THIS THING RULES: Ueberschall Guitar Feedback

Welcome to another installment of This Thing Rules! Today’s track is going to feature a lot of feedback and distortion, because I’m taking a look at Guitar Feedback, a new loop collection from Uebershall. This is my first time getting to check out one of their libraries, so it will also be my first time talking about their own sample player, Elastik. Lets dive in by listening to the demo, “Falling.”

THIS THING RULES: Sonic Zest Cinematic Percussion Engine

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! As soon as I finished my recent review of Sonic Zest’s excellent Ambient Cinematic Guitar 3, I was asked if I’d like to check out their brand new instrument, Cinematic Percussion Engine. Only a half hour into playing with it, I can tell you right away that they’ve got another winner on their hands with this one. Check out my demo “In The Fire.”

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: Sonic Zest Ambient Cinematic Guitar 3

Welcome to another installment of This Thing Rules. Today I’m going to be checking back with Sonic Zest. You may remember I reviewed their entire collection of instruments (which I won in a contest) in a previous This Thing Rules. I’ve always really liked their sounds, especially Ambient Cinematic Guitar 1 &2, so when I saw that Volume 3 was coming out, I had to get in touch. Before I dive into the review, take a minute to listen to my demo, “Sacrifice” which was made roughly 80% with just Ambient Cinematic Guitar 3.

THIS THING RULES: DayTone Audio Tortured Keys

It’s been a whirlwind of an end of the year and an amazing start of the new year, but I’m finally back on track to start bringing you new installments of This Thing Rules. Here’s one that probably should have come out in time for Halloween, but hey, what better time than now, right?

Tortured Keys is a beautiful new Kontakt-based package from DayTone Audio that features all kinds of crazy, dark samples of a 1937 Gulbransen Grand Piano being, well… tortured.  The sounds were created, according to the website, “with the help of metal files, mallets and wrenches.” That poor piano… Lets listen to my demo (which has more instruments from other sources than my normal This Thing Rules reviews because this is more of an effects package than a full on set of instruments).


Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! I’ve got an awesome one for you today… UVI’s Falcon. This thing is a beast – one of the biggest pieces of software I’ve ever reviewed for this blog.

I’ve been using UVI software for a long, long time… I think PlugSound Pro was the first VST over $200 that I ever purchased actually, wayyyy back in the day. So when I got to check out their new flagship, I was extremely excited. Before I dive into all the features (well, maybe not all of the features, but as many as I can fit in and still make this a timely review haha), check out this demo, “The Breakthrough,” which I made entirely using Falcon.

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: Particular Sound Aphelion

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules! I’m trying my best to bring them to you more often now… At least 2 a month, and I actually have 4 lined up at the moment. So that should keep me busy (along with everything else keeping me busy lately)!

This time I’m going to be talking about Particular Sound’s Aphelion Cinematic Tool Kit Version 1.5. For those that don’t know, a Cinematic Tool Kit is technically meant for sound design and to add extra sounds to films and things like that. But keeping with the theme of This Thing Rules, I wanted to try to stick to using just Aphelion as much as possible to make my demo track, “Approaching Horizon.” I did use some instruments from other software to nicely build it out into a full song, but I’d say at least 80% of what you’re hearing came from this package.

So what exactly is included in Aphelion? You’re getting a load of sounds for your Kontakt library (468 Presents, 94 Multis, 334 Loops and everything is also available in WAV format, if that’s how you like doing things). 3.71GB in total. It’s a lot. You’re also getting a great little custom made GUI that helps in applying effects and tweaking the sequences created by the loops (which are of course all host tempo-synced).

What did I use in the demo up above? Well aside from some extra stuff like the pianos and bells which came from other sources, I used around a dozen patches. I started the track off with the gloriously dark (although fairly generically named) Multi called “Atmos 004.” This is a menacing sounding cloud of darkness that undulates underneath the entire composition. I then used “Rhythmic Loop 108A” as a main backing beat. A lot of the rhythmic loops included have a killer industrial vibe to them. Loop 108 A and the secondary loop that bring in towards the end of the piece called “Rhythmic Loop 113A” both fit that industrial style. Then comes the true sound design stuff. Again, we’ve got some really basic naming going on here, which is probably my only negative with Aphelion, but without naming names (since they’re so simple anyway), I used quite a lot of one shot hits that are included in the collection. There’s a collection of short, medium and long hits, and I used sounds from each to add to the background of the track, as well as help augment the overall beat. I also used some whooshes, (the ones included are also divided into short, medium and long) and some drone sounds.

