Wallander Instruments WIVI v2
WIVI v2 is, unsurprisingly, and update to the original WIVI. In addition to the 12 orchestral brass instruments (three trumpets, three trombones, four horns, two tubas), we now have a range of woodwinds in three packs.
There's the basic set (several examples each of flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons), extended woodwinds (piccolo, bass clarinet, etc) and more exotic varieties (oboe d'amore, bass flute, etc).
Only traditional orchestral instruments are included, so you'll find no saxophones, cornets, flugelhorns or euphoniums.
The sound engine has an installer, but each instrument is simply copied onto your hard drive – there's no messing around with dongles or challenge codes. The interface doesn't have a built-in help file and there is no supplied manual.
You can double-click features to get a brief description, but the only serious guidance you're going to get is the comprehensive documentation on the Wallander website. Understanding is quickly reached, however, and basic operation of the app isn't complicated.
Once loaded into your VST/AU host, the WIVI Universal Player (included with each set of instruments) appears as a stage upon which may be positioned a virtually unlimited number of instruments. The latter, the auditorium walls and listener may be re-positioned to your liking, which has an audible, if subtle, effect on the acoustics.
Version 2 gives even more venue possibilities, and these may be considerably adjusted in the leftmost panel, as may the details of how each instrument sounds and responds to MIDI in the right.
Instruments can be tweaked using conventional mutes (for brass) or rather less conventional formant shifting to create otherworldly sonorities.
The screen grab above shows a French horn and bass clarinet in a church acoustic setting with the listener a moderate distance away.
Wallander's offering is a good one, and certainly well up there in terms of creating realistic instruments. The problem remains, though, of inputting notes, especially for expressive sustaining passages, from a keyboard that is intrinsically unable to output appropriate data.
Ideally, parts should be played in with a MIDI wind controller, but these require nearly as much expertise as a real-world wind or brass instrument.
Let's be realistic, though: the gap between a Wallander Instruments performance and a real one is small enough that perhaps only experienced real-world arrangers would notice it, especially when it's mixed down in a track. This leaves only the question of price: this is quality software and the price reflects this.
Detailed pricing info: Brass, €449; Extended Woodwind €219; Basic Woodwind, €299; Exotic Woodwind, €219.
Hear what WIVI v2 can do:
Flexible. Sensible learning curve. Brass sounds are good. Modest system requirements.
The price! Woodwind sounds are less convincing. No PDF or paper manual. Mixed results.
WIVI v2 is a sound improvement on the first version, and a flexible alternative to hard drive-munching ROMplers.
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Mac or PC
Processor Type Required
AMD Athlon XP Pentium 4 Power Mac G4 or higher
Ram Required (MB)
Required Hard Disk Space (MB)