Review: Rhodope 2, Ethnic Bulgarian Choir By Strezov Sampling

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Though one might argue that the sample market has become overly saturated with choir and vocal libraries, Strezov Sampling has provided a welcome addition, focusing on the unique singing style of an authentic Bulgarian choir. Rhodope 2 is a pleasure to play and would be a welcome support library to any composer’s template.

 

Jump to the Demos of  Rhodope 2 

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Review: Rhodope 2, Ethnic Bulgarian Choir By Strezov Sampling

 

Rhodope II can be purchased for $329.00 USD from Strezov Sampling

Thoughts

So The first elements that always excite me when digging into a new choir library are the legato patches. Many choirs over the years have boasted relatively passable realism when it comes to sustains but few manage to capture the detail of the legato transitions in a realistic and, almost more importantly, consistent way. Rhodope II contains two polyphonic true legato patches which were the first things I reached for after my installation was complete.

When I opened them, I was immediately greeted with a familiar three fader mixer allowing me control over the three mic positions that were recorded for each patch. The unique singing style is striking and unlike most other choir libraries one is likely to have at their disposal. Both the legato patches are extremely playable and sound very natural right out of the box. They do respond to mod wheel which affects velocity crossfade allowing for extreme realism in the arc of your phrases. I did however find myself wishing that I had control of over a keyswitch or crossfade between the two vowels within one patch.

The next patch in this library is the extremely comprehensive and intuitive syllable builder. It allows you to connect a large series of recorded syllables to create a string of phrases. This has become standard for most current gen choir libraries but what was immediately striking about this phrase builder was that you are given full control of each syllable independently. This control ranges from attack and release, to whether that particular moment will be staccato or sustained. You are also given the ability to have two syllables crossfade into each other or automatically link based on a set, tempo synced, rhythmic value of your choosing.

While in this patch, you can hold down your sustain pedal to activate a simulated legato. The legato speed can be changed to one of three options. I found this to be one of the weakest points in the library in terms of realism. In the slow legato speed especially, the pitch bending is extremely apparent and not desirable sounding.

All the phrases you build can be saved for later use. A nice added convenience for existing owners of Wotan, Freyja, and Árva is that your saved phrases from those libraries can be loaded into Rhodope II.

In addition to the meat of the legato and syllable builder patches we are also given an effects patch which includes mod wheel controlled dynamic clusters as well as risers and falls of various lengths. A neat quirk to the mapping of this patch is that the elements are placed, seemingly strangely on the extremes of your keyboard. It is not until you load up another patch, the shouts and whispers patch, do you realise the utility of this mapping decision. The shouts and whispers patch falls in the center of the effects patch allowing for both patches to be simultaneously played without the risk of cannibalizing keyboard space.

As mentioned earlier, the market is saturated with symphonic choir libraries. What sets Rhodope II apart from the rest is the unique ethnic Bulgarian sound which, though not the first thought on anyone’s mind, has become a staple sound in certain film score types. Though its price point of $329 does seem somewhat steep for such a niche sound, the fact is that when this type of choir sound is called for and needed in a score, there are frankly very few other options available which have been sampled to this level of detail and with this amount of care. This library is ideal for film, television and video game composers as this unique and rich sound would be sure to add a new dimension to any score.

As with all of our reviews, please make sure to check out the audio and video demos to make sure that this is the right tool for you.
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Facts

The library weighs in at over 4 GB and contains 5 NKI instruments. It will not run on the free Kontakt player and requires the full version of Kontakt 5+. It boasts true legato recorded for both Eh and Ah, as well as an intuitive and customizable syllable builder. In addition, the library also contains a comprehensive series of whispers, shouts, and effects. All of the content was magnificently recorded with three mixable mic positions.

Rhodope II can be purchased for $329.00 USD from Strezov Sampling

 

Demos of Rhodope 2

Videos of Rhodope 2