Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dominus - Thoughts and Summery

First let me note that I was asked if I would like to review Dominus Choir and was given an NFR review copy but was not compensated otherwise. I had already spent probably an hour listening to demos and watching reviews and was aware that this was a quality choir, so I was happy to review it.

Dominus is in my opinion a superb virtual instrument and a labor of love. The tone is excellent and the samples well recorded. The two choral groups, male and female, have solid enunciation and are consistently in tune. The legato is heavily sampled and cleverly scripted resulting in a legato that is as good as any in the business and, given the complexities of voice, quite easy to use. The Word Builder is quite intuitive and there are plenty of pre-made words.

I have nothing negative to say and I love to nitpick. Listen to a few demos and watch a few video reviews to make sure the sound is right for you. It is a Latin choir, not English, and as a Christian who has gone to church for many years and was once a radio guy for a Christian / Classical station, the choir sounds very much like what I think of when I think of a Latin church choir. It should do very well for movies or video games where you want a medieval or fantasy feel. I mess about with RPG Maker and was thinking as I was playing Dominus that is would be perfect for wandering a Cathedral or cranking up the Bass and going down to the crypts. Clever classical or soundtrack composers should find many uses for Dominus.

As with virtual every VI, take some sit down with a keyboard time with Dominus just to get the feel for the instrument, the Word Builder and especially the Legato. It gets pretty intuitive fairly fast, but any vocal VI is inherently more complex than say a string instrument as you have added syllables, words and phrases to the normal issues of melody, harmony and rhythm.

Learn the interface and play with the length of the notes which is very important for getting a realistic sound. Also the Release/Legato slider is important to adjust for your playing style / DAW midi as it tells the instrument how long to wait for the next note before deciding you don't want legato for the next syllable. Watch the Syllable / Vowel Legato scroll to get a feel for when to change notes as you want to transition on the Vowels. Oh don't forget those Modwheel swells. Get it just right and you will get goose-pimples. It is actually fun enough that you might lose a bit of productivity for a couple hours as you just make the choir sing.

The Mix part of the interface lets you try the four mic positions. They are similar but not the same and the default Mid mic works well most of the time. Do remember that Dominus is using a lot of samples and even with streaming and compression is not a small beast so if you add all the mic positions in at once it will eat memory. The Convo Reverb can also change the sound. I like halls in general, but cranking up the Cathedral can be useful effect. Also Choir Balance and Intensity can change the sound quite a lot. Bass it up for those scary moments unless of course Sopranos frighten you.

As a reviewer I'm something like a mechanic and amateur go cart builder reviewing a new car. I break things apart and look at what makes the instrument run. Sometimes I see little oddities and shortcuts, probably recognizing them because I use them myself. In Dominus there aren't short cuts just good solid European engineering. The Fluffy is becoming the Lamborghini of sampling houses and Dominus is a big step along that path.

Go indepther with the links below as I look at the functioning of the legato, the samples, tone and for a vocal instrument the all important wordbuilder.




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