Music Software Review: Storm Choir II Core Bundle by Strezov Sampling

After The Storm – Where is the raging choir?

When I heard “Storm Choir”, I expected at least 100 muscle men screaming their lungs out spitting fire and blood. What I heard was a genuine and carefully recorded slavic choir that can touch your heart (instead of rippin’ it out).

The Library

This library is not just an update of the Storm Choir library but a brand new one. Strezov Sampling recorded a slavic molto virbrato tone 12 piece choir. Six men and six women were recorded separately. I had the pleasure the review the Core bundle which contains the legatos. sustain and staccato and the FX library. All of them can be purchased separately at the Strezov website. The library requires Native Instruments Kontakt 4.2.4+ FULL version and at least 4 gigs of RAM.

Installation

Over 70 gigs to download. Not a piece of cake. Especially when there is no downloader tool but a vast number of ZIP files. After downloading all of them I unzipped the first file in the hope, that it will be the kick start to extract the others. But nothing happened. After contacting Strezov Sampling I was told to use another ZIP program such as WINRAR. I really don’t like the fact that I have to install special software to be able to extract a library properly.

After installing WINRAR all files were extracted by extracting the first one. Great! But when I tried to load the legato patches into Kontakt the sample files were missing. I had to load them manually and save the instrumetns all new.

I never experienced such a hard installation before. Strezov assured me that they are working on a downloader. That would make it much easier.

[EDIT: Strezov Sampling have released a new downloader app which have fixed these problems: http://www.strezov-sampling.com/pages/downloader.html]

The Patches

One thing I noticed while loading the patches was, that every patch loads with a different volume level. Strezov Sampling told me that this mistake is fixed. When I fixed this everything is running smoothly even though it takes some time to load the patches since they are heavy weights.

Ah Legatos Patches

Features

  • Load/unload mic position
  • Mic position controls (solo, mute, volume, pan)
  • Output/routing options
  • Legato on/off
  • Releases on/off
  • Stack (true doubletracking) on/off
  • Ah vowel for men and women covering mp-fff with fluid, musical legato

Both sections (Men/Woman) have a very nice and natural sound. The women section is a bit dominating the whole choir if you load both patches. I like the stack mode a lot. Since it’s not only doubling voices but adds separately recorded voices it really makes the difference. Trying the different mics and mixes shows the variety of moods that you can squeeze out Storm Choir II.

Sustain and Staccato Patches

Features

  • Twelve Singers – six men and six women, recorded separately
  • Sustains and Staccatos (for both men and women) covering twenty-four matching syllables
  • Three dynamics (PP, MF, FFF) on all patches, from a spiritual pp up to a blistering triple-forte
  • Seven mic positions – Close, Section, Decca, Outrigger, Balcony, Rear Overheads, and Mixed
  • Stack Functionality (overlays a 2nd take on top, at the click of a button) *
  • Syllable selection via Phrase Engine (syllable sequence) or key-switching
  • ‘Jump-to-Sequence” brings together Phrase Engine and key-switching by allowing hands-free operation with the ability to trigger in specific points in your syllable sequence, via key-switch
  • Extended ranges for men and women (E2-A4 for men and G3-C6 for women)
  • Syllables edited for attack consistency and playability

* stack feature uses true 2nd take on staccatos and pitch-shifted 2nd take on sustains

Make sure that you chose a syllable first when using the sustain and staccato patches. Otherwise you won’t here anything and the chance to freak out is given 😉

The stack feature boosts the whole performance. I really fell in love with the sustain patches. The women patch is so beautiful and full of emotions.

You won’t find the common “Ah”‘s and “Oh”‘a or “Mmmm”‘s. But as soon as you are familiar to the syllables you will find the right for your needs.

FX Patches

12 patches with Choir FX:

  • Storm Choir II – Atonal Staccatos – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Atonal Staccatos – Women
  • Storm Choir II – Atonal Sustains – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Atonal Sustains – Women
  • Storm Choir II – Consonants – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Consonants – Women
  • Storm Choir II – Falls – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Falls – Women
  • Storm Choir II – Risers – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Risers – Women
  • Storm Choir II – Whispers – Men
  • Storm Choir II – Whispers – Women

Features

  • Twelve Singers – six men and six women, recorded separately
  • Seven mic positions – Close, Section, Decca, Outrigger, Balcony, Rear Overheads, and Mixed
  • Atonal Sustains and Staccatos (for both men and women) covering twenty-four matching syllables, over three dynamics
  • Consonants with releases (1 dynamic), covering all twenty-four syllables
  • Whispers (1 dynamic), covering all twenty-four syllables
  • Falls and Risers
  • Stack Functionality (overlays a 2nd take on top, at the click of a button) *
  • Syllable selection via Phrase Engine (syllable sequence) or key-switching
  • ‘Jump-to-Sequence” brings together Phrase Engine and key-switching by allowing hands-free operation with the ability to trigger in specific points in your syllable sequence, via key-switch
  • Syllables edited for attack consistency and playability
  • All samples are in .WAV which allows you to drag-and-drop directly inside your DAW
  • * stack feature is not available on all patches

I guess every choir library comes with FX patches. Some of them are useful others wouldn’t be missed if they weren’t there. If you need some atonal risers or whispers you will find what you are looking for.

