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Spitfire Audio Originals Epic Choir

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This very affordable choral instrument from Spitfire Audio features a 50‑piece mixed vocal ensemble recorded at AIR Studios’ legendary Lyndhurst Hall in London, and is arranged in two sections with sopranos and altos in one and tenors and basses in the other. No third‑party player is needed as Epic Choir is a self‑contained instrument plug‑in.

Spitfire Audio Originals Epic Choir sample library.The user interface is like an extended version of what you get with the free Spitfire LABS instruments, and if you don’t have those yet, you are definitely missing out. A mixer section resides in the lower section of the screen allowing the user to blend the contributions of the close mics, a more distant Decca Tree array and ‘Ethereal’, the latter using processing to add a slightly larger‑than‑life presence to the sound by combining saturation, reverb and EQ, sounding not unlike a subtle Aural Exciter. Three dedicated knobs access Reverb, Release time (applies only to the longer sustaining sounds) and Tightness, the latter trimming a little from the start of the sample so that the note attack is more immediate. This can detract slightly from the realism of the sound but is useful where a very tight entry is paramount.

Despite the apparent simplicity of this instrument, the choir sound comes over as natural‑sounding with a very classy, smooth overall sound and with a definite classical flavour. Even the humble ‘Ahhs’ sound somehow more like a real choir than most of the choir patches that come as part of other preset libraries or synth banks. The hall reverb also suits them perfectly. The ‘Mmmm’ sounds again come across as natural and very usable, while the Episodic Combo sounds present one fairly normally balanced sound and another that is softer and more subdued. Both gradually fade up in intensity and include shifting vowels to add movement to the sound.

Lastly the short syllables make effective punctuations and also work well when layered with the sustained sounds. The first offering, which doesn’t have the keyswitching, randomly switches between syllable sounds on successive notes, whereas the second option plays only the articulation selected using the keyswitches, staying on the last selected sound until a new one is chosen.

The word I keep coming back to is natural — but that best describes how these choral sounds come across. Despite having only a few syllables plus ‘Mmmms’ and ‘Ahhs’ to play with, the resulting sound is quite lovely, with an authentic high class classical choir character. If you use choir sounds in your music but can’t run to one of the seriously big libraries, this is one instrument you simply have to get.