Since DRONAR Hybrid Module was released back in February, many users have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the second module and today it’s here!
Gothic Instruments DRONAR: Guitarscapes is based on live and processed recordings of mandolins, electric, acoustic and steel guitars which, when combined with DRONAR´s powerful controls, produce shimmering organic pads, otherworldly ambient soundscapes, natural strumming accompaniments and more.
In true DRONAR style, it takes very little effort to produce these huge complex sounds and the major new Rhythm Editor adds even more control.
We spoke to Gothic Instruments’ Dan Graham about the types of sounds users can create with this new Kontakt-powered library, how the new Rhythm Editor works and what makes the library different from other guitar-based cinematic titles.
Hi Dan, so first up, can you give us quick rundown of the instruments that were recorded for this second DRONAR module?
Sure, the list includes…
- LAG Tramontane steel string guitar with StudioLAG preamp.
- Takamine Nylon Acoustic guitar.
Electric guitars and bass:
- Fender FMT HH Tele (Flame Maple Top, 2 humbuckers)
- Schecter Jeff Loomis 7 string with single coil and Humbucker
- Fender Jazz bass.
Mandolin and pedal steel:
- Rains D-10 Pedal Steel
- Hilton Volume Pedal
- Little Walter 50 Watt Amplifier and 1×12 speaker cabinet
- Wampler Pedals
- Colin Kendall Mandolin into a Neumann TLM103 mic
Combined with Dronar’s controls, what type of sounds can be generated?
DRONAR does a great job of creating something that sounds complex and full by combining high, mid-range and bass layers plus effects with 8 simultaneous sounds all doing different things. It then modulates those sounds with effects, filters, envelopes, LFOs, arpeggiators and a new rhythm designer. On a simple level, you can just get guitars sounds or nice pads that started from guitar recordings, but you can also get some very beautiful, colourful and complex atmospheres. The general sound of guitars leads to pretty organic and dreamlike sounds although it can also sound extremely dark and chaotic.
In some ways the less you know what you are doing the better because it produces fantastic noises even when the internal modulations are so complex and chaotic that you aren’t exactly sure what’s going on.
One amazing thing is the “RANDOMIZE” button which changes all the source sounds but keeps all other settings intact and just gives a never-ending stream of beautiful and new sounds and ideas.
The fact some of the source sounds have been heavily processed, plus the large array of live modulation makes it sound a bit like a complex modular synth, but because everything came from guitars it has a real organic quality and so it comes across like a strange and magical cyborg hybrid of biological and electronic.
Because DRONAR has this unique method of automatically generating bass note and high notes, plus spread-chords all from 3-notes held down, it gives you an instant “finished piece of music” quality but with one hand free to change the dials and be expressive with the Mod Wheel or other MIDI controllers.
And with which types or styles of audio projects would these work particularly well?
Anything that might want beautiful, organic, complex or dark pads or lead sounds. And that’s a pretty wide range of styles! That said, soundtrack music is a given. Adding interest to indie or rock tracks works great because of the guitar sources, but it will add a great hybrid organic quality to any electronic, pop or hip-hop track.
A danger of this is how easy it is to get totally lost in all the possibilities of sound creation and forget to do any music in any style, or indeed eat. It’s quite magical that way, like a real auditory virtual reality of futuristic weirdscapes.
So what makes this library different from other ‘cinematic guitar’ virtual instruments and libraries?
Many ‘guitar atmosphere’ products tend to focus towards either fairly straight recreations of standard guitar sounds, or they have complex pre-made atmospheres without a deep level of control.
With DRONAR Guitarscapes it treats the user like a producer with an unusually obedient band in the room, with a free hand to create any sound they imagine. What I mean is that although many of the raw underlying samples are straight guitar sounds the engine provides a huge amount of control and creativity using arpeggiation, gates, pattern sequencing and modulation of 8 simultaneous sounds. Another big difference is the emphasis on performance and expression here. It’s designed to be played with one hand so that your other hand is free to make new sounds by exploring the dials, and also recording your changes in your DAW as an expressive performance.
Another big difference is the use of separate bass, midrange, high end and sound effects layers all interacting to create a complete evolving sound, rather than just guitar or pad sounds.
One way to explain all this is to say that using Dronar is a deeply rewarding experience and a powerful method of emotional expression which happens to have guitars at its foundation, rather than just being a set of straight or atmospheric guitar sounds.
The Rhythm Editor is a major new addition to this DRONAR module, can you run us through in detail what it can do?
The idea of this is to add a bit of rhythmical propulsion to atmospheric sounds. So, it’s not like a full sequencer – you have sequencers for that.
About half of the source sounds recorded for this Guitarscapes module were recorded as rhythmical loops. The Rhythm Editor effectively re-arranges those in real-time to create your own rhythms at the speed you want – from slow chugs to high-speed 32nd notes. It also allows you to add accents and put in triplets and also spread and humanise the chords so it doesn’t sound too stiff and robotic.
You have separate control over rhythms in the Low (bass), Mid and High layers, allowing you to create complex patterns that play off each other.
As well as this rhythm engine, other rhythmical tools in the Arpeggiator can interact with this and create unpredictable rhythms and undulations.
Experimentation here is very rewarding because it’s hard to make a bad sound, however hard you try.
Want to know more? Click here to view the DRONAR Guitarscapes product page.