It has to be said that musicians are not short of choice when it come to vowel-based choir sounds. From the cheesy GM-style patches through to some of the top-end choir libraries, you can pay your money and take something from a considerable choice. Vir2’s latest addition to this broad and well-stocked selection box is Aeris Hybrid Choir Designer, a Kontakt-based sample library that runs in both full and ‘Player’ versions of Kontakt.
You get three Kontakt patches: Performance, Pads and User. The main Performance patch provides you with six choir elements — solo Bass, Tenor, Alto and Soprano voices and male and female Choirs — that can be blended in various ways. Four key-switched articulations are also provided with A, O and U complemented by the rather nice M (a humming sound). You also get legato options, mod wheel control over vibrato, an Overlap mode that allows you to toggle between different mappings of the voices across your MIDI keyboard, and a rather nice convolution reverb and envelope section that allows you to shape the sounds further.
The sounds themselves are really very good indeed but, if this was all Aeris offered, it would perhaps not be something to set too many pulses racing. That’s where ‘hybrid’ and ‘designer’ come in. The Aeris front-end also includes Movement and Effects sections. The Effects section is pretty standard stuff but, with compression, delay, chorus, flanger, skreamer (distortion) and spread options, has plenty to offer. However, the really interesting bit is the Movement section that provides both LFO and step sequencer-based modulation options. Here you can get really experimental with your sound design and this takes Aeris to a completely different level in terms of creativity.
Oh, and don’t forget those Pads and User patches I mentioned earlier. The Pads patch gives access to 140 pad-like sounds that Vir2 have designed from the original samples — organised into themed categories such as Calm, Tension, Motion, etc — and the front-end allows you to blend any two of these together when playing to create even more depth. These fully exploit the modulation and effects options. And if that’s not enough, the User patch allows you to load your own WAV-based samples into Aeris, map them across the MIDI key range (this does require the full version of Kontakt and dipping into the Kontakt back-end but Vir2 provide a useful video guide to the process on their web site) and then experiment with these samples using the full Aeris feature set. This is pretty cool and works with any sample type, vocal or otherwise.
The price may put it beyond some potential users, but I can see working media composers having a lot of fun here. You need to dig into that Movement section to get the best from it, but Aeris Hybrid Choir Designer sounds great, can be very expressive, and offers plenty of options for the serious sound designer.