Updated: Jul 10
A versatile toolkit for modern, hard-edged and aggressive pop music.
Developer: SabreSounds (Tim Dale), PlugInGuru
Dark Forces is a versatile sound-set/toolkit for producing modern, hard-edged, and (if pushed) aggressive pop music, a role perhaps more normally handled by synths such as Serum. This library is designed to fill the gap between the raw power of Seth Norman’s outstanding libraries (Toxic Omnisphere and Seismic Shock) and, well, everything else available for Omnisphere! These sounds will also be right at home in your EDM, Synthwave and Dark Ambient productions.
With 225 Patches for Omnisphere 2 PLUS a bonus Unified version of the library with 100 additional Patches and a 70-sample Drum/Percussion Kit by John Lehmkuhl, this library has a TON of truly original sonic inspiration to bring to any types of music productions.
From Tim Dale – THE STORY BEHIND THE LIBRARY:
During lockdown I started investigating various musical genres. At that time, Synthwave had spawned new genres such as Darkwave and Hardwave. I noticed that the majority of Omnisphere releases were falling into the “Ambient Cinematic” category, and other genres weren’t really being addressed. I had dabbled with some more aggressive sounds in Sabresphere vol2 and they’d been really well received. So I set out to produce something on the darker side. And then Spectrasonics bought out their Sonic Extensions – Seismic Shock and Undercurrent, doing exactly the sort of thing I had in mind (of course they did it better). But not everyone can afford the SEs, so I pressed on ….
Then I watched a little series on Netflix called “Arcane” and was blown away by not only the visual storytelling but also the music. And this led me down a vast rabbit hole of music connected to Riot Games and League of Legends (even to as far as what is going on in KPop right now!). And my measuring rule for the quality of the patches of Dark Forces became “would they fit into this world?”
The library contains 200 Omnisphere patches and 25 Omnisphere multis. All of these have also been Unified (Omnisphere is still required) as well as 99 bonus Unify multis, allowing more complex layering than would be possible within Omnisphere alone. Among the 200 patches are 20 experimental synth percussion patches which are essentially complete drum grooves in a single Omnisphere patch.
In addition to the waves and sound-sources included within Omnisphere, these patches also make use of custom samples I have recorded over the last couple of years, including: real percussion instruments (Bodhran, Djembe, Cajon, etc.), plastic pipework, kitchen percussion(!), the sounds of Berlin, a Eurorack effects system, VCV rack, and StutterEdit.
And there’s a lot more to come from the Dark Forces project ……
Tim Dale had this to add:
Things to look out for :
If you want the quickest possible idea of the sounds of the Dark Forces library, check out the demo track "Quickfire Round"
There are a couple of patches that also work for LoFi tracks. One of my favourite patches in the library is SYNTH - LoFi P5 Brass, which is based on Prophet 5 samples. Hear it in action in my track "El Forstiana", where it is combined with Spectrasonics' Nylon Sky guitar
In the "how did he do that?" category, check out the 20 Tractronics patches, where each one is a multi-layered, tempo-synced percussion groove in a single patch.
If you have Unify, every Omnisphere patch is also unified, with both a low-pass and high-pass filter on macro knobs, to ease fitting patches into a mix.
The library contains 200 Omnisphere patches and 25 Omnisphere multis. The multis were kept fairly modest so they will not overpower anybodys' CPU. But there are then over 100 bonus Unify multis where things can be far more complex due to Unify's excellent CPU core handing. And the Unify multis don't just take the opportunity to layer lots of Omnispheres together, but also to combine the Dark Forces patches with the best of all worlds including Unify's sample library and FM (from Dexed).
The library includes a load of custom samples, including recordings made by tapping every object and surface in my kitchen. You'd be surprised how well the sound of a saucepan and wooden spoon fits in modern pop music! I spent some time at a local youth centre recording the array of instruments they have there, including some broken instruments for extra character. Some of the other samples were recorded in Berlin last May when I attended Superbooth - there's even percussion sounds made from recordings of Berlin's S-Bahn trains.
For the patch BPM ARP - Popcorn Pipe, I cut lengths of PVC pipe to the correct wavelengths of C2, C3, C4, C5 and C6, and then recorded the sounds of hitting them with various objects.
Many of the patches feature distortion, some all the time and some on the modwheel. I have a small Eurorack system and my first purchase was a Plasma Drive module from Gamechanger Audio and Erica Synths. Some of the samples were put through this to produce extra drive/destruction, including analog tones from a Sequential ProphetX synth.
This library has been a long time coming, having been in the works since my previous Omnisphere library Tetrasonics came out in 2021.
The artwork for the library and videos was all created using MidJourney AI image generation.