Gothic Instruments are expanding upon the sound sets (modules) they offer for their Kontakt-based Dronar front-end at quite a pace. The latest offering to find its way to SOS HQ is the Cinematic Atmospheres title. For a fairly modest price — and with further discounts if you already own other Dronar titles — Cinematic Atmospheres delivers just under 4GB of sample data, spread across over 1600 samples and organised into nearly 150 presets. You can, of course, also create your own.
This module follows the structure and feature sets of the other Dronar modules. Each Cinematic Atmospheres preset is therefore based upon blending up to four underlying sound elements. These provide different frequency-based elements — low, mid, high — plus a layer labelled FX that adds, as the name suggests, effects and processed elements to the sound. In each of these layers, Dronar can actually blend two of the underlying raw samples so, in fact, each preset can be build upon up to eight of the original samples. In terms of the front-end, this is identical to the earlier modules within the series. You therefore get an ‘easy mode’ via the Main page or you can also choose to ‘go deep’, and the Expert, LFO/FX, Arp and Rhythm pages have plenty of sound design tools for further tweaking. Keyswitching allows you to easily move between 12 different configurations (including different source samples) so it is easy to get a huge range of sonic textures as you perform with a single preset.
In terms of the sounds, the underlying sample base in this module includes both pitched, musical, sounds and more soundbed/sound design materials, although in all cases, the bulk of the sounds are of a lengthy, sustained nature as befits the ‘atmospheres’ element of the library title. You can, therefore, coax some medium- to slow-tempo melodic lines out of the instrument with a suitably chosen set of the raw samples should you wish, although its primary target is most certainly pad-like soundscapes. It’s also fair to say that there aren’t many happy sounds on offer here. You can do mystical, mysterious, suspenseful, tense, dark and downright scary, but if you are looking for happy or cute, preset names that include ‘Hellscapes’, ‘Disturbed Atmospheres’ and ‘Mysterium Texture’ indicate you are in the wrong place.
Compared to some of the obvious competition within this ‘music meets sound design’ niche, Cinematic Atmospheres is very competitively priced. It is, therefore, within reach of both the aspiring and already established media composers. The content will not perhaps get it onto the most-wanted list of more conventional music makers but, if you need to create some unsettling musical sound beds and/or sound design elements for drama or sci-fi, there is plenty here to get your audience ready for something bad to happen on screen. Cinematic Atmospheres is another solid, good value addition to the Dronar series.