Big Fish Audio | Keyboard Magazine Jason Scott Alexander | Symphonic Manoeuvres 2 Product Review
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Symphonic Manoeuvres 2 | Keyboard Magazine

Reviewer: Jason Scott Alexander | Rating: Keyboard Key Buy Award! Back to Symphonic Manoeuvres 2 product details

Soaring strings, blasting horns, airy woodwinds, and explosive percussion are what Symphonic Manoeuvres is all about. Picking up nicely where the original left off, Volume 2 delivers the same high-quality, key-grouped, cinematic construction kit-type fare, but with greater flexibility. This time, instead of grouping multiple instrument types as pre-mixed beds, each section has been recorded in total isolation so you can remix or rearrange the parts as you see fit. What's more, you get both room and close-miked recordings of each section - a really nice touch.

While only ten construction kits are provided, they're massive (3GB total) and cover tempos ranging from 80 to 165bpm. In each you'll find a nearly two-minute demo mix of all elements fully arranged, with discrete instrument parts broken out as shorter (up to eight-bar) phrases, plus intros and endings - all told, typically 60 to 90 sample files per kit. Stylistically, things lean heavily towards dramatic action/chase, celebratory, and mystery/suspense scenes. In the lead-off kit, a tremolo strings and woodwinds swell evokes Mission: Impossible. In another, scurrying strings and pulsating synth bass and drums conjure up a neo-gothic streetscape. In another, a Gregorian male choir, backed by powerful brass and cymbal-crashing orchestration, marches to a millitant snare in triumphant gladiator fashion. They all gave me goosebumps.

The bonus "Choir Chords" folder is a nice treat. Sung in the keys of D, E, and G and including various alterations and augmentations, 23 differrent chords are each held for about ten seconds. More special still is the gorgeous "Orchestral Drones" folder, containing not just your typical brooding strings and flatulent horn sections, but an entire cinematic soundscape of piano, celeste, harp, and percussion - such as bell tree, wood blocks, gongs, bowed saw, and thunder drums - presented in buildup through climax. Key Buy-winning value!

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