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Advice on a new string/orchestral library

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by dpasdernick, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. robgb

    robgb I Have Strong Opinions

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    My problem with this is that they ALL sounded pretty terrible. The files used had absolutely no CC data, which makes all the difference in the world with sample libraries. Really, the only way to compare libraries is for an expert midi programmer/performer to do his best to make them all sound alive. That way we get an idea of what they CAN sound like in the right hands.
     
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  2. Ashermusic

    Ashermusic Senior Member

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    The sad truth its that I don't always follow my own advice but one is better off with fewer libraries that they know really, really well, than more libraries that they only sort of know.
     
  3. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    @robgb. I did get something out of listening to the various libraries after the list of what they were was published. Some of the discussion was useful too.

    But yep, I agree, the idea didn't work very well. Some of us even had the privileged of being called haters/detractors for pointing out the obvious. That comparison is not something I'd recommend people use as a reference for purchasing, given some good libraries are very poorly represented.

    For anyone interested, here's the actual original thread and related links. Have a listen if you wish, but take with a grain of salt.

    The original thread.
    Volume leveled MP3 files.
    Gary's "unblinding" post with PDF attachment of which libraries are which.
     
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  4. JimR.

    JimR. Member

    For the $$, Cinematic Strings is a great buy. Good articulations, mic positions and the room they were recorded in sounds great on it's own. Second to that, consider LASS Light (LA Scoring Strings) These compliment the CSS library well and at a decent price. let us know what you decide.
     
  5. Zoot_Rollo

    Zoot_Rollo -

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    but how does L&S compare to CSS?
     
  6. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    L&S has more microphone positions, is chamber sized, and dryer. Shorts are less versatile. Has a great realistic tone.

    CSS has more players (not quite symphonic though), has great emotional legato, great and versatile shorts. A very beautiful romantic tone; darker tone. Has a few more articulations.

    Both are very capable, and I like both. I use CSS more, and I'd suggest CSS is going to suit more use cases in general.

    L&S is cheaper than CSS when on sale!! :)
     
  7. Mike Fox

    Mike Fox Senior Member

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    I'd take Hollywood Strings over CSS any day. It's almost insane the amount of quality/quantity you get for the price. CSS definitely has that lushness to it, but it's dark sounding. I normally have to eq it, or stack it with a another library. HS doesn't require any eq'ing.
     
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  8. Zoot_Rollo

    Zoot_Rollo -

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    EW HW Strings Diamond still on sale for $299.

    L&S still on sale for $149.

    2 different beasts, yes.
     
  9. Ashermusic

    Ashermusic Senior Member

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    I have both HS and CSS. I like both a lot and I use both a lot, sometimes together sometimes one or the other.
     
  10. robgb

    robgb I Have Strong Opinions

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    Let's face it. Combining libraries is usually the best way to go. I seem to always get more pleasing results when I do.
     
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  11. Zoot_Rollo

    Zoot_Rollo -

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    indeed.

    probably an unlikely pairing, but i got some fun results layering Ark 1 High Strings with Hyperion Micro.

    and by accident.

    when i realized i had Finkenstein Strings (High) and Hyperion Micro both on, i had written around that sound for a day or two, when i muted Hyperion, everything went flat.

    good times.
     
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  12. muk

    muk Senior Member

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    They are completely different. One is a chamber strings library with a clear, round, classical tone; the other has a lush and dark olden Hollywood sound. Both are great libraries, but for very different tasks.

    Can't agree with that, assuming that you mean stacking differenr libraries. It can sometimes be a solution for specific problems, but at the same time it creates others, like eating up clarity and definition. It's something I'd sometimes do for specific reasons, but certainly not something I'd do by default. Unless you are looking for a huge trailer-strings sound, that is.
     
  13. robgb

    robgb I Have Strong Opinions

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    Well, or course it comes down to the style of music, but as far as clarity and definition go, I sometimes stack string libraries specifically to give them MORE clarity and definition. I might, for example, add a coarser library with a smoother one to give the sound some bite. Other times I'll add sordino strings to normal strings to make it sound lush and even smoother. And I have always found more pleasing results when stacking libraries than not. So let me restate: For me, combining libraries is usually the best way to go.
     
