Here's a video walkthrough and review of Powered Plugs' new synth library "Zenith", as well as an exclusive interview with the creator, Ryan Johnson!
120 NI Massive presets, organized as "Foundations", "Pulses", "Sequences", and "Auras".
20 NI Kontakt rhythmic sub-bass patches.
About 1GB total
My rating: 8/10 would recommend
You can purchase Zenith at the Powered Plugs website.
Interview with Zenith creator, Ryan Johnson:
What inspired the idea for Zenith? And how long did it take you to create?
The idea for Zenith was inspired by the desire to create a product that is specifically for 'one' thing, one style - too often I find that the libraries I buy contain too much content. It's nice to get a lot of stuff with a purchase, but also requires a serious time commitment to get to 'know' the library well - and there are some libraries out there that I'll probably never get to exploring every aspect of them. To me, that's a shame.
I'm sure there are some people who enjoy the immenseness these libraries can bring to your sound palette, but as any composer who works with tight deadline will tell you, looking for the right sound can waste hours of time that you don't have at your disposal. So when creating Zenith, I sought to make a library full of patches that lend themselves to a specific genre - in this case, it's modern action/synth scoring. The sounds are inspired by some of my favorite synth composers like Trent Reznor, Junkie XL, Hans Zimmer, and Cliff Martinez.
The Massive portion of Zenith took a couple months to create, and the sub bass Kontakt instrument took about another month. So all in all the whole project probably took 3-4 months from conception to completion.
How did your experience with projects such as FX's Justified and James Cameron's Avatar influence you while you were developing Zenith?
I've been fortunate enough to work for some incredibly talented composers in James Horner (Avatar) and Steve Porcaro (Justified). I think you learn something new from every gig, but my experiences working for different people made me learn that everyone's process is slightly different. So in creating Zenith, I wanted to make something that catered to different workflows. Sometimes your workflow is dependent on how much time you have for the project, so in those cases where you don't have much time, load up a Zenith multi, hit one key, and there will be this 'wall' of sound instantaneously, and you can manipulate any parameter to tweak the sound to your liking. That's one way to use the product. The other way, is to load individual sounds as you would any other Massive library and create a track from scratch. Since there are over 120 presets there are many varieties you can use.
What would you say is the biggest strength that Zenith has to offer? What are some of your favorite components of Zenith's interface?
The biggest strength that Zenith has to offer in my opinion, is it's approach - Each multi contains 4 different Massive presets, labeled in a way that makes each patch's musical function easier to understand. The four different names for each patch in a Zenith multi are as follows:
Foundation - The basis for the multi, usually a low drone or pulse that provides weight.
Pulse - An element that is clocked to your sequencer's tempo, and provides motion and drive.
Sequence - A pattern of notes that can imply a tonality - all notes are editable to any scale you desire.
Aura - The 'color' of the multi, usually sitting on top of the frequency spectrum, used to provide texture.
How does it stand out from other synth libraries?
There are several key aspects of Zenith that make it stand out from other libraries. One thing I already mentioned is it's approach, but another huge feature is it's flexibility. Because Zenith uses Massive's synthesis engine, everything you hear is able to be reverse engineered. This becomes really important when you're scoring because let's say you load up a multi and you play a key and there's one element that you don't like. With Zenith, there will always be a way to get rid of the offensive element.
Also, another aspect of Zenith that makes it stand out is it's tight focus on one genre, so you're not going through sounds that are inappropriate for the scenes you need to score. One criticism I've gotten of the library is that it's not all that varied, and this is by design. It's meant to be a simple product that does a specific thing, does it well, and efficiently.
In your opinion, what is the best way to get the most out of Zenith?
To me, the best way to get the most out of Zenith is to tweak our provided multis and come up with your own grooves and synth pulses. Changing the LFO "Performance" Rhythms can yield very interesting sonic results, and all of our multis in Zenith are meant to be a 'starting place' for your own compositions, but can be wholly or partly changed, depending on your needs. With the included "Performance Patches" (Singular patches designed to be used with the multis) you can put down melodic ideas over the grooves, useful for varying the music up, or 'stinging' certain things onscreen. And finally, using our sub bass Kontakt instrument, you can create punchy rhythms that you can add to your multis, or use in other contexts.
And what is your favorite patch/multi in Zenith?
My favorite multi in Zenith is probably "Big Brother" - I like the way it moves and feels, and I love how weird the Aura patch sounds, yet fits perfectly within the context of the multi. I've included "Big Brother" in our Zenith Demo, so feel free to download it and try it out for yourself!
Download Zenith at the Powered Plugs website.
Tell me what you guys think of the library in the comments below!
Film | Music
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