Review: Thrill by Galaxy Instruments / Native Instruments
The sound quality of the samples is, simply, fantastic.
The 1.1.0 upgrade corrects several issues from the 1.0.0 release, namely adding LFO movement via the “Hacker” addition in the FX section, enabling use of the sustain pedal so one no longer needs 3 arms to play,
modulate and “thrill” concurrently, and adding a favorites function to the browser.
Easy to use browser if you want to manually replace a preset.
Ability to randomize Sources, Parameters and Effects, together or individually. This also includes the
ability to re-set the parameters to the original settings if one so chooses.
Library is much more than advertised. There are subtle nuances that make Thrill a great source for avant-
garde / contemporary composers and/or underscoring ambient & electronic atmospheric compositions.
Some of the modulators are ambiguous as to its function
The XY Morphing Pad lacks a record/play-back function which other sound libraries include
As far as I can tell, there is no ability to separate the sound sources via dedicated outputs in Kontakt’s
mixer though there is an ability to manipulate each source independently.
While NI advertises this product as one that can add cinematic tension to movie soundtracks and trailers, I discover that the more I use the product, the more versatile it becomes.
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Review: Thrill by Galaxy Instruments / Native Instruments
Thrill was designed by Galaxy Instruments, a German-based company, in cooperation with Native Instruments. Galaxy has also produced other NI instruments such as The Giant and Rise & Hit. Native Instruments advertises Thrill as a morphing sound design product that will add cinematic tension to movie soundtrack scores and trailers. Combining pristine sounding multi-voiced orchestrated samples and multi-sourced hybrid samples into “clusters” and “atmospheres”, the developer has, indeed, raised the thrill level in cinematic scoring. There are over 370 snapshots comprised of over 1,000 sound sources which will give the composer an infinite amount of possibilities to draw inspiration from.
Thrill is downloaded and installed via the Native Instruments proprietary product, Native Access. You can designate where you want the sample library installed during the installation process. In addition, as part of the process, all snapshots are automatically set-up in the appropriate folder so no manual intervention is required. Once you launch the product within Kontakt (or Komplete Kontrol) the above screenshot is indicative of what you will see.
Snapshots are accessed via a drop-down menu below the main NKI and are broken up into Atmospheric presets and Cluster presets. The Atmospheric presets are atonal and monophonic, the same sound will emanate regardless of which ley on your controller is depressed. Clusters, on the other hand, are primarily tonal in nature and can be played chromatically according to the key range of the preset. Included above is the snapshot “Catacombs” which is made up of both a Cluster and an Atmosphere. These are regarded as the preset “Thrills” which make up a snapshot. The main controllers on the front page are the XY Morphing pad, volume controls for each Thrill, links to other modulation pages and a randomize function which sits next to the volume knobs. If both of the Thrill presets are clusters, one will have the ability to split the keyboard up in such a way where the lower register keys play the left Thrill and the upper register plays the right Thrill. There is also the ability to randomize both the source thrill and/or the effects parameters by clicking on the “dice”. If you don’t like what you get you can either try another “roll of the dice” or hit the reset arrow.
The XY Morphing Pad is the “heart” of Thrill (I do highly recommend investing in a track pad as opposed to using CC for the XY Morphing as I find it much easier to use) The X horizontal Axis morphs between the presets and the Y vertical Axis increases or decreases the Thrill or, as some would say the cacophony of the overall sound, creating the buildup to that moment where the shower curtain is abruptly pulled back and Norman Bates flashes his blade or the exact moment where Freddie does, indeed, get you.
The Source page of Thrill is where you can modify the sound sources which make-up a Thrill. The Cluster thrills comprise 1 sound source & up to 8 distinct voices while the Atmospheres comprise 2 sound sources. On this page you can adjust the volume and pan of each sound source. In addition, you can choose between close and ambient mics or you can select “full” for a combination of both. On the Cluster thrill you will also be given the option to use the “Release” time of the sample by enabling the blue button or define your own release time disengaging the Sample parameter.
