THIS THING RULES: Interstellar for Omnisphere

Welcome to another This Thing Rules! This time we’ll be taking a look at Interstellar for Omnisphere by Subsonic Artz. You may remember my review of Gaia from Subsonic Artz, another Omnisphere expansion pack that I checked out last year. Well they’re back with another collection of beautiful sounds for Omnisphere, and the theme this time is something I think a lot of you will recognize.

Before digging into the review, check out my demo “Another World” which I created entirely with sounds from Interstellar.

THIS THING RULES: PluginGuru OMG! Drums Vol 1

Welcome to another installment of This Thing RulesThis time I am going to look at a monster of an expansion for my favorite synth, Omnisphere 2. I’ve covered PluginGuru’s software before in two of my first reviews, Omnipulse  and Omniverse 1 & 2 (which I still use all the time). I’ve purchased many of their other packs over the last couple years, but I’m glad to be finally covering them again with their new OMG! Drums Vol. 1 for Omnisphere 2. Before we dive into some of the features and what I liked about it, check out my demo “Nebula.”

THIS THING RULES: SubsonicArtz Gaia

Welcome to another edition of THIS THING RULES! I’ve got a bunch lined up right now that I’m trying to get to, and since I don’t have time for long introductions… Let’s get right into it!

Gaia is a new expansion pack for Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere by SubsonicArtz. You may remember SubsonicArtz as the maker of the Pulsar Project expansion pack for CL-Projects’ Hypernova, which I reviewed in a previous THIS THING RULES entry. As usual, lets listen to a demo I created specifically for this review, “The Secret Reason.”

THIS THING RULES: Ikarus Ethnicity

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules!

You guys probably know by now that I love my Omnisphere expansions, and while there’s constantly a new one coming from one one of the big names, it’s always exciting to find one from a company I hadn’t heard from before. So when I found out about Ethnicity, a pack from composer and first-time sound designer Ikarus, I had to check it out.

Ethnicity takes new sound sources (a recent feature of Omnisphere 2)  including all kinds of organic instruments ranging from didgeridoos to duduks, and runs them through the powerful synth engine. There are 123 presets in all that range from striking keyboards and guitars to lush, beautiful pads and soundscapes, as well as some pulsating patches.

In my demo track “Other Voices” I am using nearly a dozen sounds from Ethnicity. I added a drum beat from another program because I wanted to really bring up the tempo of this particular piece, but otherwise, it’s all Ethnicity.

These sounds have a beautiful liveliness and organic feel to them. Everything rattles and hums in a way that makes you feel like someone is playing these instruments for you… Only in a new and exciting way. Everything is set-up perfectly and you can tell that Ikarus put a lot of time into making these sounds sound just right.

In “Other Voices” I started off with the very funky arp “Pick Guitar Arp 2” and the chill “Ambient EPiano” as a bass. From there I built it up with the absolutely gorgeous pad “Nord Ambient,” and the guitar patch “Egit2” (which would have fit in perfectly on any of the guitar led songs on An Unseen Sky. “Egit2” isn’t a 100% realistic guitar, but it has such a great, natural play-ability to it. There’s a bunch of other sounds from Ethnicity being used throughout, but another stand-out pad for me is “Alone in the future,” which I think is so cool sounding I want to build a full song around it sometime soon.

I’d have liked to see some more percussion type sounds from Ikarus (maybe next time), and perhaps some more pre-programmed arp patterns to go with these instruments. But then again, Omnisphere 2’s incredible arpeggiator already opens the door to tons of possibilities in that department. Percussion is really the only area I felt this pack was lacking at all.

Otherwise what we have here is a solid, unique pack of sounds for Omnisphere 2. A lot of times these packs end up being more of the same (not necessarily a bad thing if it’s done well), but in this case, we’re getting a very specific spin on what Omnisphere can do. It’s a great addition and absolutely recommended.

Ikarus Ethnicity requires Omnisphere 2.1.0d or later and is available now at http://ikarusmusic.com/ikarus-spectrasonics-omnisphere-2-signature-soundset-ethnicity  (and at the time of writing there is a 20% off deal going on, so hurry up and get it!)

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

THIS THING RULES: Gahrn Audio Expansion Packs

Sometimes when I do these THIS THING RULES blog posts, the new music software gets sent to me (if you make music software and you’re reading this, get in touch!), and sometimes I have to go out looking for it. Today’s installment is a case of the latter and I’m so glad I found Gahrn Audio and their new expansions packs Symbiosis (for Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere) and Illusions (for Native Instruments’ Massive). I’m always on the look out for new Omnisphere expansions because as many of you know, it is my favorite synth, so to see a company like Gahrn come out and nail it with their first pack is very exciting… And it’s nice to have a reminder to go back and look at Massive again after I hadn’t touched it in a while…

Before getting into the bulk of this write-up, make sure you listen to the new track, “Seeing Is Believing,” made entirely with these two new expansion packs (except for the drum beat that comes in about 45 seconds in).

