Rating: ***** 5/5 Stars
VSL’s Big Bang Orchestra series comprises 26 themed libraries arranged alphabetically from Andromeda to Zodiac (see the SOS September and October 2020 reviews). When it came to the letter ‘Y’ the company asked its customers what they should record next, and the popular choice was (drum roll...) a children’s choir (triangle ting). Twenty‑four singers from a world‑famous Austrian youth choir were duly enlisted, and under the watchful eye of choirmaster Yulia Mikkonen, the young choristers breezed into the Vienna Synchron Stage and sung their hearts out.
Aged eight to 14 and mainly consisting of girls, the choir performed sustains and legatos on the open vowels ‘aa’ and ‘uu’ (sounds like ‘ooh’) with additional attack variants ‘ba’, ‘na’, ‘la’, ‘bu’, ‘nu’ and ‘lu’. Also included is a nice ‘mm’ style, a pleasant, soft hum like a swarm of contented bees. This being a small entry‑level library, there are no wordbuilding facilities — however, the good news is that by executing a simple set of key presses you can make the choir sing ‘banana’. What more do you want?
These kids sing the way children normally do, in a simple, natural style free of affected vibrato. Despite their tender years they achieve an assured, professional focus, delivering a perfectly executed set of steady, even‑toned and immaculately tuned samples over a G3 to A#5 pitch range. The open ‘aas’ sound clear, confident and hopeful, the more reflective ‘uus’ and ‘mms’ will add immediate emotional impact to ballads, while the stacked ‘mm’ and ‘aa’ patch creates an interesting hybrid timbre. Though there are no designated short notes, the ‘ba’ and ‘na’ artics work well for staccato rhythm patterns.
Named after one of Saturn’s moons which has so far escaped Government travel restrictions, this lovely little library blends beautifully with the rest of the BBO range.
Dynamics can be controlled by key‑velocity or mod‑wheel crossfades, the latter a great way of creating big, surging crescendos. The dynamic transitions are creamy smooth, and the superb, ultra‑playable legatos have an amazing live quality ‑ just remember to insert some gaps in your legato lines to simulate breathing! The choir was recorded from nine microphone positions, including vintage ribbon mics and multiple surround options. You can use the Synchron Player’s built‑in mixer to create your own setups, or choose one of the library’s mixer presets — either way, these samples sound great straight out of the box and don’t require any tweaking.
Named after one of Saturn’s moons which has so far escaped Government travel restrictions, this lovely little library blends beautifully with the rest of the BBO range. You could have fun combining these voices with the series’ delicate woodwind trios and high strings; alternatively, if you need lower‑pitched vocals, you might consider splashing out on the BBO Ganymede choir, whose adult singers share the children’s plain, charmingly unpretentious style. But regardless of musical setting, the purity and soulfulness of these young voices will elevate and inspire any arrangement.