Since I’m created a song here for my demo and not scoring and/or adding sound design to a film or existing piece, I didn’t want to use too many sounds, or else it would get kind of cluttered.  That’s to be expected with this kind of package though, since we’re not talking about pianos and basses and strings and stuff like that. Other categories included in Aphelion that I played around with but didn’t include for the demo, are Brams, downrisers and uprisers, and pulses. All of it sounds excellent, but again, it’s all a matter of really hunting around for what you’re looking for, since the categorization leaves a little to be desired.

Along with everything sounding great, you’ve also got the aforementioned GUI. The standout here is the Sequence controller. It’s an extremely quick and easy way to take the sounds you load and turn them into little sequences. The results are all over the place, but can really lead to some amazing stuff. To me, this is the most fun part of Aphelion.

Particular Sound is offering an intro price on Aphelion 1.5 right now for $89. There are plenty of other great demos on their site that you should check out if your’e interested, but act fast, before the price goes up to $119.

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: CL-Projects Hypernova

Welcome to another edition of This Thing Rules!

In this entry, I’ll be looking at Hypernova, a new polyphonic synthesizer for Kontakt from CL-Projects. This is a little different for me, since it’s straight up synth… Modeled after classics such as the Minimoog, Jupiter 8, Juno 106 and ARP 2600. So expect things to get really synthy when you listen to “Lost In Spaces,” my demo:

Pretty sweet sounds right?! Yea, this thing is pretty wild. The sounds it can get are perfect for all kinds of music from Ambient to House, New Age or even Cinematic stuff. Whatever kind of music you’re making, the instruments fit right in and are sharp, full and beautiful.

Jumping right into the controls page (the top image), you’ll see tons of options for getting the sounds you want. Having all those knobs staring at you right in the beginning could be a little intimidating for a synth novice, so luckily this package comes with 360 total patches (236 are straight insturments and 124 multis). There’s also a great expansion pack called Pulsar Project from SubsonicArtz (whose Omnisphere expansion pack GAIA I’ll be reviewing in a future This Thing Rules segment) which adds 100 more FREE patches… I could be wrong, but I think this could be the first time I’ve seen an expansion pack for a Kontakt instrument… Anything that gets me more inspiring starting points though is awesome in my book.

There are also plenty of effects included in Hypernova. The effects page features pretty much all the options you could want from Reverb & Delay to Distortion and Phaser. Having little preset buttons laid out really lets you quickly try some settings out, before really twisting the knobs up and getting crazy. It’s also got some great ARP settings, which you know I always enjoy.


So on to the included sounds! Some of what you’re hearing in “Lost In Spaces” are sounds I either created or edited using various patches at starting points. I also used a bunch of the included patches as is to great effect. The arp that kicks in with the beat is a multi called “Black Eagle,” and speaking of the beat, that huge kick drum comes from a patch called “Devil’s Drums.” A fitting name for such a menacing drum kit (something I really didn’t expect to be included at all since this is mainly a synth instrument, but having a few drum kits added in is a nice touch). The big beautiful reverb heavy keys are actually a multi from the Pulsar Project called “3 Stars System.” Another great patch is the awesomely Depeche Mode style bass/key combo of the “Electric Dream” multi. If it seems like I used a lot of multis, that’s because I did. While these sounds all sound great on their own and are hugely customizable, stacking multis really makes Hypernova shine.

Back to creating sounds, there are a ton of options, but as you know, I don’t really dig too heavy into the details of the power-user stuff with these This Thing Rules reviews… These are meant to be more of a basic overview, along with the original track to make sure you get an idea of what you’re getting. But with that said, there is plenty to keep even the most hard-core synth nerd busy. I do wish that this would have been an officially licensed Kontakt instrument so you don’t have to browse through files to get to it, but that’s more of an issue with my own laziness than the software itself (haha).

Hypernova is available now at CL-Projects store for $49.99. That’s a fraction of the cost of some of the “top of the line” competing synth VSTs, and definitely worth a look.

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: 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  (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.

Mailing List Signup

Subscribe to my mailing list

* indicates required