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Best $500 Orchestra Library for Sound Design Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 25th September 2016
  #1
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Best $500 Orchestra Library for Sound Design

Hi, I've been putting things together for a video game project of mine. I've set budgets aside for various things like recording equipment, and now I'm onto buying an orchestral palette to play with.

I decided a budget of ~$550 was enough to start with nowadays, which gives me two choices that I've determined are the best (I don't have Kontakt 5) - VSL's Special Edition Volume 1 bundle, and EWQL's Hollywood Orchestra Gold. I realize that I'd probably be very happy with the overall sound quality of either, but there's a dilemma for me.

I'm approaching composition with sound design in mind, with a focus in acoustic/organic sound instead of heavily synth/chiptune sounds. Both libraries are perfectly capable of natural sounding performances, but they have some differences. VSL is completely dry and gives me a much wider selection of timbres (as it includes things like solo strings, a piano, harp, etcetera), plus it gives me paths to some of their other interesting libraries like the lithophone (should I spend more later on), while EWQL's Hollywood Orchestra gives me more base articulations and more control over vibrato, from what I see. I feel like that'd be an important part of composing a dynamic piece. On the other hand, VSL lets me buy individual instruments for the most part should I need more advanced control (really wish they'd sell string instruments/sections separately).

With all this in mind, I'm having trouble making a decision. The additional control over vibrato and other additional instruments (although some of those instruments aren't very different from each other) in Hollywood Orchestra are tempting, but VSL's offerings are also very interesting to me. Also it seems like VSL is more useful than HO for smaller scale orchestrations. I'm also worried about my computer being able to handle Hollywood Orchestra (I have an i5 4590 and 8 GB of RAM, but I'm confident I can manage RAM usage just fine) Could anyone with both libraries compare the two, or can anyone else help me make my decision?
Old 25th September 2016
  #2
Gear Head
 

Metropolis ark 1 for the money offers a lot check it out.
METROPOLIS ARK 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGlGafgfXv4
Old 25th September 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrikos View Post
Metropolis ark 1 for the money offers a lot check it out.
METROPOLIS ARK 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGlGafgfXv4
That's a little higher than the budget, plus, it seems like it's more for orchestral pads and quick sketches like Spitfire Albion, since everything's in pre-determined combinations instead of individual sections (solo instruments are very different from sections, and single sections are very different sounding from sections playing together), and I have a gut feeling the samples aren't dry enough, either. I know the samples in Hollywood Strings Gold are acceptably dry, at least. It seems like a library geared towards those generic huge-sounding tracks, which means it is not a very flexible library for the most part (especially since it's focused on loud dynamics...), so I think you missed the point of my question.
Old 25th September 2016
  #4
Gear Head
 

