KENT, Ohio, October 11, 2016 – If there exists in this world a massed ensemble that’s notoriously difficult to first digitally sample and then later transform into a playable virtual instrument, it is without a doubt the classical choir. In creating their “Requiem Professional” choir, 8Dio and producer Troels Folmann have created a rare top-notch competitor in a saturated market populated with very few genuinely compelling choices.
If the name “Requiem” seems a bit pretentious, it’s hardly so in reality. Recorded by vocalists from the San Francisco Choral Society and the VOLTI choir in a genuinely ambient space, the mood and striking balance of these ensembles will inspire you to write your own Germanesque lieder in no time at all. 8Dio’s instrument is certainly ideal for film scoring. Yet for those working primarily in a traditional notation setting or who simply enjoy having good sounds available as part of their inspirational process, 8Dio may also provide a fascinating tool to explore.
For starters, Kontakt is required in order to run 8 Dio’s package. Users may pick either Kontakt 4 or Kontakt 5 samples for optimal use. (Both are installed.)
The Requiem package begins with the standard “ah, eh, and oh” vocal sounds, with a mod wheel assigned to the intensity of each vowel. Strangely enough the initial range based legato patches for these vowels are monophonic. This may prove problematic for the occasional split part writing.
The scripting for legato is very intuitive, permitting creation of realistic passagework ranging from slow to quick (but not too quick) tempos. Also greatly appreciate is the product’s envelope control. If the attack for an initial note is set to be slow, subsequent legato pitches will still connect realistically in the upper registers, although the male legato in such settings proved a bit more sluggish.
Film composers will enjoy the unique “marcato” patches (Figure 1), which feature intense shorter vowel bursts of up to three seconds in length, great for effective, punchy lines. The solo voices included are simply gorgeous, offering a crisp, close mic sound of top notch classical singers possessing striking polyphonic and canonic possibilities. Within is a legato toggle that can – with careful timing – effectively allow the playing of legato lines into these short word fragments.
What is lacking in these samples are simple “ah, oh, and eh” vowels for those looking for a wordless sustain, vocalise style of choral music, or simply an uncommitted neutral vowel for notation program settings. We hope 8Dio will consider making this a part of their next update to this otherwise excellent package.
After the phrase collections are repeated for divided SA (soprano-alto) and TB (tenor-base) sections – which once again offer striking polyphonic opportunities – users are also provided with perhaps the most robust FX collection of any choir package currently available (Figure 2). Herein everything from rising and falling sweeps, shouts, consonants, body percussion, and even Einstein on the Beach-style counting is available, something that’s bound to appeal to film and contemporary music composers alike.
Users of the product are also able to select and mix up to four mic positions. They are also given a nice virtual rack of 8Dio effects (Figure 3, head illustration above). And for that special sound designer who insists on his choir chanting ancient Latin phrases in a boomy stairwell with custom-applied delay and distortion, it’s all in the box.
8Dio’s “Requiem” is a bit lacking in the notational environment, but it fares quite robustly in thicker orchestrations. But this instrument does not come cheap. Its purchase price was listed at $549.00 as this review was readied for publication.
Whether or not you choose to spring for this package or for the standard King of the Hill – Eastwest’s Symphonic Choirs (MSRP $530.00) – will depend solely on which form of word builder you prefer. 8Dio’s product is much simpler and more quickly yields realistic results, while EW’s package offers greater flexibility at the intangible cost of a much steeper learning curve. Your choice may also depend on whether your preference for either the cleaner EW sound or the larger and moodier 8Dio aesthetic.
For this reviewer’s money, 8Dio may very well have crafted some of the most pleasing and expressive choir samples available to date. Their current effort deserves due praise and attention.