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Just sound different. reviews ZenDaw’s “Blue Swells” sound pack, largely praising its exceptional quality and realism. ZenDaw, a French sound pack producer, has extended their specialization to UI software for music production, steadily enhancing their market presence.

The debate between hardware and software continues, and far-be-it-from-me here at to say which side of the debate stands correct!  In the meantime, let’s have a look at the subject of this review, ZenDaw “Blue Swells” sample pack.

ZenDaw are a French company specializing in sound packs and UI software for music production, who are steadily but assuredly increasing their market presence.

The instance here for review I purchased directly from ZenDaw and is for the Arturia Emulator II V VST.  The pack is also currently available for Reason 12; the Emulator III; Kontakt and Korg Wavestate.

I have yet to find a sample pack where the sounds included have such a stake of “realism” in them, it’s as if they were coming from a hardware synth sat there right in front of me. That is no small feat. 

Construction time

The elements of construction are harmonious; and the production of the sample pack as a whole is excellent throughout.  So much so that I felt I now owned a carefully engineered album rather than just a whole bundle of sounds.

I also got the impression that a lot of time was spent by ZenDaw on developing these sounds. To me even the running order of the presets made sense. In fact, the time it took to compile this collection I found is supported by their statement on that it took “over a year in the making.”

“This sound collection is focused on wavetable, transwave, and additive sounds from original hardware synths: a PPG Wave 2, an Ensoniq Mirage sampler/synth with Sound process, and an Ensoniq Fizmo.”


The Arturia Emulator II V provides eight sample slots, compared to the 1984 hardware version of only four. With a console of effects and you can easily key-map all eight slots in about a minute, however you can get straight on with the business of your new track because ZenDaw have already taken care of all that for you.

The patches are eminently usable and for some reason whilst I was listening to them, I had the image of the Waldorf Quantum in my head; a popular and expensive multi engine keyboard synthesizer, and that again attests to the “hardware” character of the presets.

This is no dumpster fire of cadged WAV files!  No Siree.  For many of the presets, changes in modulation are available in real-time via the modulation wheel and all effects to maximise the patches are also pre-furnished by ZenDaw to save time and of course you can edit these to your hearts content.


It would be presumptuous of me to assign potential genre uses to these sounds.   Ambient-scapes, film scores, lounge music are easy choices for this pack – almost too easy. I think with some tweaking there’s some excellent Techno and Hardcore sonic material here also.

So, while the debate between digital & analogue; hardware and software rages on above our heads I will happily knuckle down and dig further into the Blue Swells pack from ZenDaw.

SampleNerd score 10/10


  • 142 Presets, Multi-Samples per Preset.
  • 524 Original Individual Samples.
  • Sampled through all synths’ Analog/Digital filters and A/D-D/A converters.
  • 16-bit 44.1 kHz uncompressed PCM WAV samples.
  • Size: 1.59 GB installed.
  • Version: 1.1.0. succeeded.
  • Release year 2022
  • Price $10-40
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SampleNerd has over 30 years’ experience in sound synthesis and technology. has received no remittance for this review. 
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