Review: Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

by

Amara II takes us on a journey into the dark intrigue of European crime dramas, the emotional tug of intense documentaries, and the tense atmosphere of Nordic thrillers. It is a vast preset collection for Omnisphere by The Unfinished at his best, displaying a supreme deftness of programming and a deep understanding of this scoring style.

Jump to the Videos of Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

Jump to the Demos of Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

 

Review: Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

Modern composer soundsets really spoil us for choice these days; there are some incredible synth wizards out there making a wide range of cinematic sounds for u-he synths, Omnisphere, Serum, and other well loved software synthesisers. However, whilst there is plenty on offer dealing with the action and sci-fi sound of Hollywood what is less well covered are the more subtle sounds used in non-US TV. This is why packs like Amara II by The Unfinished are so valued. Inspired by his personal taste in what might be termed Euro Noir and expanding on the first volume, these types of sound are generally more organic and less in your face. It’s the sound of tense detective series, psychological thrillers and emotional documentaries from Scandinavia, Britain, Italy, and more. Some specific references to shows and composers are on the product page, which also features a typically friendly walkthrough of the content and some brilliant demo tracks – definitely check it out.

Omnisphere Amara II normally sells for £59.99 from The Unfinished

Thoughts

Amara II is a huge collection of 400 presets for Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2 and makes plentiful use of the instrument and sound design samples from the factory library, not just the synths. This contributes hugely to an organic hybrid feel throughout. The focus is mainly on tension and intrigue, always with an understanding that the sounds will often be used in underscore and must work under dialogue. The mod wheel is programmed for each preset to give some instant user shaping of the original sound. I will highlight a few of the categories and some specific patches to give an idea of what to expect.

The arps and sequences are an ideal place to go when starting a cue and they can give an instant evocation of brooding mystery. I really liked the more percussive stuff here which is so useful to give a cue some movement. En Seine layers the slight tonality of hot rod hit hang drums alongside the fuzzy noise of a record stylus playing a hypnotic sequence, with lo-fi delay in the FX section adding some complexity. These sorts of patches are, on the face of it, less impressive than some of the more melodic patterns on offer, but they are equally useful in a composing context.

En Seine

A further example of how well Amara II works as a composer toolbox is the small but beautifully created collection of transition effects, ready made to get you in and out of sections with style. For times when you need something more atmospheric or atonal Amara II has it covered too. There are hits, soundscapes and various playable textures to choose from, including some pretty nasty bowed sounds; In a Ditch uses some vicious noises from a broken cello, some oscillator mangling and a number of effects to generate a caustic edginess.

In a Ditch

This genre often features piano and guitar, but often in less of a traditional style and there are some great examples in here of characterful keyboards and unusual guitars. We have warm synth keys, dreamy bells and gritty piano layers, clean electric plucks and designed nylon strings. Pocket Watch is a prime example of a lo-fi piano, exhibiting a crusty attack ahead of a filtered chime that is simply inspiring to play.

Pocket Watch

The largest category in Amara II are the pads, probably because they are so perennially useful in moody underscore. Some of these are so vast sounding one patch might well score a short scene, especially when using the mod wheel programming to evolve it. Riding that up will, more often than not, open the filter or otherwise intensify the sound very tastefully. Telling the Truth is a superb organic padscape, using a combination of a Roland D-50 and a granular flute that really evolves for quite some time, with edgy flutterings gradually panning over the top of a gently shifting drone. On this one the mod wheel actually calms the sound, which I find ideal to help end a cue rather than simply using a volume fade.

Telling the Truth

Most of the categories already mentioned have a high proportion of acoustic instrument and found sound samples within their construction, but there are also a large amount of purely synth based patches on offer. There are sweeps, poly synths and basses, all with a nod to retro synths to maintain that non-digital approach. I very much like the basses in particular, as there are plenty of filtered sub types available that I find very useful in this type of genre, where you often want a simple low end part, but featuring a timbre with real character. Just a few repeated notes of the powerful and reverb soaked Death Sentence patch is enough to conjure up a heavy sense of foreboding.

Death Sentence

Amara II is a real masterclass in nuanced sample and synth programming. Aside from working excellently in the genres intended, I think it can also have wider use in nature documentaries, ambient music and artist projects that embrace the Scandi cool. Although no stranger to modern blockbuster film synth aesthetics, and with credits and soundsets to prove it, the more understated sounds in packs like Amara II is something The Unfinished accomplishes just as brilliantly. With such a high bar, it makes me ponder how to raise it and perhaps that could be done by including some bespoke samples in a future Omnisphere release, to expand upon only using the factory content. It’s worth closing this review by mentioning what good value for money this soundset represents, especially when compared to a Kontakt sample library of similar scope. If you have already made the investment in Omnisphere, Amara II is a highly recommended addition to your sound palette, for the sheer quality and quantity it offers at an attractive price.

Facts

Amara II consists of 400 patches for Omnisphere 2. The full version of the synth is required in order to use these patches.

Omnisphere Amara II normally sells for £59.99 from The Unfinished

 

Demos of Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

 

Videos of Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished

 

Contributor Sam Burt reviews Omnisphere Amara II by The Unfinished
“Amara II takes us on a journey into the dark intrigue of European crime dramas, the emotional tug of intense documentaries, and the tense atmosphere of Nordic thrillers. It is a vast preset collection for Omnisphere by The Unfinished at his best, displaying a supreme deftness of programming and a deep understanding of this scoring style.”