SampleScience has introduced Orion Sound Module, a freeware virtual sound module instrument for Windows and Mac OS featuring a huge factory content library with over 3 GB of built-in sounds.
The instrument was developed using Maize Sampler and, according to Pierre Parenteau (the brilliant sound designer and developer behind SampleScience), was imagined as a simple sound module instrument to be used when sketching ideas for new songs. In other words, Orion Sound Module was designed as the type of instrument that you’d want to reach for while jamming and working on new musical ideas, before substituting its sounds with those found in larger and more expensive virtual instruments and/or sound libraries. Since it’s such a simple instrument with a relatively small memory footprint compared to modern virtual sound modules, it is possible to run multiple instances on older and slower computers without running into performance issues.
Interestingly enough, the plugin’s huge factory library (with over 3 GB of royalty free content) was made entirely out of public domain sounds. Although finding (and actually editing) 3 GB of good quality public domain sample content to be used as the base of a usable sound module instrument sounds like mission impossible, this is actually nothing really new for SampleScience, who has in fact published dozens of public domain based instruments in the past. One of the more recent examples is Da Vinyl Box, a great little hip hop sound pack with over 250 audio samples and loops that were sourced from various public domain movies.
Due to Orion Sound Module’s large download size, I won’t be able to test it until tomorrow afternoon. I will update this article with a brief review as soon as I properly test the instrument on my laptop. If you haveget the chance to test Orion Sound Module in the meanwhile, please leave a comment below letting me know what you think about this instrument!
UPDATE: As promised, I downloaded the factory library and tested it in order to make a mini review. As expected (coming from SampleScience), the samples are very well edited and perfectly usable, especially considering the fact that they’re coming from various public domain sources. Of course, these are not pristine multi-samples that are supposed to sound very realistic when played in solo, but they’re definitely good enough for use in background, or for sketching out new musical ideas. There are 64 instruments in total, collected from different sources like RetroSynths, University of Iowa Musical Instrument Samples, etc. I definitely like the idea of having an expandable rompler that will be updated with more instrument packs in the future, which is exactly what SampleScience is planning to do. The only thing I really didn’t like, and this is actually an annoying limitation of the Maize Sampler platform itself, is that the envelope knobs are very badly calibrated. It is really hard to adjust the attack and release times, since the knobs have a very weird response. This is not SampleScience’s fault, though. It’s simply how Maize Sampler works. I hope they’ll fix it in the future!
Check out the Orion Sound Module audio demo:
Orion Sound Module is available for free download via SampleScience (1.64 GB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).