Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5/5 Stars
Quiet Music may not be the biggest name in software instruments, but for those producing ambient, chillout or lo‑fi music, the company’s products are a real find. I’ve used far more costly instruments where I’ve found only a handful of sounds to be usable, but with Quiet Music I find myself liking just about everything they do.
Offering more content and more control over effects and routing than the original Serenity, not to mention a clearer control panel layout, Serenity 2 is a sample‑based virtual instrument designed to deliver the kind of trippy, dreamy pad sounds that you might hear when walking around a shop that sells crystals and dreamcatchers, or when visiting a spa. In other words, chilled and relaxing.
Patches are built from three musical layers, two pad sounds and one sub sound, plus six environmental field recording loops comprising Crickets, Birds, Noise, Rain, Waves and Aqua (running water). The pad samples were created using synthesizers such as the Hydrasynth and Lyra 8 plus some reworked original Serenity material. These sounds are further enhanced via the addition of suitable effects. The three layers comprise the main sound, a sub‑bass and a texture layer, and it is possible to assign each output to a different channel of your DAW mixer. Each of the environmental field recording loops can also be fed to a separate output if required.
Serenity 2 comes with 67 presets, each built around a different main sample, and offering synth‑like envelope, low‑ or high‑pass filter and LFO modulation options as well as chorus, reverb, distortion and delay effects. Each effect has simple stompbox‑style controls and each layer of sound has its own level and pan controls. The environmental sound effects also have their own level controls as well as individual on/off buttons and routing boxes.
When we come to the sounds themselves, the three‑layer idea works really well. The main part of the sound within each preset usually exhibits a gentle quality, though that is not to suggest that these sounds are in any way bland as they are obviously the result of some detailed sound‑design work. These are looped samples, but once all the layers are in play and some effects have been added, the looping isn’t obvious, even when playing single‑note melody lines.
Serenity 2 is a very inexpensive instrument that is easy to use and capable of a wide range of very usable sounds that are a perfect fit for ambient and chilled genres.
Serenity 2 is a very inexpensive instrument that is easy to use and capable of a wide range of very usable sounds that are a perfect fit for ambient and chilled genres. Indeed if you were to use even the free version of Quiet Music’s Quiet Piano instrument alongside Serenity 2, you could produce a whole album of relaxation music without ever having to look elsewhere for sounds.