Each voice within the Cluster thrill can be independently controlled with regards to volume, pan and tuning. In addition, you can globally set how the Cluster thrill will behave on the vertical in 3 different ways: 1) assigning the voices to act in a glide fashion (where the voices glide away from the root note when you move the Y Axis upward), 2) assigning the voices to act in an Add On fashion (where more voices are added to the thrill the higher you raise the Y Axis) or 3) Parallel mode (where the voices are constant).
Similarly, sound sources within the Atmosphere thrill can assigned behavior on the vertical by applying either the layer function (which modulates the volume level) or the X-Fade function where, gradually, one sample will replace another along the Y-Axis. There is a positioning slider between the 2 functions where you can assign the point on the vertical where one sample will overtake the other.
For me, the FX page is where all the fun is. In the new 1.1.0 release of Thrill, a “Hacker” function has been added. Simply, this allows an LFO to be added to the Thrill which will give the sound source more movement. There are 13 distinct “Hackers” which can be set to run in a free or sync mode. Additionally, there is also a Mutate function which has 4 distinct settings. Each setting has its own set of presets. This allows the thrill to “mutate” into a totally separate sound when enabled. The knob below the function controls the amount of sound mutation. Other FXs include Color (Filter), Drive (Saturation), a Stereophonic spread, and 11 distinct Phase settings.
The next portion of the FX section is an EQ page where you can set the Gain & Frequency of the Lo/Lo-Mid/Hi-Mid/Hi spectrums of the sound sample.
The last portion of the FX section is labeled “Spaces”. This includes a numerous amount of convolution reverbs with impulse responses in which to experiment, including several types of reverse FX which can really result in some interesting “thrills”. Compared to other Kontakt instruments, this is an area the developers of Thrill have devoted a lot of attention to. I seldom reach for a third party reverb or delay when using this product.
The Master Page controls the global aspects of the Thrill sounds. The left half of the page has controls for overall EQ, Saturation and Dynamics, which acts as a dual compressor/limiter. The right side of the page controls the input/output response of the overall Y Axis of the Thrill effect: Linear maintains a constant relation between the input and output as the Thrill is increased, The Hard Curve will place more emphasis on the output of the Thrill in a quicker amount of time, and the Soft Curve will give more detail at the lower end of the Y-Axis.
If anyone remembers or has heard of the mid-20th Century composer, Edgar Varese (called the pioneer of electronic music…check him out, you won’t regret it), I would render a guess that this is a product he would leap at if he were still composing music today. While NI advertises this product as one that can add cinematic tension to movie soundtracks and trailers, I discover that the more I use the product, the more versatile it becomes. I find that by adding a slow curve to the XY Axis, I can achieve a slow, evolving sound which is perfect for underscoring or even standing out alone in ambient/electronic music. I can also see taking full advantage of the dissonances created in producing the “Thrill” as a perfect complement in contemporary, avant-garde compositions. Go listen to Varese’s “Ionization” or “Deserts” and you will see what I mean.
Many of the new sound sources and presets that come with Thrill Version 1.1.0 add subtle percussion and the recently released, Una Corda, to Thrill’s world of sound…this gives the ability to add some movement that is downright eerie and almost disturbing to the overall “thrill”, especially if one adds FXs and Space to the sound source. This is NOT a product where you just want to play “out of the box”. It offers a multitude of ways to enhance, manipulate and morph the original sounds to something totally unrecognizable from the original source. There is just so much here to inspire creativity, even a single preset can be labored over for endless amount of time to produce either a tension-filled experience or a minimally evolving thing of beauty.
Native Instrument’s Thrill downloads and installs at 31.6 GB (42.6 GB uncompressed samples) and will operate with either the Free Kontakt 5 Player or the full version of Kontakt, Version 5.7.1 or higher.
Sounds include 1 Master NKI file with 395 snapshots broken up into 2 Categories: Atmosphere and Clusters. These snapshots are comprised of 687 Thrill presets and 145 distinct Cluster presets. These presets are comprised of 1,038 sound sources
System Requirements: 4 GB RAM (6 GB recommended for large KONTAKT Instruments)