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.

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