Review: Omnisphere Zinar by Sonic Underworld

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Omnisphere Zinar is an excellent set of dark, brooding, and ambient patches for Omnisphere 2.5. Sonic Underworld is an excellent sound designer and has went over and above the call of duty by packing this soundset full of excellent sounds.

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Review: Omnisphere Zinar by Sonic Underworld

Omnisphere Zinar is an excellent resource for underscore and ambient work. If you are looking for ambient sounds and textures Zinar is an excellent place to go. The Hits and Bits, Keyboards, and Human Voice patches are especially superb!

Omnisphere Zinar sells for $59.99 from Sonic Underworld

Thoughts

Omnisphere is simply the most complete soft synth on the market and the many third-party libraries out there only serve to expand its usefulness and versatility even more. For a few years now, Sonic Underworld have been contributing to Omnisphere’s dominance by bringing us hundreds of new sounds. Omnisphere Zinar is the latest soundset for Omnisphere 2.5 from Sonic Underworld and it is excellent. This is a very large set of patches (300!) that is bound to please anyone looking for ambient or dark playable instruments and textures. Omnisphere Zinar is presented in the following 16 categories: ARP + BPM, Bells and Vibes, Bowed Colors, Distortion, Guitars, Hits and Bits, Human Voices, Hybrid Instruments, Keyboards, Noisescapes, Pads + Strings, Synth Bass, Synth Poly, Textures Playable, Textures Soundscapes, and Transitional Effects. Here’s a brief summary of what you can expect to find within each category.

ARP+BPM – 85 patches
That’s rights – a whopping 85 patches! The good news is that these are not just plentiful, they are excellent as well. These pulses and arps are tense, brooding, and dark. These sounds would be right at home for building tension in a scene and would be perfect for underscore work in a Scandi crime drama, mystery, or edge of your seat thriller. You could build an entire track around these sounds. There are rhythms with cymbals and drums, harps, guitars, pianos and more. This is just great stuff. One standout patch is entitled “The Ginger Man.” This sound represents everything you could ask for in a tension building patch. Sonic Underworld describes it as “Distorted pitched hybrid sequence with accents. Modwheel intensifies.” This is one of those sounds that I hope I can use in something because it is just fantastic. There are some patches here (for instance a patch entitled “Gradience”) that are an all-in-one underscore dream. This patch is tense and syncopated and evolves to include some super-cool drums. This category represents almost 30% of the sounds within this soundset, and I think it was an excellent choice.

Bells and Vibes – 10 patches
These patches are dark and bright all at the same time. Haunting and ethereal, there are beautifully playable bells and chimes mixed with bell-like pad sounds here. These can simultaneously be both beautiful and disturbing. This would be a perfect place to dig into for some sounds that can subtly set tension into a scene without doing it overtly.

Distortion – 10 patches
When it comes to Omnisphere, I’m a sucker for distorted sounds. The sounds here are gritty and sublime. Dark and gnarly, these patches are a dystopian climax just waiting to be written. There are distorted drones with touches of guitar, piano, synth, metals, and bass. Does it get better than that? Stephan Baer definitely lives up to the moniker “Sonic Underworld” with these!

Guitars – 10 patches
The ten guitar patches found here are melancholic and ethereal. I did enjoy these patches, but they were very layered and wet which can make them muddy. These patches would be good for sparse underscore work but could present some difficulty when fitting them into a full mix. The star of the show for me was definitely “Like Water”, an apt name for the following description – “Soft ambient guitar wash with tremolo. Modwheel closes filter.” This sound has a very ebow-like tremolo that is just beautiful. This patch would be right at home in a reflective melancholic track or score.

Hits and Bits – 15 patches
Omnisphere’s “Hits and Bits” category is normally somewhat of a throw-away category for me. This could not be further from the truth for Omnisphere Zinar though. This category is simply fantastic! Almost every one of the 15 patches here received 5 out of 5 stars in my personal Omnisphere patch ratings. With tons of layers, textures, and tails, the patches here within Zinar go far beyond your typical booms and hits. These patches are so well thought out and useful. These are hits with character that would quite possibly take you hours of layering to come up with on your own. Whenever I need hits, this is going to be one of the first places I look to from now on.

