UVI Orchestral Suite by Diogo C
- Sound library: UVI Orchestral Suite
- Developer: UVI
- Format: UVI Workstation (Win/Mac, VST/AU/AAX, 32/64)
- Size: 4.62 GB
- Price: $199 USD MSRP
There’s literally a whole orchestra included in this library - and yes the above information is correct. A complete, full-blown contemporary orchestra in 4.62 GB for a couple hundred US bucks. That’s all correct. I won’t bother naming all sixty (60!) instruments but you get all the usual suspects and some less common stuff for instrument packs of this category, like an acoustic guitar and a marimba. There's even a whole orchestra in one single patch. I recommend everyone to take their time and browse through the list and listen to all the samples UVI kindly offered (which makes up a bit for the sad fact that there’s no demo).
The Orchestral Suite is the latest UVI library for its flagship UVI Workstation sampler, and it packs almost everything your inner Tchaikovsky needs, minus the cannons. From the ubiquitous string quartet, to brass and woodwinds and tuned-percussions, the Suite boasts over 60 instruments which have the musician in mind. The focus here is definitely on offering a complete set of instruments that covers pretty much all aspects of a contemporary orchestra but without making any compromises to the workflow and ease of use - instead, those compromises are made on depth and real-word-likeness rather than on the practical aspects of the instruments.
UVI managed to gather a huge array of instruments here, even though at the risk of sounding gimmicky from time to time. Some instruments will definitely fall short when soloed and won’t do very well on their own, but they might found a way into busier styles of music even if that requires a hefty dose of processing. I found the percussive instruments very good, and the tuned-ones were especially impressive. The Glockenspiel, Xylophone and Vibraphone are all very convincing and expressive and will definitely have some good uses. Timpani was a good one too along with the Gong and Taiko. Remember that this is a “jack of many trades” kind of library - and ultimately it masters only a handful, even though its usability is very good overall and its sounds can be useful in very diverse settings, from rock anthems to video game and soundtracks where ultimate realism isn’t the uttermost priority.
Every instrument comes with a basic set of articulations based on their most common uses, like legato, staccato, sustain, tremolo and so on. There’s quite a good number of options on the strings and they can be easily accessed through pre-programmed keys that are usually located on the bottom octaves of the MIDI keyboard or the near the instrument’s octaves, so high-pitched instruments like a Violin will have their articulations placed higher on the keyboard - which enables a very fast workflow since you don’t have to scroll all the way down to C1 to get your spiccatos and thrills. There’s also polyphonic and legato modes, the latter also having a fade out control. Wrapping up the performance side of things there is a glide control which can be set to portamento or pedal and a expression curve that can be assigned to the velocity or the modulation wheel.
All sounds of the Orchestral Suite are basically close-mic’d sources, so there’s little sense of stage or ambience when you first load a patch. There are no extra microphone placements or options, so you’ll have to rely on other tools to cover such aspects. In that regard, the included reverb can create some interesting things: this is a stripped-down convolution reverb that comes with five different space options (concert, cathedral and large halls, chapel and small venue), dry and wet sliders and a knob for the size. I’ve found that playing with the sliders can create some artificial sense of depth if you go for the basic reverb concepts such as more wet signal and a bigger value on the size knob leads to further away instruments, so the close mic'd sound is not set in stone and can be morphed to some degree into more a distant sounding feel.
All instruments have ADSR envelopes and 3-band EQ that can also help to shape up the sound, making the Orchestral Suite a bit more flexible, even though they’re not very thorough controls and remain accessible and easy to use, which falls in line with the whole premise of this library. In that regard, the interface is very clean and has not signs of clutter whatsoever: while the lower section has the envelope, EQ and reverb and performance controls, the upper part has a big picture of the instrument being used and a drop-down menu for the articulations. That’s everything you get and get it right away, no hidden menus or more complex settings.
Loading 12 instruments of the Orchestral Suite will take roughly 1 GB, which is a testimony to how efficient UVI’s Workstation has becomes over the years. This company has shown a level of commitment to their product that is remarkable: basically every month there’s a new patch addressing issues and doing further optimizations.
With a safe and steady host the company can put out impressive libraries that are fast to load and easy on your computer, both in terms of RAM and CPU load. Good optimization also means that you can load a large number of patches without any further concerns.
The UVI Workstation (and by extent the Orchestral Suite) was very reliable on all plugin formats that I tested on (VST/AAX, Win/Mac) and it ran just fine even on Pro Tools, which is a notoriously-troublesome piece of software when it comes to virtual instruments. I could load as many patches as my computer would allow and dealing with all those MIDI tracks was basically the only concern, which is precisely what you need when dealing with a ton of instruments.
The Orchestral Suite is overall a very good sounding library but one aimed more at the producer looking for a quick classical vibe than to the thorough orchestrator on the hunt for ultimate realism. With that premise in mind, for the Orchestral Suite succeeds on putting a decent sounding full-blown orchestra in your DAW for a price that won’t rip apart your savings.
Pros: A full-range of good quality orchestral instruments with an affordable price tag. Basic yet decent sounding and extremely easy to use.
Cons: for some it might lack some further depth.