Review: Instinct by AVA


Movie trailers and adverts seem to be on a never-ending quest for harder, louder and weirder sound design to spice up a cue. Instinct by Ava Music Group is a small but varied library of sound effects geared towards precisely that, giving the user a range of hits, risers, drones and more in a tried and tested Kontakt interface.

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Review: Instinct by AVA

Ava Music Group are a slight anomaly in sample library circles, being first and foremost a music supervision and licensing company creating musical content mainly for car advertisements. It is likely the high octane cues they write that led them to developing their first commercial sound library. Instinct specialises in hard-hitting sound design effects, offering up 100 samples created from raw sounds captured in abandoned industrial spaces and a dilapidated church in Detroit.

Instinct sells for $99.00 from AVA



Although only a small library, each sample loads into the freeware Photosynthesis Kontakt interface developed by Exotic States, which will be familiar to many composers out there. This gives easy access to all the main Kontakt sampler features such as filters, envelopes, pitch, FX, LFOs and rudimentary sequencing. As the interface is not unique to the product I will not dwell on the precise functionality of it, accept to say it is one of the most user friendly ones out there and a good choice for these single hit kind of sounds.

There are 9 Braams here which to be honest stretch the definition of a braam way beyond the brass blast we all know and love (or hate!). They are really very synthetic and have a percussive quality. As the engine gives the option for 3 layers it would have been useful to separate the component elements of the sound using this feature. Handily all have the root note in the title and are spanned across the keyboard, but it does mean you need to load up a new patch for each sample. Frankly, they are poor and the Sonar patch is clearly a dreamy synth sound and nowhere near a braam!

Instinct Output Panel

The Downers number 6, loading in a single patch and are adequate in quality. Another stalwart of trailers are atmospheric drones of which Instinct boasts 16. Again all have the original root note in the title which gives you a good place to start. All are usable and seem to be mostly created by synths, emotionally veering towards eerie on some patches and dreamy on others. Some of the drones might crossover into pad territory, in that they can work well as chords moving alongside melodic changes in a piece, rather than purely being more single note and ambient.

Instinct Rhythm Engine Panel

A number of Hits are laid out over two octaves and give you a decent range of timbres. Some have great edgy metal elements, others have a crusty explosive nature and a number give a more traditional big drum thwack. All have a huge ambience from the industrial and church environments the sounds were captured in. The Loops and Riser samples are fairly average sounding and hugely variable in style.

Instinct Effects Engine Panel

There are only 5 Sub Hits which really could have lived in the hits patch, but they are decent with interesting textures and natural reverb. The whoosh bangs are maybe the best samples here and give that anticipatory rise into a big hit and again they show off wonderful cavernous reverb. The pure Whoosh samples are of a similar ilk, but without such a big impact at the end.

It is a crowded market for these larger than life cinematic effects, with many developers offering specialist libraries, or instead packaging such sounds as part of a larger library. Some sound designers get very specific and release libraries only focussed on hits or braams for example. With only 100 samples across a range of sound effects Instinct is really only skimming the surface and is not deep enough for longterm use. It might appeal to composers wanting to dip their toes into trailer and advertising music, or for a media composer only needing a handful of effects like these.

The bottom line with Instinct is that too many of the sounds are simply inferior to what others are offering, especially the braams and drones. However, the hits and whoosh bangs are really up there in terms of the heaviness of the impacts and the vast ambiences captured at source. Credit should be given for some fine recording and subsequent audio processing. If they could do more of these and break them down into layers in the Kontakt engine to give the composer more creative options that would really be a great product. With a quite expensive retail price customers will have to consider whether it is worth the price of admission to get their hands on the small number of standout samples in this collection.



638 MB of samples comprising 100 hits, whooshes, risers, drones, braams and loops. Sounds recorded in a range of huge abandoned spaces. Uses the Photosynthesis engine and requires a full version of Kontakt to run.

Instinct sells for $99.00 from AVA


Demos of Instinct by AVA

Videos of Instinct by AVA