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SoundIron – Hyperion Strings Micro – Full Review

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SoundIron – Hyperion Strings Micro

Full Review

Introduction…

SoundIron have a long history and well established pedigree in the world of sample library development. They have a myriad of products under their belt which span titles as diverse as LAUNDRONIUM (a washing machine sample library) and high end Choir libraries used in film and game production, as well as creating the Symphony Brass Ensemble and Brass Solo libraries for Native Instruments.

Now SoundIron are releasing their own series of orchestral string libraries starting with Hyperion Strings Micro , which will soon be followed by the larger Elements edition and finally the full blown flagship Hyperion Symphonic Strings.
Micro in size, Not features…

Today we focus on the entry level Hyperion Strings Micro , it’s an ideal library for someone just getting started in the field of orchestration, or just looking to add an extra layer of sonic colour without splashing out on a huge orchestral package that perhaps won’t get fully used, Although it’s a bite sized library it will not leave you going hungry, aside perhaps for whetting your appetite for the bigger libraries upon their arrival, in which case SoundIron will also have you covered, more of this later.

Tech Specs…

As it’s title suggests the micro edition of Hyperion Strings will consume just 2.5Gb of hard disk space. Running in either Kontakt player or the full version of Kontakt 5.73 and above, with 2,950 samples recorded at 24-bit, 48 kHz Stereo.

Library Details…

The Micro edition of this library has only one microphone position, however with some judicious tweaking you can achieve a more distant sound, and this of course keeps the overall data size of the library down substantially. There are also two “round-robin” variations per note to aid with expression and realism when playing.

SoundIron have opted to record the Orchestra with a dry close miked sound at the Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA , instead providing ambiences via a comprehensiv selection of spacial and room reverbswithin the interface, or you can of course add any of your own treatments directly on the track or using Komplete Kontrol’s FX slots.

There are just five main patches in the library, these being Violin, Viola, Cello, Basses and a combined Ensemble patch.

There are however also several keyswitched articulations positioned in the lower octaves which will provide access to sustain, staccato, spiccato and pizzicato variants of each patch.

Although these keyswitches can apparently be positioned to your liking, I could not find an accessible way to achieve this, which is a bit of a pain as we are stuck with them being located minus two octaves down on even a 61 note keyboard, which means when your Violin patch is located in it’s natural playing range there is some button pressing to be done to switch articulations!

Installation…

Unfortunately I did need some sighted help to get the library installed, the provided installation software requires you to paste in a serial to instigate the download, which once done generates a further authorisation code for you to paste into Native Access. The first step of setting up the download was not accessible for me using standard screen reading or even via OCR, however once I had been helped over this hurdle, and the download was in progress I was then able to use OCR to check on the progress and when completed copy the provided code to paste into Native Access.

NKS Mapping…

The browser side of Hyperion Strings Micro is possibly the smallest I have come acrossin terms of categories and presets,, aside from Vendor and Product name on knobs one and two, the options are simply ‘Type on Knob 5 being Bowed Strings, Knob 6 offers sub types, being Violin, Viola, Cello, Basses and Ensemble, Knob 7 gives the singular mode of ‘sample based’, and finally knob 8 provides the 5 instrument presets which are the same as stated on knob 6. Given that this is purely a string library this is understandable, however there were none of the famours SoundIron sound design presets present.

NKS Edit Controls…

Any sparseness on the browser side is redeemed in The edit section, as there are no less than 10 pages of mapped NKS parameters to play with in Hyperion Strings Micro , so let’s delve deeper and take a look at what SoundIron have given us.

Page 1 – Main

Knob 1, – Swell
Knob 2 – Body
Knob 3 – Attack
Knob 4 – Offset
Knob 5 – Release
Knob 6 – Release Volume
Knob 7 – Vibrato
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 2 – Legato & Sustain

Knob 1 – Legato on/off
Knob 2 – Mode
Knob 3 – Response
Knob 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Sustain Mode
Knob 6 – Blend
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated

Page 3 – Shorts & Expression

Knob 1 – velocity Sensitivity
Knob 2 – Tightness
Knob 3 & 4 – Unallocated
Knob 5 – Expression Release Mode
Knob 6 – Mode
Knob 7 – Speed
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 4 – ARPEGGIO

Knob 1 – On/off
Knob 2 – Mode
Knob 3 – Range
Knob 4 – Direction
Knob 5 – Rhythm
Knob 6 – Table
Knob 7 – Humanise
Knob 8 – Swing

Page 5 – Filter

Knob 1 – Filter on/off
Knob 2 – Type
Knob 3 – Cut-off
Knob 4 – Resonance
Knob 6 to 8 – Unallocated

Page 6 – Compressor

Knob 1 – Compressor on/off
Knob 2 – Threshold
Knob 3 – Ratio
Knob 4 – Make-up
Knob 5 – Attack
Knob 6 – Release
Knob 7 & 8 – Unallocated
Page 7 – E.Q

Knob 1 – E.Q on/off
Knob 2 – Low Gain
Knob 3 – Low Frequency
Knob 4 – Mid Gain
Knob 5 – Mid PW
Knob 6 – Mid Frequency
Knob 7 – High Gain
Knob 8 – High Frequency

Page 8 – Space 1

Knob 1 – Space 1 on/off
Knob 2 – Room Type
Knob 3 – Room
Knob 4 – High Pass
Knob 5 – Wet/Dry Mix
Knob 6 – Low Pass
Knob 7 – Size
Knob 8 – Unallocated

Page 9 – Space 2

Knob 1 – Pan
Knob 2 – Distance
Knob 3 to 8 – Unallocated
(see additional settings for Ensemble preset for Space pages).

