Having designed their interesting Kontakt-based Dronar front-end, Gothic Instruments are now moving pretty quickly to provide users with a range of sample content (‘modules’) to exploit it. The subject of this review is the latest Dronar ‘module’, Dark Synthesis. Given the title, there are no prizes for guessing what the bulk of the 7GB of raw sample material is built upon.
As with the other modules, each preset in Dark Synthesis is based upon blending four underlying sound elements labelled Low, Mid, High and FX. In each of these, Dronar can actually utilise two of the underlying raw samples so, in fact, each preset can blend up to eight samples. From the Main (‘easy mode’) page, the user gets to blend these four layers. You also get control over Intensity (utilising multiple layers for each sample for added dynamics) and Movement, which influences the intensity of the built-in arpeggiators for each of the four layers. This combination provides considerable control over the dynamics of the sound. As before, you can also choose to ‘go deep’ and the Expert, LFO/FX, Arp and Rhythm pages have plenty of options for tweaking your sounds, creating further variations. Dronar might not be as slick as some Kontakt-based virtual instruments in the looks department, but it has a lot to offer in terms of sound-design tools.
The underlying sounds within Dark Synthesis are pretty much what you would expect. The bulk of the material is obviously derived from a range of synth sources and, if you tweak things so you can just audition a single sample, the moods are generally dark and sinister. A range of synths were apparently used, but there must also have been some pretty extensive processing of some of the sounds, as they are delightfully twisted and unsettling: perfect if your music creation involves getting the listener to move ever closer to the edge of their seat.
Of course, that is something of a niche need in music creation and, as the ‘Dronar’ title makes clear, the underlying engine is essentially designed for creating drone-like sounds. The flexibility of the front end does, however, ensure you can squeeze the maximum sonic variation out of the ‘darkly synthetic’ sample base, while the arpeggiator and rhythmic options allow you to blend in melodic and percussive elements should you wish.
As with the other titles in the series, Dronar Dark Synthesis is perhaps going to appeal most strongly to music-to-picture producers. Given just what’s on offer, this module is very competitively priced, and owners of other Dronar modules get a discount, which could make it even more attractive. Dronar Dark Synthesis could, therefore, easily appeal to the established media composer simply looking for additional tools (it’s more than good enough) but is also accessible for those on a more limited budget and still making their way. A niche product, perhaps, but very good within that niche.