Review: Lunaris by Luftrum Sound Design
Large selection of presets – 250+
An extensive amount of independent control over 4 separate sound layers
Random Button provides instant creative possibilities
Unique controls like Time Stop, Filter Split, and Flux Motion
Inclusion of transients, soundscapes, and field recordings
No preset patterns for step sequencer
Cannot randomize the control settings for each sound layer
Extensive controls and interface could be overwhelming for some users
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Review: Lunaris by Luftrum Sound Design
Lunaris is a pad-lover’s playground. Whether you are a casual preset user who just wants to use the randomize button for a little creativity, or you are a heavy control tweaker who wants to meticulously craft an entirely new pad sound, Lunaris will give you something special. With 250+ presets by world-class sound designers and an incredibly deep set of controls, Lunaris packs a serious pad-punch!
Lunaris sells for $159.00 from Luftrum Sound Design
Pads are a staple of a composer’s toolkit. We probably all have dozens, if not hundreds, or even thousands of pads in our arsenal. There are analog pads, cinematic pads, ambient pads, dark pads, rhythmic pads, underscoring pads, deep pads, string pads, evolving pads, sequenced pads, ad nauseam ad infinitum. So, what makes Luftrum’s Lunaris stand out from the rest? It doesn’t just cover some of this territory – it covers the whole landscape! What’s more, beyond the 250+ presets created by world-class sound designers, Lunaris gives you the ability to create your own pads, either through a simple randomization process, or by using the complex, yet intuitive, Kontakt interface that goes way beyond the normal ADSR controls. This library is a pad-lovers playground!
Out of the box, Lunaris presents you with over 250 pad presets that run the gamut from lush, ambient pads through to classic analog pads, and many pads in between. For the casual user there is much fodder here for everything from film scoring to dance tracks.
At the heart of Lunaris you will find four sound layers that can be soloed and used individually, or combined into two, three, or four distinct pad sounds creating complex, evolving, or even rhythmic pads. Layers A, B, C, and D give you access to any of the 100 core sounds, while layers C and D provide an additional 100 ambient sounds that can be loaded instead of a pad source. These additional sound sources include field recordings, synth transients, and synth soundscapes. The sound layers can either be populated automatically by using one of the presets, or you can simply hit the ‘Random’ button to experiment with many other combinations. One of the most unique features of Lunaris is the ability to independently control each layer in a multitude of ways. Beyond the standard ADSR controls, Lunaris offers you many independent controls for each sound layer:
Filter cutoff and resonance
Six different state variable filter types (2x each low pass, high pass, band pass)
Time Stop (more on this below)
Step Sequencer (Controlling pitch, filter, volume, or pan)
Effects (Chorus, Distortion, Phaser, EQ, Delay, Reverb)
The amount of control is almost dizzying! However, there is no need to feel intimidated here, as Lunaris, while complex, has been laid out very intuitively. A little time spent in the included 15-page manual or overview videos will quickly clear up any confusion. I wish the ‘Random’ button would allow you to also randomize the many controls within Lunaris, but ‘Random’ only affects the sound sources for the sound layers.
The control section has been split into four tabs; MAIN, FLUX MOTION, MOD/SEQ, and EFFECTS. The ‘MAIN’ tab provides you with a filter envelope, velocity controls, vibrato controls, modwheel settings, and aftertouch settings. Each of these can be assigned individually to each sound layer (A,B,C,D).
The ‘FLUX MOTION’ tab presents controls for a slow and random modulation system that operates in tandem with the user controlled modulation system found within the ‘MOD/SEQ’ tab. This feature allows you to activate subtle random motion that will affect the filter cutoff, the amplitude, and the panning of the active sound layer via random low-frequency oscillation. Unlike the ‘MOD/SEQ’ tab, Flux Motion does not operate via user control. Rather, Flux Motion is all about randomness and unpredictability. Clicking the ‘Generate’ button will change the underlying low-frequency algorithm behind the modulation, and apply new subtle motion to the parameters. Results can vary, but Flux Motion does have the ability to add unpredictable movement and depth.
I’m a sucker for step sequencers, and so I was delighted to find one within the ‘MOD/SEQ’ tab. The step sequencer allows you to control the pitch, filter, volume, or panning of each sound layer from 2 to 32 steps. The rate dial allows you to control the steps from 1/1 to 1/32T. There are also two LFOs here that can modulate pitch, filter, volume, or panning. I would like to have seen presets for step sequencer patterns here, but you can easily click and drag to create a pattern of your choice.
The usual suspects are provided in the ‘EFFECTS’ tab, and again you can assign these individually to each sound layer. There are 12 impulse responses for the reverb control ranging from 2 second ambiences to 37 second infinity reverbs.
I love the thought of time travel, and have always been fascinated by Einstein’s discovery that time is relative. Well, even the theory of relativity has found its way into Lunaris by way of the ‘Time Stop’ control! The Time Stop feature is a unique function that stretches the sound and ultimately freezes it in time and space ranging from 100% original speed (knob dialed fully left) to 0% speed (knob dialed fully right) for a fully frozen sound. This feature doesn’t fit every pad sound, but can be a cool effect when used with the right sound source. The Time Stop button can stretch and granulize from one to four layers for some very unique sounds.
The ‘Filter Split’ button is another feature I have not seen before in a Kontakt instrument. This button intelligently creates new distinctive filter setups for each of the active sound layers making space and room for other frequencies to shine through. This can help to prevent that ‘muddy’ sound that so many pads seem to be plagued with, and can help these pads to sit well in a mix.
There are so many libraries out there that seek to do it all; orchestral, percussion, hybrid, guitars, etc. Some of these libraries succeed in bringing a large number of tools in one box. However, the more I grow my sample library toolkit, the more I find myself looking at dedicated specialty tools. For instance, I rarely look any more for all-purpose libraries that give me some good string patches. Instead, I find myself interested in focused string libraries that give me many different articulations. I am less interested in “complete” libraries now and more interested in focused libraries that do one thing really well. Lunaris is a pad library. It seeks to do nothing but pads, and as a result it does them very well. Whether you are a casual preset user who just wants to use the randomize button for a little creativity, or you are a heavy control tweaker who wants to meticulously craft an entirely new pad sound, Lunaris will give you something special. With 250+ presets by world-class sound designers and an incredibly deep set of controls, Lunaris packs a serious pad-punch!
400 presets by pristine sound designers
NKS ready for Komplete Kontrol and Machine
200 high quality multisampled 24Bit sound sources
Loads in the free Kontakt Player and the full version of Kontakt 5.5 or later
Flux Motion, Modulation and Effect Chain per layer
Create, mix, sculpt and save your own pads
14-page PDF User Manual included
Includes updated alternate interface