Review: Diva Origin by SubsonicArtz


Origin by SubsonicArtz is out of this world in more ways than one with a highly impressive range of presets for u-he Diva firmly focused on modern, cinematic and science fiction. It overflows with cool, dark, and futuristic synthesis, including a large amount of superb sound design patches.

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Review: Diva Origin by SubsonicArtz

On the anniversary year of the moon landing it seems everyone is being inspired by all things celestial. Fred Nongat, the well respected man behind SubsonicArtz, is no different and has crafted a very focused and evocative sci-fi collection with Origin for u-he Diva. SubsonicArtz have a fine pedigree, having released a number of sound sets for u-he products, Omnisphere and Reason and even put out their own Kontakt library. Recently teaming up with Triple Spiral Audio they seem set to reach an even wider user base and rightly so!

Diva Origin sells for €20.62 from Triple Spiral Audio


Whilst Diva seeks to emulate the classic vintage hardware synths of yesteryear it is no slouch in being able to sound like it came from the future and seeing as Fred has quite the predilection for spacey, trippy and always cinematic sounds I was excited about seeing what he cooked up with Origin.

Starting with the arps the scene is set for deep space exploration manning a rocket named Diva! They are urgent, bright and bold mostly, with a handful of slower and lighter patches also. Conquest Of Space was a standout for me.

It’s an epic gallop through cyberspace with dual oscillators, through a phat and bitey filter and into a delay and huge plate reverb. With the modwheel on FM and cross modulation and aftertouch on filter resonances, it can also evolve nicely without ever getting too outlandish.

The basses only total six patches, but they cover some good ground, from dark and brooding to squelchy deep ‘bloppiness’ (just say it and you get the idea!).

Now, where this pack stands out from many that I have covered previously is in the amount of sound design patches. Whilst there is no shortage of sample library packs with various booms, hits, risers, whooshes, atmospheres and more, they are often an afterthought in soft synth soundsets, but not in Origin. Having such sounds within a synth certainly makes it easier to tweak the sound in far more ways compared to your average sample library. For percussion there are a couple of supernova sized single hits and a number of industrial sounding percussive rhythms. They use the less used digital oscillators in Diva to help achieve the gritty and atonal sonics. I was particularly impressed with the downers, Star Destroyer being especially evocative.

Star Destroyer Preset

Again making heavy use of the more digital synth leanings in Diva, it is long and dark dive into super massive blackhole. A slow and dirty filter sweep gives way to a sinister tail with a huge soundstage throughout the sound. It could easily stand alone as a signature sound that leads into the start of a longer cue or work equally well ending a piece. By reversing the tuning mod direction you can also easily make it into a riser too.

The FX presets continue this journey to the dark side and provide a huge range of sound types, from spaceship sirens to the plaintive cries of traumatised aliens. They blur slightly into the soundscapes section, though I would say generally the FX are more inspired by machines whereas the soundscapes tend to evoke more natural surroundings. They suggest the barren landscapes of cold moons, the blistering winds of gas giants or the bleakness of deep space. Some are almost pads, but on the whole they work best as one note affairs. I was really surprised that textures such of these were even possible in Diva!

Moving back to more musical fair there are some nice ambient keyboards and pads on offer. The latter have a mildly hopeful feel, tinged with melancholy. The phasers and plates are heavily used to introduce movement and an epic quality. Should you want more obvious movement then the pulses are where it is at. There are twenty on offer spanning most types of space pulse – noisy sirens, ponderous digital marches, super slow evolving tensions and more sparkly and invigorating pulsing. For sounds that are more melodic the sequence presets add more complex note patterns and definitely a more uptempo and excitable mood as can be evidenced by such preset naming as Martian Rave Party!

This collection concludes with a number of synth patches which really feel like they could fall into any number of other categories depending how you play them, so expect pads, leads and soundscapes. Always a sucker for some melody this was my best chance of finding a lead sound, but we are on a distant planet don’t forget so these leads will sound like they are light years away from the norm!

The preset above is a good example of Origin as a whole. It could kind of work as a lead, but like most stuff here it is slow and won’t lend well to quick playing unless you get tweaking. It uses what appears to be a winning combination throughout Origin of the digital oscillator and the uhbie filter. Some neat modulation programming combines aftertouch and modwheel really well to control filter FM and this sound can then crisply bubble away, up, up, up and right out of the atmosphere.

SubsonicArtz cites scores for Alien, Moon, The Martian and more for Origin and definitely the cinematic nature of the sounds place them solidly in sci-fi composer territory. However, they might work well for electronic music producers too, as long as their style is quite futuristic and ambient.

Celestrial Bodies Preset

Personally I think this collection is amongst the best I have heard for nailing and maintaining a modern sci-fi sound. My only slight complaint might be the amount and size of reverb that comes with each patch – sometimes it works great, but other times you will need to turn it down to reveal the essence of the basic sound better. As good as the more familiar sound categories are what Origin does outstandingly is the sound design, which probably accounts for about half of the content. To have such emotional sounds at your fingertips which are so playable and easily tweaked is a real boon for composers. Origin looks back towards the great synth sounds used in sci-fi scoring, but re-presents them in a thoroughly modern light. This truly is the sound of the cosmos as we near the dawn of 2020.


Origin consists of 145 presets across 12 sound categories for u-he Diva with NKS compatibility. You will need a fully licensed copy of Diva to be able to use them.

Diva Origin sells for €20.62 from Triple Spiral Audio


Demos of Diva Origin by SubsonicArtz

Videos of Diva Origin by SubsonicArtz

Contributor Sam Burt reviews Diva Origin by SubsonicArtz
“Origin by SubsonicArtz is out of this world in more ways than one with a highly impressive range of presets for u-he Diva firmly focussed on modern, cinematic science fiction. It overflows with cool, dark, and futuristic synthesis, including a large amount of superb sound design patches.”