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Topic: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

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  1. #1

    Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Hi,

    It's been a while. I haven't kept up with what's the latest and greatest with orchestral libs simply because I've never done 're-creations' or 'mock-ups' of classical music.

    So over the years I've collected various low rent -bits- ie. NI's Session Strings GPO (pre Aria), GOS, Halion, Stradivari, Vienna's free 'Epic Orchestra', Halion Symphonic Orchestra, etc.

    Well... now I'm in the soup. I -need- a decent library that will cover what I would consider a 'modern' orchestra say up to Stravinsky or Bartok or Copland. I don't need 16 basses or 12 horns or huge 'Hollywood' sounds or Wagner tubas or 8 way divisis. But I -do- need a fairly complete set of articulations and I do need a full orchestra that sounds like a single orchestra. Actually, I'd -rather- it be a smaller orchestra---than the 'vast' sound I hear in video games and movie mock-ups. This is for a mock up for a -real- small/medium local orchestra so 'intimate' is better than 'epic'.

    On the plus side of the ledger I have a spare computer I can dedicate to being my 'sound vault'... and I do have Vienna Ensemble Pro (love it) to act as host so I was going to start looking over @ VSL, but I figured I'd check in some other places first and see if there are any other competitors in this price range (or -which- VSL product(s) are appropriate. I can't go much over $1k US, otherwise I'd just get 'Cube' or whatever they call it now. I'm open to mixing/matching separate libs so long as they keep under budget -and- can sound like a holistic -orchestra-. (I'm disappointed that Wallander hasn't come out with strings yet, or I'd look at those!)

    Sorry for the same tired type of post, but this is new to -me-... haven't looked around for a couple of years. I see lots of high end products... but not too many mid-rangers.

    Suggestions?

    TIA,

    ---JC

  2. #2

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Hey JC

    Honestly, for the price of just $600 USD, nothing is going to beat EWQLSO. It does lean more towards the "big epic Hollywood" sound, but you can take it down a notch or two with some clever mixing. I really don't think there is anything that is going to give you the "smaller sound", anyway. And that will leave you some dough for another thing or two. I know Kirk Hunter has some libraries that are on the inexpensive side, maybe you can look there too.

    Cheers.

  3. #3

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Hi Jeffrey... Long time. Still @ school?

    Impressions after 2hrs 'strenuous' research on couch...

    I just got an e-mail from Sonivox... 24 hr sale... their complete string lib $249. Sadly, it's not enough time to test properly. And then I'd still need all those other pesky winds and drums

    ---I mentally tuned out EWQLSO for some reason... I think it's because I had heard horror stories about the 'Play' engine. (I wonder if Play is compatible with Vienna Ensemble Pro?) Is it 'better' (more stable) now?

    Went to their web site. $597 for the whole thing? 'SUCH A DEAL!' (my Jewish grandmother screams in my ear). Then in my other ear comes the background music: Exactly the kind of 'Epic Horns' I can't stand.... with a scrolling testimonial from Hans Zimmer. Gacck!

    ---Then there's the Vienna site. Special Edition... plus the 'Extended Edition' (what is it about Germanic companies and confusing products with similar names? Cubase LE, Cubase Artist, Cubase Elements...) But I have to say... I have the demo instruments from Vienna and they are all business. I don't wanna sound like I'm gushing, but they just sound like a real orchestra you'd hear at a concert---NOT a Hollywood soundstage on steroids.

    ---I guess I could go 'ghetto' and just upgrade to GPO4... Garritan actually has most of the articulations I need and the basic sounds are not bad---always like GOS for not being hyped. But realistic phrasing... eh... not so much.

    What to do... what to do...

    ---JC


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey Hayat View Post
    Hey JC

    Honestly, for the price of just $600 USD, nothing is going to beat EWQLSO. It does lean more towards the "big epic Hollywood" sound, but you can take it down a notch or two with some clever mixing. I really don't think there is anything that is going to give you the "smaller sound", anyway. And that will leave you some dough for another thing or two. I know Kirk Hunter has some libraries that are on the inexpensive side, maybe you can look there too.

    Cheers.

  4. #4

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    There's also this one on the way, with a pre-order discount till tomorrow

    http://www.spitfireaudio.com/albion.html

    not sure whether it has all the articulations you'll want, but the sound is pretty nice, and it includes multiple mic positions.
    David

  5. #5

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Thanks so much! I had no idea there were other players. COOL!

    They win the award for 'hippest web site'. So... hip it took me 2 minutes to figure out to click on the image.

    AFA the sound? One word: 'Harry-Potter-Nine' Exactly the cinematic quality I do -not- want. The ambience is -fabulous- though. And the flute and harp demos may be the best I've ever heard. I'll keep em in mind if I ever get LOTR.... 'THE REUNION'.

