True to its name, LIGHTless excels at providing those dark brooding soundscapes required for film, games and TV.
– Huge and with original samples
– Creates great atmospheric backdrops
– The Multis provide instant musical ideas
– Not easy to find the sound you want due to no descriptions (an update is coming soon though)
LIGHTless is String Audio’s first foray into the already crowded world of Omnisphere libraries. The company (whose previous sample libraries have been used by multi-award winning composers such as Inon Zur, Jeff Rona, David Buckley, etc.) describe LIGHTless as ‘a must-have library for the modern film, game and TV composer that wants to bring a new level to their musical and sound design projects.’
The question is, does it offer something different that will make it stand out from the crowd?
First of all a little background, LIGHTless is a $99 library for Omnisphere 2 that brings with it 2.4GB of brand new sample material. It’s worth mentioning that, unlike most other libraries that just rely on Omnisphere’s own samples, LIGHTless Patches and Multis make exclusive use of String Audio’s samples specifically produced for Omnisphere 2.
Installation is straightforward with the one-click approach of Omnisphere as LIGHTless is provided as a .omnisphere file. One thing I will say is this library is certainly huge and is made up of 331 Soundsources, 332 Patches and 106 Multis using the sample material provided.
I could quite happily sit here for many an hour playing the Texture multis listening to the way they simply ebb and flow.
Creating an Atmosphere
From the very first patch, you get the sense that this library is going to be a mood setter, a dark one at that. The bass patches have a satisfying depth to them and some of them will actually work as lead sounds. Maybe not ones to sit on their own but to fill out the texture when combined with other patches.
If you are after a moody dark disturbing sound for your latest horror flick, this vibe can easily be achieved by layering a soundscape patch with a bass.
I also enjoyed layering the soundscape patches with the supplied textures, although you have to be careful what you mix and match as some of the soundscapes come across as atonal and don’t blend well when played as chords.
In those cases it is best to stick to two note octave playing. I believe the best way to approach this library is using it like an artists palette, a touch of texture with a touch of soundscape. They also sound great when mixed with the stock Omnisphere 2 library and I would encourage you to look into layering.
Here you can listen to an impressive demo track created only using LIGHTless:
This library really comes to life when you play the multis, which are full of that promised dark ambience. I could quite happily sit here for many an hour playing the Texture multis listening to the way they simply ebb and flow.
In fact if I didn’t have to write this review I would still be there now. Coming up with your own multis is also very easy to do with this library as a lot of the sounds compliment each other very well.
If you note that some of the parameters are set to zero and if nothing seems to bring the level up, check your mod wheel settings. This is because the volume is associated to the mod wheel and (as stated in the manual) you have to check ‘Ignore Assignments When Loading Multis’ in the preferences of Omnisphere.
Wood for the Trees
Now this next bit is going to be like Marmite, you either going to like it a lot or hate. Each patch is named with the sound type and a number, for example Bass 01, Scrape 15 or Soundscape 08.
Taking the library on its own this is no big deal, but if you are searching for a particular patch and other libraries that use the same naming convention you could be stuck trying to find that killer sound you once heard. The upside is at least the name of the patch is not going to give you any preconceived ideas of how it should sound.
I own a lot of Omnisphere libraries and nearly all of these come with a descriptive name for each sound, what it does, whether it has modulation and other useful information. At the time of writing, you can only see some info using the patch zoom window. I am however assured by String Audio that this will come in a future update and I look forward to that.
Talking of modulation, I noted that String Audio did not utilise the full power of Omnisphere’s comprehensive modulation matrix. Still, the sounds in LIGHTless are never dull or lifeless, actually the opposite. I can only therefore assume the String Audio devs applied modulation before importing the samples. On the positive side, this means you can apply your own modulation where you see fit and warp the sounds further to your own taste.
I asked at the beginning of the review whether LIGHTless brought anything new to the table. The answer is a resounding yes. For those of you who work in film, TV or require ambient backdrops to their music, this library is certainly worth your attention. You’ll find plenty of inspiring, evocative and organic sounds.
For its first outing into what is already a crowded market, String Audio has succeeded in bringing its fresh and moody sound signature to the Omnisphere universe.