Review: Infrared by String Audio

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The Keys section in Infrared is among the best I’ve played with, and I’ve test driven many. Played over a simple drone and you can come up with some of the creepiest sounding ambiences imaginable.

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Jump to the Demos of Infrared by String Audio

 

Review: Infrared by String Audio

There are a few companies that sell sound libraries that I consider an “automatic buy” without even having to listen to the demos and String Audio is definitely on that short list. Their libraries are not for the feint of heart as they tend to fall on the dark, cinematic side of the spectrum utilizing extremes in distortion, impulse responses, sinister & hypnotic drones and deeply disturbing atmospheres. Seldom do you come across a library that’s an all-inclusive, all that you need in a box for your latest horror, sci-fi or electronic / ambient film score or composition. There is nothing light and airy here, nothing you can really move your hips to and escape to a world of make believe…there is only the abyss, there is only the deep rabbit hole and how far you descend is up to you….there is only Infrared!!

Infrared sells for $99.00 from String Audio

Thoughts

Is it fair to say that String Audio has become a genre unto themselves? Their name has become synonymous with dark and deeply sampled cinematic libraries that are right at home with horror & sci-fi soundtracks and trailer music. No other developer that I know of has produced “Subs” quite like String Audio and, if you need any proof of this, just check out their Monolith Abyss for Kontakt…their subs are so deep and pronounced they will make your teeth rattle, your fillings fallout, and make you think you’re at a Sunn O))) concert. This is, now, their 4th library for Omnisphere and, perhaps their finest. I find this particular library, Infrared, more diverse than the others and while it can still be a staple in “underscoring”, it can also easily be used, exclusively, in multi-tracked compositions that stand on their own.

Infrared is made up, purely, of imported samples and custom waveforms developed from various synthesizers. It’s String Audio’s “claim to fame”, so to speak. As with their other Omnisphere libraries, presets are broken up into white, grey and black which, if you have a flare for the obvious, can be easily figured out. However, when it comes down to it you could probably list them as dark, darker and darkest. In this case, I will say, that the “white” presets are noticibly brighter than the other 2 types. Categories, especially those presets in the Atmos, Eeerie and Dark categories share certain similarities and probably could have been placed under one large category as I find them pretty interchangeable. Continuing, samples, the way they are named in the file section, share commonality with the category names with the exception of those labeled “Short” or “Organic”. Due to the amount of FX used on these samples within the Omnisphere engine, you’d have to disengage all of them if you want to get a sense of the root sounds of the sample. Within the “Pulses” category, you will find, mostly, Shorts, Keys or Custom Waveforms as the root sound(s). The pulses are either generated with customized ARPs or with a 2x / 3x delay in the Common FX section. Pulses tend to be sparse, reminding me quite a bit of the minimal sounding pulses that John Carpenter uses in some of his films. You’ll also see a lot of the Pulses used in the Multis giving the dark, brooding drones and atmospheres an undercurrent of rhythm.

As you go through the Pulses section, you will notice a lot of the ARPs are custom made and many make use of the expanded modulation capabilities of the engine. Omnisphere, currently, has one of the most powerful and flexible ARPs on the market, The Pulses supplied with Infrared, while sparse and minimal for the most part, are well constructed and, also, easily manipulated. The example above utilizes the Chaos capability of the engine and, when selected, gives you some unpredictable patterns. Unlike a lot of other VSTs, Omnisphere’s ARP is easy to read and easy to manipulate and one can spend a lot of quality time coming up with patterns and revamping parameters to fit your needs.

If there is one section I am most pleased with, it is the Keys sections. All too often, the keys section of many sample libraries leaves me feeling uninspired, relying too much on a hybrid synthesis sound which practically everyone else uses. When you’re developing a dark and cinematic library, the use of acoustic piano in sound design is far more useful and, yes, even intriguing. It’s the perfect compliment for playing slow melodies and patterns over a heavier and reverb drenched PAD or Atmosphere. The Keys section in Infrared is among the best I’ve played with, and I’ve test driven many. Played over a simple drone and you can come up with some of the creepiest sounding ambiences imaginable.

You want Multis? Well, Infrared gives you a lot of them…103 of them, in fact. The Multis run the gamut from layered distortion to minimal rhythmic horror to full blown sinister orchestration. This is where the creative power of this library resides. I especially like the Multis that make use of Infrared’s Pulses baked within the layering…it is like having a “horror” film score contained within a single track. If I had to say anything critical about this is that some of the multis should have made use of Omnisphere’s “Stack Mode” as some of the layering can get pretty distorted…separating some of the sounds would have been beneficial especially those that make use of Omnisphere’s extensive amount of FX. Many of the presets, even the multi-layered ones, rely heavily on a full compliment of Common effects…by that, I mean, the global FX section.

With times the way they are, spending the intro price of $99 on an Omnisphere library may seem a bit overpriced but, hey, look at what you are getting…over 3GB of sampled sounds and custom wave forms, unique to the library, almost 300 distinct, custom designed patches and over 100 Multis…to me, it is well worth the price if intense, dark, cinematic music is what you create…the sounds here aren’t just bits and hits to augment a score, these are samples that will give you the entire shish kabob, the entire framework to construct whatever sinister music your mind can create.

Facts

Infrared for Omnisphere 2 contains 311 Sound Sources, 285 Presets and 103 Multis and downloads as 3.3 GB and requires Omnisphere 2.6.2 or above.

Infrared sells for $99.00 from String Audio

 

Demos of Infrared by String Audio

Videos of Infrared by String Audio

 

Contributor Raymond D Ricker reviews Infrared by String Audio
“The Keys section in Infrared is among the best I’ve played with, and I’ve test driven many. Played over a simple drone and you can come up with some of the creepiest sounding ambiences imaginable.”