Well you said 550 dollars and in their website it says 549 euros and its also very clear about kontakt "Works with the free Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.5.1 full".You are right though they are not dry samples at all.Cinematic studio strings sounds very dry.
Cinematic Studio Strings
Old 25th September 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrikos View Post
Well you said 550 dollars and in their website it says 549 euros and its also very clear about kontakt "Works with the free Kontakt Player or Kontakt 5.5.1 full".You are right though they are not dry samples at all.Cinematic studio strings sounds very dry.
Cinematic Studio Strings
Euros, not dollars. 550 Euros bring it up to around 600 dollars. Cinematic Studio Strings is not a complete orchestral palette, as nice as it sounds. I'm looking for advice on the two that I've noticed, or better collections (it doesn't seem like there are better collections at the moment in the price range), not recommendations for single sections or libraries like Albion.
Old 25th September 2016
  #6
Gear Addict
I think EastWest has started a subscription service. $30/month and you get a license to use any of their software and samples and download them as you need em.
Old 25th September 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revson View Post
I think EastWest has started a subscription service. $30/month and you get a license to use any of their software and samples and download them as you need em.
Yes, it looks like quite a nice deal, but I'm wary of subscription services because my work on music is very sporadic; subscription isn't ideal if you are only composing from time to time. I'd end up spending more than if I'd just bought the Gold orchestra package. And I like actually owning the things I use anyways, it feels like I can depend on them. Can I finally get advice on the VSL package vs. the East/West package?
Old 25th September 2016
  #8
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MusiKLover's Avatar
A few times a year, Kirk Hunter's Diamond Library, ~80G in size, is sold for well under $200, and $100 last month. It is excellent and can supplement more boutiqu'ish libraries such as The Albion Series or Symphobia so that you have all the articulations at your disposal, plus a few extra tricks unique to Diamond. It is quite good and I've listened to a few. The strings are worth the price alone.
Old 25th September 2016
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiKLover View Post
A few times a year, Kirk Hunter's Diamond Library, ~80G in size, is sold for well under $200, and $100 last month. It is excellent and can supplement more boutiqu'ish libraries such as The Albion Series or Symphobia so that you have all the articulations at your disposal, plus a few extra tricks unique to Diamond. It is quite good and I've listened to a few. The strings are worth the price alone.
I mentioned that I don't have Kontakt, so Kirk Hunter is out. I'm not concerned about file size. Waiting for a sale in order to buy it with Kontakt is iffy, and the $100 sale was last month, so I'd be waiting quite a while. I'll keep an eye on it, but in the meantime... Also, it's missing some key things from what I see, like portamento and round robin on the shorts (the first demo on their page really shows). back to the question I originally asked? Please? It's really difficult to get advice on these two libraries for some reason... sheesh.
Old 25th September 2016
  #10
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jaxman12's Avatar
I use East West Symphonic Platinum Plus. It goes on sale about 2Xs a year. Got mine for a little less than $500.00. Best buy I ever made. Sounds Great, easy to use, (RTFM). Get it on sale though.
Old 25th September 2016
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
I use East West Symphonic Platinum Plus. It goes on sale about 2Xs a year. Got mine for a little less than $500.00. Best buy I ever made. Sounds Great, easy to use, (RTFM). Get it on sale though.
Sigh. I think I'll give up on my question, since all anyone does is recommend other libraries than the ones I'm asking about! Also, why would I get that when I could get the much better Hollywood Orchestra package? I'm starting to think almost nobody actually read the original post I made.
Old 26th September 2016
  #12
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jaxman12's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotias View Post
Sigh. I think I'll give up on my question, since all anyone does is recommend other libraries than the ones I'm asking about! Also, why would I get that when I could get the much better Hollywood Orchestra package? I'm starting to think almost nobody actually read the original post I made.
You asked about East West Symphonic Libraries. Gold in particular, but I recommended Platinum if it is on sale because you get more with Platinum for under $500.00. If you want Gold, it will go on sale also. How is that not answering your question. Also Vienna can be more expensive than East West if you compare apples to apples in their bundles. I can't speak for VSL, but I run East West on a computer that is less powerful than yours with 8 Gig of RAM with no problems. Your said your budget is around $500.00 which is limiting for orchestral software. The option I mentioned is to buy it when it goes on sale twice a year. I did not recommend products you were not interested in or out of your price range.
Old 26th September 2016
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
You asked about East West Symphonic Libraries. Gold in particular, but I recommended Platinum if it is on sale. How is that not answering your question. Also Vienna can be more expensive than East West if you compare apples to apples in their bundles. I can't speak for VSL, but I run East West on a computer that is less powerful than yours with 8 Gig of RAM with no problems
No I didn't. Their Symphonic libraries are ENTIRELY different from their Hollywood Orchestra package, which is much more demanding and detailed. It's also recorded much more dry.
Old 26th September 2016
  #14
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jaxman12's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotias View Post
No I didn't. Their Symphonic libraries are ENTIRELY different from their Hollywood Orchestra package, which is much more demanding and detailed. It's also recorded much more dry.
Yes, Hollywood Orchestra is less demanding than Symphonic Orchestra, but the specs you provided on your computer are well within the operating requirements. That is all I will post here. Good luck with your purchase.
Old 26th September 2016
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxman12 View Post
Yes, Hollywood Orchestra is less demanding than Symphonic Orchestra, but the specs you provided on your computer are well within the operating requirements. That is all I will post here. Good luck with your purchase.
More demanding*
Good to know that I'd be able to run it fine.
Old 26th September 2016
  #16
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nativeaudio's Avatar
 

The problem could be that those who really want good orchestral libraries know that there aren't any satisfying solutions in the price range you mention, and therefore only have knowledge about more expensive solutions.
Old 26th September 2016
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nativeaudio View Post
The problem could be that those who really want good orchestral libraries know that there aren't any satisfying solutions in the price range you mention, and therefore only have knowledge about more expensive solutions.
Well first you have to define 'satisfying,' because it looks like the libraries I've mentioned are perfectly fine for a first orchestral selection to play with. People have recommended similarly priced solutions, also; it's not that they're recommending more expensive ones. If I had a lot of money budgeted for this I wouldn't have this much trouble deciding.
Old 26th September 2016
  #18
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Well, Solid State Symphony is really cool and satisfying for $59, but it needs Kontakt.

If you must move forward and you need to get going now, download your product and have fun.

Keep Kontakt on the backburner but at some point, because of the sheer amount of amazing libraries available it should be on your radar.

It's an amazing time for sound design.
Old 26th September 2016
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brockorama View Post
Well, Solid State Symphony is really cool and satisfying for $59, but it needs Kontakt.

If you must move forward and you need to get going now, download your product and have fun.

Keep Kontakt on the backburner but at some point, because of the sheer amount of amazing libraries available it should be on your radar.

It's an amazing time for sound design.
Well that's definitely a neat little synthesizer, I'll have to keep that in mind when I go looking for organic-focused synthesized sounds.
Old 26th September 2016
  #20
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nativeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotias View Post
Well first you have to define 'satisfying,' because it looks like the libraries I've mentioned are perfectly fine for a first orchestral selection to play with. People have recommended similarly priced solutions, also; it's not that they're recommending more expensive ones. If I had a lot of money budgeted for this I wouldn't have this much trouble deciding.
Well - my definition of satisfying may not be so important in this context; I was referring to what some of those who have seen the thread and know something about orch. libraries think is satisfying/have knowledge about.

