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Reviewed By CoolGuitarGear [read all by] on 21st December 2020
Version reviewed: 1.0.0 on Windows.
Last edited by CoolGuitarGear on 21st December 2020.
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I had issues getting this to run on Sonar X3 (Windows 10 with 64-bit), but it worked no problem with the latest Cakewalk by Bandlab. My thoughts are straight-forward, with the accompanying demo speaking for itself (both sound samples and 'building' a classic rock tone). This 3-channel amp offers a lot of flexibility in tones and gain, from very clean to hi-gain (metal-based, but not necessarily modern metal, like running a Diezel or Dual Rectifier). Regardless, there's a lot of tweaking capabilities, and I really like the tight, fat and body controls. Those elements add a lot in terms of bringing a tone to life and sounding punchy. The dual cabs, which you can mix in different ratios, certainly takes away a lot of the guesswork, and you can load your own IRs if desired. There are enough presets to provide a solid working and playing foundation, and then you can create your own presets as desired or needed. As diverse as this plug-in is, it is more bare-bones, in that you don't get overdrives, fuzz pedals, a bunch of IRs, etc., but is meant to be a one-stop amp/cab solution for the average studio recording musician (developed by a musician and studio engineer), from general guitar player to composer. Those into having hundreds of presets, amps, cabs, etc., would need to look elsewhere (and invest more than the $49 USD price-tag of this plug-in). Overall, for the price, this is a very decent plug-in with a good sound and sufficient tweaking capabilities:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsPTRMGH1jQ

Reviewed By CoolGuitarGear [read all by] on 27th November 2020
Version reviewed: 1.5 on Windows.
Last edited by CoolGuitarGear on 27th November 2020.
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LUNARIS is no ordinary collection of pad samples; it is a 4-layer pad instrument that will take your creative abilities to the next level. I've always been a fan of pads, since they work in so many genres, including atmospheric, country and pop songs and even modern music, from Rammstein to Dream Theatre. The demo below includes only a few dozen sound samples, out of the 500+, and they were randomly selected for the composition. The samples fall into different categories, including Sonic Underworld, Dark, Ambient, Sequenced, Original Luftrum Volumes and Drafts & Leftovers. It also requires Kontakt to operate, although the free Player version works just fine. Lunaris also operates as a standalone instrument for live playing, or within a DAW when recording (via the Kontakt platform in either instance).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkyFU1pkaGM

What makes the sounds in Lunaris so breathtaking is that there are four layers working concurrently, making the sounds huge and complex – absolute ear-candy! Of course, you can isolate and play just one or two layers, if looking for something simple, but Lunaris really blossoms through its density. One of the key features behind Lunaris is the ability to change any of the layers, with 100 different sound sources (and an extra 100 source sources/field recordings/synth transients/synth soundscapes, e.g., ice crackling, ocean waves, bell-like harmonics, etc., for layers C & D). To help with experimentation is a Random button, which randomly selects different sounds for the layers, allowing you to experience and discover 'blindly' and quickly, which is quite fun, as you never know what sound and texture will suddenly appear. That function does not affect other settings, e.g., what envelopes, filters or modulation is assigned. When considering how many combinations can be produced – in the thousands – Lunaris extends far beyond those 500 presets.

There still are several other features. For example, each layer can be customized with the Amp Envelope (ADSR), which controls how a sound is shaped over time, and there's also the Filter tool, to control the cut-off frequency and filter. An accompanying tool is the Filter Split button, which helps keep the mud out of pad creation by intelligently sorting all the active filters in different bands. This keeps the layers from fighting over the same frequencies, and if you don't like the program's recommendations, then clicking on the Reset button brings you back to the original frequency settings. Another feature that impresses is the Time Stop function, which allows you to stretch sound, from 0-100%... to the point of freezing it for some unusual and incredible outcomes. This feature can be applied to any one or all layers concurrently.

