First Look: Straylight by Native Instruments


Straylight has blown me away. The instrument takes the granular synthesis technique a step further by curating select sample sources paired with an easy to use, yet powerful engine that delivers massive cinematic possibilities. I can’t wait to use Straylight in my next trailer or sci-fi project.

Jump to the Videos of Straylight by Native Instruments

Jump to the Demos of Straylight by Native Instruments



First Look: Straylight by Native Instruments

Straylight normally sells for $149.00 from Native Instruments

When I first read the material on Straylight I was excited to see that Native Instruments had created a Kontakt instrument utilizing granular synthesis.  I have played around with a few different grain source synthesizers in the past. Although I have heard great scores utilizing the technique, I had yet to be able to make use of this style of instrument to get that lush contemporary, cinematic sound I was hearing. That all changes with Straylight.

Straylight is compatible with both the free Kontakt Player or Kontakt v6.1 or higher and loads into your “Libraries” Tab.

For the instrument, former product developer for Native Instruments Frank Elting teamed up with ‘The Most Human Colors’ (a boutique instrument and sound design agency) and consulted with composer Paul Haslinger (Underworld, Minority Report, Fear The Walking Dead, Rainbow Six: Siege). Straylight was designed to “deliver screen-ready cinematic sound sources without the need for additional processing” and I am thrilled to report that the library exceeds my expectations.

Straylight contains an easy to use browsing panel for easy access to the Snapshot presets with the ability to sort by Tags.

In one of the official promotional videos for Straylight (below), Paul Haslinger comments that the most important aspect to the library was matching the grain and sample sources to the instrument.  After having a chance to check out the library (see the first look video above),  I now understand the power of matching the samples to the instrument.

Straylight has a Random loading function allowing for random loading of preset both the grain and sample sources and channel parameters.

For those of you new to granular synthesis, think of it as playing back small bits of an audio sample (a grain) in varying time. Grains playback may vary through different speeds, phases, volume, and frequency, among other parameters.

“Granular synthesis is a basic sound synthesis method that operates on the microsound time scale. It is based on the same principle as sampling, however, the samples are not played back conventionally but are instead split into small pieces of around 1 to 50 ms. These small pieces are called grains.”

– Wikipedia

For playback, Straylight triggers playback of one-grain source layer and one sample source layer with powerful Marco adjustments that can control a number of parameters for both the grain and source sample playback as well as adjustments to the effects.

Straylight Macros can be selected with a pull-down menu.

The Macros can be adjusted with the X-Y Modulation Matrix. This is the heart of the instrument allowing for real-time performance that will be immensely helpful for sculpting dynamic playback for sound design. The X-Y Modulation Matrix can be controlled via 2 midi cc’s (default CC1 & C11). This will be especially useful when scoring to picture as users will be able to adjust faders in real time to evolve, expand and control how the instruments playback is transformed.

The 4 Macros can be controlled with the instruments performance-based X-Y modulation matrix.

This just scratches the surface of how Straylight operates to produce the lush and cinematic playback that can range from simple, spacious and melodic to complex, harsh and commanding. The extended controls for effects layering and adjustment with the Marcos and a Master output panel allow for even more programming and customization. With all of this power one might think that playing the library may be overwhelming, but that is not the case. Straylight is very well designed with a clean and easy to use interface. This makes loading up the presets and creating transforming sound design very easy.  The extended parameters allows for users to dive as deep as they like by learning the signal flow and Marco operation.

This library will be great for composers and musicians looking to add a contemporary sound to their scores, ambient soundscapes, and electronic music. I am thrilled with Straylight and can’t wait to have an opportunity to use it in a scoring project.



Straylight downloads as 2.47 GB and is a sample library for Kontakt with a built-in granular synth engine.

The library comes with 360 sound sources and 350 master snapshots spread across categories including: Atmospheres, Pads, Leads, Transitions, Keys, Effects, Subs and Pulses.

Straylight does require the FREE Kontakt Player or Full Kontakt 6.1 or higher.

Straylight normally sells for $149.00 from Native Instruments

Demos of Straylight by Native Instruments

Videos of Straylight by Native Instruments