Red Room Audio – Sounds From Hell
Ambience & Underscore, Hits & Transitions
There has certainly been no shortage of trailer and Cinematic creation tools released in recent years, with each promising their own individual take on the way best to do things.
Red Room Audio’s latest 2 releases are the first of what will be an anthology series, and adopts a uniquely modular approach to the genre. In this two library review let’s find out if Sounds From Hell packs the necessary impacts to deliver those all important killer blows!
In the Red…
Red Room Audio being the younger sibling of Impact Sound works, have for the last few years been releasing some innovative sample libraries, their Palette series of symphonic libraries having been a particularly notable addition to the bustling orchestral sample library market.
Palette delivered a fine full spec Symphonic library, which included some additional bonus niceties like a choir, orchestral FX and even a synth section, and then subsequently released some further bolt-on packs which added solo instruments, extended FX and arps & runs. Palette still remains a popular choice for an all encompassing approach to affordable and creative orchestral composition.
Their more recent Cue builders cinematic rhythms was especially outstanding, presenting the user with a core selection of useful tempo synced epic rhythms, with some extensive, well thought out and executed parameter mapping, which despite not officially being an NKS product, nonetheless works flawlessly within the Komplete Kontrol environment, thanks to the UI parameters being available to host automation, and Red Room Audio taking the time to assign them to KK hardware controls.
Sounds From Hell…
SFH as we will herein refer to it, continues this trait of useful almost utility based products, initially with Hits & Transitions in a dual release alongside Ambience & Underscore.
Working together they should cover all of the essential ingredients required for you to cook up your own sound designed trailers and movie style action, sci-fi and horror scores, with precise control of the elemental layers that combine to make up the overall sound experience.
Both SFH products require the full version of Kontakt 5.8 or above, not Kontakt player unless you want them to go silent after 15 minutes of use (not recommended!).
SFH Ambient & Underscore will need 16GB of disk space, while SFH Hits & Transitions requires a more modest 4.5GB.
To fully maximise their use potential, Red Room have used conventional wav files, so they could also be dropped as standard samples into a product, or an external sample application for even greater flexibility.
Both libraries use conventional Kontakt NKI files rather than NKSN snapshots, as each NKI is essentially a master module of it’s own namesake, thus the Drones, Pads, Pulses & sounds capes from the Ambience & Underscore library and Booms, Braams, Downers, Reverses, Risers , Whooshes , Hits & Impacts from the Hits & Transitions library will all leave you with no doubt about the roles they perform.
Thoughtfully Red Room Audio have prefixed all of the above with ‘SFH’, so once scanned into the Komplete Kontrol alphabetical eco system on the user side, will stick together like birds of a feather, and be a cinch to locate.
Download & Installation…
This process has now been made much simpler with the recent accessibility update of the Pulse down loader, which is Red Room Audio’s software management and delivery mechanism of choice.
It truly is a joy to behold and use on both Windows and MAC platforms, and is a simple process of pasting in your redemption code, choosing your download path, and hitting the install button.
The management software handles all of the donkey work for you, by downloading, un archiving and compiling the sample library, so all you really need to do is go grab a coffee or three and watch TV for a while!
Finally if you intend to use SFH within Komplete Kontrol, and I assume that’s why you are reading this, then just place the fully assembled library folder into a designated user content path, and run the standalone KK application, this should then be added to your user side database, where it will show up under Native Instruments/Kontakt/Presets/SFH etc.
Komplete Kontrol Plug-In Edit Parameter Mappings…
Usually at this point I would be describing the browser categories of the NKS system, however as SFH will reveal itself on the user side as outlined above, this is not necessary, so I will instead crack on with the mapped parameter pages.
Knob 1 – Volume
Knob 2 – Pan
Knob 3 – Pitch
Knob 4 – speed
Knob 5 – Sample Start
Knob 6 – Sample End
Knob 7 – Filter Cut-Off
Knob 8 – Filter Resonance
Knob 1 – Attack
Knob 2 – Decay
Knob 3 – Sustain
Knob 4 – Release
Knob 5 – Depth
Knob 6 – Gate Depth
Knob 7 – Gate Rate
Knob 8 – Gate Rate Sync
With only two pages of parameter mappings, at first glance the above template may seem a little sparse, and this is a fair point, as indeed there are currently a couple of gaps in the parameter mapping that somewhat restrict the full potential of certain SFH modules.
