127 Hours of Omnisphere
Dolphin Music on Jan 10, 2011
Oscar-winning composer and longtime Spectrasonics user AR Rahman recently talks to Spectrasonics about his use of Omnisphere in his acclaimed score for Danny Boyle’s film 127 Hours — Boyle and Rahman teamed up previously in the worldwide smash hit Slumdog Millionaire. Named Mr. Rahman as one of the world’s ‘Top 100 Most Influential People’ by Time Magazine, He is one of the biggest selling musical artists of all time, having sold over 200 million records.
After many years of development, Spectrasonics is proud to release the brand new flagship virtual instrument Omnisphere. This epic ‘Power Synth’ breaks completely new sonic ground by combining a wide variety of hybrid realtime synthesis techniques, an epic library of remarkable ‘Psychoacoustic’ sounds, and many innovative features that have never been seen before in any hardware or software synthesizer. The new instrument is the first to be based on Spectrasonics newly developed STEAM Engine.
“This is truly an Epic project,” said Eric Persing, Founder and Creative Director of Spectrasonics.
“We have been working for many, many years; sampling unique sounds, experimenting, specifying the synthesis features and building the STEAM Engine to run it all. It’s been a very exciting process involving our team of software engineers, sound designers, musicians, and graphic artists from all over the world. We’ve been very deliberate in making it easy to use, and yet extremely powerful. Omnisphere is our new flagship synthesizer, and points the way to all our future virtual instruments. We are thrilled to offer a new product that will have a host of expansion capabilities in the future.”
Although this new synth is extremely powerful, Omnisphere is designed with a unique user interface containing progressive layers of ‘zooming’ to accommodate the complete range of users - from musicians who just want to be inspired by the sounds and customize them in an easy way, to expert synthesists and the most advanced sound designers. Users can go deeper and deeper into the software and progress in their synthesis knowledge by simply exploring additional levels of sound manipulation options. To make sure that all users get the most out of the new capabilities, Omnisphere includes an extensive set of video tutorials and synthesis lessons taught by the renown Spectrasonics sound design team.
Omnisphere offers a host of hybrid synthesis and new control capabilities including Variable Waveshaping DSP synthesis, Granular synthesis, Timbre Shifting, FM, polyphonic Ring Modulation, high-resolution streaming Sample Playback, Harmonia™, Dual Multimode Filter structure, Chaos Envelopes™, an advanced Unison mode, and the innovative Flex-Mod™ modulation routing system - to name a few.
The huge core library of Omnisphere is filled with years of creative sampling experiments and thousands of inspiring patches. Spectrasonics has pioneered several brand-new types of sampling for the core library of this instrument, including unique “Psychoacoustic” sounds and soundsources created with a new Composite Morphing Technique (CMT) - which morphs the harmonic characteristics of one instrument to another. As a bonus, a section of the core library is also devoted to representing the best of Spectrasonics award-winning sample libraries. When all of these organic core library soundsources are combined with the synthesis power of the STEAM engine, the sounds become “alive” in a truly dynamic and expressive way.
Among the many unique features this new multitimbral synth offers are its flexible arpeggiators with the innovative Groove Lock™ integration with Stylus RMX - allowing the arpeggiator’s pattern to instantly groove with the feel of the RMX drum loop; Live Mode for transitionless patch switching and layering, Stack Mode for powerful performance mapping; and integrated modulatable FX Racks.
Omnisphere is also the successor to Spectrasonics’ popular Atmosphere® instrument, and contains enhanced versions of all the classic Atmosphere sounds. However, the brand new core library in Omnisphere is 10-times the size of Atmosphere and features thousands of completely new and different sounds.
The culmination of many years of development, Omnisphere is an instrument of extraordinary power and versatility. Omnisphere brings many different types of synthesis together into one amazing-sounding instrument that will inspire a lifetime of exploration.
Mr Rahman talks about the challenges of scoring such a unique film focused almost entirely on a single character in a very small space:
“I was a bit uneasy before scoring 127 Hours, but Danny makes you feel at ease - at least for the two movies I’ve scored for him. The score concept fell into place slowly. For this film I had a bit more time because I was involved from the time of the script. It started to became clear that we had to deal with this film discreetly, with silence, sound design and music.”
AR explains how the concept continued to evolve, “We agreed that the music had to be trippy, meditative and driving! But most importantly, it became clear that the score had to be intimate, so we didn’t deal with any epic orchestral sounds —though I love epic stuff for movies — this was mainly a Guitar driven score, with lots of original textures we created with Omnisphere and our sound design. One advantage of this approach was that some of the parts were actually recorded in hotel rooms in-between my concerts!”
In regards to the rich sound design of the score, AR explains, “There is a lot of Omnisphere in this score. I recorded many textures from Omnisphere and bounced them as audio, then mixed them with live strings and played with processing the result. We especially used the granular synthesis capabilities of Omnisphere, which was tweaked and overlaid with of a lot guitars, especially in the ‘Touch of the Sun’ and ‘RIP’ cues; Danny loved the sound.”