Native Instruments – Mysteria
Control your own nightmares with this new Cinematic Vocal Instrument!
Mysteria has to be one of Native Instruments more intriguing libraries, developed by the genius that is Uli Baronowsky and his developers at Galaxy Instruments. Over the years they have brought us such notable milestone releases as Rise & Hit, The Giant, Unicorder, Noire and of course Thrill.
I mention Thrill latterly even though it was released prior to Noire only because it is Mysteria’s closest cousin from the Galaxy Instruments sample library stable.
Thrill was an early adopter of the X and Y axis feature, something often now seen elsewhere, as a means of controlling intensity and the dynamics of various parameters found within their instrument GUI.
The benefits of this method mean that manipulation of key sound elements can easily be controlled and tweaked in real time, which given the sound design nature of the library lends itself perfectly to the task of adding dynamic expression in an immediately reactive way to film score timelines.
Where Thrill can excel at mangled orchestral drama and for want of a better word, Thrills!, Mysteria looks set to become the master of vocal based cacophonic suspense, creepy choirs, ghostly whispers and demonic utterances!
Mysteria requires either the full version of Kontakt 6.2 or the equivalent free Kontakt player, and is compatible with Komplete Kontrol.
The library will require 28Gb of disk storage space
There is a single master Kontakt NKI file which provides the source to feed a further 350 NKSN snapshot presets, which are what you will find within the Komplete Kontrol preset list.
Download & Installation…
This is now a painless task when dealing with Native Instruments and associated partner products, as Native Access is now accessible on both Windows and Mac platforms, it’s a case of simply pasting in your supplied license code to add the library, and then heading to the not installed tab to finalise the procedure by choosing your install location path.
Once the download has completed, load up Komplete Kontrol standalone and the product will be added to your factory database, and you are all set to play!
Komplete Kontrol Browser & Plug-in Edit controls…
Knob 1 & 2 – Vendor & Product
Knob 3 – Bank: Atmosphere, Cluster, Cluster & atmosphere
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – type: sound FX, Vocal
Knob 6 – sub Type: Big & Bad, Distortion, Creature, Female Choir, Male Choir, Mixed Choir
Knob 7 – Character: Human, Lead, Sample Based, Vocal
Knob 8 – Preset:
Plug-in Edit Controls
Page one – X Y Pad, Layers, Space A & Space B
Knob 1 – X Blend
Knob 2 – Y Intensity
Knob 3 – Layers Volume A
Knob 4 – Layers Volume B
Knob 5 – Space A On/Off
Knob 6 – Send A
Knob 7 – space B On/Off
Knob 8 – Send B
Page Two – Equalisation
Knob 1 – E.Q. On/Off
Knob 2 – Gain 1
Knob 3 – Frequency 1
Knob 4 – Gain 2
Knob 5 – Frequency 2
Knob 6 – Gain 3
Knob 7 – Frequency 3
Knob 8 – Unallocated
Page Three – Saturation & Dynamics
Knob 1 – Saturation On/Off
Knob 2 – Drive
Knob 3 – Output
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Dynamics On/Off
Knob 6 – Preset
Knob 7 – Amount
Knob 8 – Output
The above reflect the NKS mapping for the Atonal Atmosphere presets, the tonal Cluster presets have an additional page as follows:
Page Four – Cluster
Knob 1 – Octave A
Knob 2 – Octave B
Knob 3 to 8 – Unallocated
As you can see the NKS parameter mapping is quite limited with Mysteria, in fact when I cross referenced it with my review for Thrill I found the assignments to be largely identical.
This is a little disappointing given the elapsed time and heightened awareness of accessibility that the industry now has.
However, we are where we are, and thankfully again the saving grace for the library in terms of value for both usability and money to the blind & visually impaired end user is the sheer number of presets that have been made available, and these serve as excellent starting points for our own exploration.
Mysteria in Kontakt…
One thing I failed to check for when Thrill was released, simply because it never crossed my mind, was to see what parameters were exposed if a preset was loaded into Kontakt directly.
I realise this may sound a little counter intuitive to seasoned Komplete Kontrollers, however needs must when the devil takes away your NKS!