    Trying to find some 'normal' demos of various libs to compare apples to apples. What's interesting to me is how they all sound great for video games... and yet (still) how crap they all are for something as simple as Beethoven or Mozart.

    ---JC


    Quote Originally Posted by Pingu View Post
    There's also this one on the way, with a pre-order discount till tomorrow

    http://www.spitfireaudio.com/albion.html

    not sure whether it has all the articulations you'll want, but the sound is pretty nice, and it includes multiple mic positions.

  6. #6

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
    AFA the sound? One word: 'Harry-Potter-Nine' Exactly the cinematic quality I do -not- want. The ambience is -fabulous- though. And the flute and harp demos may be the best I've ever heard. I'll keep em in mind if I ever get LOTR.... 'THE REUNION'.


    ---JC
    Hmm - I know what you mean; but did you go to the blog, and listen through the demo with the guy talking over it. There are some examples there of the sound with the distant mics turned off, and it becomes a lot smaller.
    David

  7. #7
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Re: "---I mentally tuned out EWQLSO for some reason... I think it's because I had heard horror stories about the 'Play' engine. (I wonder if Play is compatible with Vienna Ensemble Pro?) Is it 'better' (more stable) now?

    Went to their web site. $597 for the whole thing? 'SUCH A DEAL!' (my Jewish grandmother screams in my ear). Then in my other ear comes the background music: Exactly the kind of 'Epic Horns' I can't stand.... with a scrolling testimonial from Hans Zimmer. Gacck!"


    Hm-mm, I'm with Jeff on this one, and sorry to suggest it, but personally I wouldn't be so quick when judging EWQLSO based on the fact that someone like Zimmer might use it or some demos are of the epic type. Why not see if you can demo it sometime yourself, and then judge it?

    Horror stories about Play? Again, it seems strange when most EW customers aren't having any problems with it nor have they had. Everything works well here! Sure you are going to read horror stories about any product, especially on some forums, but do you also believe everything you read, and think that every person who posts a complaint is blameless themselves? Personally I find many forums are filled with horror stories, and some definitely are worth noting, but overall Play has been very successful, is constantly being improved, is stable, and most EW customers are happily making music with it. Anyway, don't get me wrong, you are certainly entitled to any opinions you have, but my suggestion is that it might be better to base them on your own tests and experiences as opposed to some negative (or positive) comments someone else may have made. Just my thoughts... for whatever they are worth.
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  8. #8

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    there's also LASS (audiobro.com), which imo is still the best sounding strings library.

    and - this might be what you already own - NI have a pro version of session strings now, with a good amount of additional functionality. the demos aren't particularly impressive, but it has the small sections you're looking for.

    if you go the EW path, definitely look into getting the close mics. they'll really help dial in a smaller sound.

  9. #9

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
    (my Jewish grandmother screams in my ear).
    Hey - I have one of those!

    Quote Originally Posted by Suntower View Post
    ---I mentally tuned out EWQLSO for some reason... I think it's because I had heard horror stories about the 'Play' engine. (I wonder if Play is compatible with Vienna Ensemble Pro?) Is it 'better' (more stable) now?
    PLAY is much better than it used to be. There is still some work that needs to be done, but EW has come a long way. Of course, there are still people who claim they have tons of problems, but the general consensus seems to be that it is a hell of alot better. And it works absolutely fine here.

    Cheers.

  10. #10

    Re: Yeah, Another 'Best Orchestral Library Under $1,000' Question

    EWQLSO, and you honestly can't beat it. You can do big epic mixes, but you can also do some very nice arangements for smaller ensambles if you do a bit of tweaking.

    You're honestly not going to beat it in terms of sound quality/value. I suggest signing up for thier newse letter, and waiting for them to have a sale. They have them quite often, and you can get a very good deal. I got my copy of SO last year during a sale, and it was 50% off. I have seen it go for up to 80% off recently.

    Edit: Also, to be blunt, Viena kind of sucks. It's VERY expensive, and I've heard mocups of the SAME piece done with EWQLSO gold which is only a fraction of the price, sound FAR more convincing.

    Option number 2 is a bit more costly, but I HIGHGLY recommend you consider it, as in the long run, I think you would be happer with it. Check out the EW hollywood series (gold version). Right now, for $1000 you can buy Hollywood Strings (HS), AND Hollywood Brass (HB) gold. Don't be fooled by the name. While I can't speak for HB since I do not own it yet, HS can be used for just about any string needs you have/barring very small ensambles. I know HB has sets of 2 horns/trumpets/solo instruments/etc..., so I assume it's also very good for classical. You could probably do some great copland stuff with it.

    While this option might take a bit longer to have, since the winds are not out, if you can make due with some of the other samples you have, I really do think this might be the best way to go. The new PLAY engine also works great.
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