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Orchestral samples, which library is best?
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Resonater
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#1
18th November 2005
Old 18th November 2005
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Orchestral samples, which library is best?

The title says it all...I'm kind of hoping to start getting some orchestral samples together. Which library is the best overall? I'm of course interested in strings, but also solo instruments (oboe, french horn, etc) and groups of instruments (clarinet quartet, trombone section, etc).

Any thoughts out there?
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18th November 2005
Old 18th November 2005
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VSL is sorta the king of them all, but because it's so huge it takes some getting used to. They are pretty dry samples so more mixing is required.

EWQLSO is much easier to use with a "hollywood" kinda sound. The recorded reverb is nice and spacious and sounds good right out of the box. This runs as a VST plugin.

SI (Sonic Implants) makes a awesome product as well. Their strings are just amazing, but they now have a complete package. GIGA sampler compatible.

I think these are the big three guys, each will cost a thousand bucks or more.

Also to consider Project SAM for brass and purcussion.

Any of these choices (along with many others I didn't mention) could be considered "the best". How do you plan on using the samples? That's the question.
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18th November 2005
Old 18th November 2005
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The new Garritan Personal Orchestra is amazing. Of all the incredible things at AES this year, I was totally amazed by the quality and price of this CD (I believe around $250). It doesn't have the flexibility of some of the higher priced librarys, but you can make some incredible sounds right out of the box.

The real key to making the samples sound realistic is adapting your playing style to mimic the nuances of string playing.
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18th November 2005
Old 18th November 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomo1234
The new Garritan Personal Orchestra is amazing. Of all the incredible things at AES this year, I was totally amazed by the quality and price of this CD (I believe around $250). It doesn't have the flexibility of some of the higher priced librarys, but you can make some incredible sounds right out of the box.

The real key to making the samples sound realistic is adapting your playing style to mimic the nuances of string playing.
Actually I couldn't disagree more (respectfully of course ) I can honestly get better results from my Roland JV1010 than the Garritan library. We deal a lot with samples and this one was a unanimous disappointment from everyone.

On the other hand we have really enjoyed the East West Orchestral library and the Sonic Implants one as well. Another one that you don't hear about as much, although it's just for percussion, is London Orchestral Percussion. For percussion there is NO comparison. I have even heard there is going to be a gigantic LOP2 before Christmas.

Just my 2 cents!
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18th November 2005
Old 18th November 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jomo1234
The real key to making the samples sound realistic is adapting your playing style to mimic the nuances of string playing.

This is so true! I agree with all the library suggestions so far. I own EWQLSO and love it. While some libraries make it easier to achieve the sound you may have in your head, you can honestly fool people with many different libraries if you learn how to "caress" and "dance" on the keys the right way! Different libraries may require slightly different approaches. Some are limited in the amount of orchestral sounds/nuances they can realistically achieve, but they can still sound "real" (to a degree) if played properly and put in the right musical context.

-Mike
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18th November 2005
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If you haven't heard the latest Garritan Personal Orchestra used by a player who knows how to play 'keyboard' strings, I think you will change your mind about their library. I am certainly not saying it's the best library out there, but for the price it is an exceptional value.
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18th November 2005
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I own the GPO.... I think it's very nice, although I don't necessarily like the way it is set up. I dislike how you have to have your hand on the mod wheel to get any velocity out of most of the samples.
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#8
19th November 2005
Old 19th November 2005
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I start with the normal disclaimer: (If possible listen to everything you can
get you hands on).

There was just about six months of searching and testing for what we thought
would be the least limiting, real sounding samples. (This was a pain as packages were
changing as the tests were going on.)

We were willing to learn more about “how” various instruments really are played.
(I was the negative person about this as I think of this as a “life time” endeavor.)

We were willing to take the time to learn proprietary tools.

We were willing to dedicate a complete computer system to this.

We wanted one package that “could do it all”. From backgrounds to
stand alone instruments and full orchestra

Early on we found that “dry” samples although taking more work to “finish” were important to the quality of our work. (Greater flexibility, higher quality, better finished sound).

We ended up getting the Vienna Symphonic Library “PRO”. And various Horizon sets as well.

Here’s our personal experience in order of preference.

1. Vienna Symphonic Library (But learning curve steep, still don’t have it all down)
(Also their higher sample rate disks "dissapeared".)
2. East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Platinum Pro
3. Sonic Implants Complete Symphonic Collection

Garritan Personal Orchestra did not meet our needs but if you can
you should still listen the price is very good.

