In the realm of gritty, punishing, dystopia-infused cinematic sound design, Pangea, a new virtual instrument for Kontakt from Infinite Samples, presents sound designers and composers with an impressive palette of visceral, darkly beautiful colors and shades from which to choose. Utilizing a wide variety of classic analog synthesizers, sampled to exacting detail, and created with the modern composer and sound designer in mind, Pangea’s specialty lies in creating the earth-shaking, larger-than-life sonic landscapes that epitomize the dimension and depth of the darker side of modern cinematic sound.
Throughout the course of this review, I will highlight the content, point out many of the features, and present my impressions regarding Pangea in a real-world application.
Infinite Samples has generously provided a copy of Pangea for the purposes of this review.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, Epicomposer may earn a small commission to maintain this website. We review and rate products regardless of our affiliate status with a brand and only recommend products we would use ourselves. All opinions expressed here are our own.
Infinite Samples is comprised of a group of composers who, through the search for unique sound tools to craft their own extensive list of credits, have released several sample packs of finely crafted material for use in designing cinematic soundtracks. Pangea is the logical culmination of that search and their first Kontakt instrument. The newest version of Pangea is now NKS compatible, requiring the Kontakt 7 player or a full Kontakt version 7.1.5 (or above), and installs via the Native Access application.
The sounds of Pangea are crafted from an extensive collection of rare analog synthesizers and outboard gear, including the Roland Juno 60, Yamaha DX7, Lyra 8, Moog Voyager, Juno 106, SH101, Moog Model D, Empirical Labs Distressor, Roland RE-201 Space Echo, Knas Moisturizer, Korg MS-10, Arp Odyssey, and many others.
The content of this impressive array of samples, totaling over 5GB after installation, is grouped into five categories of sources from which to derive patches: Analog Basic, Analog Modulated, One Shots, Pulses, and Noise & Percussion.
Based on a dual engine design, Pangea is presented in a stylish, clean interface that lays out the primary controls needed to craft and shape unique sounds on a main page, with complete customization tools on the secondary Motion and Delay & Reverb tabs at the bottom of the interface.
Along the top of the GUI are two layer selectors that allow customization of sound sources via pull-down menus. There are EQ knobs that provide low and high pass filtering, Tuning, and Pan controls for each layer. The layer sounds can be further tweaked in the pull-down selection menu that allows the user to change the speed of playback, sample start, and the spread of voices for each layer. Any sound source can be combined with any other sound source, along with the tweaks, to create an almost infinite number of unique sounds. There is also a user-definable motion feature that automatically sweeps between the two layers.
ADSR controls and an LFO section are located in the lower half of the interface with plenty of options for customization available, including LFO controls for Volume, Pan, and Tuning. Naturally, all controls are MIDI CC assignable to facilitate automation.
With all that available, by far the highlight of Pangea’s sound sculpting ability is the Multi FX section in the center of the interface. A large knob and individual sliders give users the ability to dial in an effects chain to add reverb, overdrive, delay and width to their sounds. Each effect can be adjusted individually and the main knob is then used to change the overall amount that the chain affects the sounds. Once again, all controls, including the center knob, can be MIDI CC assigned for automation purposes, and there is a nicely varied set of presets available through the drop-down menu.
Along the bottom of the interface are tabs that allow the user to access additional pages for even finer tuning and customization. Motion includes controls for three waveform-style sequencers that can be assigned to any of the parameters on the main page. Users can choose one of the predesignated waveforms or draw their own in the sequencer windows.
Delay & Reverb
On the Delay & Reverb tab, a wide array of MIDI CC assignable controls highlights both effects units that also come armed with an assortment of presets.
One of the truly unique features of the Pangea interface is the Reset FX tab. Accessing this tab allows the user to hear the unprocessed core sample from the original source material and is highly useful when it comes to programming and crafting new sounds from scratch.
Pangea ships with 222 snapshots or presets, programmed by leading composers and sound designers, and divided into five categories: Leads and Basses, Motion, One Shots, Pads, and SFX. There is also a selection of carefully curated presets for Quick Inspiration. The snapshots/presets can be accessed either via the drop-down snapshot menu or from the Preset tab in Pangea’s interface and are a great starting point for those venturing beyond and wishing to create their own distinctive sounds.
The preset snapshots include pre-designed reverb, delay, and drive saturation settings that can be modified through the MultiFX knob, and further customization options are deep.
Tip: Try automating the MultiFX using one of the Motion sequencers to create a constantly changing soundscape.
Click here to listen to a few of the snapshot patches straight out of the box:
HOW DOES IT SOUND?
The sound of Pangea is just stunning. The samples are meticulously recorded and thoughtfully arranged to offer the widest variety and flexibility. From thunderous and epic impacts to darkly ethereal evolving soundscapes, I found Pangea to be an outstanding addition to tracks, capable of conjuring dramatic sound worlds that retained the highly sought-after organic nature that comes from unique analog sources.
Because the instrument was designed to such high-quality standards, integrating Pangea’s sounds into my workflow was seamless and thoroughly enjoyable. The out-of-the-box usefulness was exceptional. But the most fun was hitting the ResetFX tab and taking a deep dive into designing new sounds from the ground up.
The one exception to the above was because of the nature of the dual engine, Pangea can be a bit hard on the CPU, especially when utilizing a lot of automation within the effects parameters.
With beautifully produced source sounds, deep customization options, and nearly every parameter of audio tinkering available to the user, Pangea will keep even the most adventuresome composer or sound designer busy for quite some time.
Whether bringing a more traditional analog warmth to a project or venturing into dark and vast experimental territory, Pangea is a standout offering in the often overcrowded world of hybrid instruments for trailer music and cinematic sound design.
Pangea is available as a download through the Infinite Samples online shop for $280.