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Best Service Horizon Leads By Sonuscore

Kontakt Instrument By John Walden
Published May 2024

Best Service Horizon Leads By Sonuscore

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 4/5 Stars

I reviewed Best Service’s Kontakt‑based Dark Horizon in the July 2022 issue of SOS. This was produced in collaboration with Sonuscore and utilised the latter’s expertise in creating multi‑layered performance engines (as seen in products such as The Orchestra, The Score, Elysion or EastWest’s Orchestrator). This same team has now launched a new (and complementary) title; Horizon Leads. This features the same four‑layer performance engine but is furnished with a different style of sounds. So, if you liked Dark Horizon, then Horizon Leads might also appeal.

As with the earlier title, these sounds are provided with two different levels of presets, with some 80 individual instruments (the library totals 2GB of sample content), and approximately 150 ‘themes’ (global presets), each of which combines up to four of the individual sounds alongside suitable settings for the performance and effects engines. In terms of the individual sound presets, the emphasis is on synthesized sounds but mainly with an organic/acoustic feel. While the sounds themselves don’t perhaps break any revolutionary new ground, there is lots of very usable content here and they could easily provide a hybrid synthesized/organic element that would work in similar musical/scoring contexts to more traditional orchestral sounds.

With a little dab of the built‑in delay and reverb effects, there are some cool options for melodic parts based upon many of the individual sounds. However, Horizon Leads really comes into its own when the sounds are combined into a theme preset. These can also be accessed via a neat tag‑based browser and offer categories of mono‑ and poly‑style lead sounds plus some ‘animated’ options. The former provide conventional playable melodic sounds but, by combining the various source sounds, and with suitable use of the effects and modulation options, there is plenty of expressive character to be found. The animated presets make use of the engine’s clever arpeggiator engine for one or more of the layers. These are great for rhythmic arpeggiated parts and most are set up with the mod wheel enabling some very usable sound modulation. In terms of moods, they span gentle ambient, mystery, tension and away into more high‑tech or sci‑fi territory. It’s all done with an organic overtone, though, and things don’t generally get overly aggressive.

Like Dark Horizon, Horizon Leads is probably aimed primarily at media composers working in modern drama, mystery, sci‑fi, or even some nature projects.

Like Dark Horizon, Horizon Leads is probably aimed primarily at media composers working in modern drama, mystery, sci‑fi, or even some nature projects. The sounds themselves are very usable and the Sonuscore engine — once mastered — provides plenty of creative potential. These Best Service/Sonuscore titles are turning into a cool little series. Given the relatively accessible price, Horizon Leads ought to appeal to media composers working at almost any level.