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Investing in an orchestral library


mrnabo

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Hi,

 

It appears to me that there are a number of film composers on this forum. I've been writing various bits and orchestral pieces with a friend using gigastudio libraries such as Truestrike, VSL and Sonic Implants libraries.

 

However, I want to purchase something that I can take with me with my MBP, Traveler and external FW800 hd that is powerful and realistic enough to use in broadcast productions (TV, Radio and short films).

 

My impression is that the two bigger players out there are EWQL and VSL, each of which have their own players that work with a Mac. I've been advised to go with VSL's special edition or the EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Platinum bundle. The demos sound good for both, not amazing, but probably good enough for what I want.

 

What are the articulations and ease of use like for both packages? Is there another option I'm unaware of? The other option I've been told to wait for is GVI for Mac and then to use the best giga libraries I can get in that.

 

Any advice appreciated as I'd like to get something by January.

 

Cheers

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Hi,

 

It appears to me that there are a number of film composers on this forum. I've been writing various bits and orchestral pieces with a friend using gigastudio libraries such as Truestrike, VSL and Sonic Implants libraries.

 

However, I want to purchase something that I can take with me with my MBP, Traveler and external FW800 hd that is powerful and realistic enough to use in broadcast productions (TV, Radio and short films).

 

My impression is that the two bigger players out there are EWQL and VSL, each of which have their own players that work with a Mac. I've been advised to go with VSL's special edition or the EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Platinum bundle. The demos sound good for both, not amazing, but probably good enough for what I want.

 

What are the articulations and ease of use like for both packages? Is there another option I'm unaware of? The other option I've been told to wait for is GVI for Mac and then to use the best giga libraries I can get in that.

 

Any advice appreciated as I'd like to get something by January.

 

Cheers

 

My opinion is that your best bet for a laptop is to use the EXS24 and I would strongly consider Kirk Hunter's Emerald library and/or if you have Kontakt, Ruby.

 

Kirk's libraries have a nice "Hollywood" sound and are very playable and the EXS24 itself is easily the most CPU efficient sampler. Also, with Logic 8 if you have more than 5 gig of ram you can use any that you are not using for other things with the EXS24 so you can load large orchestras.

 

Of course, if you do not like their sound, and this is highly subjecttve, then that is a deal breaker.

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I'll second the Kirk Hunter suggestion. Emerald sounds amazing.

 

You might also want to take a look as VSL's Opus 1. I'm not sure if they still sell it, but you can probably find it out in the wild somewhere -- like ebay. The samples are top notch and you can load them right into EXS.

 

rgb

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i've posted the same question a while ago, and asher recomended the same thing

 

i contacted hunter - he actually answers the phone himself!..and answered more questions for me

 

i love the sound samples on the site

 

and ashers music is top notch, if in fact his string stuff is solely hunters library i'm not sure

 

the only thing i'm not understanding with hunters stuff is how you "control" the patches..he admitted it's a bit limited

 

motu, ewqs, miroslav..they all have these nice big control surfaces in the au plug

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I'm pretty new to Logic and EXS, but I don't see a lot of control of Hunter's samples, or Opus, for that matter.

 

If you invest in Kontakt 2 or 3, however, there is some built in scripting control and a lot of people have written scripts specifically to address orchestral control. So you might want to look into that.

 

rgb

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i'd recommend ewqlso gold and kontakt 3 (you can purchase crossgrade for $225). being able to load multis in kontakt 3 makes the workflow so much easier, plus the eastwest libraries are recorded with natural reverb. some people hate that, but i find it easier to dial up a sound without having to eq and reverb it so i can concentrate on composing

 

i didnt like the kh brass. east west seems much fuller and the articulations (with round robin) sound much more natural

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I am not a fan of the Kirk Hunter library. It's too bright and synthy. EWQLSO platinum/Gold is a good option...but if you have some cash...I would go for Vienna. I have had a chance to use the Vienna bundle and it is unbelievable. I haven't used it extensively, so I am not sure what technical problems may arise upon further use, but as far as sound quality goes, I haven't heard anything better. Now, the bundle is like 400+ gigs of samples, so for your purposes probably not the most efficient choice, but they sell more basic versions with comparable sound quality. You can easily customize crossfaded samples, and it has a similar sample loader to Kontakt, which is very convenient to use (drag & drop).
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I'm also a fan of Kirk Hunter's Emerald collection. I use it extensively for strings, brass, woodwinds, and occasionally percussion (cymbals mostly), but I don't use it exclusively. In fact, I don't use any one library exclusively because it's simply not possible to use any single library to realize the orchestration any one piece. It's particularly true for strings.

 

Just look at violins, and take an average mF sound for sake of example. There are any number of variations between libraries on the depth of the vibrato, when the vibrato comes in with respect to the attack, overall brightness, number of players recorded, speed of the attack inherent in the samples, amount of reverb inherent in the samples, and so on. You can't generally get away using the same library for Baroque-style writing as you could for big Hollywood-sounding writing.

 

And let's look at trills. The speed of trills will vary from one library to the next. Same with tremolando. And as before, the number of players recorded, how wet the samples are, etc., will have a lot to do with your choice of which library to pick for any particular phrase in your music.

