), Pentium® or Athlon XP 1.4 GHz, 2 GB RAM
Mac OS® X 10.5 or higher, Intel® Core™ Duo 1.8 GHz, 2 GB RAM
NOTE : It will work with the Kontakt Player but only in 'demo' mode and the session will be time limited.

Great stuff. Just got your newletter and bought. Looks increbible,. sounds mad.


i dont know when ill ever use this but its a lot of fun


Madness ! Gr8 work Steve !


I'm addicted to Hollow Sun libraries. I appreciate what you do, especially making fun affordable.


Fabulous GUI. Tesla was a genius. This sounds as close as I'll ever get to Tesla coils. I have watched all the clips on YouTube and this sounds better than those. great work.


I am writing to complain that when I used your Tesla Coils, there were no sparks. lol



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