P.S. Also bought, but have limited experience with.
EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Choirs
EastWest Voices of the Apocalypse
#9
19th November 2005
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VSL all the way. It's a bit drier but is WAY deeper in velocity and quality. On the Gigastudio it has instantly fast response even with many mock-ups containing multiple instruments. thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup

The EWQL library had a great mic. engineer capture the samples (PROF. KEITH O. JOHNSON) but there is not enough of them to switch smoothly between the switch points. The reverb tails are not adjustable and gives me a headache when a director wants a drier sound.

Plus the VST format is full of lag delay and problematic especially in a Mac w/ PT & Logic. So I can't recommend this one at all.

Sonic is also used here a bit and recommended. Kfhkh
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20th November 2005
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I've been using the VSL for a long time, but just got the SI complete package.....and i'm totally blown away.

The best part of it I found--and it's what really separates it from the VSL in it's approach--is that the sections were recorded in typical setup on the stage. It somehow makes meixes come together way easier, even as compared to "self-panned" vsl mixes. All the sections just work together and balance naturally. (I thinksEW is done this way too).

The down side, is that SI has no "peformances", and although generally the programming is better the VSL, the keyswithced instruments are not setup the way I would have done it. It's also a huge polyphony hog....yet that gives you an amazing sound and great releases.

EW/QL sound good, but the plug-in player approach is way more cumbersome than working in GIGA so it was not an option for me.

The GPO does not even fall into the category of a discussion of "The Best" library. Only a discussion of "best bang for the buck". Which is a totally different conversation.

If you wanted best bang for the buck, I'd still get the orignal Miroslav as formatted for Giga.

It's def better than GPO in my opinion.

--wolfie
Ivo
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20th November 2005
Old 20th November 2005
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VSL Performance Tools are the bomb

I do quite a lot of orchestral composition/production work, often doubling samples with real instruments, sometimes samples only. The big pre for VSL IMO are the Performance Tool options.

With both the VSL large library and with the cheaper, but still quite big 'Opus 1' library you get this performance tool, an addition to the EXS24 sampler or Gigagsampler (not sure of other formats) that gives you enhanced phrasing possibilities.

For instance:
- real legato playing - the legato tool makes it possible to actually play a sample of an instrument 'going from d to g#' automatically or any other interval; as long as you play or program overlapping notes in a 'performance legato' patch you will hear the correct note transitions. Yes, they sampled all possible intervals up and down, from all possible starting notes, with all instruments, on all dynamics... This finally gets rid of the one of the worst problems with samples - that each sample necesarily has it's own attack since they were recorded as seperate notes, which gives you a good detache or portato performance but very unconvincing legato playing.
- automatic alternating repetition - so when you play a staccato passage on one note, it will automatically alternate between different samples of the same note
- a (more complex to use) tool for ostinatos (not included in Opus 1 I believe)

These tools require a bit of study (not more than one afternoon figuring it out and experimenting a bit) and then they give you very realistic performances.

I have both the big VSL 'Orchestral Cube' library and 'Opus 1' and I find that I use Opus 1 a lot more since it's generally more efficient, it allows me to get a complete orchestra and Altiverb reverb from my G5 while it sounds just as good as the Orchestral Cube. I then add some more specialistic instruments or articulations from the Orchestral Cube. So my advice would be: start with VSL Opus 1 and take it from there.

Oh, True Strike Orchestral Percussion is also nice for percussion but not really necessary if you have VSL.

And get a good reverb with VSL. Altiverb is the best I've heard sofar for realism.

hth,

Ivo
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20th November 2005
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The performance tool is very cool, Sonic Implants as kind of raised the bar by using the new GS 3.1 transitional legato mode, so that you don't have to open an external midi tool any more. Hopefully VSL will do versions like this too....

BTW, the other Horizon libraries are also awesmoe....I have mallets, glass and stones, chamber strings (great!), and woodwind ensembles.....all really good.
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20th November 2005
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21st November 2005
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Definitely second the tip on getting Altiverb if you go down the VSL route (and have a Mac...)

It's not that VSL sounds no good without it, more that VSL sounds SO good WITH it!
It allows you to 'set' the orchestral positions of instruments, both n terms of panning and depth. Works out all the nessacery delays, EQ adjustments, etc. Once you've heard your orchestra like that, it's hard to go back to a vanila reverb. Astonishing stuff. Eats processor power alive though.

pretty sure there's a Gigasampler equivalent (Gigapulse?), if you're on a PC
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21st November 2005
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I also use the VSL all the time...