Human Voices – 4 patches
Wow! There are only four Human Voices patches within Zinar, but these are stellar! There are both ethereal choirs and soloists and these patches are so stylized and full of character. If you are looking for some choir-type patches to use in a track or score that are off the beaten path, you have come to the right place. I LOVE these patches. I only wish there were more of them!

Hybrid Instruments – 10 patches
This is a mixture of evolving pads and drones with an airy yet dark flavor. There are some really cool sounds to be found here.

Keyboards – 15 patches
The keyboards in this soundset are stellar, superb, excellent – insert any other superlative you can think of here! This is possibly the best set of keys I have ever heard in a soft synth soundset. If you are looking for keys outside of the normal cinematic pianos, Rhodes, etc., this is an excellent place to look. It feels like a lot of love and attention have went into the crafting of these keys. These sounds can go from spacey to gritty and can have such a fragile and vulnerable timbre. I’m convinced these could easily carry many a track. My favorite is a patch called “Grime”, described as “Dark filtered synthetic piano/organ. Modwheel removes piano.” There is a static presence in this sound that is just so cool. It’s as if someone from a distant spaceship is transmitting an ethereal sound over broken airwaves from across the universe.

Noisescapes – 5 patches
If you do any sci-fi or space-themed scoring, this is an excellent set of patches. These would make perfect underscore for scenes set on a distant planet or in outer space. Dark, fuzzy, textured, gritty, and just so good!

Pads – 60 patches
These pads are beautiful, dark, shimmering, and delicate. There is also some beautiful graininess here. The patch “Black Dunes” is everything you could ask for in a pad; warm, dark, and including controllable distortion. Several of these pads evolve nicely with multiple textures and layers. This is a great set of pads for underscore work or to support a minimalistic piece. If you can visualize cinematic underscore playing as the camera pans over a barren landscape, you can get a feel for what you will find here.

Synth Bass – 20 patches
The patches here are dark and deep with a good amount of sub and even some distortion. These are good patches, but I wouldn’t say they necessarily stand out from the crowd. “Down in the Gutter” is the best of the bunch here, but there are some solid patches if you are looking for more synth basses.

Synth Poly – 15 patches
Here you will find some analog plucks and synth sounds. There are some nice shimmery sounds here as well. There are a good amount of baked-in delays and effects. I think this category would be especially effective for arpeggios or any kind of synth movement you might be looking for.

Textures Playable – 10 patches
These are just excellent! These textures would be perfect for underscore work for anything from Scandi dramas to sci-fi flicks. I love how these textures move and breath and evolve. They are just so good!

Textures Soundscapes – 10 patches
These textured soundscapes are one-note wonders! These evolving soundscapes could stand completely on their own as underscore for a dark mysterious scene or could be combined effectively with some simple ambient piano or guitar. These soundscapes are very cool.

Transitional Effects – 10 patches
You don’t normally think of soft synths as go-to instruments for transitions like risers or impacts. However, I think that’s exactly why soft synths should probably be one of the first places you look for these effects. The transitions you can find within Omnisphere soundsets are somewhat different from what you typically get from standard hybrid effects libraries. They also don’t tend to be overused. There are some really good transitions here. One that I really like is “Termol” – a “Low drum roll/processed piano transition. Modwheel adds chaos.” The rumble of the drum combined with the brightness and overtone of the processed piano is just so cool. I encourage you to check these and other synth transitions out for something fresh to add to your hybrid scoring work.

Omnisphere Zinar is chocked full of ambient goodness. I especially plan on digging into the Hits and Bits and Keyboards I find here. If you are looking for ambient pads and keys and evolving textures, go check out Omnisphere Zinar.

Facts

Omnisphere Zinar contains 300 patches Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.5. You can purchase Omnisphere Zinar for $59.99 from Sonic Underworld.

Omnisphere Zinar sells for $59.99 from Sonic Underworld

 

Demos of Omnisphere Zinar by Sonic Underworld

Videos of Omnisphere Zinar by Sonic Underworld

 

Contributor Raborn Johnson reviews Omnisphere Zinar by Sonic Underworld
“Omnisphere Zinar is an excellent set of dark, brooding, and ambient patches for Omnisphere 2.5. Sonic Underworld is an excellent sound designer and has went over and above the call of duty by packing this soundset full of excellent sounds.”