Value for money
Today we look at the new library from Eduardo Tarilonte and Best Service called Cantus – a solo Gregorian monk vocal library. Let’s have a look.
Eduardo Tarilonte continues his solo library ensemble with his new product called Cantus. It comes in roughly 2,5 GB bundle worth of solo voices, phrases and soundscapes and it is magnificent. There is not a lot of content here but this is not a problem since it would only and most likely distract you from fully enjoying the sounds of Gregorian monks.
The minute you press the key on your keyboard you will be immersed in the Middle Ages and I have to say that this library really does break the boundaries of what is real and what is simulated.
So what do you get when you purchase the Cantus?
The Voice: Legato
The legato is perhaps the only reason you would to buy Cantus. The recordings are just amazing. You can really feel that the monks are near you. Like with Shevannai you get the true legato but unlike the Shevannai this one really sings words to you. That of course doesn`t mean you don’t get any sustains like A, E, I, O, U – you can and are controlled via key switch at the bottom of you keyboard, but in reality you would really want to use its “Word Builder” that Cantus comes with. There are sort of two word builders when I think about it.
The main word builder is the one that you see in all of the pictures that you can turn on and off as you please but there are also a couple of phrases that you can access via key switch on your keyboard. These are more or less standard phrases like “Amen”, “Christo” etc that you can include while you are playing the legatos (a,e,i,o,u – controlled via key switch in the middle of your keyboard). The difference between the two is that you cannot control the phrases while you play the legato.
In addition to legatos and “Word Builder” you also get Mmmh articulation and whole lot of phrases to play with. I will explain the phrases in the next part of this review, but for now let us take a look at the word builder.
The “Word Builder”
As mentioned Cantus comes with its own word builder with which you can construct or layer your own words. Once enabled you are presented with a new set of controls to play with and a handful of phrases and words/syllables. So what can you do with the word builder?
Well in short, you can construct your own phrases or choose one of the premade ones which will no doubt add more excitement to your tracks. Of course word builder isn’t something new; in fact, it is an old recipe but many beforehand didn’t work properly and had their flaws. That doesn’t mean Cantus is without its own.
The main difference (pre-recorded vs word builder) that you will notice is that it will take away some of the soul that pre-recorded samples have, namely shh and every ending of the word now that could be, that my hearing is bad but for the life of me I couldn’t hear it. Luckily you can simulate the endings via keys that can be found at the top of the keyboard. All in all the word builder is a great addition to the arsenal.
Like with Shevannai you will get a lot of phrases with Cantus in a separate patch. The phrases are again separated into two parts – one with which you switch the style and words/chants which are later controlled with the right side of your keyboard.
Phrases have a few additional controls, mainly a slider to control tempo and an offset button. The sound like I have mentioned before is gorgeous and it really feels authentic.
As a bonus you also get cca. 19 sound scapes which are constructed of various layer namely the voices and a couple of additions (pads, bells etc.). You can control each layer and therefore make your own soundscape. A great way to create a rich soundscapes is to load a couple of pre existing ones into Kontakt and set them to omni mode, that way you will have many layers to play with and you will get a much bigger, richer sound.
The GUI of Cantus is fairly simple with the exception of the word builder. You will get the basic controls to control the sound or, better yet, the shape of the sound. There are four components that are present in almost all patches and those are envelope attack, release, speed, expression and a convolution reverb. The latter one like with the previous library Shevannai, controls the dry/wet signal. At any point you can also turn on and off the legato mode and auto vowel mode.
With word builder you also get the standard copy/paste function to save your phrases, lock function which locks the word you are editing and a speed to control each word separately. This is particularly useful when you will need to have some words to sung/played as staccatos or when appropriate to be more softly played.
The one thing that bothers me is the amount of samples it loads in one patch. The main legato patch is in my opinion a bit too big as it loads almost 1.1 GB and might cause some frustration with users on low end computers. Perhaps having separate patch for word builder could be the solution but I can understand why they went with one patch instead of many.
All in all, the graphic interface is great and it provides just enough control and options to keep you happy.
Ease of use
Cantus will need some learning if you haven’t used any word builder before, but other than that it pretty much plays like Shevannai. If you are familiar with word builders then it should be a breeze.
Cantus will set you back for around 200 Euros and frankly this isn’t that much when you consider the value you are getting. Perhaps I forgot to mention that Cantus will work with the free version of Kontakt (Kontakt player) and that for the same price you can get either boxed or download version of the library.
Cantus offers a lot of enjoyment and for the price it brings true Gregorian monks to your studio. The sound is amazing and there are a couple of flaws but all in all this a magnificent library.