Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ review

Cinesamples’ latest Kontakt instrument captures the majesty of the mighty pipe organ, placing the big O right at your fingertips

  • $149
Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

O really is a versatile and realistic pipe organ library, with scope to go way beyond the contextually obvious.


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    Exceptionally realistic.

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    Instant access to varied pipe colours.

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    Considerable MIDI control available for enhancing realism.

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    Perfect tool for facsimile work or for sound creation.

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    The price makes it incredibly attractive.


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    Nothing that we can think of.

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Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ: What is it?

Pipe organs vary incredibly in size, from modest chamber organs to the enormous size of the magnificent instruments located at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, using hundreds or even thousands of pipes to create the most extraordinary symphonic texture.

Through its endeavours to capture the most perfect specimen, Cinesamples travelled to the Harold Miossi Hall, in San Luis Obispo, California. It was installed by volunteers back in 2006, with 2,767 handmade organ pipes, ranging from comparatively small in size, to a whopping 32’.

This library is simply called ‘O’ and upon opening the instrument for the first time, the first chord you play might yield more of a ‘woah’. It sounds utterly amazing and truly stunning, but digging deeper reveals many useful facets. 

Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ: Performance and verdict

Most traditional pipe organs offer more than one keyboard, referred to as Manuals. With so many pipes in an organ, there’s an incredible amount of colour and diversity available, the concept being that these configurations, known as registrations, are assigned to a Manual. The pedalboard is also fashioned as a keyboard and is used to play bass notes, by the organist’s feet.

As the pipes are individually categorised, it’s easy to address each section on the Kontakt instrument, while playing from a single keyboard. Moreover, thanks to the Kontakt form, it’s simple to assign a MIDI CC to a section, providing instant real-time control of the volume of each element, as an organist would. 

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The main pipe section is split into sections labelled Swell, Positive and Great, as you would find on a regular pipe organ. Within each of these sections, Cinesamples has taken great care to capture the incredible nuance of the original instrument, ranging from the relatively quiet and sonorous, through to the loud and harmonically rich. In this regard, it’s not dissimilar to additive synthesis, but it’s truly organic (in sampled form), with the odd moment of subtle detuning, adding to the overall realism.

One trick is the sheer floor-shaking definition of the lower register. Normally associated with the organ’s pedals, the instrument’s section labelled Pedal sounds beautiful, with tones from very pure to raspy being available instantly. The real secret weapon in the armoury is the Contra 32 section, which literally shakes the room, with depth and majesty. The sample capture here is staggeringly realistic.

Added realism

O supplies a very realistic organ experience, with huge immediacy. Where many real-life pipe organs deliver a subtle delay between note trigger and sound (due to their huge bellow or blower based mechanism) that latency does not exist here, but it could be engineered easily from within a DAW if required. 

Keeping with the realism, Cinesamples has captured the silent-sound and atmosphere of the auditorium, which can be applied for added authenticity, at a suitable volume for your production. This is invaluable if you’re trying to create some form of traditional organ-like setting. 

Further realism can be created through the use of MIDI mapping, assigning each pipe section to its own MIDI channel. This means you can trigger each of the organ’s sections, through its own track in your DAW, creating layers just like a live organist. As a complete package to create a pipe organ facsimile, O is incredibly impressive, with amazing levels of realism.

The overall effect

Apart from the incredibly detailed realism, O is equipped with plenty of extras, that can transport it out of its church-like domain. With basic envelope control, resonant low-pass filter, EQ, reverb, delay and more, the harmonically rich front-end is perfect for making inspiring textures, or other more commercial organistic patches. Cinesamples provides an enormous variety of preset content, but the interface supplies plenty of scope to get creative.

Purchasing a pipe organ library may not be uppermost in many people’s minds. If you’re in need of great organ samples, though, this package is most definitely worthy, but with an attractive price point, it’s also worthy of much greater exploration, for sacred and commercial sounds. It’s more than just an organ with O-ppeal, it’s a very creative sonic palette for exploring unconventional avenues.

MusicRadar verdict: O really is a versatile and realistic pipe organ library, with scope to go way beyond the contextually obvious.

Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ: The web says

"The instrument excels in everything from traditional to modern organ sounds and the hybrid engine’s sound design capabilities make this so much more than just a pipe organ library."
Sample Library Review

Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ: Hands-on demos


Sample Library Review

Anne-Kathrin Dern

Cinesamples O: Forbes Pipe Organ: Specifications

  • Works with the FREE Kontakt Player v6.6.0+.
  • CONTACT: Cinesamples
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