Cinemania – Native Instruments Thrill
If your need a Hi-Fi background for your nightmares, then we have a perfect solution for you: with NI’s Thrill you can scream all night long.
by Alex Arsov, July 2017
Native Instruments have made quite a unique instrument in cooperation with Galaxy Instruments. It comes as a Kontakt Player hosted instrument, or maybe we should say effect engine, offering 30 GB of intense and suspense-like sounding cinematic content that can be tweaked in many ways and controlled in real time through the X/Y virtual Pad.
Some might say it’s a one trick pony, as it only offers evolving soundscapes, textures and pads, but the truth is that Thrill does that trick so well that I’m quite sure it will soon become an invaluable tool for every pro score, media composer. Textures offer deep, somewhat morbid, wide, evolving sounds that are unpleasant-in-a-pleasant-way, being easily controlled and allowing you to be the master of puppets, building suspense just using the X/Y virtual Pad. You can make do with your mouse or even with your X/Y Pad controller on your keyboard (not that all keyboards have one, but if you are lucky … ).
Thrill come as single Kontakt instrument, with a browser integrated into the main Thrill window, where we find 500 presets compiled from 963 sources made up of orchestral strings, brasses, choir, woodwinds, synthesizers, electro circuits and various other unusual instruments that the Galaxy fellows constructed specially for this purpose. If those 500 presets are not enough for you, it is quite easy to combine elements together to achieve the desired sound. Presets already cover a wide variety of sound colors, going from Hans Zimmer thrills up to all other, more experimental and original ones, similar to those that can be heard in most Hollywood blockbusters.
Prese(n)t and Past
A preset browser is reachable by clicking on the name of the currently loaded preset. We can browse through presets by selecting different tags that help us narrow our search. All presets are divided in two main categories: Atmosphere and Clusters. We can search presets through various tags that divide sounds by dynamic, origin or character.
After choosing desired tags, loading a preset that is quite close to our wishes, it’s easy to make a new preset after changing a source or just by taming some parameters. All we need to do is to click on the name of a left or right source, as all presets are combined from two different sound sources that can be blended together with the X/Y Pad controller. The only grumble that I have is the fact that a new preset can not be saved directly to some sort of user category inside the browser. I know it is not hard to do that through the Kontakt interface directly, but I would like to see this option integrated in the main Thrill search window.
No matter which preset you choose, there won’t be much in the way of melody building elements, as most of the sounds don’t even have note pitch information, but after all, this is not an instrument in the classical sense, so you will not miss the fact that you cannot play a melody out of those thrills and, to tell you the truth, you could produce a very professional sounding intense soundtrack with no effort, ideal for any horror trailer or even the whole soundtrack for any sort of intense movie or game moments.
How It Is Done
The middle part of the interface is reserved for the X/Y Pad controller where the X axis is for morphing between two sound sources while the Y axis apply effects, atonality or dynamic changes, depending on the chosen source.
Under the X/Y Pad we find four icons for opening windows with additional controllers for both engines that are on the left and right of the central X/Y Pad.
First, the “Home” icon actually shows used sources, allowing us to change source for every engine.
Next is a “Source” icon opening a window with some basic controllers for every source – Volume, Pan, Attack Release, width, layer, X-fade and microphone position for choosing between Close, Full or Ambient. At the bottom we also find “Key split” and “Octave” options for both sources.
The Effect window brings another set of controllers for controlling a few effect parameters: Stereo, Phaser, Drive, Mutate for convolution based effects, Space for reverb and Color for adding presence.
The last one is a Master page where we can set a CC number for each axis along with an option for setting the curve for each axis, choosing between linear, hard or soft. On the left we find a basic equalizer window for taming low, mid or high parts. There are also two knobs for Saturation and two additional knobs for dynamic response.
As you can see, there is not a big array of controllers, but being such a niche oriented product I could not find anything missing. After all, it’s the quality of sources that is essential for this library and all you actually need is a good set of tools for adapting the X/Y Pad behavior to your personal needs. Less is more. I successfully tweaked a few parameters for changing the character of the chosen sound, but with such a large number of versatile presets I’m not even sure if I’ll need all those additional options. I didn’t try them all, but those that I’ve tried sounded full, compelling and very versatile. I even made few using some interesting sources, like Voices and electro circuit. The X/Y Pad works fine, changing enough of the character and giving the impression of constant movement.
Three randomly selected Thrills.
Not that you would want to use Thrill in your pop productions, but in the cinematic world this could easily become “a dream come true” sort of library. It covers one specific niche, but it proves to be the absolute best tool for that specific area, offering a wide array of creepiness and combining very interesting sounding sources where you can easily lose a few hours playing with different sources and getting quite wild results.
In short, it is easy to operate and fun to use. The only question is whether there is any need for such music in your production. If yes, than check this one out. It is absolutely horrifying in the best possible way. Thrill, in combination with any classical orchestral library, would be awesome, or at least, it could send a chill through your bones.
For €299 EUR all this fear and despair can be yours.