Mostly, get the VSL Performance Set. You can do quite a lot with that alone. I just LOVE the portamento strings. And the Performance Set seems to blend well with the Sonic Implants library, so you might not have to spring for the whole VSL package... but that will depend on your specific application.
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4th December 2005
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#17
7th December 2005
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what about if u just want piano samples? i have an emu ultra. it uses emu and certain akai formats.
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7th December 2005
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vsl

woot to vsl
london percussion is amazing too

does anyone have any experience with the new choir package where you can type in text and it will sing it? does anyone know of a good boys chorus pack?
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#19
10th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctmartin View Post
I also use the VSL all the time...

Mostly, get the VSL Performance Set. You can do quite a lot with that alone. I just LOVE the portamento strings. And the Performance Set seems to blend well with the Sonic Implants library, so you might not have to spring for the whole VSL package... but that will depend on your specific application.

Does anyone know what other libraries contain portamento performances? I have EWQLO and a couple others an none have portamento. Is VSL the only option for this?
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10th July 2007
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Sonic implants does. It's a bit more flexible than VSL (in terms of speed of the portamento etc) because the effect is not created by samples so you can make it do exactly what you need, but doesn't sound as natural in my opinion. The problem with the VSL portamento is that it's a bit hard to use if the particular sample doesn't happen to fit the tempo of you music. So it's a toss up. It's also nice that with the SI you don't have to use the performance tool for it.
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10th July 2007
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EWQLSO and layer that with some real violins sprinkled in. absolutely amazing!
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10th July 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtstudi@pacbell View Post
Vienna Strings for gigasamlper


www.bluethumbproductions.com
funny. u are just a few blocks away from where i am.


as for samples. i think the VSL sound is a little more "raw" and i prefer the sonic implants for legato or the EWQLSO. they sound more lush and nicer. which seems to be an overall opinion (from other forums) which seems to be why VSL came up with the new strings colection "appasionata". still the rest of VSL is impressive. love the tremolos.
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10th July 2007
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Sonic implants works much better for me than any of the stuff I've tried from the Vienna library. I haven't tried all of the vienna library though. I'm quite happy with SI though.
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10th July 2007
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VSL all the way. I have all their stuff and I am so broke. Anyone wanna buy the orchestral cube pro cheap? PM me.
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11th July 2007
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I never heard of sonic implants but I stumbled onto VSL about 3 years ago and loved it ever since. I dont use the brass or woodwinds packages or anything like that though, its usually the strings for me. Im interested in checkin out the sonic implants.
#26
22nd September 2008
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There´s a capital sin within all of this standards blends (VSL, EWQLSO, SI and so on): they don´t have that fundamental expression that only a real orchestra can provide... That´s why I sugest the Synful technology... Listen the demos at Synful ...

It´s not a sample based instrument, it´s a VST synth which will take only a few hundreds of megabytes of your PC, but it´s one of the most impressive technology in orchestral simulation.... Great stuffs comes in small packages! Try it!
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23rd September 2008
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"There´s a capital sin within all of this standards blends (VSL, EWQLSO, SI and so on): they don´t have that fundamental expression that only a real orchestra can provide... That´s why I sugest the Synful technology... Listen the demos at Synful"

Hey I listened to some of the samples, and they sound very synthetic to me in general. However, they might be able to improve the other libraries mentioned, if added carefully to them for certain effects, like very fast runs.
#28
23rd September 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mainstream View Post
There´s a capital sin within all of this standards blends (VSL, EWQLSO, SI and so on): they don´t have that fundamental expression that only a real orchestra can provide... That´s why I sugest the Synful technology... Listen the demos at Synful ...

It´s not a sample based instrument, it´s a VST synth which will take only a few hundreds of megabytes of your PC, but it´s one of the most impressive technology in orchestral simulation.... Great stuffs comes in small packages! Try it!
That thing can sound very expressive.. I'm impressed! Going to try out the demo. Thanks for the tip.
#29
24th September 2008
Old 24th September 2008
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Audio Impressions?

Heard strings from a company, Audio Impressions? I think was the name at a namm show a few years ago, Absolutely MIND BLOWING!!!!

They sampled using great vintage mics,
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24th September 2008
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