I am however reasonably confident that these could be addressed in a future update, which is something that Red Room Audio have been very supportive of.
Currently we are unable to select additional sound presets for the Pads module, as unlike other sections, Pads utilises a drop down menu rather than key switches to load new sounds.
Hopefully this could be assigned to a hardware knob control, as in addition to a drop down menu, mention is given of a left and right arrow which may yield the potential for assignment to a rotary knob twist.
Also at the moment, the ability to reverse a sound sample does not appear to have either a key switch or hardware mapping, so a creatively backwards world is for now out of reach.
Similarly within the Reverses patch, there is a ‘Land On Beat’ switch which times the end of a reversed transition to coincide with the start of a new bar. This needs an on/off control assignment, which should also be duplicated alongside the general reverse toggle when this gets added.
,The Gate effect controls are indeed mapped to Komplete Kontrol knobs, however it appears that the current default status of the Gate switch is in the off position, so in order to make these controls active, it needs to be turned on by default, or a switch added as we cannot access this ourselves from within the GUI.
There are features such as the ‘Rhythm’ tab, which provides a kind of rhythmic effects sequencer, that probably do not lend themselves well to the limitations of the NKS rotary controls.
finally, there is no access to the inbuilt SFH effects racks, I guess it would be nice to perhaps have an additional page that offers a smattering of basic reverb, delay and crush FX here, but this could equally be addressed by ourselves with Komplete Kontrols extra FX slots if desired, so this is really not a deal breaker.
I am very pleased to say that just prior to publication, Red Room Audio took a look at these above points, and felt similarly confident that many of these enhancements could be addressed in a future update, which I feel is a real bonus.
Sound Design Dreams…
With the negatives out of the way, we will now focus instead on the abundance of more positive creative sound design potential that the Sounds From Hell modules present us with. To this end, I will step through each of the modules which are Kontakt NKI files, and describe the details of their workings.
This three bank collection of booms and sub booms are guaranteed to make your monitors rattle!, in fact joking aside you will need to watch your volumes here as you get the distinct feeling that your speaker cone is either going to blow, or your monitor might just dance it’s way off of the shelf and hit you on the head!
Pre-assigned Key switches will allow you to change banks, whereupon a further selection of floor rattling Booms are unleashed.
This key switch bank selection method is the way in which most of these modules work, and it’s a very convenient, sensible and effective method of access.
The bank and sound sample layouts have been assigned and perfected for use with 61 note keyboards, so you will be able to both use the key switches and play all of the sample content with the available acreage of your octaves.
With the Boom module, the volume, pan, pitch, ADSR, filter cut-off/resonance, sample start & end controls are all fine for offering the kind of tweaks you want for these kind of sounds.
If you need Braam sounds there are four banks to be found within SFH. Popularised with movies like 2010’s ‘Inception’ and the invention of which has been laid claim to by Hans Zimmer, they are undeniably a notable phenomenon of modern scoring and trailer composition.
The same parameters are available for control here, with the additional feature being that single or multiple held notes can have their pitch changed courtesy of a playable octave of keyboard space above the bank key switches.
Not the emotional feelings associated with losing your mobile phone, burning a hole in your favourite shirt or having your hard drive explode, these Downers are effect samples that pitch downwards over a period of time, there are four banks of these sounds which are excellent for adding a tension release after a dramatic hit or boom.
There are plenty to select from and can be played singularly or layered in combinations.
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We have three banks of Drone sounds, these being infinitely looped long notes, again as with the Braams module, we are able to control the pitch over a standard octave.
Once again a really varied selection is on offer, lending themselves to spacey sci-fi, zombie apocalypse or tense horror/suspense.
Some of the sounds are more muted background affairs, while others are distinctly in your face aggressive spiky saw tooth synths with a cutting timbre.
