For the price of a video game, you can now have a full orchestra in the palm of your hand. Well, at least on your laptop. This Kontakt instrument is mind blowing, and not only for the great sound and amazing features, but also for the impossibly low price of $59! Too much for your wallet? Indiginus has also created Q which is probably the lightest symphonic plugin in the world, and it is only $29! The full library packs a real punch, and though it is mostly synthesized, it now contains real samples as well. The real samples are for things like crash cymbals, and even has nylon and electric guitars for the pad samples. The aptly named Solid State Symphony is a joyride!
If you are looking to create an instant cue (or Q), this library contains more than just the symphonic sounds. There are actually 2 pads, 2 synths, a bass, and a percussion instrument all included so that you can layer them all together for a really big, modern sound! So much fun to play, so easy to use, and no stress on the system at all!
The interface is beautiful – it reminds me of a speedometer on a Back to the Future hotrod. It is very responsive and gives great visual feedback to the loudness and instrumentation that is coming out of the instrument.
Pros: Beautiful interface, easy to play and get big sound, lots of customizations, and cheap!! In addition to the symphonic sounds, they included 2 synths, 2 pads, bass and percussion for creating instant cues.
Cons: Missing traditional articulations other than legato and staccato, but amazingly you have so much fun playing it, you don’t miss them!
Price: $59 for both SSO and Q, but Q can be bought separately for $29!
Q&A With Founder Tracy Collins
Designing Music NOW: How did Idiginus get its start and what are its goals? What is the vision of Indiginus?
Tracy Collins: We started Indiginus in 2003 because I needed acoustic guitar sounds, but I couldn’t afford the $300 price of the popular guitar library at the time. I had worked in a small commercial studio for years, and created sampled instruments for my own use, so I decided to try to create a commercial quality library. The first one was Acoustic Guitar Collection. The goal was to create a professional level product that was more accessible. I have often needed a specific sound for a project I was working on, and could only find libraries that cost hundreds of dollars and might take a long time to download, or didn’t sound good enough to use. Our hope is that you can find an Indiginus library while your client takes a lunch break, buy it, download it, and be creating a brilliant track by the time they returned. And still be able to make money on your session or project!
DMN: How are you able to produce such fantastic libraries at such a fantastic price point?
TC: Thank-you for the kind comments, first of all!
The most important part of a sample library is the sound, so we we take care at the front end of the process to capture high-quality samples. We try to boil it down to what it would take to create a realistic track with the least amount of tweaking, while keeping the instrument easy to use. To be honest, I just design things things that I would like to use. We are always testing them on real studio projects during development, which really, really helps us keep them streamlined and useful.
So far none of our products include Kontakt Player, which allows us to keep them under the $100 price point.
DMN: For Solid State Symphony, especially the new light version, how were you able to produce such a huge sound with so little polyphony and memory resources being used?
TC: Part of Solid State Symphony’s hugeness comes from the use of analogue synth samples, which are fat to begin with. Many of the individual sounds are comprised of many layers themselves. For instance, one of the strings sounds was made by stacking 8 separately created solo strings patches, each with it’s own vibrato (lfo) and pitch envelope. Also, most of the patches on the original synthesizers were tweaked every 1/4 octave or so to try to sound as close to the instrument being simulated as possible. In other words, it is much more than just creating a single “strings” patch on a synth, and just sampling that patch. “Woodwinds” was created by layering individual flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon patches, created also by tweaking the synth patches many times over the key ranges. For Prelude, we just recorded the output of the full version of Solid State Symphony at low velocities and high velocities, and created samples from that, which vastly reduces the polyphony and CPU hit.
DMN: Approximately what percentage of the sounds are synth and what are sampled? Does the use of synths use more CPU than straight samples, and if so, how are you able to mange that and keep it optimized?
TC: I would say about 95% is based on sampled analogue synth. All of the orchestra, except for the crash cymbal is synth. The only non-synth elements are an electric guitar and a nylon guitar sound that are part of some of the Padscapes. The analogue synths are sampled, so they do not require any more CPU usage than the other sounds.
DMN: How many layers of dynamics are there in the full library? Will that be less in the light version?
TC: In Solid State Symphony, each Element can be used as a dynamic layer, meaning you can determine when it plays based on key velocity and key range. The Trumpet/Trombones is different, as there are mf and ff patches. Most individual Elements do not have multiple dynamic layers by themselves, but the whole Orchestra can have many dynamic layers when played as a whole, like in the Velocity Orchestra preset.
Prelude’s orchestra presets have two cross-faded dynamic layers.
DMN: Tell us about your team at Indiginus.
TC: Our team is just myself and my wife Brenda, who handles the bulk of support and just keeping me on task! Indiginus has really grown a lot in the past two years, so we plan to expand our operation to include more team members in the near future.
Video Interview with Tracy Collins at NAMM
Lawson Madlener interviews Tracy at NAMM. He demo’s several libraries by Indiginus, Renaxxance and Renegade (two fantastic guitar libraries we will be reviewing later) and also Solid State Orchestra, which starts around 9:30.
In Depth Review
Solid State Symphony Q
Always trying to outdo themselves, Tracy wanted to create an even lighter version of the orchestra. The result is Q, which can easily be played on a laptop with modest specs. In his own words:
The whole point of Q is to be a light version of SSS, without calling it simply “SSS lite”. Not just that, but to be something easy to turn to for orchestral theme development. Even if someone has an awe-inspiring template of the greatest orchestral libraries, it can be tough to get started. Q downloads in less that a minute (30 sec on my computer), loads in seconds (or less), takes up a tiny amount of ram and cpu usage, and costs very little. It is great to turn to because it lets you concentrate on the composing instead of all of the orchestration and library choices. I can also see it used live, for stage productions, churches, etc.
Q will be included in Solid State Symphony, and will have a separate download link included with the purchase. If someone buys Q, and afterwards would like to upgrade to the full version, they will just pay the difference of $30.
The download size is 150 MB, which expands to 175 MB. All samples are 24-bit .wav.
Tracy Collins has done something no other sample library company seems to do – create great sounding libraries at even better sounding prices! Solid State Symphony is no exception to this general rule – it is a very realistic sounding “synth” symphony that is easy on the system specs without sacrificing great sound and easy play-ability. This library will not replace your other fully sampled symphonic libraries. You will not find tons of articulations, key switches or aleotoric runs in this library. However, it is a great go to if you want to create something quickly, convincingly and beautifully. And did I mention that it is only $59!
Add to that the still lighter Q library and you will never be without a wonderful tool for creating convincing orchestral mockups anywhere you go, and that is only $29!.