Gothic Instruments are expanding the collection of libraries (‘modules’ in GI-speak) based around their Kontakt-based Dronar front-end. Each module brings a different, themed, sample base, allowing the user to generate different styles of sounds via the same user interface. The latest Dronar ‘module’ is Vintage Synth and, as the title suggests, in this case the underlying sample base (which runs to nearly 3.5GB) is inspired by classic synths from the 1980s. With the popularity of TV series such as Stranger Things and Mr Robot, both of which draw heavily on retro synth sounds in their soundtracks, this is a module that might get lots of media composers paying attention.
The sounds here compliment those of the Dark Synthesis module and, if you like those and are looking to expand your palette of dark, unsettling, synth-based drones, soundscapes and pads, as well as adding some slightly lighter textures and a number of sounds that can be played melodically, then Vintage Synth will have you covered. The 250+ presets are again organised into two types. A set of ‘menu’ presets offer 12 different instruments in a single preset and are accessible via keyswitches. All of the same sounds are also available as single presets if you want to keep memory usage down. You can, of course, create your own sounds from the underlying samples via the Expert page and save your own presets if you wish.
The Dronar engine remains the same; each preset in Vintage Synth is therefore based upon blending four underlying sound elements labelled low, mid, high and FX, each of which can also be a blend of two of the underlying raw samples. As before, the Easy screen provides, well, ‘easy’ blending of the four sound elements while the Expert, LFO/FX, Arp and Rhythm pages provide much more detailed control. In short, there are plenty of sound design options.
With a few more melodic sounds amongst the presets, Vintage Synth could, of course, offer something for more conventional music and/or score creation. However, I still think the prime target here is media composers looking for something dark, sinister and unsettling. Indeed, having called the front-end Dronar, potential purchasers are being given a pretty clear pointer as to the likely character of the sounds it will generate.
If you do go beyond the presets and the easy mode though, Dronar offers some considerable flexibility and you can coax plenty of variations from the underlying samples. Each of the Dronar modules is also very reasonably priced and, as Gothic Instruments offer discounts to loyal Dronar customers, the series is pretty accessible even if you are not on a Hollywood budget (that’s most of us then). Sonically, this might still be a very targeted sound source, but Dronar Vintage Synth is very good at what it does and very competitively priced.