Analogue Workshop Vol. 2: Dark Ambient Review

In this review we take a look at the latest from sound designer Ian Boddy…


Manufacturer Ian Boddy
Price £34.95

As good as software synths are, there’s always going to be a hunger for the kinds of weird and wonderful noises that are recognisably taken from creaky old monster hardware synthesizers. Sound designer Ian Boddy has recorded over 300 samples from his collection of vintage analogue and modular synths, covering the darker recesses of ambient and electronic music.

It’s a 750MB download and works in Kontakt 4.2.4 or higher, though not in the free Kontakt Player. Even without Kontakt you can access the samples, though obviously this isn’t as flexible. The patches can be opened inside Kontakt but they’re not in library format, so you have to navigate to them using the browser.

Dark Ambient is a pretty accurate name for the sounds on offer and they run the gamut from subsonic drones and pads to strange, evolving atmospheres and percussive synth hits. Grouped into categories, they share a scripted Kontakt interface that enables you to alter various parameters such as LFO, filter, envelope and a range of effects including distortion, phasing, flanging, delay and some reverbs with impulse responses taken directly from classic hardware to complement the synth patches.

Patches are provided in raw and treated versions, and the effects are good. The list of instruments sampled is impressive, including Roland’s System 100-M, Doepfer A-100, VCS3 and a bunch of other stuff you’ve probably never heard of.


What we got from playing these patches was an overwhelming sense of how good they would be for the kinds of edgy, minimalist TV and film soundtracks that are so popular these days. Composers will often opt for obscure hardware synths for their textures and tones, and by using this collection you can do much the same without all the hassle of using real hardware. The drones and sweeps are menacing, ethereal and supremely usable for any kind of atmospheric composition work.

The collection is very affordable too, and you’re getting access to some great sounds. Check out the website to hear a few of them.