This track was especially exciting because it was the first non-score piece of music I’ve done in quite a while. I’ve been so busy with promoting the new album (see what I did there… haha), life, and well, scoring films, that I hadn’t made much stand-alone music. I think it came out pretty great. So what’s going on in that music?

The answer is some killer synths, beautiful pads and awesome arps. These packs aren’t huge by any means (80 patches in Symbiosis and 64 patches in Illusions), but what is there is all top notch usable sounds. Like I said, the bulk of what’s here falls under the synths, pads and arps categories of each respective program, although there are other sounds as well like great Impacts & Hits in Symbiosis.

In this particular song, I’m using about five Omnisphere Symbiosis patches and four from Massive Illusions.  Starting with the Omnisphere pack, two of the arps I used called Outrun (which provides that sick funky rhythm that comes in towards the end) and Still Visible sounded great right at loading, but I decided to play around with the arp patterns to get what I got out of them. The main keys in the song are a sound called Finger Painting which provides beautiful, echoing keyboards, and White Air is a very pretty backing synth pad. I really wanted to use some of the Texture patches in this track, but at that point I felt the song was already busy enough. They’re great additions to this package though and will definitely get used in the future.

Over in Massive, the Illusions patches were also perfect fits for this kind of ambient / electronica song. The big echoing synth you hear is called Dyerm, while another synth called All Transparent was incredibly playable and provides a secondary lead for the track. The main bass line is provided by two alternating versions of the End of Line patch with slightly different parameters that I tweaked at different points in the song. Like I said earlier in this write-up, it’s been quite a while since I’ve touched Massive, but I think I’m going to have to start digging in again because not only do I have these great new sounds for it, but it’s just a really cool program with lots of great content.

So overall as you can see, I really liked what Gahrn Audio has come up with in their first packs, and their inspiration led the way to this awesome new track. I’d love to see a new pack from them that takes advantage of some of Omnisphere 2’s new features, and I’d love to see some more keyboard sounds and maybe some percussion. But for what they are, these are great packs and definitely highly recommended.

Each of these packs are available now in Gahrn Audio’s website store priced very competitively at $23 for Symbiosis and $20 for Illusions. There are also FREE demos available of each pack, as well as more demo tracks and a full walk through of the Omnisphere pack.

Gahrn Audio is run by fellow composer and sound designer Claus Gahrn, so it’s no surprise that he knows what other composers could use. Hopefully he makes some more packs in the future. I’ll definitely be watching for them.

David Rosen is an award-winning music composer. He composes original music for films, commercials, jingles, video-games and all other kinds of media projects. He has a vast music library of original tracks available for licensing and is also available for custom compositions. Contact him on the ABOUT page for pricing and availability for your next project.

THIS THING RULES: Omnipulse

Welcome to a This Thing Rules edition a LONG TIME in the making. Truth is this track was done almost a year ago, but first of all, I was thinking of using it for my upcoming album, so I was holding it off. Then I got really busy with work and films and film festivals… But then a funny thing happened…

There was a contest to create a piece of music for the trailer to the excellent looking film “LFO,” and right away when I watched the trailer, I knew that this piece of music would be perfect for it. So I entered it, got a lot of great feedback, and since I’d hate to skip a review on a piece of software I received and loved, I decided to finally go back and get this thing up.

This is also a different kind of entry for This Thing Rules in that it wasn’t entirely created with just PlugIn Guru’s Omnipulse, the software I’ll be talking about today. I probably could make something only with Omnipulse… But it wouldn’t really go anywhere since the point of this package is sounds that pulsate rhythmically to help create tension and motion. As it is, you’ll notice once you listen to the track, it is a very tense piece of music, but I brought in sounds from other software to help mold it into a full track. This is also a different kind of edition of This Thing Rules because I’m embedding the track in the form of the trailer for “LFO.” I figured since it works so good in the context of the trailer, I might as well do it that way rather than a stand alone track. So here it is:

 

As you just heard… It’s a pretty tense and synth heavy track. The main two presets that I used from Omnipulse are “BPM BASS – Heavy Weight Offender” and “BPM GUITAR – 12 Stringer M.” The Bass sound creates that insane, heavy synth bass line while the Guitar sound adds a loop of tension to the track. I’m also using sounds from another of PlugInGuru’s Omnisphere Expansions, Omniverse, as well as some other sources.

