UVI Atmospherics by Diogo C
“Soundscapes, pads and beyond” is a very appropriate tagline that succinctly describes UVI’s Atmospherics expansion for its flagship Falcon synthesizer. If other expansions focused on themes such as retro wave and aggressive synth bass, this time the focus is on elements that are usually in the background, but elements that are crucial to modern production nonetheless. Soundscapes, pads and beyond is accurate, but also very broad definitions and in this regard it’s important to note that Atmospherics leans towards the “light” and “soft” side of this subject i.e. you won’t find “eerie”, “dark” or “brooding” sounds or moods here, so if such attributes and adjectives are desired I suggest checking out the Cinematic Shades expansion as Atmospherics almost feels uplifting in some patches. It’s also important to highlight the word “beyond”, as Atmospherics indeed brings more than pads and soundscapes, with some patches that can easily fit in other categories such as leads, arpeggios and a few others - not to mention that all patches can be turned upside down with Falcon’s vast capabilities. Speaking of categories, patches are spread through six categories: Animated, Motion Pads, Pure Pads, Soundscapes, Synth Drones and Experimental & More. Although this expansion does have some range, make no mistake that it is mostly about pads and this category constitutes the bigger chunk of its content, so if you’re a Falcon owner and a heavy-user of pads this one is definitely for you.
Sound quality: Although I think all patches offered here are very good sounding on their own, to my ears they’re not as inspired or intricate as other Falcons expansions, namely Ether Fields, Cinematic Shades and Subculture. Nevertheless, atmospherics successfully brings what it promises and if you’re looking for a pad-centric preset pack for the Falcon this is the most adequate choice. It’s might not be brilliant as some of UVI’s other offerings but it’s a high quality product regardless - the score refers to the slightly uninspired patches and not its sound quality per se.
Ease of use: Downloading and installing were a breeze, Atmospherics is not a big pack (at least not by today’s standards) and UVI’s single-file approach greatly facilitates the installation and management of Falcon expansions. Authorization is also very quick through UVI’s website and subsequent iLok process. On the hands-on side of Atmospherics, most patches are highly playable and should be instantly gratifying, it’s pretty much load and go, with all patches responding nicely to velocity and aftertouch, with instant control on handful of macros and a mod wheel assignment. CPU consumption is mostly fair, and even though some presets can have many voices of polyphony they’re all well-optimized to perform without hindering on a project.
Features: As with other Falcon expansions, all patches on Atmospherics are packed with at least four macros encoders and corresponding buttons for the most relevant settings, usually around a few of controls that enables some basic tweaks which should suffice on many situations - we’re talking four or six controls on average here. When that’s not enough we go to the building blocks of each sound through Falcon’s tree view and adjust seamlessly anything one can ask for, from sound generators to modulations and effects and so on. That’s a given, and can not hide that Atmospherics is little less polished than other expansions, which is reflected on a small but meaningful detail: there’s no description or comment on any of the presets or for the library itself when clicking on the “info” button. I found these very interesting on other expansions, they were often helpful to varying extents on providing some insight on the content, and it’s a shame that they’re not back for this one.
Bang for buck: Falcon Expansions are coming out on a steady pace, and that leads to costs piling up if you’re the patch-hungry type. In this regard, $39 seems fair although I think it could be cheaper and most importantly, UVI has to come up with incentives such as cumulative or loyalty discounts and maybe some sort of subscription could be an interesting alternative as well.
• The best pad-centric expansion for Falcon so far.
• Easy on system resources.
• Some patches are a bit generic.