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View Full Version : Need a choir in my machine


GarretGraves
12-15-2009, 12:11 PM
I could really use some choir sounds. Willing to spend a couple hundred for software. Recommendations?

Rozovian
12-15-2009, 12:23 PM
Well, if you're willing to spend, Omnisphere has some nice choir sounds of different kind. And a lot of other sounds. If you only need choirs it might be a bit too much, plus it's a powerhog...

Some cheaper options are certainly out there (cheaper than omnihog anyway), just dunno how good they are. You might find something passable for free by googling for choir samples or soundfonts, tho I wouldn't count on it. Worth trying, tho (http://www.google.com/search?&q=choir+soundfont), some of these might work.

prophetik music
12-15-2009, 02:53 PM
omnisphere has choral sounds, but it's not a good choral simulator. at all. you're quite limited in what you can do from a vocal standpoint, mostly just special effects and limited-application synths.

i'd suggest looking into some of the EWQL choral stuff - they've got an enormous body of 'literature' to choose from.

GarretGraves
12-15-2009, 07:50 PM
Lookin at Quantum Leap Symphonic Choirs. HOLY SHIT! You can type in words and this baby will SING IT?! are you kiddin me?! I must get it! now i need 450 bucks!

tweex
12-15-2009, 08:02 PM
Lookin at Quantum Leap Symphonic Choirs. HOLY SHIT! You can type in words and this baby will SING IT?! are you kiddin me?! I must get it! now i need 450 bucks!

I've been using it for a little while and have been very very VERY pleased with it. Here's a small track I composed that used the choir samples:

http://tweexmusic.com/L_Hall/trailer/Everest%20Trailer%20Full%20New%20Ch.mp3

I highly recommend it. But don't get me wrong, it's a pain in the ass to do, but it's still really cool when you get it right!

prophetik music
12-15-2009, 09:01 PM
wow, that's really spectacular, brian. i really like it.

dannthr
12-16-2009, 02:23 AM
wow, that's really spectacular, brian. i really like it.

Very nice, tweek.

Here's my old EWQL choirs demo: http://www.musicianeer.com/glory_to_the_empire.mp3

Here's a newer piece with children/soprano choir mixed together: http://www.musicianeer.com/temp/dan_reynolds_-_coajs.mp3

But don't be fooled, Symphonic Choirs is easy to get into, but it takes real dedication to make it sound passable.

Harmony
12-16-2009, 03:12 AM
http://tweexmusic.com/L_Hall/trailer/Everest%20Trailer%20Full%20New%20Ch.mp3Epic. You guys are making me want to beat my budget up and get one of the EWQL vocal packages!

Here's a newer piece with children/soprano choir mixed together: http://www.musicianeer.com/temp/dan_reynolds_-_coajs.mp3Oooh, I really like the swells that sharply cut and end with a huge bass drum (e.g. 0:27 and 0:47). They make the song feel like more than just an auditory experience...I'm more engaged as a listener.

DZComposer
12-18-2009, 09:31 PM
The new PLAY versions of EWQL products require separate purchase of a dongle. Just so you know.

I'm of the frame of mind that companies shouldn't force customers to buy things just to use their products that add no additional value to the product. It's a shame, as EWQL has some nice stuff, but I don't buy from companies that do that shit. Put a dongle int he damn box if you're going to require one. Sheesh...

Harmony
12-18-2009, 10:57 PM
The new PLAY versions of EWQL products require separate purchase of a dongle. Just so you know.

I'm of the frame of mind that companies shouldn't force customers to buy things just to use their products that add no additional value to the product. It's a shame, as EWQL has some nice stuff, but I don't buy from companies that do that shit. Put a dongle int he damn box if you're going to require one. Sheesh...I'm inclined to agree. Definitely is a shame.

Scrap McNapps
12-19-2009, 02:27 AM
Kontakt 4 has some pretty decent choir sounds.

