Review: Scoring Synths from Audio Ollie


A unique sample library which auditions the Moog Model D and Sub 37 synthesizers much in the same manner orchestral sections are captured. A total of 8 distinct microphones are used to sample the instruments which enable the film or orchestral composer to add texture and distinction to their creations and mixes by blending in or layering the sounds of the synth.

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Review: Scoring Synths from Audio Ollie

Scoring Synths sells for $279 from Audio Ollie


To start off and to make one thing perfectly clear…if you are looking to purchase a sampled Model D Moog with all the bells, whistles, and controls then this is not the library you want to purchase. Audio Ollie makes this rather clear in the walk-through video of the instrument. This library was designed to augment, to provide color and distinction to both film and orchestral scores much like any other orchestral or instrumental sample package. Several mic options are provided to allow the composer to mix in the synth parts and compliment other components of a score. In addition, it is up to the composer to add his/her own effects (reverb, delay, saturation, etc.) to color the dry sounds provided with the library. Essential modulation was added to the GUI such as Fine Tuning and Transposition which will allow for creative layering of the sounds.

The idea of adding alternative, non-traditional instrumentation to orchestral scores is nothing new. For anyone who has listened to the likes of Varese or Cage, who were both major composers in the mid-20th Century, know that orchestral experimentation has been around for over 70 years. While Audio Ollie claim to be bringing something unique to the table, I would probably call that overall claim into question. In the world of sample libraries however, I will have to say, that the sampling of the synths in a manner one would sample an orchestral instrument is somewhat new and different. I think the broader question is in the application of the library and the “uniqueness” of the sounds it really does try to add to the score. Is it really that much more unique than using any other full sampled synthesizer without the benefit of the diverse set of mics?

While we could continue this debate, ad nauseam, I can make the claim that the sampled patches in this library are fresh, crisp, and clean. There are 6 categories of patches included in the library: Bass, Pads, Synth, Synth EFX, Percussion and Sub. The mics can be used in a manner of ways to enhance that sound, bringing it close to the listener or moving it to the background. The following Mics are included with the package: Direct Input, Close, Mid Room, Decca, Central Channel Control (which can be locked to the Decca or operated independently), Wide, Surround, and Rear Surround. The mics come with a mixer and the ability to Pan each one separately. To keep the sound from getting muddled, plus the DI is equipped with a HP Filter. In addition, several of the Model D filters were sampled separately and can be controlled via keyswitch. If one does not wish to use the Model D filters, one can opt for the Kontakt filters via keyswitch, as well.

In the above example, the mics and the mixer are to the left of the GUI. The panning controls are the small sliders above the mixer. One engages / disengages the mics by just clicking on them with the mouse. The slider below the DI is the hi-pass filter which helps clean up the low end muddiness of the overall sound. The darker blue keys from C0 to A0 are to engage the Model D filters; the B0 keyswitch engages the Kontakt filters which can be opened up with the Modwheel. Since there is a lack of written documentation on the GUI, watching the walkthrough video is pretty essential to learning the interface as some of these controls are not labeled.
Also on the main panel, to the right, are ADSR knobs to control the setting for Amplitude (row 1) and Filter (row 2). The sliders below the Filter ADSR control the following: Fine Tuning, Octave Transposition (in semitones), Velocity Control and Stereo Spread (essential when layering Pads). If there is one particular attribute I love about this instrument, it is the velocity control. If you are going to layer instruments (which I would highly advise to bring diversity to the sounds), using both the Fine Tuning (for slightly detuning a sound) and Transposition make a world of difference. Lastly, you do have the ability to select mode of play: mono, poly or legato. Poly is sort of cheating considering the early 70’s Minimoog is a monophonic instrument…but, hey, we are in the world of sampled libraries now!!

Now we move into my favorite part of the package…the Arpeggiator!! This had to have been built for both the bass and percussion categories (even toss in the synth pluck). The bass sounds, by themselves, can sound somewhat pedestrian without some added effects or movement. Cleverly added reverb, amplification and saturation coupled with the arpeggiator bring a whole new life to the samples and can add a bottom end to a composition unlike other sampled acoustic basses can. To me, this is where the strength of this library is…creating a “heavy” undertone via manipulating the mic spread with the Model D filters, adding creative third party effects and using the arpeggiator for movement. If you don’t want to use the arpeggiator for movement, there is always the poly step sequencer where you can control both the notes and the velocity.

Both the arpeggiator and step sequencer, like most others of a similar ilk, provides the ability to set the steps, the rate, the Swing and the release (you’ll want to be careful how much release you add, especially at faster rates else you’ll have one loud, repetitive noise). The arpeggiator gives you the ability to set the octave variation in sound; the poly step sequencer gives the ability to set the Root Note. Using these options on multi-layered patches lets you create polyrhythmic sequences that adds both color and complexity to the overall score. If there is one issue I have with both of these tools is that the on/off radial and the hold radial are difficult to engage. It would also have been nice if they had been both 32 step capable instead of just 16.

Oh!! One last thing…I think this review would not be complete without a photo of the synths that were used in the making of the this library…


Scoring Synths requires the full version of Kontakt 5 (the actual revision was not listed). It downloads as 75 GB with 8 MIC positions, 100 + patches, & 120,000 samples at 48khz. Included are 17 round robins and 7 filters which are keyswitch controlled.
The Scoring Synths patch list can be found here.

Scoring Synths sells for $279 from Audio Ollie


Demos of Scoring Synths from Audio Ollie

Videos of Scoring Synths from Audio Ollie