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Alright, just was browsing KVR looking for new vsts and stuff and BAM! I see that project SAM has a new line of samples. I really like their horns so I went and checked it out...needless to say, I was absolutely stunned.

http://www.projectsam.com/Products/Symphobia/

(the demos are hidden in the top right; took me awhile to find them)

Never, NEVER have I heard a sample library sound like this. Not even EWQL. This is...epic.

The demos are knock offs of 'pirates' and the like but damn if they don't sound just as good. (the solo violin in swashbuckler leaves something to be desired, but hey, for that low brass I don't even care)

It's the sound of the sections, the brass especially: there's real punch behind them.

After listening to the demos and seeing the instrumentation, I know what I'm waiting for - too bad it's around $1400 US. (still cheaper than VSL by, what, 4k? XD)

So, any thoughts? I'm too busy being amazed to notice any faults - perhaps someone can pick it apart better than I.

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It's okay, I mean Project SAM always has a great sound. They just know how to record for reals.

But the thing about Symphobia, which is why it's unlikely I'd ever get it, outside of its pricetag, is that it's Ensembles only.

Which means everything is tutti.

So like... it'd be like, okay, I want a clarinet, or something, but you can't have the clarinet alone, it has to be in unison with say a bass clarinet and a contrabass clarinet or you can't have just a clarinet but you have to have a clarinet in unison with an oboe or something like that.

I'm just a control freak, I guess.

Everyone is just hoping that SAM will do a great strings library or go back to Symphonic Brass and update the programming.

I think Symphobia has its uses, for sure it's great for a quick sketch, but if you want an instrument to play alone, well, you need another library.

(And if you think I'm wrong, listen to Swash Buckler again and notice that the violin does not play alone.)

EDIT:

I am sort of curious about their multis though:

Symphobia Acid For Blood

Symphobia Alien Corridor

Symphobia Bigger Than Life

Symphobia Blockbuster

Symphobia Cacophony

Symphobia Captains Log

Symphobia Cat n Mouse

Symphobia Chainsaw Attack

Symphobia City Noir

Symphobia Cluster Galore

Symphobia Desert Planet

Symphobia Domestic Trouble

Symphobia Gnome Dance

Symphobia Meteorite Chase

Symphobia Metropolis

Symphobia Mind Bend

Symphobia Parallel Suspense

Symphobia Renaissance

Symphobia Stop Motion

Symphobia Tension Builder

Particularly City Noir and Chainsaw Attack

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Definitely picking this up and going to get in on the pre-order before next month. Yes, it is a "tutti" orchestra lib... but if you already have the likes of EWQL and/or VSL to flesh out your orchestral pallete, this is a damn good addition. Composers I've talked to who have used it say it's simply amazing and very epic in sound. The price is rather strange though imo. A bit too expensive for 18GB of orchestral elements... still, very solid from the look and sound of it. Just pricey enough to keep the hobbyist / remixer away, and cheap enough for the professional to pick up on a whim... I have a feeling this lib will pay for itself 10 times over if you're composing professionally as it caters to that Hans Zimmer / Media Ventures sound that so many producers love. If you're looking for a cheaper alternative that sounds similar I would highly recommend String Essentials (http://www.soundsonline.com/String-Essentials-2nd-Edition-pr-BS-396.html).. it's my "go to" string lib and can sound amazing and symphobia like with the appropriate programming and convolution reverb. It also gets along well with EWQL.

Rich

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Ah, I didn't think about it being a tutti library. I thought when they said ensembles, they meant trumpet ensembles, trombone ensembles, etc.

I didn't think they meant THE ensemble. heh.

So I guess it's very much a one trick pony then...a very nice pony, but still just one. hmmm...

Do any of you have experience with the SAM brass? I wonder if it can sound like symphobia's ensembles or if that sound really can't be duplicated by anything out there.

The demos are great but aren't they always? XD

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Actually, after looking at the articulation list pdf on the site... there are seperated ensembles which are simply broken into woodwinds, strings, and brass. So that means all of your strings are together in a set of patches divided up into different articulation programs (legato, marcato, staccs, etc)... and the same for brass and woodwinds. Looks like they've also done some cool things like paired a low string section with a bass synth in one patch. Still, it'd be most useful for the kind of music I usually compose and it sounds pretty amazing to boot.

I have a ton of experience with SAM as I own their solo sessions, bones, and horns... all very lively and well sampled. In my opinion they beat out brass heard in any "complete" library like EWQL. I actually tried making my own tutti layouts a while back in kontakt using SAM horns and String Essentials... turns out that you can definitely get a sound similar to symphobia by doing this. Just takes some time. Check out this cue I did yesturday, it's an arrangement of the Splatterhouse 3 menu music I did for this site actually.. in the judging process right now. All of the brass is from the SAM libraries, and the strings are from String Essentials. Very symphobiaesque.

http://www.richdouglas.net/audio/CallOfTheMask_RD.mp3

Rich

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Tutti writing has its place. Zimmer-esque sounds are well achieved through that kind of writing because, in general, Zimmer writes very simply.

I wouldn't buy Symphobia just for its sound. I mean, the SAM guys know how to record warm and powerful samples, it's their strength, so don't misunderstand me. It's just that Symphobia's THING is sketching and putting stuff together fast.

Personally, I don't see myself getting this library because when I spend that kind of cash, I expect a little more flexibility in my instrumentation.

Especially if I'm writing any sort of legato strings. I want to be able to control whether my basses and celli are separated by 5ths or 8vas.

I also like to have timbral control over my instrumentation. I mean just because I want a contrabassoon and a flute to be in tutti doesn't mean I want my oboe and clarinet to also be in tutti. Especially if I want that glassy sound that bassoons doubled with flutes have.

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Just bit the bullet and ordered it. Personally.. I feel that like it's far more than just a sketchbook and will get lots of playtime from the likes of me. Then again, it really fits my composing style... and I usually work under very tight schedules so being able to load up one patch that covers my entire brass section will be fantastic for action / suspense writing that will no doubt make the producers happy. Hell, the effects alone make this worth the price of admission IMO. On top of that, it's the first library I've heard that gives Zimmers / Media Ventures personal sample lib a run for its money sound wise.. good stuff. As stated before.. this is a great supplement to an already established pallete of sounds and not an all in one kinda thing.

Just ran across this video from NAMM which helps to explain it a bit more:

http://www.chrishein.net/musikmesse08/musikmesse08_seiten/vid_projectsam.htm

Rich

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