A short review of the LIRA 8 VSTi

While currently having the original SOMA Lyra-8 hardware here on my desk I was curious how the VST emulation created by Mike Moreno DSP might appear in comparison. The release is available in VST formats for Mac and PC under “Pay what you want or download for free”.

In case you never heard of the hardware Lyra, it’s basically a 8 voice drone synthesizer, providing some LFO and FM modulation capabilities plus a basic delay and distortion FX. It does not provide any Midi control but solely relies on manual interaction with it’s analog interface (plus some quite limited CV support). It also does not have any sort of filter, mod matrix or effect structure. However, it perfectly fits for different styles of experimental electronic and ambient music as well as all kinds of sound design e.g for film scoring and such.

The VST plugin resembles the overall appearance and usage concept almost identical to the hardware. All parameters are accessible via host automation in your DAW which indeed turns out to be really useful. To trigger the sensors, Midi notes C1 to G1 can also be used instead of clicking the interface. Since the original sensors are sensitiv to skin capacitance/resistance, I would have expected the plugin sensors to have some sort of velocity or aftertouch control accordingly but this is not the case.

Soundwise the plugin was a real surprise. While it might not stand an A/B test with its analog counterpart, it amazingly captures its overall sound aesthetic and gives instant gratification in this regard. Wobbling drones, shimmering soundscapes and fizzling FM weirdness – it can all do that and much more. But maybe even more important it is real fun to twiddle with and it appears to be very inspirational, exactly like the HW does.

What the plugin itself can’t give you of course is the tactile experience. Beside that there is an issue when it comes to tuning sounds. The oscillator tune parameters actually do have just very imprecise control given the huge frequency range across all octaves. This becomes even more of an issue if you try to finetune something in its FM sweetspot area.

Overall verdict: Highly recommended for all sorts of sound design or pure inspiration – if you can live with its constraints.

Johnnyrandom | Bespoken

Composer Johnnyrandom breaks new ground with musical compositions made exclusively from everyday objects.

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portrait of a sound design artist

A man standing alone in a shed hitting a bath with a mallet could be seen as mad, but in the world of sound design, it’s the norm. Ali Lacey is an eccentric sound design artist, and this short portrait allows us a closer look into the world of sound design.

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installation: Sound of Threads

First part of the Sound of Threads exhibition in June 2013 in Reykjavik.
Sound of Threads is a structure of wood and threads of wool, where light is projected to visually translate the music and enhance the sound.

Symphonie Cinétique – The Poetry of Motion

So beautiful and stunning. I wish I could have been there in that room and performance.

sound and sound design, Hitchcock style

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the sound of Gravity

In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection profile we talk with Director Alfonso Cuarón and Re-recording Mixer Skip Lievsay about the sound teams work to create a dramatic sound scape to a dark and vast outer space environment.

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awesome sound design for Man Of Steel

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a must see

And don’t miss to see the whole DTS “Sound Magician” Series.

documentary – the sound and music of The Last Of Us

In this exclusive SoundWorks Collection profile we talk with the sound and music team behind the critically acclaimed Naughty Dog Studios game, The Last of Us. We talk with Game Director Bruce Straley, Creative Director Neil Druckmann, Senior Sound Designer Derrick Espino, Audio Lead Phillip Kovats, Senior Audio Programmer Jonathan Lanier, and Music Manager, Jonathan Mayer.

Btw, excellent game. PS3 only.

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