Each layer further has a set of controls that can be applied individually or globally, including various effects, e.g., distortion, chorus, delay, reverb, EQ and phaser. Now, be aware that Lunaris is a CPU hog, and once you start combining multiple patches (of four layers each), you can run into sound quality issues (e.g., popping and crackling). This can be rectified, as I did in the demo, by removing all the reverbs from the four layers of a preset, and then applying only one reverb globally, thereby saving on CPU processing. Part 2 of the Lunaris instructional video (see below) covers basic operation of the program, including setting a global command. And still there are a few more features worth mentioning. The Flux Motion tool is a modulation system that controls the filter cut-off, amplitude and panning of the layers – all of which affects sound motion. This works in conjunction with the MOD/SEQ, a step sequencer with two low-frequency oscillators, which allows for modulation of pitch, filter, panning or volume at synced rates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUCxKGfVS-0&t=7s

Overall, even without all the tools to customize and create your own presets, Lunaris is utterly stunning and a fantastic buy at $159 USD (sign up for the Luftrum newsletter and get 20% off). The pads are so breathtaking that they are very much all-consuming – you can't help but want to play and listen to them. Unfortunately, this makes the program a time vampire, due to its addictive nature and the difficulty in pulling yourself away from the piano/synth as you discover new sounds that are nothing short of extraordinary. And maybe that's a fortunate thing.

Reviewed By CoolGuitarGear [read all by] on 19th November 2020
Version reviewed: 1.0.0 on Windows.
Last edited by CoolGuitarGear on 19th November 2020.
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Bioscape is a Kontakt and Komplete platform-based sampler, with over 320 presets in the categories of pads, textures, ASMR, drones, pulses, playables and effects. Designed by Luftrum Sound Design (and a team of field recorders), the sounds in this package are astounding, and an obvious winner for the KVR Audio Readers Choice Award 2020. Other descriptive terms for this package include unique, organic (even the metallic sounds) and crystal clear, making it ideal for film scores, gaming soundtracks and also those who compose in the genre of ambient music. The demo included with this review covers only some of the hundreds of sounds, none of which were edited (more on that later); the demo's intention is to present some sounds I find captivating, but also to illustrate some of the features of this program's platform. It is these features that allow you to take Bioscape to a completely different realm as you create some of your own unique takes with all the morphing tools at your disposal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh4cZYld488

Exceptionally flexible, Bioscape has a host of tools and parameters designed to work with the included sound samples, but you also can drag and drop your own sound samples for personalized experimentation and composition. The Bioscape platform has two sections or layers (wave files), and each with its own editing parameters. You can play/record just one layer, whereas invoking both layers results in A being stacked atop B. You can take those sound samples and adjust the length or target of each, e.g., loop a section of the entire wave. You then can play either layer forward or reverse, as well as forward/reverse stop and even ping-pong them if desired. Each layer further has its own filters and envelopes, as well as a number of effects, including modulation, delays, reverbs and a step sequencer that is ultra-easy to use (thus allowing for a basic sound to become a rhythmic pulse).

If that wasn't enough, you can take a wave and enter a new realm with the Mutate DNA and Motion Recording functions. Mutate DNA comprises of several sound characteristics that can be applied to a sound sample, for one or both layers. Each layer has 25 different themes, such as biomass, carbon, bow, eternal, machine, etc., and it's amazing how different a sampled sound can be when switching from one theme to another – utterly different! Not all mutations work with all samples (e.g., a 'ping' sound vs a pad), but you can spend hours discovering hundreds of different textures with this one tool. The Motion Recording permits you to control the dynamic movement of volume, cutoff, pitch, panning and effects in real time, e.g., as you move the cursor about on the XY Pad you can record the outcome. The result is a far more organic life to the samples, and definitely a backbone to some original composition.

Overall, for $159 USD, you get more than some amazing samples; Bioscape is an editing platform that will entertain and inspire for a long time to come. Consequently, expect to invest many a wee hour in the night addicted to Bioscape, and be prepared to be impressed. Bioscape works as a standalone platform or within a DAW, working with its host, Kontakt player (you do not need the full version). And it also works with Komplete, both programs that are available for free download through Native Instruments.