Review: Orchestral Chimes Collection by Soniccouture

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Sampled in pristine quality, Soniccouture has turned its attention to the world of tuned orchestral percussion. With two mics to blend, three mallet types, and a host of other features, this collection represents not only exceptional instrument craftsmanship but incredible value for money. This library has managed to permanently appear in my orchestral template without hesitation. Continue reading to find out why!

Jump to the Demos of Orchestral Chimes Collection by Soniccouture

 

Review: Orchestral Chimes Collection by Soniccouture

The first port of call I recommend is to listen to the demos from Soniccouture. Instantly we can hear the clarity in sampling yet also how this collection can combine to create a captivating pitched percussion ensemble of magnificent quality. I was instantly hooked and went on to find that not only are there three instruments, but also a sufficient amount of sound design patches to get you started with the FX page. The three mallet types make all of the difference. There are softer sounding rubber mallets, clear plastic mallets and finally brass mallets for a bright and striking timbre. This is only for the crotales, each instrument has their own mallet types. Combined with envelope, filter, LFO, tuning, and performance options, there is everything you need to refine your sound to perfection. In addition, there is also the comprehensive FX section to manipulate the sounds to your wildest dreams. For £89, this already packs a punch!

Orchestral Chimes Collection normally sells for £89 from Soniccouture

Thoughts

The first instrument in the instrument folder are the crotales. For each instrument you have the option of pedal mode or free ring mode. The free ring mode will ring the notes freely, whereas the pedal mode gives you shorter notes which you can control the ring out using the sustain pedal. Upon loading the instrument, my first few hits were a pleasant surprise of a close and clear sound. Not that I was expecting anything less! The playable range is divided into two colours, blue which is the true sampling range of the instruments and then green which are the pitch-shifted samples across the entire keyboard. These pitch-shifted samples sound great with no unwanted artifacts and lend themselves to creating new timbres through sound design. If you’re writing for orchestra, stick to the blue, if you want to go wild, add the green!

The GUI is like all other Soniccouture instruments, clear, classy and easy to use.

To the left and right are the two microphone controls where you can dial in a close performance, far away or mix and match. In the centre are the mallet controls which range from soft rubber to metallic brass. In the middle are the five controls which are accessible via one click. These controls are here to refine the sound and performance of each instrument. The categories are envelope, filter, LFO, tuning, and performance Options and not only help with the sound design aspect, yet also to fine tune the natural timbres of these wonderful instruments.

The crotales sound incredible and vibrant. I prefer to use the pedal mode and felt the control was unparalleled. The response to my playing was extremely precise, thanks to the 15 to 17 velocity layers and I really felt like I was swapping out my midi controller for a set of crotales. Through addition of the FX page I was able to take these instruments to the next level.

The effects have five sections, insert effects, eq, saturation, space and stereo. Here you will find a plethora of effects options and really no need to ever go outside of the instrument to create some astonishing sound design. Each section is intuitive, easy to use and represent hours of fun for anyone who enjoys sound design. What makes it so great is that the samples are brilliant to begin with, you cannot help but lose hours creating new and wonderful sounds.

Moving on to the glockenspiel, the controls are exactly the same with the same options and mallet choices. From left top right, the envelope gives you control of the ADSR while next in line on the filter tab you can control the filter cutoff frequency, as well as choose the filter type with a drop down menu. In the middle is the LFO control and next to that is the micro tuning. You can control the tuning in cents and this is perfect for working with non-standard tunings or world music. Finally, there are the performance controls which focus on velocity, pedal sounds and humanisation. This is where the feel is!

While the controls are familiar, the timbres are consistently great and again, I felt I was playing a real life glockenspiel. The level of clarity is exceptional and the different timbres that can be created through the various controls and FX section are almost limitless.

The final instrument is the old classic, the tubular bells. For a long time, I have been looking for a deep tubular bells instrument and this is it. In fact, often tuned orchestral percussion is overlooked or an afterthought, so having it presented here in so much detail is a dream come true.

While here the controls are the same, the mallet types differ and are more appropriate for the tubular bells. Again, the sampling is pristine and the clarity is exceptional. Often if tubular bells are included in a library, there is very little in terms of velocity so it’s quite a new feeling hearing a tubular bell struck so quietly. This rounds off a comprehensive collection of Orchestral Chimes, with each instrument possessing the same high qualities.

I feel like Soniccouture have made an instrument full of natural beauty with a myriad of exciting sound design options. This takes a beautiful instrument and catapults it into the stratosphere of sound design. So how has this made it into my orchestral template? Simply, it’s the quality of sampling, performance options and sound design capabilities which are wrapped up in one extraordinary package. If you’re in the market for an orchestral chimes collection, this should be at the top of your list.

Facts

13 GB Library (NCW compression)
3 Kontakt instruments: Crotales, Glockenspiel, Tubular Bells
7763 samples
3 mallets per instrument: rubber, plastic, brass, rawhide, felt
2 microphone arrays per instrument
15-17 velocity layers
21 natural + sound design presets
Requires free Kontakt player 6.2 or better and is NKS compatible

Orchestral Chimes Collection normally sells for £89 from Soniccouture

 

Demos of Orchestral Chimes Collection by Soniccouture

Demos are unable to be shared from website

 

Contributor Pete Checkley reviews Orchestral Chimes Collection by Soniccouture
“Sampled in pristine quality, Soniccouture has turned its attention to the world of tuned orchestral percussion. With two mics to blend, three mallet types, and a host of other features, this collection represents not only exceptional instrument craftsmanship but incredible value for money. This library has managed to permanently appear in my orchestral template without hesitation. Continue reading to find out why!”