By Joe Gore
Sample playback plug-ins pose a dilemma for anyone who owns a software sampler:
Why would you want to mess with a whole new plug-in, rather than work within the one you’ve already purchased and learned?
Answer: When the playback module’s sounds are sufficiently unique, and when the plug-in allows you to manipulate them in ways you couldn’t easily do with your sampler.
Latigo, a new Latin percussion plug-in from Wizoo, rules on both counts.
Latigo bills itself as a “virtual Latin percussionist.” It features a gigabyte of multi-track grooves, pristinely recorded and expertly performed in real time by percussion cats from Miami Sound Machine. You get a broad cross-section of Caribbean and South American feels, from mozambiques to meringues to mambos. Traditional rhythms predominate, but the performances are far from rootsy. This is clean, quantized-sounding stuff that can insinuate itself into just about any track cut to a sixteenth-note grid.
The sounds are grouped by style — in fact, Latigo uses the term “style” to represent a full percussion arrangement generated by a particular rhythm genre. Each style can include as many as 14 separate instrument tracks and 61 rhythm patterns, including groove variations, intros and outros, and fills. Simply select a style, and all the corresponding parts and patterns will play in sync with your session tempo.
Even more impressive than the sounds is Latigo’s ingenious interface. You can mix and match tracks from various styles, alter their feels, dial in a touch of randomness, and position each instrument within stereo or surround mixes by arranging icons on a spatial grid. The mixer includes EQ, dynamics, and ambience controls, and even a function that simplifies any part, leaving only the essential accents. (Can your sampler do that?) Other winning features include a cleverly color-coded virtual keyboard, a slick preview mode, and several ways to filter and sort the contents.
Latigo runs as an RTAS plug-in on all current Pro Tools systems.