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Are orchestral libraries ever used professionaly?

The title might be a bit abrupt right off the bat, but i've read a lot and I see some things come back a lot. One of these things is the way people use libraries like Albion, Ark, and Symphobia.

Now what i'm on the fence about them is that I always hear alot of praise, but then it's followed by, ''I use it for sketching, coming up with ideas, only use one patch from it, or very much in the background/filler.''

To me, for the price you pay for them that seems a bit steep and I wonder if there's something wrong with them to use in finished products? I understand it will require some other instruments to shape things up like a dedicated string library.

Are there really that much flaws in them that they aren't accepted as something you put more in the foreground with your other instruments?

Edit: As the topic derailed a bit and is ending up in a samples vs real instruments, or a pros and cons discussion. That's not what i'm after.

I mean the type of sample library, Orchestral Libraries. Examples like Albion series, Symphobia series, Metropolis series. Those I wanna talk about.

What I wanna know about them is that i've read a lot of people from allw alks of life in the industry talk about them, but i've got the notion that noone ever ends up using those libraries fully. Either just as sketching, getting ideas, or for just one part of it.

e.g.: Someone who buys Symphobia for jus tthe multis. Which is all fine, but why spent that much money and not use the rest to it's full right and not just as a very expensive idea sketcher? (And yes multis are hard to make yourself)
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I imagine big time composers have real musicians... still can't beat real musicians playing real instruments.

In the middle are the people who can afford Orchestral Tools.

And at the bottom, scroungers using demos and freebie VSTs.

At least that's how I see it.


I'm just a "hobbyist"...
An analogy... can you paint a beautiful masterpiece with just a few colors (articulations)? Yes, you can... but, if you want to be Van Gogh you'll need more colors (an orchestra) to paint with...

So, it depends... there are just some things VI's can't do... so, if you need one/any of them then, "no"... if not, then... "maybe..." ;)


Afcourse I understand that. Though I mean the professionals that aren't big enough to hire real musicians. Yet buy an orchestral library, but never end up using it, or just very little of it in a finished product. I mean, it sounds a bit crazy to me that you're paying that much for a sketching tool or not use a big part of it.

This might not go for everyone and perhaps the happy customers who us eit more i nthei final products aren't as active as those who feel their orchestral library lacks usefuklness beyond sketches.

Zhao Shen

Yes. It's more prevalent in video games than films.

"Professional" is a pretty loose term to use. It just means you make a living off of it. Anyone right now can choose to go make a living off of composing and be a professional. If you're talking about the AAA project composers, then that's a different story.

C.R. Rivera

Popper @ his favorite toy.
An analogy... can you paint a beautiful masterpiece with just a few colors (articulations)? Yes, you can... but, if you want to be Van Gogh you'll need more colors (an orchestra) to paint with...

So, it depends... there are just some things VI's can't do... so, if you need one/any of them then, "no"... if not, then... "maybe..." ;)

However, how many VI'ers have cut off an ear to stiffle the noise/voices in their head? :)


Ah yes I like Junkie XL, but I don't just mean samples in general. I ment just the orchestral ones. Albion series, Symphobia series, Ark Series etc.

Afcourse plenty of samples are used professionally, but whenever i see talks about Albion or Symphobia it's usually with what I stated in my original post.

It would be pretty silly to assume noone uses samples in finished products, because that they do, but while everyone loves putting beautiful libraries like Cinematic Strings and Spitfire's ymphonic Strings right inthe middle of attention in their songs. What happens to those that have Albion, Symphobia, Ark in their arsenal?

I never quite see a lot of, or any, about someone saying. ''Well I used most of Albion, or everything I used 90% of it is Symphobia.''

Again, I know that these orch. libraries aren't made to be everything, but i just ge tthe idea that htey're not even used that much besides demo's, sketches, or some small patches from them.

Hmm.. it's like you bought a very expensive dinner, but you're only eating a quarter of it.


Senior Member
What happens to those that have Albion, Symphobia, Ark in their arsenal?
Well most have probably moved onto newer libraries with more possibilities, like individual String Sections and deeply Sampled Instruments. If you can get by with less for a cue, why not use a albion as your tool.


Senior Member
As far as I've read and heard - Libraries are fairly common also in high-end productions.

Mostly e.g. the VIs are overdubbed with real musicians of course, but to give a little edgyness or fill up (I mean - hiring a 80 person violins section isn't easy, so you have 50 and fill up with your VI)


Senior Member
Yes, 100%. Many movie, TV, game, and trailer pieces use orchestral samples. Many of them also have live players, but people might be surprised to know just how many all-electronic pieces (or 90%) are both successful (used in movies or advertising) and even quite popular on iTunes and elsewhere.


Active Member
I think the correct question is whether they are used professionally, but rather whether they are used to turn out "product", as in finished pieces that clients pay for.


Senior Member
i think there's a nuance being lost in the question. I think the OP specifically means orchestral ENSEMBLE libraries (as opposed to orchestral libraries).

Right? You're just asking if "pros" use albion and symphobia style ENSEMBLE patches?


Yes exactly, just the orchestral ensembles. Albion, Symphobia, Metropolis and the likes. These are expnsive libraries and I know people who bought them praise them, but my question is why I see so much just using it as a ''sketch'' library, or background filler. I assume not everyone who buys these has the arsenal the really big pro's have. Most smaller pro's have to use samples.

While it's common sense that you have atleast some dedicated samples like strings and horns to double up. That is something I understand, but I just feel like paying that much money for something just to make ideas, sketches and filler which you'd fill out with other samples later on seems odd to me. I would love to get osme insight on that.

And yes, this is not for the big pro's who can afford live musicians to play their sampled demo's. Those are a whole lot further down the road.


Capt. Zorro
I think the answer has been yes for a while now, but when a composer is dealing with a paying client he is reluctant to say so on any but the lowest budget projects. Why? Because it might lead the client to think he's overpaying for the composer, or that the end product is not "professional"- perception in the business is half the battle. Worse yet it can lead clients to question "Are live musicians really necessary?" Of course they are, but convincing a client that has a hard time telling the difference but has to pay the bill anyway might be difficult. So will that same composer admit to it on a public forum and risk the client or other future clients seeing it? I think you can answer that yourself. ;)


Fair point, not every client knows the difference in samples and live musicians and what the worth is of using those two types, but the topic kind of derailed from what I wanted infromation about. It certainly wasn't supposed to be a discussion of samples versus live musicians! hahaha
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