Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
Triple Spiral Audio’s Nova is a sample‑based virtual instrument designed for the full version of Kontakt 6.5.1 (or later). As a collection of textures, pads and soundscapes, like many of the other titles within the TSA catalogue, it seems to be primarily aimed at the media composer. Like the majority of TSA’s products, however, it is modestly priced so, even if you aren’t yet scoring Hollywood blockbusters, it is very accessible.
Nova is built around 130+ sound‑sources and totals 1.8GB of sample data. These are accessible via a dedicated Kontakt front‑end that allows you to blend two of the core sound‑sources to create your final sound. While this is not a new approach, and the features within the sound engine perhaps don’t break too much new ground, it does provide plenty of flexibility. Although the focus is very much on the atmospheric and evolving sounds, you do also get a second front‑end with a similar UI that provides a range of percussion/drum sounds. Potentially, therefore, you could write a full ‘ambience’ musical cue using just the Nova and Nova Percussion sound sets.
Both engines include a set of presets supplied as Kontakt Snapshots. These are well organised and, for the pads and textures, do a great job of demonstrating what the library is good at. There are some excellent ambiences, and the Motion, Pad and Soundscape categories are full of excellent extended textures that have plenty of sonic motion. The two layers each offer ADSR and a filter with its own envelope. However, there is also an arpeggiator and the option to control the volume of each layer independently via its own LFO; if you want to create more rhythmic sounds or pulse effects, that’s perfectly possible.
Add in a range of effects including reverb, delay, modulation, distortion and stereo imaging, plus a neat Random button that keeps all your settings intact while simply randomising the two sound sources used, and you are clearly not short of options. Oh, and the icing on the cake is that you can also drag and drop your own samples into a special User Layer in each of the two sound slots and then manipulate those with Nova’s sound‑design features; very cool. The Nova Percussion engine doesn’t support drag and drop but the sounds are suitably cinematic and very usable.
Nova might not have a Hollywood blockbuster price tag, but the sounds are excellent and the UI is both easy and flexible. Sonically, it is most certainly a niche library, but if you need to add some additional ambience, pad or soundscape‑style options to your sonic arsenal, Triple Audio Spiral’s Nova is a bit of a bargain.