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Straylight by Native Instruments Review

Straylight published by Native Instruments (NI) which is under review today is a very unprecedented library for a composer that need to reach out for cinematic granular tones and rumbling sounds. This library and the possibility to combine selected and matched sounds results in an instrument on its own right with a lot of individual character and sound.

Frank Elting who is the genius behind the product concept, design, recording, programming, and production did send a review copy with no strings attached.


It is an easy installation process, you register the serial and in Native Access and the tool download the library to your hard disk.

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Straylight is a granular library on steroids. One of the distinct features of the Kontakt library is the individual sound content which fits the granular synth and was recorded and processed with a lot of care, attention, and dedication.

Content and Presets

The producing team spent an excess of time creating, recording, processing, mixing, tweaking every single sound. This effort was put in to allow you to have access to a treasury of sounds full of great origins. What makes this library so special is that the vibe, tone, and characters are playing exceptional and are very easy to use and most important fit into a mix. The result of this process is above 360 different balanced sound sources for the granular and sample modules. Easy to access by over 300 included presets. The presets have been designed and curated by Arovane, Andreas Koslik, Andre Ettema, Joerg Huettner, Jeremiah Savage, Ksenija Ladic, Noah Pred, Tommaso De Donatis, Kabuki, Stewart Walker, John Valasis, Angelos Liaros, Alexander Hacke, Jonathan Kranz, and Frank Elting.

Snapshots comes in different types

  • Atmospheres: Best played using a single note or just a few notes. Try octaves in the lower register and one or two additional notes in the higher range. Atmospheres are atonal or noisy soundscapes and are frequently more complex than pads.
  • Pads: Sounds playable much like a typical polyphonic synthesizer. More suitable in typical arrangements with other instruments.
  • Lead: Sounds which can function as lead sounds in a higher octave range.
  • Transition / Risers: Holds a spectral transition or movement.
  • Keys: The sound is based on keyboard instruments like pianos and organs.
  • Effects: All kinds of real-time controlled cinematic sound effects. These sounds are mostly atonal.
  • Sub: Sounds with remarkable subharmonic content. Best played monophonic or in octaves.
  • Pulses: Contain a rhythmic, arpeggiated or gated element. Sometimes the rhythm is bound to the host clock in other cases it is more fluid.
  • Showcase: Indicates a representative selection of STRAYLIGHT sounds. Listen to these to get a first impression of the library.

Granular Engine

The granular engine allows you to perform the selected source into a compelling and specific vibe. The engine assures that your results sound excellent with lush, pure timbres with the fundamental character of the source sounds which sonically evolve over time. The vibe changes in time and pitch and still maintain the quality of the sounds used. With this engine, you can vastly magnify in intensity and extent without reducing their sound character or shape.

The granular engine supports extremely detail control regarding grain applied through the grain cursor. You can choose the cursor movement within the waveform. By defining the direction of the cursor when you release the note and that it is synced to the host clock you can perfectly manage the transition or effects to the sounds as needed for your scene. Besides, the technology implemented the uniqueness comes from the results which are all based on the content that was recorded and processed.

There are many effects available for you to use, including especially taken reverb impulse responses created particularly for STRAYLIGHT.

Craft Uniqueness

Craft unique cinematic soundscapes, transitions, and ambient tones in real-time. Built for sound designers and film, TV, and game composers, STRAYLIGHT is ideal for everything from post-apocalyptic sci-fi to gritty thrillers. It combines specialized grain and sample playback modules with carefully captured sound sources, effects, and a powerful.

User interface & Usability

It is an effective UI designed to get you from A > B quickly. It does support advanced uses like an iPad using TouchOSC to control the X/Y pad which can be used to shift between the selected sound sources and how much an effect is applied. By using TouchOSC you can perform the X-Y modulation matrix to produce intense powerful production and sound design when working on your next project be it an Ad, Trailer or to picture. The XY pad at the center of the Perform Section manages the sound in real-time with the assigned modulation. You can assigne grain settings, filter cutoffs, Dry-Wet mix, delay feedback, and level & balance. For example, some Snapshots appear more exciting when the Y-axis amount it at the top.

STRAYLIGHT (by Native Instruments ) Cubase and using TouchOSC

Midi Keyboard support and load your own samples

Straylight sounds can be extremely strong, warm or scary, just as required. You can further shape them with modulation and aftertouch on your keyboard (if your midi controller supports it). I did see several requests for an option to load samples which is not something I do miss as the included sounds and carefully selected and harmonize together. I can understand that the effort to create Straylight is underestimated and results in this need.

Using the Modulation Features you can inject the real life into the different modulation sources. That way you add movement and dynamics to the selected sounds using two LFOs, two Shapers and a Matrix for altering and combining modulation sources.

Straylight browser

Straylight Browser
  1. Browser label: Displays the name of the file type you are currently browsing. This can either be SNAPSHOT, GRAIN SOURCE, or SAMPLE SOURCE.
  2. Previous and Next buttons: Loads the previous and next Snapshot or preset from the Results list in the browser. If sound category tags are selected for limiting the search in the Results list, the buttons appear filled out.
  3. Snapshot label / Preset label: Displays the name of the loaded Snapshot highlighted in white, Grain Source preset or Sample Source preset highlighted in yellow.
  4. Sound Categories: This area contains different sound categories with several tags each. You can use these tags to limit your search in the Results list. For more information, refer to Snapshots – Sound Types and Tags.
  5. Results list: Provides you with the results defined by the search criteria in the sound categories. You can also mark Snapshots and presets as favorites and filter the results list by favorites.
  6. Close icon: Use this icon to close the browser.
  7. XY Pad: A smaller version of the main XY pad that displays the position for the X and Y parameters of the selected Snapshot. You can also use this XY pad to control the sound of the selected Snapshot.

Rating:  Five out of five stars

Straylight is an outstanding library full of inspiring lush pads, soundscapes, and ambient beds. It is perfect when you look for vibes that add movement and emotions to your scene you compose for in your next project.

With Straylight, you can produce a mood best used in an energetic, positive, calm, disastrous, suspense, scary, horror, beautiful, or ethereal scene. The large range of emotions this library can produce would is ambivalent for all kind of uses and you can change the mood to some extent with the available controls.

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