Here there is slightly better news, as bringing up the parameter list in Reaper (and I am sure other DAW’s can offer the same facility), actually reveals a surprisingly greater number of control parameters.
It takes a bit of working out to decode what some of them actually do as their labelling can be rather vague to say the least, however I did manage to decode and confirm the existence of ADSR, Pan Controls and more detailed layer volumes, but there is still quite a bit more than this available to the brave explorer types among you!
Sadly there is still no way to browse to, and change the extensive sample content, or roll the sample randomisation dice, a facility which if it were available would at least enable us to generate our own random presets.
I was able to switch through snapshots using the access4music Kontakt script on Windows, however using Kontakt directly meant I lost the detailed categorisation labels we enjoy within Komplete Kontrol, so the snapshot presets were not tagged or named.
This of course is all a bit of a workaround, but if there is a particular preset you really need to tweak in more detail, then at least this may offer somewhat of a solution, and I hope that MAC users may also have a similar third party access feature available to them.
Mysteria In Use…
As you will doubtless be aware from the promotional material, Mysteria ostensibly provides us with an unprecedented pool of vocal based samples spanning a huge range of subject material.
You will find baritone, tenor, alto, soprano and tutti choral sections, whispers, chants, moaning, uttering, muttering and pretty much everything you can imagine inbetween, mostly with a darkness and air of the supernatural about it.
We have basic performance control over the two main layers A & B, however these are in fact made up of further sub sample layers.
The Principle method for modulating between these layers is with the X and Y assigned control knobs on the first page of the plug-in edit section.
The X axis sweeps between whatever samples have been included within each preset, and the Y axis generally increases the level of intensity, most effective results being realised when combining the two controls together in tandem.
In order to capture your manual modulations in a recording, you will need to use host automation within your DAW of choice in write and then subsequently read mode, simply hitting record on a track with an instance inserted will only capture your key presses and not your actual knob tweaking efforts!
There are simply a shed load of presets to explore (350 to be precise), so whatever your ultimately intended usage, you will likely find something here to suit your project, and it’s amazing how playing with those X & Y controls can dramatically take you away from your preset starting point.
The Cluster presets provide you with pitched tonal patches, and these offer the most musically coherent sounds. By this I mean usable choirs and chromatic voices which can then easily be morphed into something more sinister.
The atmosphere bank by contrast provide you with a plethora of instant atonal soundscapes,despite having no really defined pitch, they are nevertheless still spread across the entire keyboard range.
Here you can find all manner of unworldly creatures, from Zombie hordes, Misery on Mass (actually that would have made a great preset name!), reverse wailings, operatic chants and what sounds like a group exorcism, all quite unsettling when used in a suitable context.
The Cluster & Atmosphere combined presets do as they suggest, give you an apocalyptic backdrop with a tonal element present in some of the patches, again there is plenty here to delight lovers of the macabre.
When you navigate through and audition a library of this nature, you tend to think of possible applications for the sounds that you discover, which if you are using them for film is difficult to anticipate without the gift of astrological foresight. however there are definitely no bad or unusable content here in the way there might be in a musical instrument sound bank. Everything here is impressive from the sound design perspective, and having this large palette of sounds to hand when you are in the midst of working on a project will I am sure be an invaluable asset.
On the surface Mysteria may appear as quite a Niche library for the general market, certainly if you write for film, game, theatre, multimedia, drama or radio, then this is going to be quite an appealing product to have at your disposal. it is sure to prove a definite timesaver when you consider the alternative of searching out and attempting to design your own equivalent sounds from scratch.
The nature of the library perhaps means it is of less immediately obvious use for songwriters and traditional musicians, but creativity knows no bounds, and I am happy to be proven wrong.
Personally I love Mysteria, it compliments Thrill perfectly and the cinematic scope it offers is unlike anything I have heard from other libraries, and it certainly wins out in terms of quantity of sound presets.
Mysteria can be purchased directly from the Native Instruments website for the price of £269.00 (login to check pricing for your region)
Mysteria Product Page:
(c) Chris Ankin
February 20th, 2020
The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product or gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.
About the Author
Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.