Review: LSP:Origin by Spaectrum Arts
Source audio is top notch
Massive range of sound possibilities
Presets are excellent starting points
Good tagging by keyword of individual samples
Ability to create a long note which constantly evolves
Some aspects of the GUI do not function well
Deeper tweaking not hugely intuitive
Lack of filters on individual samples
LSP:Origin is a hugely flexible sample instrument based upon the layering of complex sounds. It is a powerhouse for creating atmospheres and pads of almost infinite variation, though the GUI has a fairly steep learning curve for tweakers.
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Review: LSP:Origin by Spaectrum Arts
Spaectrum Arts are a Parisian duo who have downed their traditional instruments to embrace the world of sampling. Their first two releases focused on unusual percussive hits, but with LSP:Origin they have expanded their scope to feature long soundscapes, both tonal and atonal. The acronym stands for Layer Synthesis Project, which describes their approach on this library very accurately. Using a wavetable type approach across 4 layers and a bewildering array of modulation, it gives the user a superb range of very interesting and high quality atmospheres.
LSP:Origin sells for €99 from Spaectrum Arts
The core of the library is the 400 unique and very long samples. These can be individually morphed in a number of ways and layered with up to 3 other samples. As the ‘starter-tips’ guide advises, easily the best way to get a flavour of this is to flick through some of the 350 presets which are divided into atmospheric, fx, bass, leads and pads. It is worth noting however, that whatever the category, all the sounds are distinctly on the texture/atmosphere side of things and in feel they err towards the dark and mysterious.
Upon loading the NKI you land on the home page giving easy access to filters, stereo width, volume and mod wheel/pitch wheel settings. The centre of the window is where you can select which of the four layers is playing, but in the current version this is not working very well. A slow/fast ring around it dictates the speed of cross-fading between layers, or you can also select cc11 to do this manually.
The main window is where you can dig into the details of each of the 4 sample layers. It is useful to see a wave display and and being able to easily select where in the sample play begins and ends (and even the direction of it). This means the sheer combinations of sounds are vast. This is also where you can select what gets modulated and I have yet to use a library that boasts quite the variety of options here. We have 40 separate lanes of sequencing modulation, 4 LFOs and each of those can then be modulated itself. Each layer also has access to one of 4 FX chains comprising of 8 separate FX and each chain has it’s own set of 4 LFOs (sadly these FX LFOs were not working for me). Phew! It is arguably just too much and I feel a simpler approach which modulated the entire patch as a whole would be more useful in practice.
Although there are plenty of presets to work through it was quite fun using the ‘I Feel Lucky’ button which generates a totally random preset. A separate page also gives you control of just how random it gets, which enables a degree of guidance as you lucky dip for fresh sounds. Sadly the sheer computing power to do this crashes Kontakt quite often and I am on the latest iMac with 24Gb of RAM, so hopefully the developers will look into this.
Whilst it is hard to fault the sound quality and end results of LSP:Origin, it is not without its flaws. Many of these centre around the GUI functionality, in particular the LFOs and layer builder being a little temperamental.
You will need to be patient too if you want to really tweak
You will need to be patient too if you want to really tweak, as I found the interface was less intuitive than some competing products. It would be great if they can improve the functionality and possibly the design of the GUI. I would also question whether users need every modulation under the sun, as the simple blending of sounds already gets you very complex textures. Could less be more here? I am glad to see they did include another NKI called Origin Light which does away with all the modulation and it does feel less daunting to get around.
There are a number of features I would like to see in future updates. It would be helpful if the sync tab in the modulators actually changed the LFO display to the note value and not remain on Hz. A useful update also would be to have the sample start and end loops easily synced to tempo. Finally, when combining sounds like this, simple HP and LP filters per layer can come in very handy. LSP:Origin does have this ability but they are a few clicks away in the FX chain and would be better added on the main page next to each sample for ease of use.
The soul of this library is the samples themselves and they are truly excellent in quality and variety.
Functionality grumbles aside, the soul of this library is the samples themselves and they are truly excellent in quality and variety. Overall I see LSP:Origin more as an atmosphere generator rather than a pad instrument. There are loads of cool atonal FX samples which blend beautifully with more tonal sounds here, which means it lends itself very well to creating those kind of textural beds essential to evoking emotion in scoring for film, TV and computer games. These sounds will also sit well in the beginning of trailer music pieces. I am sure LSP:Origin will win Spaectrum Arts a bunch of new fans. I just hope they release a similar product geared more towards brighter, more euphoric sounds as it would compliment Origins extremely well.
LSP Origin sells for €99 from Spaectrum Arts