Review: V Alto Choir by Bela D Media
Versatile and approachable scripting to create highly realistic performance
Excels at slow lyric passages to create meditative, melancholy and ethereal setting
Somewhat limited by the included vocal elements
Tone limits uses of the choir to a few moods: it is not well suited for intensity requiring rapid articulation or ecstatic moods due to its general dark, fuzzy sound
Despite being limited to the scripting of the “vocables” included, V Alto Choir’s playback can be beautiful and ethereal.
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Review: V Alto Choir by Bela D Media
V Alto Choir features 2 octaves of a twenty-four-member female choir. The library is comprised of vocal elements rather than sampled phrases, which allows greater versatility and more complex uses of this library in various contexts.
The script builder gives you enhanced control over the details of performance, and the automatic legato features help you easily achieve a more realistic result.
The tone of this choir is rich and full, with an ethereal quality and a strong tendency to envelop the listener in a meditative or melancholy mood.
There is an option to engage a church-like ambience, which only bolsters the choir’s ability to invoke these feelings.
The scripting for V Script consists of 20 non-looped elements: Ah Ee Oh Oo Fah Rah Sah Tah Dee Fee Tee Zee Roh Soh Voh Zoh Roo Soo Too Voo. Each element can be individually controlled for attack and release. Thanks to the behind-the-scenes polyphonic legato, elements will automatically undergo minor alterations to allow one to smoothly connect to the next. Elements can be combined into sequences up to 12 steps, referred to as a verse, and you can script and save up to 12 verses. Each step is assigned to a key switch, so you can quickly jump anywhere in the sequence on the fly. The script automatically follows the steps sequentially from wherever it begins, changing to a new step with each note that is played (so if you want the same element twice in a row, you must dedicate consecutive steps to the same element: e.g. Step 1 Rah Step 2 Tah Step 3 Tah).
The V Script makes use of polyphonic legato so that the steps string elements together to create a seamless and remarkably realistic performance.
A peculiarity of this library is that pitch-bending controllers have no effect on the samples, which I found out when I moved the controller during a sustained note (in a rather ridiculous manner, I might add) and nothing happened.
Personally, I felt more elements should have been included. To be fair, this library’s script consists of vocal elements, also known as vocables; it doesn’t claim to be a lyrics builder.
Despite this, at a minimum, I was expecting to have all the vowels from the solfege syllables. If, like me, your favorite use of choir is chanting the “Dies Irae” in the background, I’m sorry to report that this library lacks any form of long “A” sound. The closest approximation you can get is “Dee Ah Ee Rah,” which honestly, looks more like script for a donkey baying than impending choral-centric doom.
Other elements I would have liked included: Bee Ba Bum Do Da Dum Re Mm La Ay. Here, I had a little fun using the V Script to try and build lyrics.
Another limitation I encountered with this library stems from the fact that the elements are non-looping. While this gives a more authentic sounding performance generally, I found the fact that the elements only last 6-8 seconds means you can’t hold the tails of phrases out very long, which is something particularly frustrating when you want to use suspensions and need the other part to sustain (I often divide altos into alto 1 and 2). In the video below you can hear how the upper line cuts off on the sustained note before the lower part has finished.
This library excels at slower, smooth lines but struggles with crisp annunciation necessary for any type of chanting effect.
Overall, I found this library impressive in how easy it is to achieve a highly realistic performance. Adjusting to the scripting took a little time, but once I had built a couple verses, I realized just how powerful this tool is. Using this library in the contexts where it excels yields excellent results. Whether you choose to combine it with other voices or use it as a standalone choir, V Alto Choir hits a high note.
As with all of our reviews, be sure to check out the demos and official videos to make sure this instrument is right for you prior to purchase.
The library downloads at 1GB and requires the FULL VERSION of Kontakt (5.1+).