Revisiting Steinberg Iconica

Akarin

nicolas-schuele.com
The last months have seen an increase in all-in-one orchestral libraries. The gamechangingoverhyped BBCSO, the who-needs-legatos-and-mics-and-articulations Nucleus, the next-level hybrid Novo-Forzo-Vento combo, the newbeginningoverhyped Spitfire Studio Orchestra, and so on. All of them trying to carve their place under the sample libraries sun. But there's also mostly-flew-under-the-radar Steinberg Iconica.

Iconica, I've been using it on and off for a year. Never as the only lib in a cue but some of the patches really shine when used in combination with other libs. I'm thinking about the woodwinds, the basses and the celesta. I felt compelled to try it on its own and wrote a track using Iconica only. It's using most of the patches except a few of them in the percussion section such as woodblocks and the likes. Here's the track:


My take on Iconica is:

PROS
- Lots of mics
- Recorded by OT for Steinberg (if you like OT's sound)
- Balanced out of the box between sections
- Next-gen UI and features
- Easy to program
- VST3 so Cubase Expression Maps are generated automatically on-the-fly
- Brass & Woodwinds that come as solo I and solo II for most instruments
- Expressive woodwinds

CONS
- Recorded by OT for Steinberg (if you don't like OT's sound)
- Not running in Kontakt but in HALion! (Hence the VST3 capabilities)
- Not many articulations even though legato runs and repetitions are awesome
- Unpolished glitches left unfixed since release (no CC11 in the basses, for example)
- Licensing from the past on a physical USB dongle
- Steinberg support... need I say more?

Even with its little glitches, I really enjoy using Iconica and would recommend it as an all-in-one package.
 
OP
Akarin

Akarin

nicolas-schuele.com
Really not a fan of the long strings. They do sound rather dead/fake.
Agreed. I use the shorts a lot for layering and sometimes on their own but the longs are in the "meh" category. The lack of vibrato control and the mostly flat legato articulations is a con.
 

youngpokie

Active Member
Thank you for this!

I was listening to a recording this morning (romantic symphony) and was struck by the amount of vibrato in the mid range of violins (especially in mp and p passages). My Iconica trial ran out so I can no longer check - do you know if something like molto vibrato in strings is possible there?

Cheers!
 
OP
Akarin

Akarin

nicolas-schuele.com
Thank you for this!

I was listening to a recording this morning (romantic symphony) and was struck by the amount of vibrato in the mid range of violins (especially in mp and p passages). My Iconica trial ran out so I can no longer check - do you know if something like molto vibrato in strings is possible there?

Cheers!
Not quite, no. Iconica strings are mostly flat with just a little bit of vibrato and no control over it. There are actually two patches: sustain and sustain vibrato. The legato patch is nearly flat.
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
I was never convinced by any Iconica demos, the orchestra sounds very synthetic to me.....your demo is no different. Great piece you wrote there, but I have heard better results from more inexpensive libraries. Just my $.02 of course.
 
OP
Akarin

Akarin

nicolas-schuele.com
I was never convinced by any Iconica demos, the orchestra sounds very synthetic to me.....your demo is no different. Great piece you wrote there, but I have heard better results from more inexpensive libraries. Just my $.02 of course.
Thanks! I know its limitations. I never submitted a cue to my publisher that was done exclusively with Iconica :) What would be these more inexpensive libraries? Now, I'm interested!
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Thanks! I know its limitations. I never submitted a cue to my publisher that was done exclusively with Iconica :) What would be these more inexpensive libraries? Now, I'm interested!
IMO, EW Hollywood Orchestra is a much better sounding library. HS Gold is on sale right now for around $100 USD.
 
OP
Akarin

Akarin

nicolas-schuele.com
IMO, EW Hollywood Orchestra is a much better sounding library. HS Gold is on sale right now for around $100 USD.
Right. I have it as well and quite like it. Yet, I can't bend it to my will to do soft, emotional stuff. Also, sections are not balanced. Hell, even articulations in the same instrument section are not balanced :-p
 

dsblais

Active Member
I think Iconica is a great library. It is unlikely to ever get much traction since it's in Halion, but it's an excellent all-in-one library. I actually really like the fact the strings go light on the vibrato, as I really prefer a more traditional sound and VI vibrato is rarely realistic in its timing relative to a piece since it's such an interpretive element.
 

newman

Member
Nice piece @Akarin

This is my first orchestral library and I am quite liking it. Selling points for me were balance among instruments and nice overall sound.

I decided against other libraries for lots of reasons. Complex or buggy players. Tempting optional instruments (endless new releases and flash sales lol). For beginner purposes, Iconica has plenty of content to noodle with as is.
 

JPQ

Senior Member
nice. saddly bestservice dont sell it. and why i dont buy i directly form steinberg? becouse bestservice offsers one buying method.
 

Peter Wayne

New Member
I played around with Iconia Opus last month (30 day trial). I actually really liked the sound of the recordings and HALion works rock solid. I also liked the interface. But the main issue for me was programming of the samples and the totally fake legatos. Given the price, I expected more. As a first orchestral sample library it's perfect and worth trying it out. But the price does seem high given the alternatives.