Contact: Big Fish Audio, www.bigfishaudio.com
Format: 2 DVD-ROMs of loop files: 489 WAV, 489 Apple Loops, 237 REX; 24-bit/44.1kHz
Price: $99.95 list
This isn’t an orchestral virtual instrument, but a collection of 30 construction kits (2.36GB of WAV files duplicated as Apple Loops, with 362MB of REX files). As this is soundtracky stuff, it’s not just orchestral instruments; you’ll also find drums, synths, etc.
Each kit contains a main mix with all parts, mix with traditional orchestral parts, and looped separate elements. Also, extra points for useful titles and file names, which (among other things) indicate the section of a song to which a loop belongs.
Three cautions, though: Individual parts aren’t isolated (most loops are ensembles), many files don’t lend themselves to the REX format, and mix and match can be difficult — there’s a good selection of keys and tempos, but your stretch algorithms better be up to the task of changing them if needed. Also, some loops have abrupt transitions or aren’t cut perfectly to the beat, leading to slight gaps; an easy fix is copying a quarter note from the beginning or end of a clip, sliding it over an eighth note, and crossfading to cover up the splice. Still, mix and match isn’t overly difficult, as the audio example to the right — taken from three kits — clearly proves.
This is a well-recorded live orchestra, and the open-ended nature encourages creativity. Put a little work into arranging, and the results will be well worth the effort.