Crudebyte caused quite a stir back in August when their iSymphonic Orchestra app was launched. The app’s blurb promised a lot and, while the sounds in the initial release were most certainly very impressive, it perhaps wasn’t until the first update for the app appeared in November, that it perhaps started to deliver on the obvious potential of the sample playback engine.
Crudebyte have obviously put some considerable work into the sample playback engine that iSymphonic Orchestra is built upon and, quite understandably, are keen to make good use of that engine for other sample-based virtual instruments. So, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Oriental Strings has been added to the line up using the same app framework, but featuring a different sample set.
Oriental Strings caught me a bit by surprise. It wasn’t quite as ‘oriental’ as I’d imagined it would be. However, it still sounded very good indeed and made for a very good compliment to iSymphonic Orchestra. Indeed, it is a tempted item on its own as, at the time of writing, it is currently 80% off the normal asking price and can be picked up for just UK£8.99.
Both apps have been updated on the App Store today and these are pretty significant updates. The sound sets in both apps have been subject to a significant overhaul and are now based upon true stereo sample data sets. This sound, in principle, given them an even better sound with more stereo depth. Certain samples have also been tweaked to improve their performance, tonality and attack. For iSymphonic, a new ‘Full Legato Orchestra’ patch has been added (for free; no iAP involved).
Aside from a few interface adjustments for smoother performance, the other big change with these updates is that both apps are now universal; if you want the full iSymphonic Orchestra or Oriental Strings experience on your iPhone then you can now get it – and for existing owners at no extra charge. Do bear in mind that both of these app are fairly substantial though (c. 900MB and 1.8GB for iSymphonic Orchestra and Oriental Strings respectively) so if you only have one of the more modestly sized iPhone or iPod Touch models, then check on your free space before committing.
Having given the re-vamped sounds a quick audition today, they do (still) sound impressive and new patches – such as the Full Legato Strings – are always going to be welcome. iSymphonic Orchestra – at UK£39.99 – is not going to be a casual purchase for most but, if you are quick, UK£7.99 for Oriental Strings is a pretty good deal. Both apps do sound impressive though and, if the combined cost is less important to you that having access to the best string/orchestral sounds that iOS can currently offer, then both apps are worth checking out.