Page 10 – Play Assist

Knob 1 – Assist on/off
Knob 2 – C Tune
Knob 3 – D Tune
Knob 4 – E Tune
Knob 5 – F Tune
Knob 6 – G Tune
Knob 7 – A Tune
Knob 8 – B Tune

Under the Hood…

Most of the mapped NKS parameters are self explanatory, however there are some which warrant further clarification, and of particular note is the Ensemble patch which contains some quite clever and unique controls, of which more in a moment.

On page 1 of the main controls, the ‘body’ control provides what I can only describe as a ‘presence’ filter, it allows you to create a close or distant sound, but is not a microphone mixer as such, as the effect appears to be created with filtering of certain timbres, but does the job in terms of the overall effect on the instrument, giving either a full bodied sound or a thinner and more distant audible perception.

I am always pleased to see the inclusion of a sample offset control, as this in conjunction with the attack and release controls can significantly alter the bite and harshness of the sound depending on what you are aiming for, it also allows you to really tighten up Spiccato articulations for fast arpeggios and runs which I feel is imperitive in an orchestral library to compensate for the sometimes naturally occurring slow attack times found with certain instruments.

The Arpeggio section is fairly comprehensive with a good selection of controls covering all the major elements you would hope to find, and is certainly comparable to that found on the Komplete Kontrol keyboard. It’s worth noting that in common with the keyboard hardware, when you use the appregiator only the root notes are output and thus recorded into your DAW, so in this respect there is no differance.

It was great to find a filter section amongst the mapped controls, this adds the possibility to tweak the overall sound with a leaning toward sound design, I know this can easily be done by adding a further Komplete Kontrol slot and your effect of choice, however it’s never a bad thing to have the additional option within the library itself.

The play assist page is a slightly unusual inclusion, it seems that SoundIron have taken a leaf out of Native Instruments scale feature found on Komplete Kontrol keyboards, and added it as a feature within the library. This is fair enough as not everyone will be using Hyperion Strings with a Komplete Kontrol keyboard. As it stands using the Kontakt GUI alone it allows a sighted user to shift notes around and assign scales to just white keys for easier playability.

I did briefly toy with this feature, however me being me, I only seemed to succeed in messing up the note and scale assignments. Confused, I coughed to mask my embarrassment, and swiftly loaded up another patch to leave behind the trail of atonal mayhemI’d managed to create!

Moving hurriedly on, and back to my earlier mention of the Ensemble patch and the additional settings found therin.

The pages entitle d’Space’ handle more than just reverb and ambience, there are also both panning and distance controls to be found here. In the case of the Ensemble patch these controls have been extended to a further two pages to facilitate more comprehensive control of the instruments found within the ensemble preset itself.

You can, therefore move individual instrument sections around within the stereo field and also adjust their perceived distance within the overall mix, so you can conceivably have your vilins centre stage and upfront, whilst basses and cello are perhaps panned left and right at the back with viola somewhere in the middle, the choice is as they say entirely yours and provides a welcome degree of flexibility.

In addition you are also able to select the range of notes that each instrument occupies across your keyboard, and thus whether they share note space with other instruments or are completely self contained within their own note range.

It is conceivably possible that a similar facility could be used to solve our access issue with out of reach keyswitched articulations. instead of moving the articulations themselves, it might be feasible to move an instruments note range up or down using low and high note knob controls like those found within the mapping of the ensemble patch to a more convenient position.

Conclusion…

The affordability of Hyperion Strings Micro should appeal to many users and make it a popular choice for composers looking to dip their toe into the musical water of orchestration.

The small ensemble recordings mean that these instruments will work well within a variety of genres and projects from unashamedly classical to pop and rock ballads.

SoundIron are noteworthy for providing a selection of sound design presets within many of their libraries, and it’s rather a shame that Hyperion Strings Micro does not feature any of these. Not least to demonstrate the products creative potential, but also to perhaps extend further it’s percieved value for money.

Putting this minor criticism aside, the library does offer a good deal of instrument articulations and accessible NKS parameter mappings which certainly make it a strong contender for anyone wanting to add a small to medium ensemble sound to their music.

As ever I would recommend checking out the included video links at the footer of this review to discover if the sound suits your needs.

The next two Hyperion String releases promise to build further on this initial foundation with multiple microphone positions and even more choices of articulation.

Speaking of the next two Hyperion string libraries, SoundIron offer the opportunity to redeem the cost of this Micro edition library against either the Elements or Symphonic editions upon purchase following their release. sounds good to me!

SoundIron Hyperion Strings Micro can be purchased directly from the SoundIron website at a cost of $49.00

STOP PRESS – SoundIron have just announced a one week birthday sale ending on Tuesday 21st August, making the price of Hyperion Strings Micro $ 31.85

Web Links:

SoundIron Product Page:
Hyperion Strings Micro

Hyperion Strings Micro Walkthrough

Hyperion Strings Micro First look by Sample Library Review

Product Manual:
https://dist.soundiron.com/SND/Manuals/Soundiron%20-%20Hyperion%20Strings%20Micro%20-%20User%20Manual%20-%20v1.0.pdf

(c) Chris Ankin 2018
August 12
www.kk-access.com

Disclaimer

The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of reading this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product in combination with information gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.

About the Author

Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.

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