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Reviewed By Paul Russell [read all by] on 31st December 2008
Version reviewed: 1.1.6 on Windows
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Simply the best sounding pianos out there right now.

This is an enormous sample set. Out of the five pianos here, the largest is the Bechstein, which weighs in at over 80GB. Even using the Direct From Disk capability, this piano's full articulation version takes up just over 3GB of RAM, so unless you're running a slave machine or an x64 based host, you are going to have to do some tweaking to run it.

Thankfully there is a neat sample purge system which allows you to play the song once, then purge the samples that aren't used in the track. This frees up memory. And there are some lite versions that allow you to compose before plugging in the big brother for a full rendering to audio.

But it's all worth it. The sheer depth and the quality of the sample sets make them sound really dynamic and rich in detail. Now the ball is definitely in Synthogy's court to see if they can follow up with Ivory 2.

Play itself has been getting a lot of stick. It can be finicky to install, and the support forum isn't as open and transparent as it could be. There was one issue regarding losing favourites where the support team would only PM out the solution, but this has (thanks to some user pressure) now been made a sticky thread.

The 1.1.6 version of Play now seems much more stabie than previous versions. It works well and crash-free on my rig, which runs SONAR X64 on Vista X64. I can load up the full Bechstein piano and three other instances of Play with StormDrum 2, Voices of Passion and Gypsy all at once and still keep latency at 5ms at 24bit 88.2KHz. (It helps to have a big box full of RAM).
Reviewed By Paul Russell [read all by] on 31st December 2008
Version reviewed: 1.1.6 on Windows.
Last edited by Paul Russell on 31st December 2008.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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I've had this set for around six months so I've had plenty of time to get used to it.

Now, with the Play sampler upgraded to 1.1.6 and running very nicely in SONAR x64, VOP complements the other instruments in the EWQL stable nicely.

It has five voices, America, Wales, Syria, India and Bulgaria. All voices are recorded with two high quality mics, and you can choose whether to use one or both in your rendering. However I found that the right hand channel, was generally quite noisy and so I normally stick to the left.

The America voice is full of oohs and aahs, and makes a nice sound for people who want something ethereal and 'white'. Wales is a wide repertoire of vowel and consonant sounds, with some words built that one could use to build nonensical sentences with, but the keyswitch articulation programming means that you spend a lot of time scratching your head to work out where to put the switch notes in your piano roll. What it lacks is a word builder like Symphonic Choirs, and certainly nothing as versatile as Vocaloid - although once you find something you like the finished result always sounds a lot better than vocaloid.

India contains a lot of phrases in microtonal scales, so it's very hard to get to use that material in anything other than modular work. The lady who sings the Bulgarian material has a beautiful voice. But the one I like the most is Syria. The texture of this singer's voice is magnificent and rich, and she sings lots of nonsensical phrases that sound arabic in nature and make for a very exotic sound that might easily accompany another Ridley Scott ancient world epic.

This is the kind of product that you write material around, rather than try to squeeze into something that already exists. If you walk into it with that attitude then there's a lot that VOP can offer.