Review Ambient Black from Big Fish Audio / Funk Soul Productions
Ambient Black is made from some very cool sounds that will inspire and complement your next dark score.
Ambient Black's could have benefited from deep sampling and a more scripting to improve the playability of the instruments.
Jump to Official Walkthrough from Big Fish Audio created with Ambient Black
Ambient Black from Big Fish Audio / Funk Soul Productions
I am a big fan of Funk Soul’s Zodiak instrument so I was excited to see what they had created with Ambient Black.
Funk Soul/Big Fish have spent some time on the dark side and brought us back great sounding atmospheres, drones, odd melodic sounds, loops and percussion. This dark, industrial, dystopian tool kit could be just what you need if your looking for something new to inspire or augment your next suspense score. After a quick play-through of the instruments I was inspired to start creating a sinister sculpture of musical maleficence.
Ambient Black is the second half of Big Fish Audio / Funk Soul Productions sound design instrument pair the first being Ambient White. As the name suggests Ambient Black was created to cover the darker side of the sound design spectrum with a focus on prepared, distorted and processed sounds spanning from dark sinister drones, organic acoustic elements as well as industrial and electronic instruments.
The end result is a product that combines acoustic, human, industrial, and electronic elements to produce an organic-sounding virtual instrument. Overall the acoustic, human, industrial, and electronic samples sound great and could be used for a number of sound design projects and score ranging from horror, suspense, action and thriller projects.
Most of the samples used in Ambient Black were created from organic recordings which were then treated with extreme sound design techniques and heavy processing.
Ambient Black contains 280+ instrument patches and multis divided into 7 category folders and weighs in at 6.5GB of uncompressed sounds.
It retails for $199.95 at Big Fish Audio
The instruments are categorized into 7 folders for easy access:
1. Multi-Layered Instruments
2. Drones & Atmospheres
3. Bass Instruments
4. Percussive Instruments
5. Melodic Instruments
6. Looped Instrument Phrases
7. Effects & Textures
The Multi-Layered Instruments instrument patches in Ambient Black are created using combinations of patches from the other folders.
Ambient Black has a number of prefixes that make it easy to navigate and fing the sound you are looking for including: “ATMOS” for the Atmospheres & Pads instruments, “BASS” for the Bass instruments, “FX” for the Effect & Texture instruments,”LOOP ” for the Looped Phrases instruments, “MELO” for the Melodic instruments, “PERC” for the Percussive instruments.
Multi-Layered Instrument Patches
The Multi Instrument patches contain of multiple instruments that create evolving atmospheres, effects, textures, and looped phrases. These patches sound great just played with one key or octaves.
Effects & Textures
The Effects and Textures instruments contain odd and aggressive samples designed with the thought of being used in cinematic sound design. Most of the Effects & Textures don’t have an distinguishable pitch & can be used as drones.
The Percussive Instruments include several different acoustic, industrial, and electronic drum kits. There’s also a selection of cinematic hits, glitches, industrial sounds, and other unusual percussive sounds.
Drones & Atmospheres
Many of the Drones & Atmospheres are long and evolve over time. Try holding a key for 10, 20, or even 30 seconds, and listen to how each of these sounds develop. Because most of these sounds are huge and dense, try playing just single notes or octaves.
Melodic and Bass Instruments
The Melodic and Bass Instruments are mainly single-note patches. However, a few of these patches also have some underlying harmonic content, and can be used as pads.
The Looped Instruments include simple repeating patterns and some complex patterns created by mixing multiple loops together. Some loops do not lock to tempo intentionally in order to add an element of randomness and unpredictability to some of the patches. Looped Instruments should be played like the Drones & Atmospheres, using solo notes or octaves for less-complex patterns and different intervals for more experimental and harmonically-dense effects.
The interface is clean and easy to use with reverb, delay, distortion FX right on the GUI. The treble and bass sliders are designed to be centered at zero so you can attenuate plus (right) or minus (left) easily.
I would have liked to have seen the attack, sustain, release, decay on the GUI (although you can dig into the back of kontakt to gain access) as it would have been more convenient to manipulate the samples, especially the drones, to get more control and expressiveness.
Overall Ambient Black is made from some very cool sounds that could really complement your next dark score.
That said, I really would have liked to have seen the instrument developed a little further and aspire to be more than a sample playback player. I would have liked to have seen some legato/portamento scripting for the melodic instruments. I also would have loved to have attack, decay, sustain, release controls right on the GUI for more expressive control of the instruments (especially the drones).
The biggest critique from me is that the instrument lacks deep sampling. This would have been extremely helpful for the percussive instruments so you could trigger a dynamic range of the samples by key velocity. Instead you get one sample at constant volume at playback.
All in Ambient Black’s could have benefited from a little more scripting that could have brought more life, expression and playability to the instruments. What the instrument lacks is made up for by it’s large set of instruments and great sounding samples.