While I wouldn’t use the sounds in Omnipulse alone to create a full piece of music, the presets that it does come with are absolutely essential for tense, dramatic underscore, as well as electronica music. The presets themselves are amazing as is, but they all have wildly variable results when played with the Mod Wheel… So much so that it’s seriously become my go-to for getting a score started. These sounds can provide the bed that any dark, atmospheric film needs. Then you can just build on top of it from there. Also, since they are arpeggiated based on Omnisphere’s built in Arpeggiator, they work with projects of any tempo. It couldn’t be easier to use.

The funny thing about this write-up taking so long, is that during these past months that I’ve been so busy, I was pretty much constantly using Omnipulse in everything I did! I really couldn’t recommend it more, and I really hope that they come out with a sequel. Omnipulse can be purchased at PlugInGuru.com for $30, and of course, requires a full copy of Omnipshere. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an item to cross off my to-do list that’s been sitting there for way too long…

This Thing Rules: The Coil

Before I get started on this edition of This Thing Rules I just wanted to say sorry for taking so long to get back to this series! I had a constant string of composing work, promoting my “If Only Tonight I Could Sleep” Video and Fundraiser, and just lots of other stuff that kept me incredibly busy. I’ve got a backlog of about 6 This Thing Rules posts to finish up, but I wanted to get started getting back into it with something brand-new… The amazing new Omnisphere expansion pack The Coil by Plughugger. Let’s give the song “Fallen Angels” a listen.

The first thing you’ll notice in the track are those sinister, dark drone sounds at the beginning. That’s a preset in The Coil called “The Day After” and it’s just so… EVIL sounding haha. I love it (update: I realized just as I was getting ready to post this that it’s also used in the opening of their promo video)! The Coil is an expansion based all around one sample of electricity.  That’s right… the  people at Plughugger took one basic sample of raw electricity from a Tesla Coil and using the power of Omnisphere, transformed it into 150 new presets including atmospheres, arpeggios, pads, leads and basses. These things aren’t just overly similar sounds either… Everything is completely different and completely playable and usable.  Plughugger claims that the sounds are “set in a zone between the normal and the weird” and that’s a perfect description.

Aside from the drums, every single other track within “Fallen Angels” comes from The Coil. The bass line is a combination of a bass preset called “Distorted Menace” and a very dirty arp called “Quantum Heap.” The main echoing synth line is created with a sound called “Ambiano” which is a lot of fun to play with. I didn’t want to get too crazy on this simple demo track, but I can already tell you that I’ve used “Ambiano” for a solo-like piece on one of the songs on my next album. There’s about 4 or 5 more tracks mixed in there with more sounds from the collection as well and I could have easily continued to layer without running out of ideas.

The Coil

Is there anything missing from this collection? Not really. It’s pretty much perfect, especially for the price of $18.87 (or $12.54 if you get in before October 12th!). Please note that those US prices are roughly converted from the Euro price listing on their website. I’d love to hear these guys make a companion drum kit using electricity based sounds… Although Omnisphere wouldn’t really be the right place for it… Maybe make it for Native Instrument’s Battery or something.

If you already have Omnisphere, there’s really no reason not to pick up The Coil. The included sounds are highly usable in any kind of composition, and the price is absolutely killer.

 

 

 

This Thing Rules: PLUGINGURU Omniverse 1 & 2

So my weekly This Thing Rules segments got pretty messed up by the holidays, BUT I am back with a brand new installment and a couple more already lined up. Time to get this thing back on track! This time I am writing about PlugInGuru’s Omniverse 1 & 2. What a beautiful collection of sounds! Before you continue reading, make sure you listen to the sample track above, which was created completely with sounds from these two volumes. Omniverse 1 & 2 are Expansion Packs for Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere, which is probably my favorite piece of music software, so I’m always excited to get some new presets to mess with, but it’s especially a treat when the presets are so ME. PluginGuru says that “it’s called Omniverse because of its versatility” and it’s absolutely right. You’ve got hard electronic sounds, beautiful lush strings and pads for film scores, as well as great keyboard sounds and tons of other patches. As a bonus they include special Envelope and Arpeggiator Presets for messing with any of the included or existing sounds and creating even more unique possibilities.

Omniverse

Omniverse

In the demo track above, I start off with the “Obsessiv Pluk” Lead and then begin to add multiple layers of Guitar sounds including the “Classical and High Voices” and the “Sad Baritone.” From there I include various keys, plucks, percussive elements and big beautiful pads. The overall effect is very cinematic and pretty, but with some definitely electronic edge. It’s too early to start talking about my second album, a follow-up to Echoes In The Dark, but I definitely think this track is something I could continue building off of to create a new killer song.

So there you have it. If you’re making music and you have Omnisphere, Omniverse 1 & 2 are a great collection. At $30 each, they’re an absolute steal, and PlugInGuru recently released a 3rd collection, OmniPulse which I’m dying to check out. I definitely recommend these guys and will be using their sounds in a lot of my upcoming productions.

– David

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