Cinematique Instruments Vertigo Glass and Iron review: Rich tones of glass and metal ideal for dreamy pads

This new entry in Cinematique Instruments’ Vertigo series blends the rich timbres that can be coaxed from traditional glass and metallic instruments.

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Cinematique Instruments Vertigo Glass and Iron

Review Overview

Our rating


Our verdict

Unique blend of glassy and metallic tones
Excellent sampling quality throughout
Easy to work with
Well chosen effects complement sound

Kontakt edition can’t run in free Kontakt Player
Abbreviated articulation names could be clearer

For their work on German TV series Polizeruf and ZERV, Joachim Dürbek and Rene Dohmen – composers, producers and founders of Cinematique Instruments – wished to develop an instrument that would be warm and rich while exuding a sense of tension and drama. The result, Glass & Iron, has now been released as part of CI’s Vertigo series.

Somewhat symphonic

The other entries in the Vertigo series are of more traditional orchestral fare: Vertigo Strings and Vertigo Flute, for example. But Glass & Iron’s placing makes perfect sense once you hear its distinctive tones, which are symphonic in nature. No doubt a creative soul could find ways to weave these sounds into their latest dancefloor filler, but Glass & Iron’s natural environment lies rather more towards incidental music, film soundtracks and dreamy soundscapes.

The instrument is available in two formats. The HALion version, available from Steinberg’s online store and the format we are running here, comes with a free version of the HALion Sonic player plug-in, and gives you all you need to load and play the instrument. The Kontakt version, sold direct by CI, cannot run in the free Kontakt Player plug-in, and so will only be of interest to those with a full Kontakt licence.

Highly articulate

Glass & Iron lets you build ensembles of (largely) traditional instrument sources, played in various ways to create different articulations. These are grouped depending on whether the instrument was rubbed, bowed or struck, with each articulation featuring its own level fader, pan control, solo button and pitch-transpose setting. Setting up custom ensembles is simply a case of blending the articulations that you want to include, and there are 14 built-in ensembles available too.

Although the abbreviated articulation names shown in the interface don’t always make it clear, the instruments that have been sampled are wine glasses, thicker drinking glasses, metal singing bowls, a vibraphone, a glockenspiel, and traditional gamelan ensemble instruments the saron and the gendèr. In addition, a fourth articulation group, Special, contains processed sounds: a heavily time-stretched metal fork, a bowed autoharp, a glass processed through a “strange module” (as CI puts it), and a glass processed through a re-synthesizer.

All told, this creates a surprisingly wide palette of timbres, despite all sharing a fundamentally glassy or metallic nature.

Well blended

Global parameters help to bring the different articulation sources together into a coherent whole, and provide control over the instrument’s attack and decay, and its tonal balance (brighter or warmer).

Further character can be injected with a rotary speaker simulator, a tape emulator and a reverb generator. None of these effects provide extensive controls – all you can do is adjust the amount of each, and choose from seven reverb types – but all are well matched to the instrument’s tone and character.

The envelope controls and struck articulations allow you to create some pleasing tuned and atonal percussion sounds using Glass & Iron. But we were more struck (pun intended) by the instrument’s pad sounds, where the unique character and timbral details of each articulation interact in ways that can be at once beautifully tense and hideously calm.

However you use it, then, Vertigo Glass & Iron will make a unique contribution to your creations and compositions.

Cinematique Instruments Vertigo Glass and Iron

Key Features

  • Sample-based instrument
  • Available in HALion or Kontakt editions
  • 17 instrument articulations
  • 14 preset ensembles
  • Built-in rotary speaker and tape-emulation effects
  • Built-in reverb with seven types
  • Dice button for creating random ensembles
  • £85 (HALion Edition from Steinberg online store) / €90 (Kontakt Edition direct from Cinematique Instruments)
  • Contact Steinberg (HALion Edition), Cinematique Instruments (Kontakt Edition)
  • Buy: Cinematique Instruments, Steinberg, Plugin Boutique

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