Review: The Planet - Deep Scan by Atom Hub
"Strange. Dark. Evolving. Unsettling. Weird." All of these things are perfect descriptors for Atom Hub's Kontakt Library The Planet - Deep Scan (henceforth known as Deep Scan). Deep Scan does a great job at carving out its own unique place in the sample library market, by perfectly setting a vibe and executing on it in every way. The library provides a level of immersion and almost plays like a composition in its own right. "Is IT communicating with us? Is IT... living? Who are THEY? Is there ANYBODY at all?"
Its probably better if you just take a listen for yourself to hear what i'm talking about:
Deep Scan is laid out in a unique way, with 4 groups for each instrument consisting of loops lasting from 10-50 seconds. The sampling is very minimal, but due to the sound sources it does just fine for this application. Since the loops don't line up, you can hold a note for the length of a song and it might never repeat.
The sound sources vary from ambient pads, to lo-fi vintage sounds, to seemingly random clicking noises. The instruments are laid out in basic patches (created from the raw sounds), derived patches (created by re-sampling the basic patches), and multi's (multiple instruments stacked together). You have full control over each sound source in each instrument, so you can very easily sculpt the sound to your liking.
Overall the GUI for Deep Scan is very nice. You can tell immediately that immersion was the primary goal of this GUI design. The library has a story behind it, which is very sci-fi in nature. The sounds support this story, but the GUI itself also tells a story. It looks like the inside of a space ship, and you're looking out the window over an undiscovered planet. Atom Hub is (as far as I know) the only Kontakt developer to sculpt a story around their libraries. For any video game fans out there, this Kontakt library gives you that feeling of immersion similar to a well written video game (not to the same extent, but its a nice feeling nonetheless).
Beauty aside, how does it function? Personally I feel the library gives you plenty of control, with the ability to easily blend the sound sources, add an envelope, filtering, delay, reverb etc. Some people might view it as a downside that none of the knobs have labels, but when you mouse-over the knobs they show a hint at the bottom of the interface saying what the knobs do. Honestly I prefer the lack of labels for the knobs since it adds to the level of immersion.
I made a video review where I show more details about how the library is laid out, and how to use it. Check that out here:
The Planet - Deep Scan by Atom Hub is a very unique library with a lot of potential. It has a level of immersion i've never seen before in any Kontakt library, and I think many Kontakt developers could take inspiration from what Atom Hub has done. This is a library that most people could benefit having in their collection, and I think everyone should at least check it out to see if its for them.