Symphobia 2 by Project SAM

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Symphobia 2 is a cinematic library, basically an orchestral library adapted to cinematic needs. But our reviewer thinks that Symphobia is a pure cinematic Pit-bull; It bytes every time when it hears the word “cinematic”.

by A. Arsov, Nov. 2013

Are There Any?…

Are there any cheaper orchestral libraries around? Yes. Are there any better sounding orchestral libraries on the market at the moment? Yes. So, what is the point than with this one? Why should someone bother buying Symphobia 2 by Project SAM? The answer is pretty simple and you can easily find it on a library site or if you have purchased boxed version, right under the Symphobia name. It is a Cinematic library, basically orchestral library but totally adapted to cinematic needs. A plenty additional articulations and effects and similar add ons along with basic articulations that are also adapted to the nature of cinematic music. To be honest, Symphobia 2 is a pure cinematic Pit-bull, It bytes every time when it heard the word cinematic.

Not sure if you are aware, or if you thought about that, but cinematic music is buffed with specific phrases, or we can even call that rules that make a big gap between classical orchestral music and cinematic music. They both use same instruments, same tools, but the end result is not so equal. You simply can’t go shopping with a Lamborghini and you can’t race with your brand new Mercedes CLS, no matter that both cars have a wheels and engine.

Attack Is the King

The main issue with cinematic music is attack. There is a lot of fast passages, dramatic moments where staccato violins should fly like a bunch of a mad bats and cellos and basses should bark, also there is a lot of moments when instruments should byte in attack phase continuing with a long legato note with long decay and moderate release. If you ever tried to get this results with normal best sounding, cheaper or whatever we mentioned in first sentences of our review., library, you will soon release that this is not an easy task. Programming, programming and plenty of over-layers.

To use well known Microsoft terminology, Symphobia 2 is “plug and play” cinematic library. Dangerous staccatos, thrilling orchestra patches, sinister basses along with nice set of opposite articulations, lush strings and various legato instruments. ( but if you are serious with your cinematic intentions, than you should consider buying Lumina from the same developer, to cover all aspect of more lyrical moments.) Tons of various orchestral effects that are almost impossible to recreate without having an orchestra from flash and blood. Effects that you can hear in many blockbusters. If we consider some additional, essential non orchestral cinematic sounds, hits textures and pads along with effects, that are also packed in Symphobia 2, we got the most up to the point cinematic library at the market at the moment. To make a picture a bit more clear, let’s walk through the various section of the library.


Before I even throw my eye on instruments, I went directly to the multi section of Symphobia 2 Kontak library. A 21 of multi combinations, where different instruments, articulations, or parts are ranked through the keyboard, ready to use and abuse. Many of them will brings you a tears of sweet memories from the time when you first time see your favourite horror movie. Scary, scary and even more scary. Other brings action and tension, some of them sadness, excitements, festivity or sometimes a combination all all described, all in all they nicely cover the majority of moods of the whole library and are a good starting point for making a cinematic score. Maybe we should point out that Symphobia is not just a string library, it is full orchestral library with some special additions, so various percussion instruments, some of them with impressive attack and strength are also included, same for the wind and brass instruments.

Highlights in Pieces

In first instrument sections, called Full Orchestra we could find various combinations, orchestral chords ranked in major and minor combination or string with woodwinds, short hits along the long textures, dreamy textures or effects, stacks and other exotic things. Every instrument you load have additional articulations accessible through the key-switches or simply by pressing the articulation name in the mid of the instrument window. Nice and easy, in a past I was forced to learn where on a keyboard is particular articulation, while there you can just use the golden rule “press and play”. ( and not “plug and pray” as many pc cards used to behave during the installation process way back in a first version of Windows XP) So, if you need another articulation on a different midi channel, just load another instance of the same instrument, select articulation and midi channel, and there you go. Of course another instance of the same instrument doesn’t use any additional ram.

The next section is “Individual Sections” where we could find all instruments that are in orchestra divided in a groups. Trumpets, horns, flutes, Cello with bass effects, various strings in various string combinations with effects and even instrument, or better to say preset with some string phrases where Orchestra play some slow scary transitions that would be impossible to recreate with programming. Most of the Symphobia presets, instruments or articulations, no matter how we call them, don’t use enormous amount of ram. Most of them use under 100 MB, so you can go totally bonkers combining various elements from the library.

Legato Elements section offer legato versions of some single instruments along with ensemble instruments. We could call this section a melody nook. Nice place to spice the cinematic arrangement with some lead lines or eternal melodies.

Section called “Distorpia” is buffed with “out of this world” sounds and effects representing fear, paranoia, madness and all similar crime in the city goodies. With Distropia you can make audio version of Ring I and Ring II. You don’t even need any text for that, just pure sound of horror that you can find in this section.

The last one is a Miscellaneous section where you can find an Orchestra tuning preset along with concert hall noise.

Happy Hours

Symphobia 2 is not so cheap library, but if you are serious with your business, that you should consider this one as an essential cinematic tool. Action, horror, war, crime.. you have them all inside one package. 749 Eur or 999 US dollars will buy you a ticket to cinematic heaven.

More info along with some video clips and audio demos could be find on Project SAM page.




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