VST Buzz are back once again with a huge discount on a massive collection of Kontakt instruments for just two weeks only. This time we’ve got 90% off the Orchestral Bundle by Aria Sounds. We forced our Kontakt monkey, John Montoya, to buy another hard-drive and get downloading for this in-depth review. Shall we see what he has to say about it?
As a someone who licenses music for television and create music for video games (and remixes video game music), I am always on the lookout for unique and expressive orchestral libraries. I have seen my fair share of both mind-blowing sample libraries that make me question if I’m even living in reality or not, and absolutely abysmal libraries that didn’t even remotely try to sound realistic or perform quality control.
Aria Sounds, admirably, was off my radar until Audio Plugin Guy approached me to write this review (which is weird because I own over 1TB of sample libraries…). I was very keen on trying this out for myself and pushing it to its limits. Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
Meet Your New Orchestral Companion
This bundle features over 90GBs of cinematic libraries ranging from complete orchestras and solo instruments to ethnic winds, brass and pianos. I would list all of them here, but considering they give you a total of 15 Kontakt libraries (for full version ONLY) to choose from, I think our editor wouldn’t like me very much if I listed every single one of them in detail! [Maybe work on the grammar a bit too, yeah? – Ed.] So Instead, you can check out everything you get by clicking the link below this review.
Strings for Days!
The string libraries alone are approximately 60GBs of sampled goodness. What stood out to me, compared to other string libraries in the same price range, is how expressive the sounds are. You have the choice of staccato, pizzicato, slurs, portamento, and true legato. The key switch layout is simple enough for beginners and powerful enough for seasoned composers.
However, when using the modwheel to change the dynamics of the instrument, I noticed the transition between mezzo piano to mezzo forte (soft to loud) was a bit rough and too sensitive. That’s something you’ll notice with all of the libraries in this bundle – you’ll have to fine-tweak parameters manually instead of having options on the main page, which can be really challenging for beginners. I’ll talk about that more in just a bit.
Overall, it’s really easy to mock-up your string section with the included symphony strings libraries. Me personally, I would use it to compliment other sample libraries I have to truly create a realistic sounding piece. Check it out:
A Little Taste of Asia
If you’re looking for something a little different, Aria’s Ethnic Flutes, Bansuri, and Chinse Xiao Glute have you covered. Aria really went the extra mile to make sure they were able to truly represent the sound of each instrument. I wish I could say more other than… prepare to be blown away (pun definitely intended).
Pianos… Organs… Soundscapes… Ohhhh My!
A cinematic bundle wouldn’t be complete without a selection of pianos, soundscapes, and a Pipe Organ. Well, by selection of pianos I mean one concert grand piano and various soundscapes of a piano that sound pretty darn cool.
Silk Piano features the Fazioli concert grand piano, a very bright and loud piano. This piano has the ability to overpower an entire orchestra, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Personally, I believe It works well for very fast and melodic pieces. I tried playing a song that has a melancholy sound, but wasn’t able to truly achieve that emotional sound I was looking for. Still, you can create something truly remarkable with this library.
Hybridchord is a very unique-sounding sample library (in my opinion). You’ll find sounds that will instantly inspire you to create something ambient or dark. Some of the “experimental techniques” used include the usage of bows, picks, drumming of the strings, and more. I found it useful for creating music for trailers and very intense scenes.
Pipe Organ may be just a vanilla sounding organ sample library, but it offers you many different articulation options I personally haven’t seen in a lot of other organ libraries, and I’ve seen a lot. It’s also very beefy; 2GBs worth of samples beefy. You’ll be creating music worthy of Count Dracula in no time.
The Little Drummer Boy Is Back, And He Means Business
You’ll find snares, toms, and other cinematic percussion instruments in this bundle that will help aid you in your musical endeavours. Every sound features a very crisp and clean sound, allowing you to add reverb and other FX with ease.
I previously mentioned how the string libraries didn’t feature any customization options. The percussion libraries suffer from the same thing, lack of customization, forcing the user to tweak the settings under the hood. I found myself manually editing every single instrument to achieve the sound that I wanted, which was a longer release tail on certain drums.
This bundle is HUGE. There is so much I could cover, but I would rather you find out how special these sample libraries are. Except for the minor annoyances stated above, this is a really solid cinematic bundle that can act as your secret weapon when composing music.