Moseph
12-27-2009, 10:56 PM
I'm thinking about buying EWQL Symphonic Choirs, but I'm put off by the non-legato feel that a lot of the demos have (especially the "official" ones -- http://www.soundsonline.com/product.php?productid=EW-182). It frequently sounds like a succession of individual syllables with no phrasing and no connection between notes. I'm thinking that careful layering, detuning, and note overlap might be able to fix these problems, but obviously I've never used the library so I don't know how versatile it is.

Tweek and dannthr: your examples sound better than EWQL's; can you guys comment on the strengths and limitations of the library? Is it possible to get a convincing a capella performance or do you have to hide things under an orchestra?

EDIT: After watching some tutorials on YouTube, I'm pretty well convinced that most people just aren't using the library very well. On a lot of occasions, the people doing the tutorials (even Nick Phoenix, who built the library) make reeeeaaaally bad editing decisions. Like they don't know how a choir ought to sound. And maybe they don't, which would naturally cause problems. It also seems like they're setting up for live performance, which might explain the lack of phrasing that is so common in Symphonic Choir pieces. If you don't pay attention to continuity between notes (i.e. carefully edit note lengths and overlaps in the sequencer in addition to all the word builder editing they show) the phrasing will be crap. Looks like I'll probably be buying the library, although I'd still like to hear other people's impressions of it.

dannthr
12-31-2009, 09:36 PM
Tweek and dannthr: your examples sound better than EWQL's; can you guys comment on the strengths and limitations of the library? Is it possible to get a convincing a capella performance or do you have to hide things under an orchestra?


Moseph, I've been contracted to sequence EW choirs for Highlander: The Game (Eidos) and Marvel Superhero Squad (THQ) because it is such a challenging and time-consuming process.

I'm constantly reworking how I sequence and edit together the wordbuilder phonems and it has been a real challenge to create convincing legato.

The ultimate truth is this: We are trained at such an early age to recognize, interpret from other sounds, and understand the human voice. It's a part of the hard wiring in our brains--almost more than any other sound recognition. It will always be the absolute most challenging instrument to emulate.

There are things you can do with SC that are fantastic, and tricks you can pull, but you have to really throw everything you've got at it.

I am hesitent to upgrade to the PLAY version of SC, even though they've supplimented it with the old VotA samples because I have put together custom scripts and templates in Kontakt with the old NI version that I feel are invaluable to my process.

Moseph
12-31-2009, 10:43 PM
Moseph, I've been contracted to sequence EW choirs for Highlander: The Game (Eidos) and Marvel Superhero Squad (THQ) because it is such a challenging and time-consuming process.

I'm constantly reworking how I sequence and edit together the wordbuilder phonems and it has been a real challenge to create convincing legato.

The ultimate truth is this: We are trained at such an early age to recognize, interpret from other sounds, and understand the human voice. It's a part of the hard wiring in our brains--almost more than any other sound recognition. It will always be the absolute most challenging instrument to emulate.

There are things you can do with SC that are fantastic, and tricks you can pull, but you have to really throw everything you've got at it.

I am hesitent to upgrade to the PLAY version of SC, even though they've supplimented it with the old VotA samples because I have put together custom scripts and templates in Kontakt with the old NI version that I feel are invaluable to my process.

Thanks for the response. I've purchased the library (and StormDrum 2; woohoo!) and am looking forward to working with it. The wordbuilder looks like it closely resembles a multi-track DAW editing environment, so I have high hopes that my slice n' splice experience working with audio will transfer. I don't know how the Kontakt library is set up, but the Play version has legato/portamento toggles that (judging from videos) seem to do a decent job with single-syllable melismas, which was one of the areas that had concerned me. I have a couple weeks before school starts up again, so I should have some time to really dig into the library before life distracts me.

Moseph
01-09-2010, 04:27 AM
Have now spent some time with Symphonic Choirs. Despite my pre-purchasing doubts, I'm now a believer.

Here's me learning the ropes.
(http://artsci.wustl.edu/%7Epmcrocke/audio/crockett_ewqlsc_anthem_for_pentecost_%28clip%29.mp 3)

GarretGraves
01-09-2010, 05:26 AM
Have now spent some time with Symphonic Choirs. Despite my pre-purchasing doubts, I'm now a believer.