 

Brass. The trumpet samples from Library X that you might normally find lame and out of tune for slow orchestral playing may just have the perfect vibe for that Brandenburg-style staccato trumpet fanfare you're writing.

 

So my advice would be to assemble a collection of different libraries and on a project-by-project basis (if not a phrase-by-phrase basis), use the samples that sound right for the part.

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Thanks for all your responses, it's been interesting to hear your opinions,

 

@ ski: I agree about needing to mix and match your libraries a bit. Problem is, this is a very expensive route to go if you're purchasing strings from Sonic Implants, VSL packs and Kirk Hunter's stuff for example (btw, Hunter's stuff does sound good, although I'd have to agree it's very 'bright' sounding and the brass sections would need replacing for me)

 

I have about £600-£700 ($1200-$1400) to spend on my orchestral upgrade. That's nothing when you weigh it up against the 2-3k VSL Cube libraries available, but might be enough to get the Vienna Special Instrument and upgrade pack or maybe Hunter's diamond pack with a strings library.

 

What do you recommend as a good combination for someone who wants to get a realistic string and brass section more than anything else? I'd be interested to hear what you suggest ski, particularly considering you recommended the route of combining libraries.

 

Thanks once again

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What do you recommend as a good combination for someone who wants to get a realistic string and brass section more than anything else? I'd be interested to hear what you suggest ski, particularly considering you recommended the route of combining libraries.

 

This is the bane of our existence!!

 

For strings, the nicest demos I've heard recently are Sonivox http://www.sonivoxmi.com/LayoutPage.asp?pg=Symphonic&mnu=LaySymphonic

 

That will eat up your budget for strings alone.

 

I have Opus1 which is a decent collection but would recommend Gold as more complete....Opus1 does not have muted brass. I also have the M-Audio/Sonivox strings and woodwinds. For the price, the strings are very nice. I'm still trying to get my orchestra set up and the Soni's are Violin 2 and Viola sections. Avoid the M-Audio woodwinds as they are all ensemble sounds.

 

For the fun stuff....if you don't go with a "kit", you'll have to have a sampler program of course. If you try to mix and match, as I did, you will invariably spend more time and money than you plan.

 

Now....if anyone knows how to setup LogicEx8 so that I may use one instance of Halion3 with one bank rather than 16 individual Halions each with one channel, I'd be most grateful for the info. As of today, I'm looking at backward mobility using Hal as a standalone and my 'antique' PB 3400 running Vision.

 

Oh yeah....I'm quickly developing a stock of DAW software that is not giving me the results I would like - one 16 track orchestra on one computer without cpu overload.

 

RS

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The sonic properties of all these libraries are certainly good/bad in the ears of the beholder.

 

The OP however was looking for a recommendation not only based on the sound but on amount of articulations, ease of use, on his laptop.

 

Because of that I based my recommendation on:

 

The EXS24 is more CPU efficient and well integrated into Logic than any other sampler or rompler plug in Logic. Which makes it better for a mobile setup.

 

Kirk's orchestra's have all the articulations one could reasonably need and is extremely playable and now that the VSL stuff is no longer available for the EXS24 I do not know of a comparable orchestra that is available for the EXS24. You can of course buy GIga versions and convert them but depending on how they did the programming sometimes it translates really well and sometimes less so.

 

Also, strictly IMHO, if any of the mentioned libraries sound "synthy" it is not a flaw in the library but in the user's implementation of it. You record a real player through a microphone to create an orchestral sample so unless that guy is playing a synth it does not need to sound synthy.

 

I believe one can potentially make good sounding or bad sounding music with any of them. But for the OP's particular criteria if, and this is the big if, he likes the sound I think Kirk's are a fine way to go.

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Ski..you ever use the Dan Dean stuff?

 

Need to play with DD some more before I could offer an opinion. I do like the SAM ensemble brass, and is a nice compliment to the Kirk Hunter ens. brass. On observation I've had is that both SAM and DD trombones sound really thin (especially the bass trombones). By contrast the KH trombones sound very full and have all the bottom you'd expect. But that's not necessarily an indication of how things stack up generally for the SAM and DD libraries... just an observation about one type of sound.

 

While it's a bit of a cheezebucket in some ways, GPO is a really good and cheap plug to have for harp, woodwinds (particularly flutes and bassoon), and some of the percussion too (celeste, which is magical). I sometimes use the solo violin and celli patches (with tons of EQ to give them some body), but I'd never use their brass or ensemble strings. But that's just me. Some people find them useful.

 

Mrnabo, in you post I see you asked about strings and brass, but woodwinds need luv too 8)

 

[EDIT] BTW, the Sonivox strings (formerly Sonic Implants) are fantastic, though $$$...

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You also might consider looking at Synful Orchestra, which is a synthesis based orchestra that sounds pretty amazing in the demos. I have a copy, but have not had much chance to play with it lately and my memory of it's qualities has faded. But the price is fairly low and what I've heard sounds excellent. I would never have known they weren't using samples.
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synthful strings is nice..and is one i've been following since it's review in SOS years ago

 

what probably is true is owning several good libraries - dark, bright .. and combining/implementing them correctly ..is the game

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