Review: Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust

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If you’re tired of run of the mill synth sounds, Cluster might be just what you’re looking for. I guarantee you have never heard presets that sound like these. “Unique” doesn’t even begin to describe what’s beneath this hood.

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Jump to the Demos of Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust

 

Review: Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust

“Inspirational Earfruits” is how Pendle Poucher (aka Sound Dust) have chosen to label this collection of 246 patches for Zebra 2 and 2,000 wav loops and one shots and it’s fitting. If you are tired of the standard fare and are looking for some experimental sounds, Sound Dust Cluster is a great find. With 246 patches, 6.7GB of sampled loops, a granular Kontakt engine, and even a bespoke Zebra 2 skin, the Sound Dust Cluster bundle is unlike anything else out there.

Cluster Zebra

Cluster Bundle sells for £55.00 from Sound Dust

Thoughts

If there’s one thing you could never accuse Sound Dust of, it would be un-originality. For years now, Pendle Poucher has been creating some of the most unique Kontakt instruments and synth patches out there. These instruments tend to be highly experimental with an organic yet ethereal feel. With Cluster, Sound Dust continue in this same vein, providing synth patches that are unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. The patches are broken into nine categories: BASS, CHAOS, DrumMachine, DUST, KEYS, LOW, SLOW, SOLO, and THROB. Since the Zebra patches and wavs are taken from the same sources, I will focus on the Zebra patches here. Here’s a brief overview of each:

BASS
As expected, BASS focuses on bass sounds. However, as is par for the course in this collection, these basses are far from the typical bass presets you might expect. These patches include basses that have plenty of beef, but also unique bass arpeggios/sequences. As with many of the other patches in Cluster, the modwheel is put to good use to make these patches evolve with sometimes more organic, sometimes more synthetic, flair. While these patches are unique and lean toward the experimental side of things, there is plenty of usefulness within these presets as well. In my opinion, of all the patches within Cluster, the basses are probably the most useful.

CHAOS
There are a number of great patches within the CHAOS section. Once again, you will find both standard patches and arpeggios/sequences within this category. However, the sound design that has gone into these patches is obvious – I didn’t even know Zebra 2 could do some of this stuff! These patches can instantly go from ethereal, pad-like sounds to complete chaos with the flick of the modwheel. As with the other categories found within Cluster, the categories here are even divided into subcategories. These subcategories contain sounds that find their inspiration from the same source; sometimes a barber pole, at others Tibetan Buddhist mysticism. There is a veritable cornucopia of inspiration on offer here!

DrumMachine
As you’ve probably guessed, this category contains exactly what you would expect – one-shot drum sounds. However, while expected, these are anything but your typical one-shot drum sounds. Don’t come to these category with expectations of what an 888 Kit or FM Kit might sound like. Just go along for the ride.

DUST
Imagine dusty synthesizers joined to unusual sound design, and you might begin to have an idea of the sounds contained within this category. Pitch-bending, offbeat, left of center patches are served up aplenty here.

KEYS
The keys found within Cluster are once again unusual and unlike what you’ve likely heard before. There is a wide array of melodic patches found here that could be plotted across the sonic spectrum. As with most of the other categories within this soundset, Sound Dust have included both regular and arpeggiated version of each patch here. However, don’t mistakenly think that this means that the use of the ARP/SEQ within Zebra is the only difference you will find between them. These patch versions are very different but contain many of the same elements.

LOW
I don’t recall ever seeing both low and bass patch categories within a soundset, but the separation here is with good reason. While the bass patches (though far from typical) are more what you would expect from bass presets within Zebra, the low patches tend to be melodic sounds with a low pitch. I would almost call these “low keys.”

SLOW
The SLOW patches could simply be called “pads”, but why settle for a standard vanilla term like that?! Sound Dust are not at all about doing anything on the beaten path, so what else would we expect. Again, these are pad-like sounds, but with the atypical Sound Dust flavor. Think dusty pad sounds with a Boards of Canada flavor here and you’ll be on the right track.

SOLO
With sub-category names like “Alien Autopsy”, you should expect the unexpected here. With distortion, noise, and vibrato, these sounds can add an unusual tone to your musical pallet.

THROB
There are a lot of sequenced sounds here, so you can largely think of this category as that. However, once again, you’ve not heard sequences just like this. The modwheel and aftertouch are used throughout the soundset and once again here, the modwheel is used to good effect. Plenty of dust and noise, and just enough distortion lives here.

For those who either don’t own Zebra 2 or are looking for wav files, Cluster comes with 2,000 temp synced loops and one shots that have been sampled from the Zebra engine. There is even a custom Kontakt engine, the “Sound Dust earfruits player”, that allows you to warp and mangle these samples. Lastly, a really nice custom Zebra skin is included to top it all off.
If you’re looking for sounds to get your tracks on top 40 radio, then Sound Dust Cluster is not for you. However, if you’re interested in creating one-of-a-kind tracks, then this could be just what you’re looking for. Painting with these sounds will ensure your canvas stands out from the crowd!

Facts

Sound Dust Cluster includes 246 custom patches for Zebra 2, along with 6.7GB of sampled loops, a granular Kontakt player, and a custom Zebra skin. Cluster is available from Sound Dust in three forms:

Cluster for Zebra 2 (patches and custom skin) – £35;

Cluster earfruits (includes 6.7GB of wav loops & hits) – £35;

Cluster Bundle (both Cluster for Zebra 2 and Cluster earfruits) – £55.

Cluster Bundle sells for £55.00 from Sound Dust

Demos of Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust

Videos of Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust


 

Contributor Raborn Johnson reviews Cluster Bundle by Sound Dust
“If you’re tired of run of the mill synth sounds, Cluster might be just what you’re looking for. I guarantee you have never heard presets that sound like these. “Unique” doesn’t even begin to describe what’s beneath this hood.”