A shadow was unquestionably cast across the film by tragic events last week in Colorado. But while it became an unexpected stage for terrible events, The Dark Knight Rises itself is also a cultural object from artists we care about, and as musicians and sound designers, we value every chance to express ourselves.

Composer Hans Zimmer and synth sound designer Howard Scarr are today releasing some of their work in a unique piece of software. It’s simultaneously a work of engineering – one of the most sophisticated software instruments available, Zebra2, and sound designs for that tool – and a work of art. You get the original patches used in scores for The Dark Knight and sequel The Dark Knight Rises. Berlin-based developer Urs Heckman offers up that combination of software and sounds in a tool release that’s part sound design master class. You can use it as a textbook in sound design and patch creation with the software, explore sounds from the film, or take this as a starting point to produce your own very different works of sonic creation.


  • 400+ sounds by Hans Zimmer and Howard Scarr
  • Hans Zimmerʼs custom Zebra2 update is included
  • Windows or Mac VST 2.4, Mac AU
  • $99 or €89 including VAT in the EU

Available for download right now. The updater takes your existing Zebra2 installation and updates to the Hans Zimmer edition, ZebraHZ. (Hey, is there something like that that works on my studio? Or maybe a Hans Zimmerizer ray gun.)

As for the instrument itself:

  • Diva filters – analogue models ported from u-heʼs other top synth
  • Four polyphonic compressors, one for each lane in the patching grid
  • Two extra modulation mappers
  • Custom GUI


  • HerpDerp

    Okay, guys, cut the shit. There’s no way Hans Zimmer was burning the midnight oil in front of this plug-in days on end. Find out which dude on his team was actually doing the work and give him some damn credit.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I did. “Synth sound designer Howard Scarr.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/estrombone Elburz Sorkhabi

      Lol! That just made my night!

  • DerpHerp

    HerpDerp illustrates the need to comprehend what we read. Often times we are so quick to complain or jump on comment that we do not even take the time to read what we are commenting on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16901179 Tyler Brown

    Also, we should point out the films are titled, “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises”. 

    Very cool to see this being released!

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Wait, but I said that in the story, as well.

  • John

    Worth discussing too Peter, are those great filters from DIVA which have been incorporated into this version of Zebra. These guys at Uhe have done a stellar job at emulating zero delay analogue filters…a step forward in a synthesiser software engineering.

  • Chad

    Also worth watching these video interviews with Hans Zimmer, he talks about modulars, zebra, there is more info on how he worked with Howard Scarr on zebra patching there.


  • PaulDavisTheFirst

    Urs is so talented. Envy. Oh yeah., and Zimmer+Scarr too.

  • Harris_pilton

    a comparison with absynth would be interesting…

  • TMM

    the danger of using these sort of libraries, is that most of the times, people use the sounds just as they are sold, without changing them at all.. so they don’t work on them.. and then you end up listening them on a lot of music done by a lot of people.. I was used to make this long time ago.. and then.. oh I heard this sound on this music.. Oh I heard that sound on that song.. it is the problem of using commercial synthesis.. even with environments like Kyma or MaxMSP, or SuperCollider, or PureData or Csound, there are a lot of mainstream patches distributed over the internet, that are commonly used by thousands of people.. I mean if you make your own sounds with them there is not problems in relation to using them.. because music is defined by source material+tools+process+articulation of all of these towards a goal.. and if you use a specific thing on a specific way it ends up being YOUR SOUND.. like Michel wasvisz was used to say.. the way as you define mapping algorithms, and patches that you used end up defining yourself

    • http://www.facebook.com/estrombone Elburz Sorkhabi

      You could hypothetically say the same thing about sampling in general.

  • http://www.facebook.com/estrombone Elburz Sorkhabi

    u-He does such amazing work. I just picked up the uhbik plugs and they sound stellar. I’m curious to see how ZebraHZ unfolds and if it ends up converging with Zebra in version 3 or if it just ends up being a standalone 1 off. Would be nice to see those extra comps and filters make their way back to Zebra2.

  • http://twitter.com/MarkMosher Mark Mosher

    I’ve been working with it since it’s release. I’m way more familiar with Zebra than DIVA so adding DIVA components into Zebra workflow is just fantastic for me. As you say Peter, the patches are inspiring and a master class. I’m learning a ton more about Zebra by just reviewing Howard and Hans’s work and have started working on some signature patches from INIT using the new components. Love it.