Oceania is a male/female choir sample library and is the debut product of Performance sampling. But don’t let this statement fool you, since Performance sampling is the brain child of Jasper Blunk who has been creating custom sample libraries for A-list film composers for years. He also has some very nice free sample libraries you might want to check out: Jasper Blunk Orchestral Instruments for Kontakt, Angry Brass As Performance Sampling websites states, Oceania is meant to be “a choir library for thematic writing”. So, without further ado let’s take a look, if this new choir library has what It takes to become a new staple for choir sample libraries.
Content, sound and performance
Oceania consists of 48 singers (24 women and 24 men, recorded separately) and runs in Kontakt 5.5.1 or higher. The singers are capable of singing 10 syllables, that are triggered with every new note, but can also be adjusted via key switches. The samples have been recorded in a hall with two mic positions (close and far) at 48kHz / 24bit. The library will take up aprox. 2.1 GB of disk space.
The library comes with 4 patches:
– Men main
– Men shouts
– Men rise
– Female main
The main patches are what you will be using the most. The sound of the choir is absolutely huge, lush and powerful and the playability of the library surpasses all choir libraries I have tried out. The library is scripted in a way, that it recognizes note lengths, so shorter notes will trigger a staccato while longer notes will trigger a sustain. So, you only really need to load up one patch and you are all set to go!
The singers are nicely spread throughout the stereo field so you really get a sense of space and get a feeling of standing at the conductor’s podium while the singers are standing in a half circle in front of you. The singers that Jasper has recorded have a very operatic vibrato which makes some notes slightly out of tune, but this tuning only adds to the realism of the library. The lovely ladies and gentlemen can sing an intense fortissimo down to a “softer” mezzo forte.
The men’s section can produce some really deep and profound low notes, that can be great for some dark and mysterious writing. The Men shouts are a cool addition. They are powerful and have an ethnic touch to them. The Men risers are a nice tool to have in your arsenal and are available in 12 variations in Oceania. Note that there is some delay in the samples. The Main patches have ~80 ms of delay. Simply set your MIDI track settings to -80 ms.
The sample assets are timed, so you can quantize and with -80ms track delay it will be on the beat. The Shouts patch has a longer delay (to accommodate all the syllables), and once again, they are all timed to each other. I would be a complete understatement to say, that I am impressed with the sound and performance of this library. Oceania sounds and performs absolutely brilliantly. It also loads up very quickly and does not use a lot of RAM. The only thing that is maybe missing is a legato patch. I little “bug” in the library is also, that the Men main section seems to be a few DB quieter than its female counterpart. But this can easily be fixed by adjusting the gain accordingly.
The GUI is nothing to call home about and does not look like most professional sample libraries out there. But libraries are about the sound not their look right? Anyway, in the GUI you can basically only adjust your mic positions, set your preferred dynamics CC, adjust the release type (quite confusing actually) and set if you want the notes to trigger normally, or an additional note above or below the played note.
The “flatten dynamics” button acts as sort of a midi compressor. In short, it makes lower velocities trigger higher dynamic levels. With all that said, I still think the GUI could use at least a bit of touching up to make it more appealing on the eye and make it more user friendly.
Comparison with similar choir sample libraries
There is really no shortage of choir sample libraries on the market. Here are a few similar sounding ones, that I own and regularly use:
• Strezov sampling: Storm Choir II (full review)
• SoundIron: Requiem Light
• East West Symphonic Choir Platinum
With these choir libraries, the possibilities are almost limitless, since they offer a variety of articulations and word building options.
But what makes Oceania stand out from the crowd? Well, as I have mentioned before, the main Oceania patches have only one articulation, that shifts between staccatos and sustains, making it one of the most playable and easy to use choir sample libraries on the market. The sound of the library is on par with Strom Choir II and is a lot fuller and well-rounded than Requiem Light or the somewhat old-fashioned EWSC. The down side of Oceania is, that it does not offer any legatos, while you will find very nice legatos in Storm Choir II (Requiem Light has some legatos, but they are not very good, EWSC has no legatos).
Price performance and conclusion
The library is priced at 255 €. I think this is a very reasonable price for the library, since It sounds and performs so well. Just load up both main patches and you are ready to compose. Trust me, you won’t find any other choir library on the market that works so well and produces such great results so quickly.
- Most playable choir library on the market today
- Big, lush sound
- Easy learning curve if you read the manual
- No legato
- The GUI is not very pleasant