Introduction Rhapsody Orchestral Colors and Percussion

Impact Soundworks is a sample library company founded by two prolific composers, Andrew Aversa (aka zircon) and Will Roget.  They both have roots in the video game industry, though are in other mediums as well.  Will recently gave a brilliant talk at GDC – that is available for free on the GDC Vault called “AAA Virtual Orchestration on an Indie Budget” – that was rated 4th overall (out of 308) talks this year.

Rhapsody Orchestral Colors (ROC) is an all-in-one symphonic library that includes all orchestral sections as well as male and female choir.  There are over 30,000 detailed samples as well as a unique “chord engine” that plays chords & voicings by pressing a single note. Despite having so many samples, this instrument is extremely light on RAM and all the patches load quickly.  It’s an easy way to quickly orchestrate and create mockups.  Best of all – the whole library is only $149.

Pros: Great sounding all-in-one orchestral library with innovative chord engine built in.  Includes a “Custom Ensemble” patch which allows customizable sections that sound great!  The low price is nice as well.

Cons: All instruments are recorded mostly dry, which allows them to be placed in other libraries well and to use the same reverb as your other tracks, but that does give a bit of a “clean” sound that other libraries recorded in wetter rooms do not have (though this could also be a “Pro”).  The instruments are sampled in smaller ranges (as to fit with the ensembles) and don’t include true legato.

List Price: $149


Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion (ROP) is a comprehensive orchestral percussion library that also features several excellent sampled tonal percussion instruments such as the Timpani, Marimba, Xylophone and Glockenspiel.  There are actually over 50 instruments in all played with multiple articulations, mic positions and 10x dynamics and 5x round robins!  Again, this library is conveniently priced, at only $199.

Pros: Quite realistic with a lot of variety, lots of articulations, and includes both 16 and 24 bit patches.  There’s more ethnic and auxiliary instruments than one would think, and it’s very fun exploring them.  Great value for the price.

Cons: Missing some extended instruments and articulations, such as different sets of mallets and a celesta.  No sampled tremolo either, though it is pretty easy to fake.

List Price: $199


Demo pieces by Lawson Madlener (with explanation by the composer):

This demo features instruments from ROC, though includes a small bit of percussion from ROP.  I wanted to try and showcase the chord orchestrator, one of the main features of this library.  I started off with a cool chord progression in the brass.  This part was super easy to do as I could just press a key and a fully-orchestrated chord would sound.  I then added the celli with a moving triplet baseline, doubled by the low winds. I brought in some violins and violas next, added the choir, and created some soloed trumpet and horn tracks to use for a melody line.  Finally, I added some percussion from ROP for extra emphasis.  I tried to use as little tracks as possible and focus on the ensembles to stick with the nature of the library: orchestral blends and textures.  I also made sure to only use ROC for the orchestral instruments to show that this library can work completely fine by itself, not just to add some extra color.

This demo features only percussion found in ROP.  My favorite part of this library are the ethnic and auxiliary instruments, so I tried to prominently feature them.  I started off by creating a little ½-whole motif with the marimba, and then just layered up a bunch of ethnic drums to get a groove going.  I then put in some counter-lines with the xylophone and added some emphasis with the more “classical” instruments (such as the timpani and tubular bells).  Finally, I put a cymbal choke at the end, as I really like being able to choke cymbals with the press of a key and wanted to demonstrate that.

Overview and Walkthrough

Ensemble Patches in Depth


Unison Patches in Depth


Chord Patches in Depth


The Interface

The interface is logical and easy to learn, with each section broken out into individual parts such as Bass, Celli, and Violin/Viola for the strings.  There are three main patch types: Unison, Chords and Custom Ensembles.  The innovative Chord engine allows you to arrange your orchestra to play full chords in predefined or user defined arrangements giving both impressive customization and easy of use.  Once a composer becomes familiar with this system, mocking up complex arrangements should be a breeze!

For a complete review, check out the individual videos above.

 Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion Video Review


Bonus Mini-Review – Super Audio Cart



If you are looking for an all in one complete orchestral sample library that won’t break the bank and still sound legitimate – look no further than Rhapsody Orchestral Colors and Rhapsody Orchestral Percussion.  These libraries were recorded in the same hall so it makes mixing a breeze.  Combined, these two libraries are a must-have for quick yet realistic-sounding orchestral compositions.

Just as this article was going to press, Impact Soundworks released Super Audio Cart.  Being a huge fan of 8-bit video game music, I wanted to get a quick review of that awesome new library out as well.  It so much fun to play, and it sounds fantastic!

About the Authors

Dale Crowley

Dale Crowley is a Managing Editor and founder of Designing Music NOW and the Director of Business Development of Elias Software, the premier Adaptive Music Solution for video games.



Lawson guitars 1000Lawson Madlener is an award-winning composer/musician who happens to be a college student, recently won the CINE Marvin Hamlisch Contest (Youth category). He plays many instruments ranging from violin to ukulele to drums to electric bass to viola, and many genres from classical to jazz to bluegrass to rock.

Lawson has been composing for longer than he can remember. He entered and won his first composition competition (boy, that’s a mouthful) at the ripe old age of 9! As with his playing, he can compose in pretty much any style, but his favorite is orchestral/cinematic. As of late, he’s been developing a taste for jazz bands!

In his spare time, you can find Lawson passionately researching new sample libraries. Sometimes he also spends hours and hours delving into older sample libraries too! Actually, you can just find him enjoying any and every sample library ever and whispering under his breath “so many sample libraries so little time so many sample libraries so little money.”


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