Gearslutz isn't exactly know for a lot of virtual instrument knowledgable members anyway, soI would tru vi-control.net instead if I were you. And before you buy anything, it could be a good idea to contact other users or the manufacturers and check if they think whatever you end up with want to buy can be used on the setup you have (i5, 8gb RAM) in a....satisfying way. :-)
Old 26th September 2016
  #21
Gear Addict
Just get VSL. Their software is far superior, the modular possibiities more flexible, and you can add as you go along. EWQL is more, as the tin says, Hollywood, which is superficially impressive, but far less flexible. And their software is not in the same ballpark.
Old 27th September 2016
  #22
Old 27th September 2016
  #23
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MusiKLover's Avatar
Native, is that new? I've neither seen nor heard of that particular library before, and that seems it could be a great introduction to anyone.

It actually works with Player, thus it's just a free download for the pseudo-sampler. Good call! The poster is looking for more defined articulations, but at this price point there just aren't many options except perhaps Miroslav (sp), and for some reason I don't get a good vibe from that one. I cannot help but think el cheapo. This library, however, is intriguing, sort of like SAM's Orchestral Classics (that requires the full version of Kontakt.)
Old 27th September 2016
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Quasar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lotias View Post
Sigh. I think I'll give up on my question, since all anyone does is recommend other libraries than the ones I'm asking about! Also, why would I get that when I could get the much better Hollywood Orchestra package? I'm starting to think almost nobody actually read the original post I made.
Instead of either EWQL Gold or VSL SE, have you considered Electri6ity? It's an awesome set of virtual electric guitars, and great for that Eddie Van Halen sound!

Seriously, I can't help you , because I am Kontakt-based and have used neither of the libraries you're considering. I can only sympathize with your frustration (I've been though similar before), because one would think that there would be someone here who has experience with both and can compare them, and actually address the question you asked rather than deflect and redirect.

... Perhaps on the VI Control forums, where the focus is much more centered on virtual orchestral music in particular, there would be a better chance of getting an insightful answer to your question. Good luck.
Old 27th September 2016
  #25
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nativeaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusiKLover View Post
Native, is that new? I've neither seen nor heard of that particular library before, and that seems it could be a great introduction to anyone.
Hi, I don't know really, I just stumbled upon it just before I wrote that post.

ETA: it's probably two years old, I just saw the demos are from that period.
Old 27th September 2016
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nativeaudio View Post
It's combined sections like Albion (although I hear you can divide them apart manually), and I remember not really liking the woodwinds that Cinesamples offers, due to a lot of noise problems. Also, I feel as though the articulations are a bit limited there.
Old 27th September 2016
  #27
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loopy's Avatar
 

If you haven't already, check this site out. Lot's of hardcore, professional composers hang out there. The forums have good information.

http://vi-control.net/portal/
Old 27th September 2016
  #28
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djwaxxy's Avatar
why dont you try and scrape a little bit more money together and buy one of the komplete 11 bundles youll get everything you need and itll keep you going for years plus you get vsl legacy libary included with kontakt 5 which is included in most of the komplete 11 bundles .if your working with video or games id recommend komplete 11 ultimate ..i know its probably double what your current budget is but that does offer everything and your options will be endless.i use komplete ultimate and everytime i use it i always find something new that always excites me
if you cant buy ultimate or any komplete bundle check out akai advance controllers you get a ton of amazing plugins with it plus you get vip 2.0 which is mindblowing if your into creating your own sounds i use that all the time too its one of my favourite plugins its very insperational.
Old 28th September 2016
  #29
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loopy's Avatar
 

Here is another super sale. Same place that had Kirk Hunter sale a few weeks ago. I know nothing about this library. Just offering it up as what seems to be a very good deal, economically speaking..

Needs full Kontakt from what I can see.

75% off "LSS Solo Strings Bundle" by Aria Sounds

Last edited by loopy; 28th September 2016 at 03:43 AM..
Old 28th September 2016
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
Here is another super sale. Same place that had Kirk Hunter sale a few weeks ago. I know nothing about this library. Just offering it up as what seems to be a very good deal, economically speaking..

Needs full Kontakt from what I can see.

75% off "LSS Solo Strings Bundle" by Aria Sounds
That's a pretty amazing deal, I'm sorely tempted by it, thanks.

Quote:
why dont you try and scrape a little bit more money together and buy one of the komplete 11 bundles youll get everything you need
First off, it won't get me everything I need. The orchestral libraries bundled with Komplete Ultimate don't impress me at all compared to even EWQL's stuff (maybe demos are terribly mixed though). I like the huge amount of sounds it comes with, but that's superficial to me and likely won't do me much good, because I plan on a heavy amount of my own sampling anyways (already made my own decent upright piano samples). The real problem for sampling is orchestral instruments, which a library would help hugely with. The ones bundled with Komplete 11 standard aren't up to snuff, either. Now hopefully people will stop recommending literally everything else and help me with my decision.
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