Featured Reviews Sample Library Reviews

Spitfire Audio – Ambient Guitars (Review)

spitfire audio ambient guitars

Renowned British sample library developer Spitfire Audio just released Ambient Guitars – a broad collection of modern cinematic guitar sounds, textures and loops. Perfectly suited to be used in film, TV and game scores, Ambient Guitars provides you with sounds ranging from lush and atmospheric to aggressively distorted.

The library was created and performed by the highly acclaimed Leo Abrahams (guitarist on Ocean’s 12, Ocean’s 8, Twilight, Green Zone) and his elusive collection of priceless guitars, boutique amps and obscure effects pedals.

We were provided with a review copy of the library to find out for you how Spitfire Audio’s new Ambient Guitars can enhance your next cinematic track.

Spitfire Audio – Ambient Guitars Trailer

A QUICK HISTORY LESSON

Ambient Guitars is the product of six years worth of collaboration between Spitfire Audio and renowned studio guitarist Leo Abrahams. Starting in 2013, the two of them set up shop in the iconic Pool Studios to capture Leo’s rare collection of guitars, pedals and amps. Together, they created what has become a classic Spitfire library: Enigma 1 – a collection of weird and wonderful sounding guitars, reverberant pads, dark, distorted plucks, warped pedal FX and cinematic synth sounds.

spitfire audio leo abrahams ambient guitars
Renowned guitarist Leo Abrahams – Picture by courtesy of Spitfire Audio

Three years later, Spitfire and Leo Abrahams created a follow up to Enigma 1, offering a fresh collection of sounds featuring tight and punchy distorted electric guitar instruments distinct in sound and character, through three amps and a variety of pedals. Both Enigma 1 and its successor Enigma 2 – The Rapture became staples of composers across the globe for creating cinematic soundscapes.

In 2019, Spitfire Audio decided to give both guitar libraries an overhaul, pack them together into one and to get back in the studio with Leo to create a whole new set of fresh sounds, merging it all into the new Ambient Guitars library.

OVERVIEW

Ambient Guitars is a combination of Spitfire’s renowned libraries Enigma 1 & Enigma 2 together with completely fresh guitar sounds created by Leo Abrahams, Christian Henson and Paul Thomson in 2019. Ambient Guitars features over 600 playable sounds and 10GB of content ranging from atmospheric pad sounds to dark, heavily distorted guitars and indefinable cinematic soundscapes. Formerly reserved to users of the paid full version of Native Instruments’ KONTAKT sampler, Ambient Guitars is now available for the free version of KONTAKT, too, including full NKS-support.

Ambient Guitars Setup – Picture by courtesy of Spitfire Audio

In true Spitfire style, the sounds captured for Ambient Guitars were recorded using an array of different boutique guitar amps and microphone positions. For the majority of patches, you can choose between up to 6 different mixes. These include a DI signal, a Clean amp (Fender Showman with Ribbon mic), three different colorful amps (Echolette, Fender Bassman, Swart) and a stereo room mic position.

The sounds provided with Ambient Guitars are sorted into these 10 categories for easy browsing:

  • Inspiration
  • Distorted
  • Inspiration Distorted
  • Enigmatic Pads
  • Amped Guitar Pads
  • Feedback Evo Grids
  • Ambient Guitars Evolutions
  • Odd Loopers
  • Atonal
  • Artists Presets (by Christian Henson & Paul Thomson)

AMBIENT GUITARS INTERFACES

In Ambient Guitars, the collection of sounds is powered by not one but three different engines/user interfaces. Each engine is perfectly tailored to the sort of sounds it holds and offers distinct features for sample selection and manipulation.

spitfire audio edna engine ambient guitars
Ambient Guitars – eDNA Engine

Most patches of Ambient Guitars are represented by Spitfire Audio’s custom-made eDNA engine. You can use it to combine two source sounds and modulate between them with envelopes, filters and a host of other processors. eDNA also features a gate sequencer and a selection of FX which can both be automated and modulated.

Ambient Guitars – Main Interface

The standard interface is used for most of the melodic patches in the Distorted sound category (former Enigma 2). This interface allows you to quickly switch between articulations (pluck, sustain, harmonic, power chords) and the six different signal paths mentioned before. The GUI also gives access to the most important controllers including Dynamics, Expression and Release.

Ambient Guitars – Evo Grid

The third interface is Spitfire Audio’s custom-built Evo Grid engine. This special interface is also featured on other popular Spitfire products like the LCO Textures or the Evolutions range. As its name suggests, it is built around the idea of so-called “evolutions” – slowly evolving sounds that change their character over a period of time. In the case of Ambient Guitars, these evolutions are represented by various types of guitar feedback that can be played like pads or drones. Evo Grid provides you with pegboard matrix to select different evolutions for each key range. This allows you to create ever-evolving, multi-layered pads that can be held for a long time. Apart from various envelope controls and FX, Evo Grid also features full access to four different signal paths (three amps plus one room signal).

LOOK & FEEL

The interfaces included with Ambient Guitars feel very responsive and are easy to use for the most part. If you own other Spitfire libraries, chances are you’re already familiar with the layout of the different interfaces.

Although being a great tool for heavy sound manipulation, the eDNA engine feels quite complex and requires a bit of learning before you are able to make use of all the functions at hand. However since most of the presets are sounding great right out of the box, you don’t even have to worry about knowing all the GUI’s functions if you don’t need to.

Maybe at some point in time, Spitfire might want to add an “Easy tab” to the eDNA engine that features just the most important functions – just as they did with their standard interface some while ago.

THE SOUND OF AMBIENT GUITARS

Sound-wise, the new Ambient Guitars library is flawless, just as you would expect from the seasoned developers at Spitfire Audio. The sounds shine where they need to be pristine and get real gnarly where they need to be aggressive.

The different amp/mic combinations offer interesting variations of the same patch that each add their special color when mixed together. With 600 presets from different sound categories, you get lots to choose from. Whether you need an atmospheric drone sound or meaty power chords, it’s all there.

Leo Abrahams’ collection of rare guitar pedals – Picture by courtesy of Spitfire Audio

Leo Abrahams really excels at creating unique guitar soundscapes that only faintly are reminiscent of the original instrument used. The sounds of Ambient Guitars feel cinematic yet organic and can surely enhance any synth-driven track with a sense of life and human variety.

Owners of the discontinued Enigma 1 or 2 will know of the great sounds that these libraries come with and will surely have joy in trying out the brand-new 160 patches.

CONCLUSION

Again, Spitfire Audio managed to take something well-established and make it even better with Ambient Guitars. This amalgamation of two highly praised libraries and newly recorded material provides cinematic composers with a treasure trove of organic pads, aggressive basses, odd ambiences and vivid loops. These sounds definitely will be heard in dark underscores, indie-type soundtracks and ominous trailer intros for years to come.

Ambient Guitars is now available on the Spitfire Audio online store for $299.

AMBIENT GUITARS WALKTHROUGH

0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.