Before we even begin to look at Omnisphere Colossus, we are already dealing with a very experienced and well-regarded developer in Matt Bowdler, a.k.a. The Unfinished. He is a composer and sound designer based in London, England, and you may have heard his sound design in films such as Need for Speed and Olympus has Fallen, as well as video games like Dead Rising 3. Besides the numerous preset banks he has released throughout the year for synths like Massive, Zebra, Absynth, and Diva, he has also created an official soundset for the Virus TI and has contributed to the factory patches for Omnisphere 2.
What Is Colossus? And Why Would You Need It?
“Colossus has been carefully designed to deliver the ultimate collection of synths, instruments, loops, and textures for modern composing, heavily inspired by the work of Harry Gregson-Williams and James Newton Howard. Scores such as Deja Vu, Gone Baby Gone, Phone Booth, Total Recall, Bourne Legacy, Michael Clayton, The Equalizer, and Salt have been major influences on this soundset.
However, this collection is not about emulation, but about vibe. It takes the baton from powerful and emotional modern film scores, and pushes them in new and useful directions, allowing the user to produce original but much in demand cinematic music.”
To see how many patches there are in each category, you can take a look at the at: http://www.theunfinished.co.uk/shop-items/omnisphere-colossus/.
Now, one might wonder: Why would I need more sounds for Omnisphere 2, when the factory soundbank already contains over 12,000 presets?!
Yes, there is a lot of range already in the factory patches alone, and several factory patches are aimed at and can be used for specific styles of music. However, factory patches are usually as “bread-and-butter” as possible to appeal to the largest group of people, while third party soundsets tend to be aimed at more specific styles or genres. This sense of focus makes it much easier and faster to find more suitable sounds for your compositions and style just by browsing through the soundset. That beats going through the whole factory library hoping to find a suitable sound!
The possibilities with Omnisphere 2 are almost endless, so it’s always interesting to see what original and unique material professional sound designers can come up with. Whenever you have 90 minutes on hand, you can check out Matt‘s overview of Colossus to really get familiar with what he has to offer (or, you know, break it up into smaller sessions):
Omnisphere 2 has a new function to automatically install 3rd party soundsets. All you have to do is open the utility menu and choose “install .omnisphere” and select the .omnisphere file(s) for Colossus. There’s a file for the patches and another one for the multis – easy enough.
You can still do it the manual way, if you prefer, by copying the individual files (that are also included in the downloaded archive) to your STEAM folder.
Colossus contains a lot of useful presets that I could see myself using in a track – most gave me instant inspiration! Colossus has a very unique sound overall, the presets sound very original, and I don’t think you can find such high quality sounds in a lot of other places.
Some of the soundscapes are like mini compositions in themselves, and holding just one or two notes can give you an almost finished cue! They set the mood instantly. The soundset even contains great hybrid impacts/percussion hits and loops. There are beautiful sounding pads that really show off the power of the soundscources that come with Omnisphere 2. Then there are the unique sounding poly synths, keyboards, guitars, and ethnic/world like instruments. I can’t even begin to mention the 250+ arp/sequences, ranging from more ethereal to driving percussive loops, as well as “instant tension” bass sequences.
Among the multis are thick soundscapes and pads, splits (a sequence/arp on the left side of the keyboard and a solo instrument on the right), and impressive sequences and layered percussion loops. Most patches have the modwheel assigned to various parameters so that you can add even more movement to the sounds yourself.
The presets are all fully tagged, and they have inspiring names like: A Tale of Two Cities, Ghost Train, and Beneath The Forest, to name a few. Finding a preset you like should therfore be a quick process. All the presets even have a little description that, in most cases, describes how you can use the sound and what the modwheel does. This truly shows the extent of care that Matt has taken in creating Colossus. Like Matt says on his website, Colossus is ideal for cinematic underscore and Hollywood action music, atmospheric electronica, ambient, and neo-classical styles.
Below you’ll find an audio demo that I made in just 15 minutes by playing a few of my favorite patches. This is straight out of Omnisphere, without any mixing or any other processing (apart from a light limiter on the master bus):
I’ll get straight to the point. Colossus is easily one of the best soundbanks I have ever heard! There’s a lot of variation, and the presets have a very unique sound that, I’d imagine, you won’t find in a lot of other products. I especially like how easy it is to create a very intricate and beautiful underscore with the soundscapes and the sequences, and the arps are a real time saver to get a groove going.
The price for Colossus is £79.99 +VAT. It may sound a little high at first, but you’ll get 600 great presets and 132 multis for the money. If you compare this to similar sound design/synth products for Kontakt, priced between $100 and $500 (or more), Colossus doesn’t look that expensive at all!
Another benefit of Colossus, as opposed to similar products made for Kontakt, is that you can dive deeper into Omnisphere and really shape the patches to your liking. This is especially powerful when combined with the great new Omnisphere 2 features, such as soundlock and soundmatch.
In my opinion, Colossus is a must-have.