Review: All Saints Organ by Soniccouture

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To pair with the ethereal and angelic All Saints Choir, Soniccouture present us with the All Saints Organ. This 41 stop 1906 Harrison Organ is situated in the same All Saints Church in Tooting, Surrey, the same space where the “All Saints” choir was also sampled. The two instruments go hand in hand as they share the same beautiful acoustic space and quality sampling. Of the 41 stops, 25 were sampled with impeccable detail with the result being one of the most comprehensive organ instruments to date.

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Review: All Saints Organ by Soniccouture

I have to admit, I’ve never really thought about needing a good organ instrument to join my workflow. With the choir, I knew exactly what I was expecting and the All Saints Choir certainly delivered. In regard to the organ, I know I would want a great, traditional pipe organ sound which would be fit for a certain show on the West End. Beyond that, I had no idea what my expectations would be. I’m no organ expert so I loaded up the All Saints Organ waiting to be surprised.

All Saints Organ sells for £119 or £83.30 on sale from Soniccouture

Thoughts

And what a surprise that was! Firstly, before talking about anything else, upon playing my first D minor chord, the traditional, rich sounding organ was bellowing through my studio. The sound I had so readily expected was there straight out of the box and absolutely gobsmackingly wonderful. At this point, I’ll admit I lost an hour or so just playing and enjoying the instrument. So, first impressions are excellent.

The GUI is the classic, simple and refined Soniccouture interface which looks classy and is very easy to use. On the top left there are the two mic mixes and separate volume for the wind bellows. Beneath are the huge array of tuning options and pedal configurations. The tuning is a nice touch and curiosity got the better of me. I tried several, notably a Gamelan tuning. It seemed odd using Pelog as a tuning on an organ, but it worked and gave the instrument microtonal possibilities. To the right are the 25 stops with assignable key-switches. For those who are curious, the stops are the component of the organ that delivers pressurised air to the pipe or set of pipes. These have been split into four traditional sections, “great”, “pedal”, “choir” and “swell”. Each section has a subset of instruments that have both their own name and distinct character. This could be reedy, flute-like or string-like. Of course, then there can be combinations. The GUI is finished with a timeless shot of the organ in situe at the All Saints church in Tooting.

When you load the All Saints Organ patch, all stops aside from the pedals are proudly singing away and that is the essence of the full organ sound. Should you decide you only want certain parts of the organ playing, then a click of a mouse button or a keyswitch will achieve this. It is apparent that Soniccouture know their way around an organ and each stop was sampled in detail, with two mic positions and they sound superb. The fun comes when you start experimenting with different sounds and timbres and discover this instrument is expressive and full of character. This really does capture the feel of being in church, listening to a traditional church organ being played. Add the All Saints Choir and you have an unbeatable combination for all things choral based. Depending on your knowledge level, it might be worth reading up on organ stops so you can find the desired timbre quicker. For me, I just liked experimenting. Did I mention at this point, I lost another hour or so just trying out different combinations?

Here, we have a detailed, wonderfully sampled and highly playable organ. For the admission price, I’d be just happy with that! But wait! There is more…oh so much more! The second page again houses all of the effects. Like the All Saints Choir there is a plethora of effects options.

All Saints Organ 2

Firstly, the reverbs are impulse responses taken from inside the church. You are being put inside this church through this instrument and the unique selling point is this is the only instrument that can do that. The impulse responses really capture the atmosphere of the church and I genuinely had that damp like chill going through me that only a church can provide. Other effects include saturation, stereo spread, delay, chorus and of course, EQ. Each of these are integrated with the organ to a very high standard and suddenly a new cinematic dimension to the instrument is revealed. I found it exceptionally easy to create cinematic and hybrid organ sounds without the use of third party plugins. From my initial expectation of just wanting a classic sounding organ, at this point I was blown away by the amount of variety and utility this instrument has. Hours number three and four vapourised into thin air! Wonderful!

Upon exploring the NKI instruments further, I found a folder called “Sound Design”. This folder contains 52 sound design patches ranging from pads, pulses, standard basses, atmospheres and some of the richest sub basses I’ve ever heard. The sub bass was so good, it went straight into a hybrid orchestral project I was working on. The All Saints Choir only had 10 sound design presets to get you started so I am so pleased that the organ has 52 interesting presets ready to go. They have been expertly crafted by legendary sound designer Ian Boddy and this really shows the capabilities of the instrument. Any library that allows you to create your own sound design with seemingly endless possibilities becomes worth far more than the sum of it’s parts. Soniccouture clearly understand this and have done an exceptional job in this area.

Yet still there is more and this one is rather special. There are 12 registry presets created by the iconic British composer, Howard Goodall. This is special to me as Howard has composed such a huge body of work and also music for two of my favourite all time television shows, Red Dwarf and Blackadder. The registry settings sound great, specifically “Queen of Spain Mans”. That has the rich character that I’m looking for in an organ instrument. For me, it just shows a great attention to detail and through the use of Mr Goodall and Mr Boddy, Soniccouture wanted to get every aspect of this instrument right. My conclusion is, they most certainly did on every level.

In conclusion, the All Saints Organ is a fine instrument in both the traditional and cinematic sense. Aside from it sounding brilliant out of the box, it has enough options and customisation choices to add character and substance to your compositions. I started my review questioning whether I really need an organ in my workflow. Having put the All Saints Organ through it’s paces, the answer is an overwhelming and resounding yes. Couple this with the All Saints Choir and you have a powerhouse combination for traditional and cinematic scoring.

Facts

6 GB Library, 3.5 GB with NCW compression
24/48khz stereo sampling
2500 samples
2 microphone arrays : close + ambient
25 Stops with keyswitching
True church reverb impulses
Synthesis module
Microtuning module
Registration presets by Howard Goodall & David Kelly
Sound design presets by Ian Boddy

All Saints Organ sells for £119 or £83.30 on sale from Soniccouture

 

Demos of All Saints Organ by Soniccouture

Videos of All Saints Organ by Soniccouture

Contributor Pete Checkley reviews All Saints Organ by Soniccouture
“To pair with the ethereal and angelic All Saints Choir, Soniccouture present us with the All Saints Organ. This 41 stop 1906 Harrison Organ is situated in the same All Saints Church in Tooting, Surrey , the same space where the “All Saints” choir was also sampled. The two instruments go hand in hand as they share the same beautiful acoustic space and quality sampling. Of the 41 stops, 25 were sampled with impeccable detail with the result being one of the most comprehensive organ instruments to date.”