CHICAGO, Aug. 30, 2015 – We recently received for review a package of Soprano and Bass “Voice of Rapture” products, part of Soundiron’s “Solo Voices” line. Both packages are separate, monophonic instruments that make a great contribution to vocal sample literature.
The Soprano instrument features singer Nichole Dechaine, who, according to Soundiron, was chosen “specifically for her precise and yet delicate style, exquisite tone, smooth delivery and brilliant energy.” The bass sample is taken from the rising opera performer Joseph Trumbo.
Both instruments proved exciting in composition/mock-up scenarios, with the rich and vibrant samples providing plenty of creative inspiration. Plugged directly into notation software, they were an exciting addition to the composition process, and also proved more than capable of achieving that lush out-of-the-box sound for those whose composition process begins and ends in their chosen digital audio workstation (DAW).
Each instrument is divided into two main portions. The first consists of extended, recorded phrases in all 12 keys, while the second and perhaps more useful portion includes multi-sampled single notes.
The extended phrases can be played in whole or in part, allowing composers to string together different phrases to create their own word balances. The single note samples proved to be expressive as well as remarkably agile even in very fast, melismatic passages.
Both single note and phrase samples also have a useful “offset” setting, allowing the user to dictate the starting point of the sample. To give just one example, the offset function could be used to isolate a particular syllable or phrase portion in a recorded phrase.
Instruments are additionally divided into “lite” and “Hi-Quality” settings, with obviously different memory requirements between the two. Opening the “lite” setting of Voices of Rapture Bass, one quickly discerns the clever reasoning behind the creation of this a monophonic instrument.
While individually repeated notes lack a round-robin setting here, convincing legato passages can be created by stringing one key-press or attack into another, hence the monophonic design. The legato setting triggers a separate sample from that of an isolated attack.
The samples themselves have a nice acoustic quality, sounding as if they were recorded in a small performance hall. The reverb tail is slight, allowing composers to run the gamut from a dry sound to a lush third party reverb. In the author’s setup, the Solo Voices were deep yet present when passed through a nice Infrared (IR) hall in Quantum Leap (QL) Spaces.
For some ears the bass voice may lack a certain punch, depth, and gravitas. While the performer indeed sounds young, the quality of the bass certainly matches the more gentle approach of Dechaine’s soprano, allowing for a valuable unity of style when used in an ensemble configuration.
In the end, Soundiron has succeeded in providing composers with the convincing solo classical voice samples that their current setup may have been lacking. Indeed, Soundiron has done such a lovely job with these samples that we are publicly challenging them to round out their collection with a contralto and countertenor package. Bravo!
Rating: *** ½ (3.5 out of 4 stars)