Hits & Impacts…
I particularly liked this section, it’s often a chore to wade through dozens of samples trying to find something for your next jump scare hit, this module makes life simpler with four banks containing a large selection of striking hits, blows, explosions and impacts.
These can also be played on their own or in combinations, with parameters like the sample start and end points and ADSR, Pitch and Speed all being ideal for tailoring the hits to your own needs.
Pads is unfortunately the least accessible of all of the SFH modules, due to the way in which the selection of additional presets is implemented.
Without there currently being a method of choosing and loading these extra sounds, they will remain for the time being frustratingly out of bounds.
We are as such limited to the default patch that loades with the NKI, which is a somewhat uninspiring square wave pad, the parameters sadly offer little to spice up the sound, so at present it’s best not to linger too long here, and instead move onto another more accessible SFH module.
The Pulses module delivers four banks of tempo synced 4, 8, 16 and rhythmic variants of predominately 4/4 pulses, some are tonal, some atonal, and some lean toward melodic in a limited way.
These are great for underscoring tension and creating builds. The available parameters work well with the subject material and again there is the playable pitch facility within this section.
As the label on the tin says, two banks of reversed sound samples, all manner of original sound sources clearly provide the content here. Sadly without the reverse control being available we are unable to reverse the reversal for them to reveal their secrets, but there appear to be vocals, electronics, cars, trains, jet engines and even the odd Star Wars X-wing Starfighter flyby within this module.
Sample start & end, ADSR and filter controls are ideal candidates for tweaking here, but the world is your oyster!
There are tonnes of samples in the Riser section, with three banks of individually assigned samples ensuring all genres are covered. Undoubtedly the go to selection when you need to build the crescendo up to that final scary big hit.
You could opt to automate the pan and other elements within your own DAW to control the movement and motion, and again the parameters provided are perfectly sufficient to get work done.
Soundscapes offer us two banks of long evolving loops that can be used as ambient backgrounds in a number of ways. The source material here ranges from subdued and subtle to somewhat more industrial and audible melee. These would be great for use in game scene creation interlaced with other sound Fx.
Altering the start and end times and the pitches can radically change the original vibe, so it can be creatively profitable to tweak and fine tune some of these samples to meet your requirements.
Last but not least, the Whooshes module is kind of a Risers on steroids, although you could argue there is some crossover, they come in a variety of flavours, lengths, timbres and use case scenarios.
Probably leaning more toward sci-fi and action, there are three banks that again vary in dynamic range, but work excellently in tandem with the other modules.
There is some very clever scripting going on under the hood of SFH, as each of these individually assigned to note samples can be tweaked on a per single sample level, meaning that when you make an edit, it’s only the one sound you have altered not all of them spread globally across the keyboard, which is generally what you tend to find in a sample library.
This really makes SFH a true sound designers toy box , and you will likely see the clock on your studio wall develop the ability to time travel, as hours certainly seem like minutes when you role up your sleeves and dig into all of this creative potential.
Do make a point of watching the excellent Walkthrough videos hosted by Dickie from RRA, there are some great tips to be had, such as assigning the filter cut-off to your mod wheel to give you dynamic control over a sound, or assigning both rate and pitch in the same way to create a cool tape stop effect with your mod wheel.
In the knowledge that Red Room Audio should now be able to rectify most of the accessibility issues I discovered in this review, it will make Sounds From Hell pretty much an all round Swiss Army Knife for those sound design creative’s producing original content for film, game, app and media projects.
I really like the modular design and build it yourself approach that this anthology makes possible, and already wait with eager anticipation to see what is around the corner in the next chapter of the Sounds From Hell series.
Red Room Audio – Sounds From Hell, Ambience & Underscore & Hits & Transitions can both be purchased directly from the Red Room Audio Web site
At the time of publication there is an intro offer of $79.00 each (Usually $99.00 each)
Sounds From Hell Product Page:
Sounds From Hell – Official Trailer:
SFH – Hits & Transitions Walk through:
SFH – Ambience & Underscore Walk through:
SFH – Ambience & Underscore User Manual:
SFH – Hits & Transitions User Manual:
(c) Chris Ankin
November 17th , 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 solely 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.