Modern Songwriter
Sample CD-ROM library in Akai Universal format

This library was one of the first efforts from Sonic Reality's Dave Kerzner & his team, in 1997.  Distributed by Ilio, this Akai CD-ROM covers an incredibly vast quantity of material, and truly you can find all you need to write "modern songs" in it.

"This library covers so much ground that it almost acts the same role as one of your sound modules" - says one of the liner notes - and I agree.  The quality of the samples is high, and well on par of sound modules of the mid-90s (when this collection came out.)  The CD is divided in several partitions, A through I, and covers everything that you would want to have if you write pop/rock songs - from acoustic and electric pianos, to bass, organs, excellent pads, realistic string sections, and many strummed electric and acoustic guitar samples that you can mix and match (they come in all popular chords) to arrange a song.

The pianos, pads, and drums are particularly strong, but as a package, this is a very complete collection.  The fact that is presented in Akai "Universal" format, readable by many hardware and software samplers, makes it also versatile and easy to access even if you don't own an Akai sampler.

Dave was helped by many talented artists, and this is really a solid package.  I would not hesitate to use this CD-ROM as the basis of my songs.  If I should point out something, I would prefer that the bass programs had more - ahem - bass in them, but that's easily fixable with eq.

Check out the following demos of individual patches from Modern Songwriter.


Sonic Reality Modern Songwriter audio demos

All examples were played from Propellerhead Reason 3's NN-XT sampler, going through the RV7000 reverb (running programs matched to the nature of the samples) - then through the default Mastering Suite.


Stream all mp3 examples below

Sound name with audio demo My comments
Partition A
Grand Piano A superb, intimate, delicate grand piano - perfect for ballads, New Age, jazz, and more.
Honky Tonk Happy far west saloon piano
Piano String Bright Marvelous program - a standard for us keyboardists - piano and strings together.
SR Piano Stack Beautiful, classic "produced" Los Angeles piano.
Partition B
Clavinet D6 Nice rendition of the classic Hohner instrument popular in the '70s.
Clavnova Chr Probably sampled by a Yamaha Clavinova series piano.
DynoFace Chrs Very nice Rhodes
MKS20EP2 Probably obtained by sampling the Roland MKS-20 piano expander (rack version of the famous RD-1000)
Old Rhodes Charming rendition of a vintage (Suitcase?) Fender Rhodes electric piano.
SG1D-Pno Probably sampled from the homonymous Korg stage piano
TX Full Tines Beautiful and classic FM electric piano from a Yamaha TX module.
Partition C
Fantasia The nowadays must-have sound in all synths/libraries (from the Roland D-50)
JD Warm Pad M.E.G.A.-gorgeous synthesizer pad, probably sampled from a Roland JD-800 or 990
Mermaid Strings Outstandingly beautiful, Roland-style string pad... to die for.
Octapad Solid, cinematic.
Silk Pad This sounds charmingly analog.
Spun Glass Ch Very useful for many situations - including soundtracks, and sci-fi.
Swirlwind Voxy mama.
Zzzz Pad Excellent emulation of a resonant filter.
Partition D
B3 Orgshine Nice '70s Progressive-style Hammond.
Big Strings Stupendous string ensemble that reminds me of the 010 CMB-Lrg Ensemble program on the Roland L-CDX-04 CD-ROM for the S-series samplers.
Cres Brass B Very realistic and interesting crescendo brass sample.
CX-3wPerc Probably sampled from the famous Korg CX-3 stage organ.
D70 StrHrn1 Presumably sampled from the Roland D-70.
Fat Fem Ooos Very nice female choir
Haunting Pad Useful!
Oboe Realistic.
Pizz Strings Sylvester trying to bypass Granny - goes for Tweety.
Rol Fairlt Notorious Fairlight ARR1 vox...
Rotary B3 Fst Useful fast-Leslie organ.
Partition E
Amp El Guitar Nice "amp'ed" electric guitar
Clik MusicMan Makers of quality basses
Jazz Gtr P Hollow-body
J-Bass Chr Fl Standard Fender Jazz bass, fretless, with chorus...
Minimoog 1 The most famous monosynth ever, and standard for synth-bass.
Minimoog Lead Great for leads too...
Od E Gtr Crd Sl Cool overdriven and equalized guitar.
Rol Syn MC2 2 Nice and analog - perhaps taken from a Roland MC-202?
Upright Bass Well sampled.
Partition F
Ss Maj Upr This collection has a huge variety of these types of strummed patches, in many different chords, perfect for building your own pop song.  This is a Martin guitar.
Partition G
Cc 9th Lwr Very cool.  There's a huge variety of chords for electric too.  This is a Stratocaster.
Partition H
Dave's Funk Kit Here we enter Funkytown.  I believe - judging from the videos I've seen of him - that Dave Kerzner is well-versed on the drums (besides keyboard).  This must be "his" kit.
Electro Kit 1 Classic, must-have Roland TR-808 kit.
Electro Kit 2 Classic, must-have Roland TR-909 kit.
GM Kit 1 Solid General MIDI kit.
Solidify Kit '70s rock kit.
Studio 70 Kit Typical '70s compressed kit, with "cardboard-sounding" toms ;-)
Partition I
Orch Hit Yep


Sonic Reality Modern Songwriter specifications


Year of release: 1997
Polyphony: n/a
Sound generation method: sample CD
Preset memories n/a
MIDI: n/a
Sound expansion capabilities: n/a
Sequencer n/a
Arpeggiator n/a
Effects n/a


Sonic Reality Modern Songwriter pictures (click on thumbnails to enlarge)


Sonic Reality Modern Songwriter manuals




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Sonic Reality Modern Songwriter review with audio demo