Orange Tree Samples Passion Flute Review
The Flute Passion
After the launch of a remarkable string instrument series, Orange Tree Samples enriches its offering with a new virtual concert flute, among other products.
We all know the major virtual instrument and sample library manufacturers due to their marketing power: all print and web media constantly inform the users about every new product. But the web — and especially AudioFanzine — also allow users to discover companies that are less famous, but not necessarily less skilled. Some of them even compete with major manufacturers thanks to their product strategy. They monitor the market and create products that are precisely developed for market segments where leading companies are poorly represented (specific instruments, music genres, playing techniques, etc.).
Among them is Orange Tree Samples, which originally concentrated on guitar sample libraries and then on bass guitar sounds — including the (wonderful) Iconic Bass. The manufacturer also offers more exotic instruments as part of its World Instruments series. Orange Tree Samples' latest product is a concert flute sample library that differs quite a bit from the classic sound you'll find in orchestral sound banks. The name of this new library, Passion Flute, confirms the manufacturer's enthusiasm for fruits.
How Does it Sound?
Here you have a short phrase to show the different recording techniques.
Now the same phrase with different presets accessible via the GUI and including all settings, which is better to avoid when you have multiple .nki-files in the main folder.
A look at the edit menus reveals a complex mapping. You can see all 10 groups, five Main including the different takes, and five Effects providing integrated FXs and phrases. The latter were added to the bank because some phrases are (still?) almost impossible to reproduce in the virtual world. You can access them via keyswitches (different effects and phrases assigned to three notes). Together with the ones that allow you to make breathing sounds (C-2), these are the instrument's only keyswitches. Everything else is done directly by analyzing the actual playing and with some intensive scripting (we like especially the fact that the manufacturer gives us free access to the scripts: to get new ideas, understand things better, etc.).
For each recording, you get five velocity layers morphing into each other and four Round Robin samples per layer. Legato, fingerings and substitute fingerings are modeled rather than created using dedicated samples. Below you'll find some notes that illustrate layer switches.
The following example lets you hear a sustained note that is dynamically raised using Expression. You'll hear the slight pitch shifting effect due to breathing. Well done! You'll also hear breath noises added by the script.
Some Round Robin examples.
You probably noticed that you can easily manage repeated notes, typical for some flute players. Finally, here is a short sequence (largely inspired by...) using several resources of the instrument.
We like the overblowing notes and the overall sound of the instrument, not as wild as R.R. Kirk. They bring to mind jazz and fusion players like Jeremy Steig, Herbie Mann or James Moody, the unclassifiable Hermeto Pascoal, and, in a wholly different style, Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). The only problem is that some (very rare) notes have too audible modulation loop points, but no clicks are audible (even if I didn't listen to the more than 4600 samples, but still, it is not evident like with other products).
Download the sound files here: flac.zip
The main asset of this sample library is that it sounds very musical. Instead of conceiving an instrument using numerous keyswitches, control wheels, faders and other controls to be used while playing, the manufacturer conceived a direct-access instrument based on intelligent use of scripts (especially for the vibrato effect). Playing the instrument with a wind controller or just an expression pedal is a real delight. The sound meets the goal of the library brilliantly — a perfect flute for jazz and modern music styles, including 70's prog rock as well as more contemporary tastes. The multi-samples allow you to shape the sound they way you want. Definitely a great instrument!