KSHMR is no stranger to the creation of high quality packs for producers. His previous projects, Sounds of KSHMR Vol 1 & 2, are recognized as some of the highest quality packs on the market and are an integral part of any producers sample collection. Collaborator on Sounds of KSHMR is the esteemed producer and veteran sound designer, 7 SKIES from Standalone-Music – a sample and preset pack company led by 7 SKIES.
The two have paired up once more, this time under Standalone-Music, to bring producers Symphony – Serum Hybrid Orchestra.
Through the sonic fusion of acoustic instrumentation and modern synthesis, Symphony offers a unique palette of sounds that is quite refreshing in a space dominated by FM basses and supersaws – to name a few. The two quite literally recorded real instruments and resynthesized them into wavetables. The result is over 130 presets that take advantage of Serum’s oscillators, filters, FX, and noise generator to emulate a variety of real instruments in a unique way. Clever use of Serum’s LFO allows for infinite note sustain for each instrument – something many samplers simply do not allow. The pack has strong diversity, offering everything from traditional instruments such as pianos, guitars, and strings, to more ethnic instruments like the tumbi, sitar, and shamisen.
The pack starts with a stellar collection of bass presets. Each one does a great job of emulating real basses and bass guitars, all sounding rich and realistic. The wide variety of bass styles gave me something for almost every situation; whether I wanted a clean, smooth sound or a heavy, gritty sound, it was all there. Examples of these styles include Fender Bass, Metal Bass, Finger Bass, Jazz Slap, and many more.
Everything from trap brass stabs to reggae trumpet leads can be found here, all sounding realistic and clean. One thing I particularly appreciated in this section was the usefulness of the macros on each preset. Many sounds had macros titled “Fast Blow” or “Slow Blow”. These modified the LFO rate to emulate a player blowing into the instrument slower or faster. These intuitively labeled macros added to the overall authenticity of the preset, allowing me to customize the sound to match how a person would play the real instrument.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the sheer selection of sounds in this section. There are so many different trombone and trumpet variations, each one with different characteristics and unique tonal elements. Sounds such as Big Stab or Trap Stab are crunchy hits that can be used to create high impact moments in your tracks, while Trumpet 2 and Sax Low can be used as chords, pads, and leads in harmony.
The woodwind section also had its fair share of instruments. There were quite a number of flute variations such as the Action Flute, Pan Flute, and Jungle Flute. Despite so many flute options, each one has a defining quality that differentiates it from the others and no sound feels redundant.
I’ve grouped these sections together because they are the smallest parts of the pack. There was not a lot of selection here, but the extensiveness of Symphony’s other areas certainly made up for this. The sounds we are given here are excellent.
The drum section included a few tonal percussion instruments such as timpanis and steel drums. All of them make for good chord plucks or plucky leads. My personal favourites are Timp and Timp2.
The vocal section focused on choir sounds that were quite authentic, as well as some vocal chop leads that we often hear in today’s EDM landscape.
Similar to the basses, the guitar section has a diverse selection of styles that can be used in many different contexts. There are cleaner acoustic and nylon guitar sounds, as well as heavier electric and distorted ones. Banjos, sitars, and ukuleles are also included, further increasing the diversity of this section and offering some ethnic sounds to experiment with.
The keys section mainly focuses on various types of organs and pianos including dance pianos, pump organs, and even an accordion. All the sounds feel full and are especially useful for chords or layering in break sections.
The mallets are quite useful for chords in break sections as well, giving producers plucky, percussive tones to play with. The kalimba and marimba sounds are my personal favourites.
This is by far the largest portion of the pack. There are tons of different string instruments and styles to choose from including harps, cellos, violas, vintage ensembles, pop strings, and many more – I was blown away by the number of options. More impressively, there is no drop in quality either. Each string sound is realistic and has distinct characteristics, all sounding full and rich with no post-processing. You can layer them with synths, use them as leads, or even compose full cinematic scores within your tracks.
Finally, the “world” section. Home to an extensive array of ethnic instruments, this section is definitely my favorite part of the pack. There are so many unique instruments that are rarely heard in EDM today, opening the door for innovation and creative experimentation. I had a lot of fun playing with the duduk sounds, as I layered them with other synths to find cool, unique tones. There are many instruments in this section that I have never heard of till now that sound phenomenal and can be used in many different sonic settings.
We already know that KSHMR and 7 SKIES are past collaborators who have created high quality packs, and Symphony is no exception. At $47, the value of this pack is unbelievably good. It is important to note that this preset pack is not meant to replace your real instruments or expensive Kontakt instrument banks. It is, however, a fusion of traditional and modern elements designed to encourage experimentation and creativity. I highly recommend this pack to any producer who wants to expand their sonic palette and incorporate real instruments into their productions.
Image via Rukes.com