Checking Out: Symphobia 4: Pandora by Project SAM
5-Star Sample Set
Transitions lengths are flexible thanks to Adaptive-Sync
Sound Design mode for many instruments greatly expands the usability
Combos show off the power of the library
Slow loading time for presets
I would have liked some longer/shorter articulations across various multi-sampled instruments
No Legato samples
Price may be a barrier for some users
The 5-Star sonics catapult Symphobia 4: Pandora into a league of its own. Don’t dismiss this library as “just aleatoric,” as Pandora packs sync controls, pulses, and sound design options that allow users to compose complete cues with this toolkit alone.
Jump to the Videos of Symphobia 4: Pandora by Project SAM
Jump to the Demos of Symphobia 4: Pandora by Project SAM
Checking Out: Symphobia 4: Pandora by Project SAM
Pandora is a Kontakt Player instrument compatible with the (full or FREE) version of Native Instruments Kontakt 6.1 or higher and is authorized through the Native Access app. Touted as an instrument to boost your “action, sci-fi, and horror scores”, Symphobia 4: Pandora is the 4th in ProjectSAM’s critically acclaimed Symphobia Series.
What sets this library apart from the previously released instruments in the series is the focus on orchestral effects. Pandora contains a core collection of risers, falls, clusters, crescendos, and various other orchestral effects. And at 76 GBs of losslessly compressed audio, Pandora contains a massive collection that might have some scrambling to clear off hard drive space as the library does require space to download and then uncompress the downloaded files.
Pandora is organized into 7 folders for categorization. There is a consistent GUI design and layout for each of the instruments. Pandora is far more than just a collection of samples, thanks to the inclusion of Combos, a Sound Design mode and Adaptive-Sync controls developed for the library.
Probably the most immediately exciting is the Adaptive Sync, you can set the number of beats/seconds you need the crescendo, roll or riser to be and then the engine chooses from the sample set to automatically pick the best match to sync to your hit points.
It is fairly simple to get into using the Adaptive-Sync feature. The instrument also turns the Adaptive-Sync sliders “red” once you have reached a point that the engine needs to stretch the samples. The results seem to be really clean and even with the “red” sliders, I am hearing very little artifacts once the playback is stretched to extremes.
This is also my favorite bit of programming in the library. Using samples of orchestral risers or rolls is not very flexible with timing. Pandora’s Adaptive sync coupled with this fantastic orchestral sample set is what I think will make this instrument incredibly useful for those of us scoring on deadlines but still needing top-notch mock-ups.
The library also comes with a sound design mode. This allows you to take any of the instruments with the Sound Design Triangle in the interface and turn on the mode for additional parameters for pitch, filters, and effects.
As the promotional video (below) shows, this compounds the output possibilities of the instrument and can be used to create entire hybrid scores.
The instrument also comes with 5 Mic positions. A mix, close, stage, far and wide. Each of these mic positions sounds lovely and they will be really helpful for customizing your playback. For the majority of users, the Mix will most likely be the go-to sound as it provides an incredibly detailed yet lush room sound.
My personal favorite feature in the library is the inclusion of Pulse instruments. These instruments play back a variety of subdivisions from the sample set of strings, brass, and winds. Though there are some limitations the libraries allow for key switching between the different subdivision tempo sync’d to your DAW. To hear examples of the Pulse instruments check out the video below at 37:59.
Pandora delivers the same 5-Star quality orchestral sample sonics that the developer is known for. Just a few minutes into checking out the library and the quality of the sample set is proven to stand up to its Symphobia brethren. When I first heard of the instrument I questioned its usefulness. Don’t dismiss this library as “just aleatoric,” as Pandora packs sync controls, pulses, and sound design options that allow for vast amounts of flexibility.
I can’t wait for a chance to score with this library. I am confident many composers with be creating complete cues with this toolkit alone and be turning heads with the stunning sonic quality Symphobia 4: Pandora provides.
Symphobia 4: Pandora downloads as 76GB and contains Orchestral effects sample set divided into 7 Categories: Combos, Effects, Tonal, Pulses, Clusters, Risers, Percussion.
Symphobia 4: Pandora requires either the full or FREE version of Native Instruments Kontakt 6.1+ and is NKS compatible.