We talk to Dan Graham and Alessandro Camnasio about new DRONAR Master Edition

We talk to Dan Graham and Alessandro Camnasio about new DRONAR Master Edition

Gothic Instruments fans will no need introduction to the names of Dan Graham and Alessandro Camnasio. Dan is the owner of music library company Gothic Storm and co-founder of Gothic Instruments. Alessandro is the man behind many of the breathtaking sounds that can be heard in previous DRONAR and SCULPTOR instalments and his sound design has been used in countless Hollywood movie trailers including Transformers, Captain American, Thor and more. The two have teamed up once again on what looks to be the biggest instalment in the DRONAR series to date.

Gothic Instruments DRONAR Master Edition is a virtual instrument for the free version of Native Instrument Kontakt that takes the first eight modules of the DRONAR product line to a whole new realm. This huge 50GB collection includes over 2000 presets, all packaged in a new, fast-loading, more efficient engine and powerful features to tweak as little or as much as you want.

To celebrate it’s release we caught up with Dan and Alessandro to find out more…

Dan Graham

What makes DRONAR Master Edition different from any of the other DRONARs? 

It’s officially licensed so it works with the free Kontakt Player, meaning you don’t need to own the full Kontakt software. That should make it accessible to a lot of people who couldn’t use the individual modules.

It contains all of the first 8 modules so it’s huge, and they are all integrated meaning that every sound can be made up of layers from any of those 8 modules combined. Billions of sonic combinations!

It also has the new engine which has extremely fast load times.

Let’s say I already own a couple of DRONARs, why should I get DRONAR Master Edition?

It’s a lot bigger – a vast playground covering a wide range of instruments and sonic terrains.

Some people have complained about the longer than average load time of previous DRONAR modules. Is this going to be an issue with all the extra sounds contained in the Master Edition?

The Master Edition’s new engine brings the load time down to less than a second per preset (snapshot) from 10 seconds so problem solved.

Is this the end for the DRONAR series as individual modules or are there more titles planned?

Yes, we have more planned – in fact, the first part of the next “Master Edition 2” (being module 9, Glitchscapes) has already been released and we have lots more in the pipeline. In a year or so we’ll bring everything together into the next Master Edition.

One of the first things that stand out about DRONAR Master Edition is the GUI. What was the inspiration behind it?

The challenge was to see just how much expression and control you could get with just 6 dials. 4 of them are like mix faders fading in the different layer elements while 1 controls the ‘intensity’ (a mixture of crossfading through separately sampled dynamic layers, with added drive and filter control), while the final dial controls ‘movement’ (which is altering the depth of the LFOs and arpeggiators).

6 was originally chosen as the number of dials because that’s the maximum number of MIDI cc channels you can control with one hand and LEAP motion, a pretty cheap infrared controller that allows MIDI control with hand gestures. Look it up!

Which types of producers would you say the DRONAR Master Edition would best suit?

Media and film composers certainly, but everyone can benefit from high-quality pads and evolving, expressive atmospheric sonic interest.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from developing the DRONAR series?

The importance of delegation. I did a lot of the work alone with some of the early modules (audio editing, preset creation), but finding other people better than me allowed us to get more done, better.

Did you ever expect the DRONAR series to end up becoming such a big success?

It seemed like a good idea to have very high-quality sounds, lots of expression, lots of sonic complexity which remains simple to use, all within the popular territory of cinematic atmospheric hybrid drones. So, I thought it might do well.

As for the great sales, customer feedback and reviews, yes, I guess it has gone a lot better than I expected but I hadn’t really thought about that!

What made you want to develop the DRONAR Master Edition?

Right from the start, the reason the products so far have been called “modules” is that they were always intended to be sonic categories within this big Master Edition. I thought of them as low-cost modules for early adopters, our audio-editing works in progress sold to help fund development of the big beast.

So to me, this Master Edition was always our first ‘real’ product: huge, integrated, officially licensed and NKS-compatible.

What would be the first thing you’d suggest for someone to do once they get their hands on DRONAR Master Edition?

Test a few presets but then roll your sleeves up and go straight to the “Sounds” page to browse through the thousands of component sounds that can be mixed and matched within each preset. Then hit the RANDOMISE button for endless new combinations of sounds.

Then go to the Arpeggiator page and do some trial and error experiments to see how you can create expressive gating sequences and endless runs and arpeggios.

DRONAR should be an amazing tool to play with and explore, not a giant bank of presets!


Alessandro Camnasio

Did you try out any new techniques when creating the sounds for DRONAR Master Edition?

Having the chance to layer all the sounds from the different modules opened up many interesting possibilities for creating new sonic blends.

How would you describe the sounds in DRONAR Master Edition?

Great pads, atmospheres and FX which cover a whole universe of moods and sonic textures which sound rich and organic.

What would be your advice to anyone looking to get the most out of DRONAR Master Edition?

The presets are an excellent starting point for inspiration. I like to use the randomise function a lot with different presets, because you can get some very interesting blends. Then I listen to every single layer and tweak the settings to my taste.

What sets the DRONAR Master Edition apart from all of the previous DRONARs?

It’s faster and, as I said, with so much content available it gives you so many extra possibilities when it comes to creating new combinations of sounds compared to the single modules.

Are there any presets, in particular, you’re particularly proud of?

Probably the ‘Tension in The Air’ Bass pulses and the ‘Thrillerscapes’ FX.

What would be the first thing that you’d advise people to do once they get their hands on DRONAR Master Edition?

Explore the presets and play with the controls on the main page to get a sense of what they do. Intensity and Movement allow you to change the sound in a very effective and dramatic way.

Click here to find out more about Gothic Instruments DRONAR Master Edition