“After the buzz of making my first instrument – my singing radiator – I thought it might be cool to make a choir from the students who go to school at St. Helen’s in Oxfordshire where I work. We recorded it one lunchtime in our beautiful school chapel with the intention of doing “Mms”, “Oohs”, “Aahs”, and then some blowy wind-type effects… but we only managed “Mms” and “Oohs” in the time available. We’ll need another session.
I used a Rode NT4 stereo condenser in front of the choir and an Olympus LS-5 at the rear of the chapel to pick up some reverb, and then mixed these together. The chapel is next to the kitchen so there’s some weird external extractor fan I needed to get rid of using iZotope RX7. I also, de-rumbled the samples and comped them using Adobe Audition. Then into Logic to filter out some resonance and added some Space Designer splosh.
Needless to say, this isn’t supposed to compete with SA’s Eric Whitacre’s library! I quite like the odd creak as a singer moves against a bench mid-take, or the faint whooping of another student realising it’s sausages for lunch in the corridor outside. Stick it in your DAW with a rich churchy reverb and it sounds awesome. If someone wants to have a go creating an EXS24 version, be my guest!
I guess I love the idea of the perpetual wheel of these young singers just starting out in life, and already contributing to the artistic community many of them hope to go on and be a part of. The world needs more music in it, and it’s with great pleasure that we offer you guys this humble little choir library.”
Reviews for St. Helen’s Cantores
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After reading some reviews and hearing about the newer NR version i decided to try both out. I actually found that i liked the original noisy one better. It seems more mellow, less "hyped" and i find that the NR one gets pretty distorted for some reason. I really dont mind the background noise, i think it adds to the character. One way in which the NR version improved however is by having the mms and the oohs in one GUI with blend knobs. However it's not that difficult to just load both in and manage levels. I like to drench this sound in reverb because i feel the release is too short and sudden. This is a really great choir. Theres honestly many great ones on Pianobook but I'll try to keep this one in mind next time i reach for one. Its hauntingly beautiful.
A chilling choir!
If you want a female choir with an ambient characater, this is a very good choice. At this point I have become very familiar with the Photosynthesis Engine, but I feel that it doesn't do enough justice to this specific library. The cutoff filter bound to the modwheel seemed nice at first, but since it acts as a filter, it also catches the release sample and this makes it very unnatural if you want to play with more dynamics.
You should also mostly avoid the lower part of the library, since after the middle C everything sounds very down-pitched and unnatural. The higher "female" parts are incredible though! I'd also stick to the NR (noise reduction) version, because the other one seems to have some noises that I am not a fan of.
This is probably one of the most realistic choir recordings that I have heard. There are audible creaks and background noise, so it might not be best for traditional scores, but it does add character and doesn't harm the performance. This is an instrument that I'll be coming back too!
This is front and centre in my choirs stack in my templates
This is just a stunning instrument which layers beautifully with other choirs or just about anything else. This is a realistic and warm choir adding realistic ambience to your work. Thank you to Ash for the contribution!
Love the Kontakt 5.8 Version
Ash's initial choir instrument was great but for me the seat noises were not to my taste. With the help of Darren J Prescott he noise reduced it and I wrapped it in the flexible Photosynthesis GUI and am really pleased with how it sounds. It is now part of my template.