Review: Traveler – Aurus (Cinematic Atmospheres) by Audio Imperia
500+ Conceptual and very stylized fresh soundscapes
Engine allows for lots of sonic manipulation
Playable pads are unique & cinematic
FX Key Trigger Functionality adds a new dimension to the sample set
No chromatic instruments for atmospheres & drones (only Pads, synths, pulses and rhythms get chromatic instruments)
No expression design for true dynamic playback
With Traveler- Aurus, Dylan Jones takes us on a conceptual astral journey to Planet Aurus and doesn’t disappoint. Users will find awesome souvenirs of the sights and sounds with this collection of atmospheres and textures all housed in Audio Imperia’s new engine.
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Review: Traveler – Aurus by Audio Imperia
Audio Imperia and Sound Designer Dylan Jones take us on a sonic journey through the universe with the launch of the new Traveler Signature Series libraries. The first of these new libraries, Traveler – Aurus, is a stopover to destination one of the journey, the Planet Aurus. Traveler Aurus expertly documents these aural explorations of its landscape with wonderful results.
Traveler – Aurus sells for $119 from Audio Imperia
After my review of the last Audio Imperia release – Artifact Fractal, I was really excited to jump into Traveler Aurus. One look at the interface and it was clear that this was the same fantastic engine introduced in Artifact Fractal. If you haven’t seen the new interface, you are in for a real treat here. This is one of the most refreshing interfaces for a sound design instrument that I have seen in some time.
Dylan Jones has blasted us off in the first chair for our astral journey to Planet Aurus and he doesn’t disappoint, giving us an awesome souvenir of the sights and sounds! As the first volume of the new series, Traveler Aurus focuses on the barren and the beautiful, the chaotic and calm, alien atmospheres and amazing rhythms as well as distorted pulses and many other unique sonic finds.
While there is no specific reference to the origin of the sampled material used in the sounds of Traveler Aurus,it is leads me to surmise that they descend from a broad range of distorted tones, metal scrapes, synthesizer pads, found sounds and organic objects. The way that these are processed provide the diversity to move between the barren soundscapes, beautiful pads and pulsing, almost mechanized rhythmic pulses.
The interface of the new Audio Imperia Engine is presented here emblazoned with a glowing purple hue that gives you some idea of the environment found on Planet Aurus. You can find the complete description of Planet Aurus on the Audio Imperia product page linked above.
I can’t resist adding the hook I used last time – “and what does that Big Knob do??” The answer is “quite a bit!”
Let’s jump right into Aurus…
I love how well thought out the interface design is. The initial control elements that you are presented with are the typically familiar Volume, Pan, Attack, Release, Pitch, Sample Start, EQ, FX, High Pass and Low Pass Filter indicators and the Big Knob. In each of the Kontakt patch sample playback windows where the dropdown is active, you can select from a variety of samples or presets, if you will, to change the active sound landscape for further shaping. The Sample Start control provides the ability to set the starting point in the waveform where playback begins with first key press.
The EQ takes us into a very flexible palette of controls to further sculpt your sound. The nine center dials control Frequency, Bandwidth and Gain controls for the EQ. On each side you can also turn on Cutoff and Resonance controls for the High and Low Pass bands. This is again a really well thought out and clean approach to the design and provides a great deal of “tweak potential” to make those sounds your own and help them fit into the mix. As for the Big Knob – hang on as we are going to get to that soon!
The FX section of the interface is one of my personal favorites. This is as close to an ideal layout as I have seen in any library engine! The design is clean, intuitive and provides for a very effective workflow.
The FX section is divided into four quadrants: The Step Modulators, Big Knob, Insert FX and Send FX controls. This mirrors the signal path in the library’s engine. I like the innovative style of the design here. Everything is clearly laid out and labeled on one page, controllable by keyswitch or mouse click.
There are 10 Step Modulators (4 Volume, 4 Pan, 1 Low Pass and 1 High Pass). These can be activated simultaneously, along with controls for the number of Steps, Frequency and Intensity. Once created, these custom step modulations can be saved and loaded using the supplied controls. As I stated earlier, there is an amazing amount of sound sculpting capability here and we are only part way through the FX section.
Big Knob (Finally we get to that mysterious control!) allows you to morph the sound using Compressor, Distortion, Lo-Fi, Rotator, Chorus, Phaser and Flanger effects from the FX section. You can also link multiple FX to create even more complex effect models to refine your sound.
The Insert FX section allows the user to activate any or all of the 7 effects (Compressor, Distortion, Lo-Fi, Rotator, Chorus, Flanger and Phaser. Each of the Insert FX has a unique set of parameters that are displayed when chosen. Again, all of the options are key-switched.
The Send FX section includes both Delay and Convolution Reverb. The control behavior is identical to that of the Insert FX section. Each selection has its own subset of controls i. e. Delay (Time, Pan. Amount, etc) and Reverb (IR Size, LP, HP. Amount, Type Dropdown) The Reverb does offer about a dozen and a half convolution spaces. I normally prefer to use premium plugins for mixing in the room but given the flexibility of the effects and the capabilities of their application to affecting the overall sound, I can really see myself using many of the effects in the library to sculpt my sounds prior to sending them to the main bus.
l like the fact that all of the samples are delivered in WAV format so you can also use them in your sampler or other applications if you want to. Consider this a bonus, but there are so many great sounds contained within Traveler Aurus that you don’t need to wander away from it to get the job done.
I see Traveler Aurus filling a number of roles in sound design and performance. Traveler Aurus will fit in well for cinematic scoring, trailer work, underscores, sound effects and also would sit nicely in the arsenal of electronic musicians looking for tonal variety and unique sound sculpting capabilities. There is as much content here that can be used to score horror or sci-fi as there is to create lush and beautiful landscapes, pulsing rhythmic beds or anything in between.
In my review of Artifact Fractal, I said
“It is clear that there was a great deal of thought that went into the design and creation of Artifact-Fractal. I have seen and worked with hundreds of libraries and there is something about the look and feel of this one that just drew me in from the start.”
I need to reiterate that here as this is the second library from Audio Imperia to use the new engine to great result.
I really enjoyed working with Traveler Aurus and have already started working it into a new project. I have high praise for the library overall. The only drawback is the fact that the Atmospheres & Drones, both tonal and atonal may need to be manually pitched up or down to change to the key you need. Overall, I would give Traveler Aurus a big thumbs up and look forward to going on the next galactic journey with Audio Imperia!
As always, please check out the audio and video demos with the links provided below to make sure that this is the right tool for your unique needs.
Traveler Aurus contains over 500 samples packaged into 20 Kontakt presets. These are divided into 293 Atmospheres & Drones (tonal and atonal), 55 Pads & Synths, 81 Pulses and 131 Rhythms. The library installed is sized at 4.21 GB and requires a full Native Instruments Kontakt 5.5.2 license. Native Instruments Kontakt Player is not supported. The library is housed in the new Audio Imperia Engine.
Traveler – Aurus sells for $119 from Audio Imperia