Jaeger by Audio Imperia Review
Orchestral all-in-one packages have become handy tools for working composers to use, with libraries like Symphobia 2, Albion and Metropolis Ark becoming popular examples. We’ll be having a look at Jaeger from Audio Imperia today to see how it fairs in the all-in-one orchestral package game.
Audio Imperia hasn’t been around for very long, and they’ve mostly provided experimental and cinematic trailer tools up to now, so Jaeger is their first fully fledged orchestral product.
Jaeger ships with a violins, violas, celli and basses section; a trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuben section; an essential set of percussion and a bunch of trailer tools, with a solo female vocalist to top it off. Each section has the vital collection of articulations, with the violins, celli, trumpets, horns and solo vocalist sporting true legato.
Being a Kontakt full library, all you need to do is download the library via the Connect downloader, which will install the library to your desired folder. Then you’re ready to play.
For a library that’s marketed as a hybrid orchestral scoring tool, Jaeger sounds much more traditional, which may not be to the liking of someone looking for some punching processed instruments. The sound is very controlled and even has an air of daintiness to it (if that’s the right word to use). The string sections’ sustains are expressive, while the spiccatos are pointy and the staccatos have a fluid stroke to them. The tremolo is what you’d expect from the strings, and the col legno and bartok pizzicato are excellent as well. The portato allows you to play more bold strokes with longer sustain and has strong releases for shorter playing, which again, oddly makes the strings much more suited to traditional work than powerful hybrid stuff. Because of this, the strings tend to get smothered in a dense mix, so I recommend some mixing to bring their brightness and attack out more. But overall, each section has a rich tone and consistency of sound across the board.
The brass has a wonderfully controlled sound with a regal tone. The trumpets sing and the horns really belt (but with manners), while the trombones have just the right amount of rasp and the tuben section has plenty of richness and a little growl. The short notes are impressively disciplined as well, which is something I don’t often see in libraries containing brass. I’d say the brass wins the gold star out of all the sections in Jaeger.
The percussion section sounds excellent and is very well recorded, but there’s hardly enough here to facilitate epic scoring – once again, it seems to go against the hybrid grain. There aren’t many dynamic layers for the drums either, so while what’s on offer sounds lovely, it can be challenging to play or program expressively. We get a gran cassa ensemble, a high and low snare ensemble, a high and low tom ensemble, three solo taikos from big to small, stick hits, piatti hits, and tam-tam hits. It sounds like a lot on paper, but working with it feels somewhat minimalist, especially for epic music.
All of the mentioned sections were recorded center field and had close, mid, wide and far mics as well as a large sounding full mix. Each mic has a controlled similarity of sound and isn’t very wet (or processed), so it’s obvious that Jaeger was designed to be mixed and processed the way you want it to be, rather than coming pre-mixed with a wet hall sound. This is great for composers who like control over their sound, but for those wanting to jump in and have a massive sounding orchestra from square one, they may find it a little “unimpressive” sounding (even though the library does sound impressive, just in a natural, unprocessed way).
Then we have the solo vocalist, which is provided with a single mic perspective and sounds excellent. The available ah, mm and ooh legatos sound lovely and are surprisingly smooth even without reverb applied. There are also breaths provided to chuck in between the legatos and the selection of phrases that are available. I can see why Audio Imperia chose to offer this solo vocalist section as a stand-alone library – it’s mustard (British for “awesome”).
The provided trailer braams, booms, mech hits, drones and the like DO fit very well into the hybrid genre unlike the instrument sections, and I’m happy to say they are very well made, sound great and are flexible to use.
Lastly, I must mention that while the violas, basses, trombones and tuben don’t get true legato – the true legato for the violins, celli, trumpets and horns is top notch. The full transitions have been kept, so playing these legatos requires a little practice, but they sound great and are a real strong point for the library overall. But still, no woodwinds to be found!
User interface & Usability
Script-wise, Jaeger is pretty darn solid. The GUI provided for the instrument sections is simple and elegant (and it looks cool if you ask me) and nifty controls like legato sample start time for the legatos is provided, along with a sample start slider that brings in more of the pre-transient (great for getting more live sounding short notes or drum hits), and a “big knob” (clever name) that introduces some distortion and bit crushing among others. You can also go into the fx page to customize how this and other effects work.
For the trailer tools, you get a visualization of the wave, which you can also control the sample start time for, which is handy for the drones and the build-ups. It’s all very logical and doesn’t get in the way of composing, and I haven’t found a single bug (yet), so that’s a good sign. All in all, this library sounds excellent, is rock solid and is easy to use. Thus it earns every bit of its score.
Rating: Four out of five stars
So why not five? Well, I personally think it would have been a much more ground-breaking package if there were legatos included for the violas, and maybe just one woodwind instrument at least, considering this library’s (possibly unconscious) leaning towards a traditional sound rather than a hybrid one – and I honestly feel as though the percussion section was fairly stripped down and should have contained what was later featured in the Cerberus library. I love Jaeger and would recommend it to anyone who loves an excellent orchestral package, but seeing libraries like Cerberus, and Talos Part One, and Talos Part Two… I just keep getting this feeling something was intentionally left out of the library…
UPDATED: I was just informed that the violas will in fact get a legato section some time next year (from the date of this article’s publication) so kudos to Audio Imperia for adding to an already stellar product.