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Symphonic Instrument

Strings / Orchestral Plugin by MOTU
Symphonic Instrument
Symphonic Instrument by MOTU is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin and a DirectX Plugin.
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Dongle (PACE iLok Smart Key)
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Symphonic Instrument gives users quick and easy access to an 8GB library of quality orchestra sounds for composing, sequencing and rendering realistic orchestral performances.

Built-in convolution reverb allows users to place their ensemble in authentic acoustic spaces, from orchestra sound stages to renowned concert halls to majestic cathedrals. Easy to use controls let users further adjust each instrument to achieve the perfect sound. Sounds can also be directly loaded into MOTU's MachFive sampler plug-in for more advanced layering and programming.

The MOTU Symphonic Instrument provides 16-part multi-timbral operation via the part list on the left-hand side of the window. Users choose the desired instrument for each part and assign a MIDI channel. To layer two or more instruments so that they play the same notes, users simply assign the parts to the same MIDI channel. Instruments to be played separately are assigned a unique MIDI channel. The controls to the right of the part list allow users to adjust the sound of the currently selected instrument, including ADSR amplitude envelope controls, an LFO, two filters, tone controls, pitch controls and velocity response. Global parameters, such as maximum allowed polyphony and global volume/pan, are displayed across the top of the window. Finally, the bottom portion of the window displays controls for the convolution reverb, including a menu for choosing the desired acoustic space and seven knobs for further adjusting the sound of the space. The MOTU Symphonic instrument is driven by the 32-bit UVI engine.

From solo instruments and small ensembles to full tutti orchestra and choirs, the MOTU Symphonic Instrument's 8 GB library includes strings, brass, woodwinds, orchestral percussion, male and female choirs, pipe organs, period instruments and pianos and even timeless classics, including Steinway D and Yamaha C7 pianos. Instrument highlights include:

  • Strings: Violin Section, Viola Section, Cello Section, Bass Section, Solo Violin, Solo Viola, Solo Cello, Solo Bass, Harp.
  • Brass: Trumpet solo, Trumpet ensemble, Piccolo Trumpet, Flugel Horn, French Horn solo, French Horn ensemble, Trombone solo, Trombone ensemble, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Contrabass Tuba.
  • Woodwinds: Flute solo, Flute ensemble, Alto Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet solo, Clarinet ensemble, Bass Clarinet solo & ensemble, Oboe solo, Oboe ensemble, Oboe D'Amore, Bass Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon solo & ensemble, Contra Bassoon.
  • Orchestral Percussion: Timpani, Orchestral Cymbals, Orchestral Snare & Bass Drum, Gong, Tubular Bells, Mallets, Celesta, Glockenspiel Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone.
  • Tutti: Complete Orchestra, String Orchestra, Brass Orchestra.
  • Choirs: Women's Choir, Men's Choir, Children's Choir, Solo Soprano, Solo Tenor.
  • Pipe Organ: Baroque Organ, Romantic (cathedral) Organ.
  • Piano: Steinway D, Yamaha C7.
  • Historical Instruments: Harpsichords, Piano Forte, Viole.

Convolution is a process where the characteristics of a real acoustic space are "sampled" (captured) and then faithfully reproduced, down to the last detail and nuance. Users can choose from a wide variety of acoustic spaces included with the MOTU Symphonic instrument to greatly enhance the realism of their orchestral recordings. Highlights include ensemble chambers, concert halls and soaring cathedrals.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 2.00 from 1 review

Reviewed By Ildon
November 21, 2005

A while back, I had reviewed this in the forums and I gave it a good score. Now I regret having done that, because purchasing this software was an expensive mistake.

First off, MSI comes with a PACE iLok dongle. As I said in my old review, this is a piece of crap, and as I used MSI more, it got worse - to the point where my PC would freeze because of this thing after every third time I tried to choose an instrument. PACE has pretty much screwed over everyone who buys this software. Maybe it'll be fixed in an update... but I'm not waiting around to find out.

User Interface: MSI's main redeeming quality is its GUI. This is probably as good as it's going to get right now. Everything you need to tweak a sample is right in front of you. Hit one button and you can go into key-switching and crossfading, etc. Great.

Sound: Some of MSI sounds good. It comes with a lot of extras you might find useful (like a ton of wonderfully sampled recorder instruments), but unfortunately where it counts (strings, brass, woodwinds) this thing falls flat on its face. Basically many of the instruments have attacks that're WAY too slow. Not to mention the strings aren't multisampled enough, so you're plagued with vibrato problems and really obvious rosin noise (friend, who's not a musician, even noticed it and said it sounded real bad) in many of the violin and viola ensemble and solo instruments. The strings aren't completely unusable, but don't expect this to be the be-all and end-all of budget orchestra. The brass (most of it) is excellent for the most part, no real complaints except for pitch ranges (see below). The woodwinds are a joke, though. The flute is out of tune on certain samples and again, some of the attacks are too slow. The woodwind ensembles are terrible. The clarinet is okay and so is the oboe, but they aren't great. The brass and woodwinds have pitch ranges that're WAY too narrow. The oboe is missing about 8 notes from its pitch range. What gives, MOTU!? That's bull! The overall quality of the sound is good for the price, but there're too many unforgivable little quirks that make it largely unusable as a stand-alone orchestral instrument.

Features: Good filters, good tremolo effect, good EQ. If you're unhappy with the french horn solo sample (like I was) just run it through a lowpass filter some and you got yourself a pretty basic french horn patch that sounds the way a solo french horn should. You shouldn't have to do this in the first place, but whatever.

Documentation: Decent. Great that it offers a few tables that tell you how much memory each sample takes up.

Presets: Like I said before, they're largely unusable. To get the most out of this instrument, tweak your own stuff.

Customer Support: MOTU's customer support is great when you can get a hold of them. Also Unicornation's MSI forum has a bunch of people who are willing to help if you have a problem.

Value for Money: 300 dollars for something I can't really use? I don't need to go into this anymore.

Stability: What a joke. Granted, MSI itself doesn't freeze my PC, PACE iLok does.

Conclusion: Get GPO. 'Nough said.Read Review

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