The Sound

You’ll get a unique and living choir. There is no FX-Rack or tons of Church-Reverbs on board like other libraries have sometimes. This library is not showing off. It’s an genuine, honest and great sounding choir. You have 7 mic positions:  Close, Section, Decca, Outrigger, Balcony, Rear Overheads, and Mixed.

Each of these mics can be switched on or off which gives you a great variety of settings. The choir works in intimate compostions as well as in bombastic arrangement. For the later you maybe need to add some of your favourite reverb.

The GUI / Usability

legatos

Nice and clean. You can switch ON/OFF the different mics. legato. releases and stack mode.

mixer

For the staccato patches there are mic positions and the stack mode.

performance

Many of the patches have the “Performance” view. Add you syllable with a mouse click (up to 24) or use the key switching function.

The GUI is net and clean. Not cheesy but functional well designed. The only thing that puzzled me is the fact that the staccato and sustain patches are silent until you load a syllable. I am used that there’s an “Ahhh” or “Ohhh” or any lifesign that everything is OK.

The Price

$349 (including 20%) for the core bundle is what I call a fair deal. Storm Choir II is a serious competitor and doesn’t need to hide other choirs.

Overall

If you are looking for a library with an authentic and – let’s call it “european” – sound you’ve found your match. The bundle gives you all you need to have a great sounding choir in your compositions. It’s a refreshing sound and good addition to libraries such as Requiem & Co. You can tell, that Strezov invested a lot of good work in the recordings and programming. The installation was a little disaster and had impact on the overall rating.

After The Storm – Where is the raging choir? When I heard “Storm Choir”, I expected at least 100 muscle men screaming their lungs out spitting fire and blood. What I heard was a genuine and carefully recorded slavic choir that can touch your heart (instead of rippin’ it out). The Library This library is not just an update of the Storm Choir library but a brand new one. Strezov Sampling recorded a slavic molto virbrato tone 12 piece choir. Six men and six women were recorded separately. I had the pleasure the review the Core bundle which contains the legatos. sustain and staccato and the FX library. All of them can be purchased separately at the Strezov website. The library requires Native Instruments Kontakt 4.2.4+ FULL version and at least 4 gigs of RAM. Installation Over 70 gigs to download. Not a piece of cake. Especially when there is no downloader tool but a vast number of ZIP files. After downloading all of them I unzipped the first file in the hope, that it will be the kick start to extract the others. But nothing happened. After contacting Strezov Sampling I was told to use another ZIP program such as WINRAR. I really don’t like the fact that I have to install special software to be able to extract a library properly. After installing WINRAR all files were extracted by extracting the first one. Great! But when I tried to load the legato patches into Kontakt the sample files were missing. I had to load them manually and save the instrumetns all new. I never experienced such a hard installation before. Strezov assured me that they are working on a downloader. That would make it much easier. [EDIT: Strezov Sampling have released a new downloader app which have fixed these problems: http://www.strezov-sampling.com/pages/downloader.html] The Patches One thing I noticed while loading the patches was, that every patch loads with a different volume level. Strezov Sampling told me that this mistake is fixed. When I fixed this everything is running smoothly even though it takes some time to load the patches since they are heavy weights. Ah Legatos Patches

Features Load/unload mic position Mic position controls (solo, mute, volume, pan) Output/routing options Legato on/off Releases on/off Stack (true doubletracking) on/off Ah vowel for men and women covering mp-fff with fluid, musical legato Both sections (Men/Woman) have a very nice and natural sound. The women section is a bit dominating the whole choir if you load both patches. I like the stack mode a lot. Since it’s not only doubling voices but adds separately recorded voices it really makes the difference. Trying the different mics and mixes shows the variety of moods that you can squeeze out Storm Choir II. Sustain and Staccato Patches

Features Twelve Singers – six men and six women, recorded separately Sustains and Staccatos (for both men and women) covering twenty-four matching syllables Three dynamics (PP, MF, FFF)…

STORM CHOIR II FULL BUNDLE


INSTALLATION – 75%


PATCHES – 80%


INTERFACE – 70%


SOUND – 90%


VALUE – 85%



80%

80/100

Great and genuine sounding choir that doesn’t need to hide behind big walls of reverb.

80

Written by: Oliver Amberg

Oliver Amberg played in various metal bands (Coroner, Celtic Frost, Lick'n A Promise). His current bands are "The Boris Karloff Syndrome", "Artificial Rain" and "Postmortem Party". A couple of years ago he started to compose and produce music for film and games.

  • Nicolas Felix

    I bought the Storm Choir 2 bundle. I had some problems like you for downloading but I got everything and I am really happy with the sound!

    • Emmett Cooke

      They have a downloader app now thankfully which seems to make things a lot easier!

      • Nicolas Felix

        I had problem with the downloader app! But they just released it then it’s normal.

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