Music Software Review: WOTAN Male Choir by Strezov Sampling [VIDEO]

Following on from their major success with the Storm Choir range and the Rhodope modules, Strezov Sampling are back in the choral realm with WOTAN Male Choir. It draws inspiration from the low growls of the male choirs heard in Lord of the Rings, and aims to provide deeper vocal tones than anything that has been offered thus far in the world of sampling (having captured the rarely recorded basso profundo singers). They’ve taken everything they’ve learned in their experience creating choir libraries and combined their methods to provide new ways of customization and control for composers, attempting to provide not only their trademark great sound, but versatility in the ways you work with their offering. Meena Shamaly takes a look in this video review at what WOTAN can do, including a quick recreation of a video game theme with the library towards the end.

Below is a brief description of WOTAN from Strezov Sampling website, followed afterwards by the video review (including timestamps):

Focusing on one of the most iconic choir timbres of the last decades in the history of film soundtracks – The Khazad-dûm male choir – Wotan is the ultimate box of tools to evoke the sound of a long forgotten kingdom.

Comprised of ten tenors and ten basses (including basso profundos), all part of many choir recording sessions for artists like Two Steps from Hell, and recorded in the Sofia Session Studio, Wotan is the perfect addition to the critically acclaimed StormChoir range adding a whole new layer of dimension and detail.

When it comes to virtual choirs, there are basically two approaches: Phrasebulding (StormChoir series) and Wordbuilding (Rhodope series). Wotan combines the simplicity and sample recording of phrasebuilding with the advanced editing functions of wordbuilding. This allows you to have amazing sounding results within seconds, but also to build and create new sample content with only few mouse-clicks. Create complete choral patterns inside the GUI or connect different syllables and morph them to add motion to your choir arrangements. Save and Load complete lyric presets to quickly get yourself into the actual composition or enhance your setup with predefined quick words.

All samples have their natural attacks included. However if you want to tighten them up the Syllabuilder Engine allows you to set custom attack, release, volume and offset values for each field independently. Something completely new and greatly missed in all phrasebuilding choir libraries.

Overview:

  • 5 GB compressed and optimized sample content
  • Instant Lord of the Rings sound!
  • Separate recordings of ten tenors and ten basses
  • The lowest basses ever sampled (Kontra G)
  • 8 powerful syllables recorded within 3 dynamic layers 
  • Sustain (1xRR) and Staccato (2xRR) samples
  • 3 mic positions – Close, Decca, Hall + custom convolution reverb
  • Whispers and Shouts with multiple RRs recorded for all syllables
  • Bonus sample content – 3 types of clusters recorded for tenors and basses within 3 dynamic layers!
  • The powerful Syllabuilder engine with CONNECT and MORPH modes that allow you to create your own sample content within Kontakt
  • Ability to Load and Save your lyrics, built-in preset manager
  • Integrated Help
  • Combined and premixed men patch
  • Lite patches for composers who don’t need all features of the library

Wotan Male Choir is designed for the full version of Kontakt 5.0 (or higher), and require 5 GB of free space. It is priced at USD 329 (introduction price at USD 269), and it can be purchased and downloaded directly from the Strezov Sampling website, and is also being distributed by Best Service.

Watch Meena Shamaly’s review below, and use the timestamps underneath the video to skip around if you’d like:

0:30 Introduction to WOTAN
4:05 Combined Men Patch
6:35 Tenors Patch
7:43 Basses Patch
8:30 Enhancing the Basses
14:36 Whispers and Shouts Patches/Integration
18:38 Clusters Patch
20:42 Syllabuilder
28:50 Linking and Cross-fading Syllables
38:46 Legato and “Hold Last Syllable” Options
41:29 Saving and Loading Phrases
43:31 Settings and Syllable Keyswitches
46:13 Microphone Positions and Built-in Convolution
48:23 In-patch Hints/Manual
48:50 Lite Patches
50:57 Test/Demonstration – Skyrim Theme “Dragonborn”
56:40 Conclusions and Wrap-up

Following on from their major success with the Storm Choir range and the Rhodope modules, Strezov Sampling are back in the choral realm with WOTAN Male Choir. It draws inspiration from the low growls of the male choirs heard in Lord of the Rings, and aims to provide deeper vocal tones than anything that has been offered thus far in the world of sampling (having captured the rarely recorded basso profundo singers). They’ve taken everything they’ve learned in their experience creating choir libraries and combined their methods to provide new ways of customization and control for composers, attempting to provide not only their trademark great sound, but versatility in the ways you work with their offering. Meena Shamaly takes a look in this video review at what WOTAN can do, including a quick recreation of a video game theme with the library towards the end. Below is a brief description of WOTAN from Strezov Sampling website, followed afterwards by the video review (including timestamps): “Focusing on one of the most iconic choir timbres of the last decades in the history of film soundtracks – The Khazad-dûm male choir – Wotan is the ultimate box of tools to evoke the sound of a long forgotten kingdom. Comprised of ten tenors and ten basses (including basso profundos), all part of many choir recording sessions for artists like Two Steps from Hell, and recorded in the Sofia Session Studio, Wotan is the perfect addition to the critically acclaimed StormChoir range adding a whole new layer of dimension and detail. When it comes to virtual choirs, there are basically two approaches: Phrasebulding (StormChoir series) and Wordbuilding (Rhodope series). Wotan combines the simplicity and sample recording of phrasebuilding with the advanced editing functions of wordbuilding. This allows you to have amazing sounding results within seconds, but also to build and create new sample content with only few mouse-clicks. Create complete choral patterns inside the GUI or connect different syllables and morph them to add motion to your choir arrangements. Save and Load complete lyric presets to quickly get yourself into the actual composition or enhance your setup with predefined quick words. All samples have their natural attacks included. However if you want to tighten them up the Syllabuilder Engine allows you to set custom attack, release, volume and offset values for each field independently. Something completely new and greatly missed in all phrasebuilding choir libraries. Overview: 5 GB compressed and optimized sample content Instant Lord of the Rings sound! Separate recordings of ten tenors and ten basses The lowest basses ever sampled (Kontra G) 8 powerful syllables recorded within 3 dynamic layers  Sustain (1xRR) and Staccato (2xRR) samples 3 mic positions – Close, Decca, Hall + custom convolution reverb Whispers and Shouts with multiple RRs recorded for all syllables Bonus sample content – 3 types of clusters recorded for tenors and basses within 3 dynamic layers! The powerful Syllabuilder engine with CONNECT and MORPH modes that allow you to create your own sample content within Kontakt Ability to Load and Save…

WOTAN Male Choir


Installation – 100%


Patches – 100%


Interface – 95%


Sound – 100%


Value – 90%



97%

97/100

The sound of this library is excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Strezov Sampling’s recordings. Add to that an extremely useful syllabuilder interface that easily expands upon the possibilities inherent to no more than eight syllables, and the library becomes hard to resist. It makes for a great stand-alone male choir that is capable of a large range of dynamics, registers, and phrase capabilities, as well as a wonderful complement to the low end of your existing choir libraries.

97

Written by: Meena Shamaly

Meena Shamaly is a composer, artist, multi-instrumentalist and performance poet based in Melbourne, Australia. His music covers a wide range of styles and sensibilities and often intersects with his poetry. He is part of international production house EON Sounds, working on various film, TV, video game, and production library projects.

Film and Game Composers

www.FilmandGameComposers.com offers a wide range of interviews, reviews, guides and tutorials for composers and musicians who are interested in writing music for film, TV and video games.

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