When it comes to crafting experimental soundscapes and SFX, grounded organic tones certainly have their place – but if you’re looking to leave the gravity well of earth-based sound design, you’re gonna need some serious sci-fi pyrotechnics. Enter The REAKTOR User Library, whose 20 plus years of ingenious communal collaborations mean no shortage of bizarrely futuristic, texture-blending tones to choose from when crafting interstellar sounds. Whether you’re scoring your next space opera or simply looking to blow your mind on an otherwise uneventful night at home, the User Library’s loyal legion of intrepid sound sculptors has you covered.
Here are five of our favorite sci-fi sound effects generators –whether they be Blocks or full ensembles – from the REAKTOR User Library, all of them bristling with the potent possibility and immense generative power you need to take your tracks extra-terrestrial. Read on for a brisk breakdown of each essential ensemble, and click the embedded links to download them for free.
As always, make sure you’re running the full version of REAKTOR.
Looking to conjure up nightmarish soundscapes, noisy leads, or grinding buzzsaw bass? Look no further! Malte Klima’s Brachial Brute is an experimental Blocks-based sound generator and subtractive synth with exhilarating frequency modulation possibilities. Packed with eerie pads, decaying percussion, and powerful low end, this ensemble is your best bet for offbeat sonic exploration.
Brett Lavallee is back with another Blocks-based experimental sound generator and a brazen backstory to boot. This gigantic floating starship is packed with multiple filters and a grain sampler, making it perfect for sci-fi sonics, underwater effects, and wholly alien soundscapes. Strap in and try your hand at the Scatter Jammer, Thrasher Cannon, and Spectral Compressor to craft a soaring space odyssey of your own with constantly mutating textures that are truly out-of-this-world.
Meet the non-plus-ultra in non-musical sound effects. This deliciously unpredictable instrument from Reaktor User Library OG lAZy fiSh is great for generating chaotic and ever-evolving sounds. As a prototype for the Skrewell ensemble that comes with REAKTOR, the TG-8H can go from bewilderingly turbulent to hauntingly beautiful with a nonchalant dexterity that, according to one user, “gave my panic attack a panic attack.”
With more bleeps and bloops than you can shake a lightsaber at, these are indeed the droids you’re looking for! Glimmer consists of a randomly-triggered and quantized sine wave oscillator and a wavetable-based drone synth, both of which can be leveled individually through the output mixer. Packed with reactive reverb, delay, pitch, and microwave oscillators, Colugo’s ferociously creative future-forward instrument is a perfect sci-fi sound generator that cranks out endlessly inventive and surprisingly vocal runs with just nine bold blocks.
Surrender to the void. Brett Lavallee makes his second appearance in this list with a sentient space noise generator whose strange evolving sequences, heavily-modulated drones, and sample and hold pitch effects make it a masterpiece for cinematic sound design. Sporting a bewildering array of blocks in its signal path, this generative ensemble is suited for a broad variety of sonic exploration – from otherworldly soundscapes to delightfully dicey drones and everything in between.
There’s more where that came from – don’t forget to explore the full User Library for an almost limitless archive of instruments, effects, sequencers and more. Should you need a hand finding the cream of the crop, we’ve a whole series right here on the blog. You’ll find it all over on the aptly named Free Stuff section.
Sound design: Konstantin Grismann