Spectrasonics Twisted Trees Sonic Extension: What is it?
Spectrasonics holds one of the loftiest reputations within the realm of samples, sound design and virtual instruments. It’s behind some of the most radical sampling projects ever captured, from trips to the Amazon, to burning pianos. Its relatively new creative line, Sonic Extensions, provides amazing sounds with vast amounts of realtime control, all categorised by expansion pack.
Following the initial release of four Sonic Extensions, the latest extension arrives completely out of the blue, as a sole release. All of the Sonic Extensions operate from within the Omnisphere realm, so you’ll need that meaty synth to access your new sounds.
That could make an initial purchase more involved, but then again Omnisphere is one of the most sonically impressive packages on the market, so this might just be the prompt you need.
Spectrasonics has an impressive roster of sound designers; Diego Stocco is the sound designer behind the Twisted Trees collection, with the raw sampled content being created entirely from wood, bark or associated elements, such as branches and leaves.
At this point, you might be wondering (as we were) how far can this actually go? The answer is immediately forthcoming, from the moment you access the patches. It is incredibly impressive, although you might have to take a leap of imagination, as many sounds require a slight adjustment to work within your projects.
Spectrasonics Twisted Trees Sonic Extension: Performance and verdict
To provide a flavour of the direction and process, Diego created one sampled source by stripping the bark from a tree and applying it to the rim of a floor tom, which was then mounted on a potter’s wheel. As the drum and newly attached bark revolved, large sticks were dragged across the surface, while the audio was captured.
The result is a highly complex sound source which, once placed through the prism of Omnisphere, returns a multitude of organic mid-to-low-end frequencies. Other similarly exotic processes exploit the use of percussion mallets, power tools and string bows, creating a suite of 432 sound sources through 1.8GB of samples, packaged into more than 300 unique patches.
Once we delve into the Omnisphere realm, the patches themselves contain scenes; these are mixes or combinations of multi-sampled elements, combined to create a texture or patch, but with the capacity to switch quickly, or adjust individual sample levels.
Despite the relatively narrow wood-based concept, the output from Omnisphere ranges from beautiful and majestic pads to heavy and floor-shaking percussion. There’s even a percussion patch, which presents an extraordinary kit of wood-based parts.
Of course, the power of the Omnisphere engine is incredibly influential across the library. There is a depth and quality to the colourful timbre that is unique, but the usual menu hierarchy is still in full effect, with a complex combination of sequencer-based patches, hits, noises, pads and textures all available within.
Final forest thoughts
The sonic identity of this Sonic Extension is as unique as it is impressive. It won’t come as a surprise to existing Spectrasonics users to learn that the company prioritised quality in the making of Twisted Trees.
The question though, for any prospective purchaser, is whether these sounds resonate with you.
Are they any good? Yes, but are they useful for everyday production? Possibly less so, although that’s dependent on your working style.
You may find yourself forced to rethink elements of your work after trying this palette, and that could be a very healthy thing indeed.
Meanwhile, for anyone creating a soundtrack or ambient music, this library will immediately find its fanbase.
MusicRadar verdict: Libraries of this calibre are relatively rare. Twisted Trees is a surprising package of astounding sounds from organic sources, that may invite you to question your musical direction as you use it.
Spectrasonics Twisted Trees Sonic Extension: Hands-on demos
Adrian Earnshaw Music
Spectrasonics Twisted Trees Sonic Extension: Specifications
- Requires Omnisphere 2.8.5e or higher, and 3.6Gb free space.
- CONTACT: Spectrasonics