  14. Ashermusic

    Ashermusic Senior Member

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    What he wrote.
     
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  15. Vik

    Vik Senior Member

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    That makes sense, and guess many of us have ended up in a situation where we know some libraries really well and have others which we may not use so much (or which are good but simple libraries which hardly has any parameters to tweak other than the usual CCs for dynamics and vib, or maybe only one CC that does it all).

    Re layering, I have found both viewpoints here to be true as well - in some cases layering adds clarity, in other times it can remove it, because all we needed was a better sounding (or louder) one-layer solution.
     
  16. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

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    I find that layering messes with the stereo image of the string sections a fair bit... you loose precise directionality due to the nature of layering. But yeah, that doesn't stop me layering sometimes. :whistling:
     
  17. OP
    OP
    dpasdernick

    dpasdernick Senior Member

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    I subscribed to the East West cloud tonight and downloaded Hollywood Strings and Hollywood Brass. Holy cow the brass is so beautiful. They really nailed it. The strings are gorgeous too although maybe not as lush as I was hoping for. I'm sure it's just me though. Man, I've seen the Hollywood Orchestra Diamond version on sale for around $500. That's hard to resist.
     
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  18. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    I bought it the day it was released for 2 or 3 times that. I prefer having the extra mic positions on all the libraries.

    have fun!
     
  19. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    I almost never layer two libraries on the same part because I think it sounds synthy most of the time. Even normal doubles sound synthetic when done with samples (standard stuff like clarinet doubling viola or bass clarinet doubling cellos) which is weird because in real life doubles often work very well.
     
  20. The Darris

    The Darris Senior Member

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    That's probably because you might not be layering correctly. It's not about thickening the sound or just copy and pasting the sound, it's about adding/combing depth or bite or some characteristic of one library with another. Done properly, you will find that it gives you a far more realistic sound, far from synthy.

    A lot of it comes from proper orchestration. If you understand how each sections works within itself, and the rest of the orchestra, you can logically take the proper steps within your midi mock up. I don't mean writing with the proper "player count" as this is far from what you need to do. Their are purists who would disagree with me but at the end of the day, it's not about 100% pure symphonic orchestration, but more about the "sound." Great mock-ups usually have two things in common. They are well orchestrated, AND they are examples of great sound design. Good mock ups are essentially sound design made to sound like a real orchestra playing it. In my experience, and I know I have room to grow and develop my mock up chops, the results needed for the final mix cannot be done with just ONE library per section. It takes a team of libraries to do it.

    As for your point about doublings, it all comes down to your automation. It takes more automation for higher voiced doublings than it does for the lower voices. Understand this and automate the hell out of your performances in the upper ranges. If you do it enough, you start to hear where your mock-ups are the weakest, especially if your get your music recorded live. In most cases, if you have the budget for winds and brass, your sampled elements won't make it into the mix. However, you don't always have the budget so you have to figure it out.

    To the OP:

    If I had to choose just one bread and butter Strings library to use, it would be Cinematic Studio Strings. It's easy to program, sounds great out of the box, and blends with every single library I've used with it just fine. The downside is that is lacks some of the more interesting articulations capable by a string band but even so, it will do 90% of the what strings do in most pieces, especially in the cinematic realm.

    My second strings library to couple with CSS would be the older Cinematic Strings 2. Mainly because the programming and articulation list is virtually the same. The difference is the sound. CMS 2 is much more processed and 'bigger' sounding. My trick is to layer it directly with all of my CSS parts but use a 60/40 volume ration, favoring CSS more. It gives me the grit and clarity of CSS but the fullness and wide sound of CMS 2.

    A great addition to those two would be Chamber Strings by Spitfire Audio. I use it to add bite and definition as well as extended string techniques which aren't really found in any other library out there. (This is a great starter library too, if you really want more bang for your buck. It has SOOOO much in it. However, it's a smaller string band and pretty wet sounding which can be troublesome in some cases. This was my go to library for years and is still in my template. I hope that's helpful, for what it's worth.

    Best,

    Chris

    Note: Of the libraries described above, I only received a free copy of CSS for the purposes of reviewing it for my website/channel. I bought the other two.
     
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