Here's me learning the ropes.
(http://artsci.wustl.edu/%7Epmcrocke/audio/crockett_ewqlsc_anthem_for_pentecost_%28clip%29.mp 3)

Must...GET...MONEY...FOR...THIS!

Sounds fricken sweet! Sounds like you turned the bit rate down some though. Noticeable when the voices make S sounds. But still, it's not like I could come up with this sort of thing yet so why am I saying shit? It's great stuff! I want that software. NOW!

Also, Moseph, did your slice n' splicing transfer over for the word builder? Was it super difficult or do you get the hang of it after a few tries?

Moseph
01-09-2010, 07:56 AM
Must...GET...MONEY...FOR...THIS!

Sounds fricken sweet! Sounds like you turned the bit rate down some though. Noticeable when the voices make S sounds. But still, it's not like I could come up with this sort of thing yet so why am I saying shit? It's great stuff! I want that software. NOW!

Also, Moseph, did your slice n' splicing transfer over for the word builder? Was it super difficult or do you get the hang of it after a few tries?
I was actually unprepared for how good the clip ended up sounding, and there are still things about my sample use that could be tweaked to further improve how it sounds. (A new computer would help; I've maxed out my laptop at 2 gigs of RAM and can only have two wordbuilder voices loaded at a time before things start getting wonky.)



This is NOT one of those libraries that makes everything sound good. In fact, it will make things sound pretty terrible if it's not used well. I don't know what your audio background is. I was able to jump straight in and come up with this clip within two or three days after installing because the library works almost exactly how I expected it to work, and the wordbuilding process is similar to other things that I have a lot of experience with. If you've never done any heavy-duty audio editing (as in, splicing complicated sounds together so you can't tell that there's a splice), there may be a very, very steep learning curve. Note that a couple of posts ago I was passing judgment on the way other people were using the library even though I'd never used it myself. That's how familiar I am with the editing process involved. This is probably a good metric: If you can look at YouTube tutorials and identify the flaws in the way they do things and articulate how to do things better without ever having touched the software, you're in good shape to jump right into it. If you can barely follow what the tutorials are doing or can't think of any way to improve the sounds they come up with, then there will be a learning curve.

Being good at editing is probably the most important part of getting good results. The wordbuilder is a mini multitrack audio editor, and it needs to be approached as such. The back of the box says "type in words for the Choirs to sing," but this is misleading. The library certainly will not sound good if you just type things and use the defaults that it gives you. What you're really doing when you type is selecting several individual samples per note. You cannot think in terms of words; you have to think in terms of these individual samples, which need to be combined convincingly to simulate words. It's like fixing a rock band's lousy studio session -- you start with something that sounds sort of okay, and you need to turn it into something that sounds awesome by sliding all the little pieces around.

Having a good idea of what a choir should sound like, particularly in its vowel use, is also important. You can't rely on the pure vowel sounds the wordbuilder gives you by default; almost all of the vowels in the clip I linked are layered combinations of the basic vowels. Real-life choral experience helps.

And this probably goes without saying, but you have to be extremely patient. To get a good performance, you need to deal individually with each note and each transition between notes. When your first editing approach doesn't work, you have to be resourceful enough to get the sound you want some other way.



So, the two big questions to ask yourself before buying are 1) whether you feel comfortable constructing music by editing together two to six samples per note and 2) whether you're familiar enough with the sound of a choir to know whether your editing sounds realistic.

EDIT: I understand that getting the wordbuilder to work in FL is an ordeal because FL doesn't support the VST-MX plugin format that wordbuilder uses. I think you have to use a MIDI yoke to link the stand-alone version of wordbuilder to FL. If you're still using FL (or anything else that doesn't do VST-MX), make sure you know exactly how this works before you buy.

dannthr
01-09-2010, 10:37 AM
You know you're in the zone when you start responding to emails and IMs in votox.

Moseph
01-14-2010, 08:55 PM
Sounds Online has a two-day sale on Symphonic Choirs for $195 (until Jan. 15th) if anyone wants it for cheap.

Meteo Xavier
01-15-2010, 12:10 AM
I paid far less for it as part of the Composer's Collection.

:P