Review: Silka Choir by 8Dio
Arc Patches are a joy to play and sound very realistic.
TMPro patches tempo sync all Arcs and Trills to host.
Comprehensive package for softer and more emotional choir needs.
Inconsistent timbres across legato transitions makes it hard to pull off isolated melodies (more so in the male patches than female)
Occasional weird whistling resonances in higher dynamics in some samples.
Silka Choir, by 8Dio, is meant to provide a comprehensive tool for emotional and lyrical choir parts. When it comes to the multi-syllable Arc patches, Silka definitely hits that mark. The silky smooth quality of these recordings paired with the well scripted Arc system makes playing complex (or simple!) chords with realistic phrases exceptionally easy and fast.
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Review: Silka Choir by 8Dio
Silka Choir, by 8Dio, is meant to provide a comprehensive tool for emotional and lyrical choir parts. When it comes to the multi-syllable Arc patches, Silka definitely hits that mark. The silky smooth quality of these recordings paired with the well scripted Arc system makes playing complex (or simple!) chords with realistic phrases exceptionally easy and fast. While the legato patches can be tonally inconsistent and awkward when exposed, there’s plenty of good material in the Arc and staccato patches to write beautiful choir parts.
Silka Choir sells for $598 from 8Dio
Silka’s interface is definitely one of its strengths, especially through its handling of the Arc phrase patches.
Every patch opens with this tab, which shows a simple list of articulations. They can be enabled or disable to save RAM via the light on the left, and the gear icon on the right lets you cycle between keyswitches, velocity triggers, or any other MIDI CC channel. Clicking on the “Show Sequencer” button near the bottom opens up this menu:
Here you can set up sequences of the various available phrases to make your own longer ones. There are 4 rows of 16 slots available, giving you up to 64 steps. There are navigation controls along the bottom to make your way through the sequences while setting them up.
Tabbing over to “Options” on the left or right will open up this menu. This one looks a little different depending on which patch you have open, but here you can manually control Dynamics, Expression, and the velocity curve for the velocity sensitive articulations. There are also attack and release controls, and if you’re on a legato sustain patch toy can control legato speed. You can also balance the volume of the male and female parts here on the mixed patches.
The mic mixer gives you volume faders, solo and mute buttons, panners, and across the top are knobs that change between stereo width and EQ presence, depending on the dropdown menu just above them. Being able to save and load Mic presets is a really nice features as well!
8Dio’s standard FX rack is included as a separate tab, with detailed controls for a variety of standard and creative insert effects. These pair well with some of the strange presets and aleatoric articulations for fun sound design.
The tone of Silka is a very warm and lush human voice sound. There’s something about soft choirs that make even the most ugly and dissonant chords sound beautiful in a way, and Silka does a great job of capturing that. I’ve never had more fun improvising with a choir than I did when exploring the 5 syllable soft Arc patches. The way the Arc patches allow you to blend chords together seamlessly over the syllable transitions (or even mid-syllable) is very inspiring. I can imagine that it might lead to a surge of 5 syllable phrase-based choir pieces soon, but those who learn to maneuver the sequencer and chain things together well will get great results with this.
I ran into a couple of issues with the sound – the first of which being some whistle-like resonances that build up in certain notes on certain patches at high dynamic levels. These aren’t common and most likely won’t affect most composers, but I found a couple that I could reproduce consistently.
The second issue was with the legato patches. For whatever reason, the first note of any legato phrase is always timbrally different than all of the following notes, even in the “Ah -> Ah” patches where it should stay the same. The first note always seems to be brighter and more up front. There are also transition issues with certain notes (for example, transitioning to the middle E in the male intimate legato patch at high dynamics), such as weird stair-stepping up or down or tonal differences between notes. These issues seem much more present in the male patches than the females, which are a little more consistent and smooth. I know this stuff is difficult to control with the inconsistencies of human voices, but it feels as if the legatos are somewhat of an afterthought compared to the Arc patches.
Silka definitely shines brightest with its multi-syllable Arc patches. I’ve yet to encounter anything better if you need soft phrases and aren’t too particular about the syllables you need. I wouldn’t rely on Silka for exposed legato melodic lines – lush and thick is the good side of Silka.
Silka Choir is a deep-sampled library featuring 40 male and 25 female singers. There are over 63,500 samples totaling in at 49.6 GB installed. Silka features polyphonic true legato patches alongside several variations on 8Dio’s Arc patches, including 2, 4, and 5 syllables as well as a detailed phrase building sequencer. There are up to 8 mic positions with a mixer included.
Silka is available for $598 at https://8dio.com/instrument/silka/
Silka Choir sells for $598 from 8dio