AEON Melodic features seven sub-libraries of content drawing from a pleasingly opposites-attract group of samples. Fusing recorded acoustic sound sources with a range of electronics, synths and textures, AEON Melodic works in a similar vein as Spectrasonics' Omnisphere. The first library contains some trademark AEON Hits, which give you a taste of what else it offers—pitched and percussive hits combining processed low pianos, synth washes, piercing sonic spikes and plenty more besides. You'll feel like you're composing the trailer for a blockbuster.
The next folder, Hybrid, combines acoustic and electronic sound sources into single programs. These feature up to three layers of sound, which can be independently tuned, panned and level-balanced, so if you want to separate one sound source from the others, you can do so easily. However, if you know you want one or the other, folders containing both organic and synth sounds are included. Each of these feature arp variants that incorporate powerful arpeggiation options accessed via the "advanced performance" tab in the bottom-right corner. This launches a pattern editor, where arpeggiations can be configured with per-step velocity, length and pitch information, as well as global controls for sequence steps and playback rate. The arpeggiator also features a chain mode which, when activated, daisy-chains up to eight patterns together, one after another. This means that you can configure up to 128 individual steps of arpeggiation, with a neatly designed arrow system allowing you to bracket the number of pattern engines you'd like to include in your program.
All AEON Melodic patches feature master effects to the left. Pressing the blue on-button for any module launches four rotaries for editing effects to taste. To the right, you'll find an ADSR volume envelope, and a "T-FX" (trigger effects) tab allows you to access effects modules for distortion, lo-fi, filter, panner and pitch-mod, all of which feature extended parameters. The "trigger" part of these effects' names they can be be added, on the fly, via specific trigger keys on your keyboard. This brings a useful performance layer to the sounds. Meanwhile, on the master page, global four-band EQ is available with variable frequency for each band and variable bandwidth for low- and high-mids. A global filter module further enhances the parameter set. This features a five-mode resonant filter with vowel and formant options complementing the low-, high- and band-pass options you'd expect. The filter features its own tempo-syncable LFO, four waveforms and an amount dial. Further modulation options are provided via a dedicated envelope, with filter control via key-tracking and velocity also available.
Sound-wise, you'll find carefully sampled pianos and tuned percussions including music boxes, glocks and celestes, in addition to a broad selection of orchestral samples. Meanwhile, the synths range from gentle pad washes to screaming leads and basses. The total sample library runs to more than 27GB, but half of that disappears from your hard drive space upon installation through data compression.
AEON Rhythmic takes a similar approach, fusing synths, acoustic recordings, processed sounds and plenty more besides. But as the library's name suggests, the emphasis is on running sequences and rhythms. Forget the heavy drums and clanging percussion of Damage, however: the focus here is on finding inventive ways to take the sample content at the heart of AEON Melodic and reinvent it in diverse, pleasingly rhythmic ways. The top menu within AEON Rhythmic allows you to choose between dedicated programs of "pre-arped" content, plus single loop menus, combos of three loops or a folder of suites organised individually. The main page for any selected Kontakt patch produces a graphic of the waveform for that loop, while AEON Rhythmic benefits from the same trigger effects and global effects/treatment options as AEON Melodic.
The main power of AEON Rhythmic comes from its performance and looping options, however, with tabs to launch these in the GUI's bottom-right corner. These include the new Loop Mutator, Heavyocity's impressive and powerful new engine for manipulating sequenced content on the fly. It works similarly to AEON Melodic's arpeggiator but with some powerful, loop-ready additions. The loops are combinations of slices that play sequentially when you trigger a key, much like Reason's REX loop content. However, the Loop Mutator allows you to personalize how these slices play by offsetting their starting positions. Slices can be assigned velocities and specific lengths, switching a long, powerful loop with lengthy release times to a biting, staccato one very quickly, for example.
However, it gets better. Most usefully, as each AEON Rhythmic loop slice is originally assigned to a particular key, you can create offsets from each of these for rearranging on the fly. If you want the downbeat accent currently falling at the beginning of the sequence to land on beat two instead, simply offset the slice by the right number of semitones. Again, the looping capabilities here mirror AEON Melodic in terms of the multiple pattern editors that allow sequences to run to over 100 steps. It's powerful stuff, and a great way to quickly move beyond the preset loops. If you prefer to carry out slice editing within your DAW, you can drag a MIDI sequence straight from AEON Rhythmic to your sequencer and refine each slice in a note editor.
The care and detail at the heart of AEON's libraries certainly unite them, yet AEON Melodic and AEON Rhythmic are different beasts. I initially expected that AEON Rhythmic would simply generate arpeggiated and sequenced versions of AEON Melodic's programs, but the Rhythmic library has a completely independent personality. As a result, the libraries complement each other beautifully and will appeal to sound designers, composers and producers alike.
Ease of use: 4/5