Review: Voice Of Wind: Adey by Soundiron

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“Voice Of Wind: Adey” effortlessly fills many a niche the modern composer may encounter. Whether you write music that is ethereal and haunting or intimate and homely, “Adey” will be both a pleasure to use and a joy to hear.

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Review: Voice Of Wind: Adey by Soundiron

Soundiron’s “Voice Of Wind: Adey” is the premiere offering in their new modular female solo vocal series Voices Of Wind. Featuring the intimately-recorded voice of singer-songwriter Adey Bell, “Adey” is chock-full of vowels, breaths, phrases, pads, and ambiences that will easily earn a place in both scores and songs.

Voice Of Wind: Adey sells for $99 from Soundiron

Thoughts

“Adey” (pronounced like “A. D.”) comes with Ah, Eh, Ee, Mm, Oh, and Oo vowels in true legato, sustains, and staccato, with La as an additional staccato option. Ah, Eh, Ee, Oh, and Oo have both piano and forte dynamic layers, while Mm and La have a single dynamic layer. Each staccato comes with an 8x round-robin, so the machine-gun effect – incredibly noticeable on vocal virtual instruments – is mitigated fairly well.

 

Adey Main Interface

Overall, the vowels, whether longs or shorts, brim with character and nuance. Adey’s voice is pleasant and intoxicating, and Soundiron has done a great job capturing her talents. However, it is in these vowels where my chief reservations about “Adey” reside: Firstly, part of this is just a technical consideration; with only 3,114 samples, there are just going to be sounds that do not exist in this library. This limitation is not necessarily a bad thing – all libraries have space limitations, and part of the draw of this library is admittedly just how compact it is – but it does influence what is and what is not possible with this voice, which is so engaging I just wish it had more options! For example, having an additional pianissimo/edge-of-silence dynamic layer would have been well within the character of the library without causing undue sample bloat.

Secondly, a good number of the longs seem digitally locked-in-pitch. I want to emphasize that this is a very subtle thing to notice. It could even be that Adey is an incredibly even vocalist and that no such processing had been done, and regardless I understand every reason for Soundiron and its customers to want that level of pitch-precision in a virtual instrument, but I do miss at least the option to “unlock” the pitch stability (not as an effect, as with the adjustable vibrato) and allow just a bit more nuance in this already very-nuanced library.

Finally, some of the vowels feel somewhat uneven in formant execution. In other words, for example, the “Ah” sound seems to vary between something approaching an “Uh” and a true “Ah” depending on which note is sounding. Of course, as with each of these reservations, there is an upside: in most use-cases, this slight variation may actually be a benefit, as real human performances are never 100% pure vowel sounds.

It can be argued that each of the three points I have just outlined are as equally strengths of “Adey” as they are reservations. Practically, they may never even come up in your use of this library! But, if you do care about these things, I wanted to make sure you were aware of them, so you can make your own judgment calls.

The included phrases are where I am most impressed by this library. True legato transitions are great, but literal performances will always trump even the best scripting and sample manipulations. In general I am not personally a fan of phrase-based libraries, but these phrases are so usable my normal qualms hold no water. There are “bright” and “dark” phrase collections at a variety of tempos which altogether hold over one thousand phrases in multiple keys.

 

Voice of Wind Adey Kontakt Player Instrument Menu

These phrases are not only vast in number but incredibly tweakable. Controls for Swell, Attack, Offset, and Release allow easy reshaping of phrases while controls for Pitch and Stretch allow more nuanced massaging, and a Legato switch allows monophonic or polyphonic playback. Playback itself can be as-recorded, synced to DAW tempo, or variable (controlled by the Stretch control).

Voice of Wind Adey Phrase Sequencer

Also, phrases can be sequenced and stepped-through in a variety of ways, meaning that you will have a harder time finding a way to make the phrases not work for you than work for you. There are even a collection of different breaths (coded yellow on the keyboard) to insert in-between phrases – you could make an interesting piece with just those! In fact, the phrases and breaths also come in an unlocked WAV format for use in any DAW. All in all, I highly recommend you spend half an hour just playing with the controls and patches here; it will be time well-spent.

One of the neat things about the human voice is how un-human processing can make it. In a folder labeled “Custom,” Soundiron has included twenty intuitively-named FX patches using various combinations of effects from their FX Rack page.

Voice of Wind Adey Effects Panel

Some of these patches are dressed-up versions of the phrases you can find in the phrase library, but many of them are based on the non-legato sustain vowel patches (though, of course, you can enable legato transitions should you so desire), allowing you to not only play polyphonic pads and ambiences but to choose their vowel value. The key range of these FX patches also expands well above and below the usual mezzo-soprano range of “Adey.” These FX patches range in character from a Mellotron-esque “Mm” vocal pad (“Chord Pulse”) to robotic “Syntherize MW” to transcendent (“Angelectric”). My personal favorite is “One Ring” – three guesses as to which soundtrack inspired that one!

Voice of Wind Adey Fx Patches

This finally brings us to my favorite part of the library: the UI. Soundiron has long been known to have a clear UI schema, and their FX Rack is second to none, but the primary UI page of “Adey” – and, likely, the Voices Of Wind to come – is both absolutely gorgeous and incredibly intuitive. As you have no doubt noticed from the previous screenshots, the overall vibe is that of watercolor on textured paper. Though perhaps with a few-too-many typefaces used overall, the text is clear and legible. Everything is where you would expect it to be. Controls are represented by splashes of pigment, which expand as if by capillary action when increased in value. Keyswitch values are clearly visible, and the waveform of the vocal sample is front-and-center.

Voice of Wind Adey Phrase Patches

In the phrase patches, the UI also includes the robust step sequencer we looked at above.

Voice of Wind Adey Step Sequencer

So is this library for you? I do not believe this library is necessarily a “must-buy,” but if you ever come to me looking for a solo female vocal library that sounds great, can be used in a wide range of use-types and genres, is incredibly inspiring to use and interact with, and is easy on both the wallet and the hard drive, “Voice Of Wind: Adey” will be my number one recommendation.

Facts

Downloads at 2.6 GB with 3,114 24 bit / 48 KHz samples across 32 patches. Comes in .nki format for Kontakt 6 or higher. NKS Compatible.

Voice Of Wind: Adey sells for $99 from Soundiron

 

Demos of Voice Of Wind: Adey by Soundiron

Videos of Voice Of Wind: Adey by Soundiron

Contributor Kent Kercher reviews Voice Of Wind: Adey by Soundiron
Voice Of Wind: Adey effortlessly fills many a niche the modern composer may encounter. Whether you write music that is ethereal and haunting or intimate and homely, “Adey” will be both a pleasure to use and a joy to hear.”