Audio Imperia's new orchestral library brings together a complete set of cinematic symphonic essentials in one creative toolset.
Though their name may not be immediately familiar to Sound On Sound readers, Audio Imperia have been steadily building support amongst the orchestral sample community over the last few years. The San Diego-based company is the brainchild of Jan Hoeglund, a man with an impressively varied CV: formal classical guitar training from the age of six, added electric guitar at age 10, achieved a linguistics graduate degree in Chinese and English then lived in Taiwan before moving to the US in 2010. After a stint in artist management representing metal bands, he helped produce 8Dio's 'Progressive Metal' djent (love that word) phrase library, subsequently became an 8Dio producer and worked at Soundiron for a while before starting Audio Imperia in 2016.
From a starting point of creating simple sample packs for composer friends, the company (who we'll call AI for short, no artificiality implied) blossomed into a full–time sample library operation based around the creative team of Hoeglund, Tomás Lobos Kunstmann and Simon Dalzell. The company's first orchestral collection, entitled Jaeger, was released in November 2017; others quickly followed (details in 'Imperial Progress' below). AI's latest orchestral venture is Nucleus, a full, entry-level orchestral library for Kontakt and Kontakt Player 6.1.1 and up.
Nucleus (20.4GB installed) consists of roughly 50 percent samples derived from existing AI libraries (mainly Jaeger, with a few additional samples from Cerberus and Talos Vol. 2) and 50 percent newly recorded material. Designed to give users the essential orchestral sounds required for modern cinematic-style productions in an easy-to-use toolset, it comprises string, woodwind and brass ensembles and solo instruments, tuned and unpitched percussion, drum kit, a small SATB choir and sound-design drones and pads.
In order to keep the footprint at around 20GB and preserve system resources, Nucleus bucks the current trend for copious multi-miking and offers just two microphone mixes (more on which later). In the same spirit, the library's full and 'pre-orchestrated' mixed-instrument ensembles were created by blending individual sections into single playable patches. The major benefit of this is that patches load almost instantly — while I'll never get back the weeks of my life spent waiting for instruments to load into some sampler or other, seeing Nucleus's patches leap into Kontakt in a matter of seconds makes me feel better about it.
The samples were recorded in the Czech Republic with members of the Capellen Orchestra and Choir, using a recording stage which offers, in the makers' words, "that perfect dry-but-not-too-dry sound". The absence of an overpowering room ambience allows composers to apply their own favourite reverbs, and makes it easier to layer the Nucleus patches with instruments from other libraries.
Nucleus's 16/10/6/4 strings line-up equates to the section sizes often used in modern productions. Though on a smaller scale than the full symphonic sections used for James Bond movie soundtracks and big-budget pop recordings, a string ensemble of this size is well capable of producing a rich, full-toned sound, and that's what you hear in this collection.
String articulations are limited to sustain, spiccato, pizzicato and tremolo, with additional true legato patches...