Review: Phenomena by Audio Reward


Audio Reward’s Phenomena is a sample based Kontakt 5 Synth that instantly projects you in the Daft Punk realm with a sprinkle of the 80’s. It is simple and intuitive, yet it is capable of producing very complex and rich sounds that you can hear in many modern Dub-Step records, enhanced by a unique retro feel.

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Review: Phenomena by Audio Reward

Phenomena sells for £45 + VAT from Audio Reward


Phenomena by Audio Reward is a small sample-based synth that offers a lot of interesting sounds and a user friendly workflow for a very low price. When I hear about a sample-based synth I am often biased: having an electronic instrument sampled when it could be programmed sounds a little strange to me (and to my ears). It is hard to find the grit of a hardware synth in a soft synth and I always find it harder in sample-based synths but this little library (2 GB) clearly has other strong points. After activating the library with your serial number you will see that the GUI is very retro, possibly less appealing than other synths, but it perfectly reflects the sound it is meant to make and it’s quite easy to understand as well.


[ Image A ]


The interface is split into two symmetrical sides that let you have a clear view of what is going on for the two different voices. At the very top you can select the audio source, for which you have a vast pool and, immediately below, you have the classic synth controls: volume, pitch (and fine tuning), volume envelope with AHDSR, and two modulations – vibrato and tremolo – for which you can select speed rate, depth and a different waveform to follow. Right below the volume and envelope you have a GLIDE option, a filter (switchable between low pass, hi pass and bell) with resonance, frequency and a filter LFO with filter envelope.
The very cool thing about this is that everything is pretty intuitive and, most importantly, almost every control has its own dedicated LFO for more automation madness… which is, in this case, much easier to do compared to other well-known synths.


[ Image B ]

The output of the main page can be routed to the other 3 tabs which are ARP, SENDS and EFFECTS.
The peculiarity of the ARP tab is that the developers have setup an 8 notes step sequencer that can individually control each note. In other words you can have 8 different rhythms (or I should say automations since you can also step-sequence Pan, pitch, etc.) going on at the same time for 8 different notes! Really easy to use and super useful to create movement in a cue.


[ Image C ]

Another very important role is covered by the SENDS tab. Here you have four different slots where you can select four different effects such as: reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and phaser. From the main page you can then select the amount of “send” for every individual effect!


[ Image D ]

The EFFECTS page is pretty self explanatory, you can select up to 4 additional effects (EQs, modulations, reverbs, delays, etc.) for each one of the two voices. Overall the synth is very easy to use, it has a good amount of presets (I wish the presets were divided by category instead of by creator) and it’s a good choice for those who do not mind sacrificing the grit and complexity of a soft (non sample-based) synth to have a user friendly synth library that can space from the 80s to some Daft Punk reminiscences with a touch of Dub-Step.


Phenomena from Audio Reward is a sample-based synth that installs at 2 GB and requires the FULL version of Kontakt 5.8.1.

With its dual voicing and cleverly laid out FX, Arp and Send tabs it’s a very user friendly synth.

It offers a plethora of sounds that will make Daft Punk’s fans and 80s’ kids happy, without deluding those who are looking for more modern, Dub-Step influenced, sounds.

The step sequencer is very powerful and can individually control up to 8 different notes while every knob has its own LFO. A real joy to use when in need of polyrhythms!

Phenomena sells for £45 + VAT from Audio Reward


Demos of Phenomena by Audio Reward

Videos of Phenomena by Audio Reward