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REVIEW: Gothic Instruments' Dronar Guitarscapes

REVIEW: Gothic Instruments' Dronar Guitarscapes

Earlier this year, Gothic Instruments released the ‘atmosphere creator’ software, Dronar Hybrid Module, to rapturous applause and critical acclaim across the music tech media, with users also giving the product a big thumbs up. 

Following on from that success, the firm has introduced Dronar Guitarscapes, providing everything that the Hybrid Module achieved, but with a focus on the tonal attributes and qualities of a variety of guitars, including electric and acoustic, steel and mandolin.

First off, it’s important to note that this product will only work properly with the full version of Kontakt 5.5 to run it – the free Kontakt player won’t suffice and you’re also going to need at least 2GB of RAM to support it.

If you’ve got the free Kontakt player you’ll access the sounds, but the Demo safeguard will kick in and allow 15 minutes of playing time before expiring. Annoying, yes – but I guess that’s what the guys at Gothic pay their license fees for.
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Once downloaded, you’re met with quite a stunning interface featuring six main dials with an otherworldly back image that adds to the atmospheric vibe of the software.

Intensity and Movement dials alter the amount of effect and arpeggiation of the sound, while the FX, Hi, Mid and Lo dials mix the sounds around these individual tonal frequencies. Unlike straight tone controls, this creates a more varied and intense sound, with the FX section controlling the atmospheric part of the sound.

Users also have the ability to load two sounds to each section, eight sounds in total, creating a thick wall-of-sound effect that can really blow your mind.

If you’re a shoegaze/90s obsessive like myself you’ll be lost for hours in a Slowdive/My Bloody Valentine trance, with every slight adjustment to the dials transporting you off to a different dimension.

In fact, I’d be surprised if Kevin Shields hasn’t already invested in this software for use on the next MBV album, only problem being that he probably hasn’t got past the first preset yet…

Talking of presets, there are a total of 320 for the user to play and mess around with. Each one is named appropriately to the effect/sound so as to give you an idea of what to expect, such as ‘That Creeping Sensation’, ‘Industrial Wall’ and ‘Dreamlike’. Each patch has a different guitar ‘feel’ such as gentle strummed acoustic sounds, industrial electric, shimmering indie, deep bass and psychedelic drones.

There’s plenty for the user to get their teeth into, in fact at times it’s almost too overwhelming as each effect can be manipulated to the extreme and back again if the desire arises.

An Expert tab allows the user to create their own atmospheric sounds by choosing patches from various sections and combining the volumes between the layers, before setting the various filter, modulation, tone, stereo and envelope controls. Another neat addition is the Rhythm page, which allows the user to create their own rhythmic feel and movement to a layer by dividing the beat into eighth, twelfth and sixteenth notes. There’s also a half speed and double speed option on offer.

Dronar is an incredible bit of software that will appeal to any musician, composer or producer looking to thicken up their sound, add an extra bit of vibe to a track, or simply spend a few hours kicking back in the studio with the volume turned up and the lights down low.

Gothic Instruments’ Dronar Guitarscapes is available now from Time + Space and comes with a £59.99 price tag.

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Tags: time+space , time and space , Software , Reviews , Gothic Instruments , Dronar Guitarscapes

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