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Synclavier Sample Library

Sample CD Buyer's Guide By Dave Stewart
Published January 2000

Synclavier Sample Library

STRINGS Rating: **** 4/6 Stars

Vns: sus (f & p), stc, piz, trem.

Vas: sus, M stc.

Vcs: sus, stc.

Vn: sus, stc, piz.

Vc: sus, stc, piz.

Db (M): sus, piz.


Single notes, gls: major 6th and whole tone.


'Boys' choir' (M), Male choir ('bah' & 'dooh'), Vocal effects (M).

Comments: Vigorous ensemble and solo strings with plenty of bow attack, accompanied by a (mono) harp which acquits itself well in the heavenly arpeggio department. Vocal samples from the Synclavier library have been thrown in as a bonus, but are slight and unremarkable.

Standouts: The gutsy staccato cellos practically explode in a shower of bow rosin and the pizzicato double bass is solid and powerful enough to compete with a heavy rock drum kit. Pizzicato violins play well from the keyboard, sustained soft violins have an attractive upper register and layer well with synth strings.

Quibble: The absence of a solo viola is no great loss, but the lack of a double bass ensemble is a pity.

Contact: Time & Space.

Akai/Emu/Roland/Kurzweil/Ensoniq ASR/Samplecell Mac CD‑ROMs £169; Audio CD (part of Orchestral Audio) £59.95.

Brass & Winds Rating: *** 3/6 Stars


4 Tpts: sus, stc.

2 Tpts: sus (f & p).

Tpt: sus (ff & mf).

2 Tbns: sus.

Tbn: sus, sus fp.

Fhn: sus, stc.

Tba: sus, sus fp, cr, stc.

Flg: sus.


Flt: sus, sus vb, sus fp, stc.

Ob: sus, stc.

Ehn: sus.

Cla: sus (f & mf), sus fp, cr, stc.

Bcla: sus, sus fp, cr, stc

Bsn: sus.


Soprano Sax (f & p), Tenor Sax.


Panpipe: sus.

Wooden flute: sus.

Didgeridoo: sus.

Bird Whistle: sus.

Comments: Standard orchestral brass and woodwind, two saxes (the soprano very nice) and a flugelhorn, all recorded in glorious mono but with the usual Synclavier long loops. The collection is topped off with a slender sprinkling of useable ethnic winds. The pan pipe is only a single sample, but it's a good one!

Standouts: A nice bass clarinet with a suitably oily low register. Triumphal ensemble trumpets, perfect for that moment in a corporate presentation when the company logo rises from a sea of dry ice.

Quibbles: Trumpets apart, the quality is unspectacular. Documentation is very terse, not helped by the CD‑ROM volumes eschewing instrument names in favour of numbers. Oboe programs are a semitone flat, and contain three out‑of‑tune notes (C#3, D3 & D#3) — this is purely the result of careless or confused programming, as the samples themselves are in tune.

Contact: Time & Space.

Akai/Emu/Roland/Kurzweil/Ensoniq ASR/Samplecell Mac CD‑ROMs £169; Audio CD (part of Orchestral Audio) £59.95.

Percussion Plus Disc 2: World & Orchestral Rating: ***** 5/6 Stars


Bass Mba (M), Celeste (M), Glk (M), Mba (M), Tmp, Vib (M), Tub (M), Xyl (M).


BD, Bells (M), Cast, Clak, Clik, Clv, CrC, Cwb (M), Gng (some M), Gui, Ratch (M), Slb (M), Shk, SD, Tri, Wbl.

(Also included: abacus, angklung, caxixi, Balinese bell cluster, cuica, finger cymbals, various hand drums, kalimba, log drum, rainstick, rattles, shekere, tabla, timbales, waterphone, whistles & wind chimes.)

Comments: A good‑sized collection of well‑recorded orchestral percussion with the World kitchen sink thrown in. Good value for money.

Standouts: Excellent multi‑pitched tympani with many performance variations. Cymbals, bass drums and snares all strong, bass marimba and celeste are rare and welcome additions.

Quibble: No musical criticisms, but there is some eccentric naming — 'Totosan' for cowbell, for example (a Lone Ranger reference?).

Contact: Time & Space.

£ Akai/Emu/Roland/Kurzweil/Ensoniq ASR/Samplecell Mac CD‑ROMs £129; Audio CD (part of Essential Audio) £59.95.

Synclavier Sample LibrarySynclavier Sample Library