What's new

Does anyone actually like or use phrase based orchestral libraries?

OP
R

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
I guess a big part of asking this is a decision to upgrade to Komplete Ultimate when and if they do their 1/2 off summer of sound sale on upgrades.
I couldnt care less about getting Symphony Essencials....so that leaves....

I assumed the value to be in Emotive strings Action strings Action strikes Damage and the electric guitar......but now im second guessing....even at 50% off.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
I guess a big part of asking this is a decision to upgrade to Komplete Ultimate when and if they do their 1/2 off summer of sound sale on upgrades.
I couldnt care less about getting Symphony Essencials....so that leaves....

I assumed the value to be in Emotive strings Action strings Action strikes Damage and the electric guitar......but now im second guessing....even at 50% off.
I wouldn't get too excited. You might get the occasional use out of Action Strings, but none out of Emotive strings. The percussion is worthwhile though if that is what you need. Is getting KU for just that worth it? Doesn't sound like it.

For the orchestral phrase based stuff, the Sonokinetic libraries are much better than the Action/Emotive stuff. Far better in terms of how they sound, and a lot more useful phrases. Particularly, as mentioned before, the Minimal and Sotto libraries are good for adding a level of realisistic support to a track that is hard to achieve with samples. The other SK phrase libraries are harder to use the phrases, but can be great for ideas or starting a track in a particular style. Plus there's still some material in them that is not too dominant which you can use in a similar way to Minimal/Sotto.
 

chocobitz825

Senior Member
Sonokinetic’s libraries are maybe good for sparking a few ideas but I can see how that’d weaken over time. This is why I appreciate their midi drag and drop option so you can use other libraries instead or layered with it.
 

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
I both like and use phrase based orchestral libraries. They are not the core, source of inspiration (though I feel they can inspire), or any substantial part of any of my arrangements. However, they have given substance to a sparse track that needed it. They have given a nice bed frame to a few of my pieces.

If you are trying to create from a phrase based library, that is fine and it can be done, but I find it far more satisfying to use them to add some non-descriptive filler. More often than not, I fall to the woodwinds part of the phrases. Still string phrases can bring some nice backdrops to a well thought out melody.

It seems, what I am trying to say is...how you use it, or would use it, determines its value to you. Obviously, they probably get less use than many of my other libraries, but I love having them there at just the right time.
 

gpax

Senior Member
I both like and use phrase based orchestral libraries. They are not the core, source of inspiration (though I feel they can inspire), or any substantial part of any of my arrangements. However, they have given substance to a sparse track that needed it. They have given a nice bed frame to a few of my pieces.

If you are trying to create from a phrase based library, that is fine and it can be done, but I find it far more satisfying to use them to add some non-descriptive filler. More often than not, I fall to the woodwinds part of the phrases. Still string phrases can bring some nice backdrops to a well thought out melody.

It seems, what I am trying to say is...how you use it, or would use it, determines its value to you. Obviously, they probably get less use than many of my other libraries, but I love having them there at just the right time.
I take the same approach. For me personally, I've never viewed the phrases themselves as the core or foundation, even as I might start with some for ideas. But I routinely layer and texture with the various things I have in my tool kit, sometimes even sparking ideas that might replace those.

I'm rather enjoying Indie for its smaller, more detailed sections, as these tend to dove-tail nicely with what I've composed.

But I agree that how each uses these can yield potential successes. Which is to also say not all phrase-based approaches are created equal. Moreover, as the OP has now specifically pointed to the NI libraries, I think it's worth mentioning how those are, in a true sense, more pattern-based at their core.
 
OP
R

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
I wouldn't get too excited. You might get the occasional use out of Action Strings, but none out of Emotive strings. The percussion is worthwhile though if that is what you need. Is getting KU for just that worth it? Doesn't sound like it.

For the orchestral phrase based stuff, the Sonokinetic libraries are much better than the Action/Emotive stuff. Far better in terms of how they sound, and a lot more useful phrases. Particularly, as mentioned before, the Minimal and Sotto libraries are good for adding a level of realisistic support to a track that is hard to achieve with samples. The other SK phrase libraries are harder to use the phrases, but can be great for ideas or starting a track in a particular style. Plus there's still some material in them that is not too dominant which you can use in a similar way to Minimal/Sotto.
Sounds like good advice. In not looking to have my music written for me. I'd be happy with basic texture phrases and run type phrases....just to add a little extra here and there as others here have said....so what you say makes sense.
 
OP
R

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
Moreover, as the OP has now specifically pointed to the NI libraries, I think it's worth mentioning how those are, in a true sense, more pattern-based at their core.
So you think the NI libraries contain those more basic type phrases?

How are they for tempo sync to a daw?
 
I don't use "phrase libraries" but I do use prerecorded phrases within fuller libraries. Depending on the project, a little non-MIDI humanity can work wonders for a track. The most useful ones are vocal phrases (when you need words) and jazzy brass noodling, which is nearly impossible to program effectively.
 

gpax

Senior Member
So you think the NI libraries contain those more basic type phrases?

How are they for tempo sync to a daw?
I don’t mean to misrepresent the NI libraries, so to clarify: they are recorded phrases, in the sense that the rhythmic patterns are preserved, then further time stretched in Kontakt per your tempo needs (so yes, all tempo synced to your DAW).

Of course you can watch an NI tutorial to get a sense of how it sounds and what it basically does:

https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/cinematic/action-strings/

There are much better, pliable, and better-sounding options, IMHO, depending on your genre of music - some of which have been mentioned already. I advocate some of the Sonokinetic libraries, as have others, for their musicality and more flexible options, even as I recognize the comments here of those who do not have favorable opinions about using phrase libraries in their workflows
 

novaburst

Senior Member
They can be great for reference, the timing can be a killer to get correct, but you will spend a lot of time wasting.

But for reference, guidance, it could be well worth the purchase esp if your trying to learn and understand how its done they can be like an encyclopedia.
 
OP
R

Robert_G

It really is just an expensive hobby for me
But for reference, guidance, it could be well worth the purchase esp if your trying to learn and understand how its done they can be like an encyclopedia.
This is one of the reasons why I'm considering it. I am still very much learning the art of Composing and Mixing.
Layering in Ostinatos, Arpeggios, Runs, and stuff like that I'm still pretty green at.

I'm still new in this game....and ideally, I want to write these myself....and I already have a bit...but I think I could learn a lot by getting 1 or 2 phrase based libraries on a deal.
Even if in a year or so I never use them again....it could be worth it just for the learning curve.

Thoughts?
 

shawnsingh

Active Member
I've found Heavyocity Vocalise phrases useful. I don't have much experience with vocal virtual instruments, but ones I've tried (except for Jaeger) have not been good enough for legato, vibrato, or varied attacks as you try to string together multiple notes. So the alternate is phrase based libraries, and then you accept a different set of composing challenges but at least I can get closer to what I want.

At that point I'm thinking of it like the way a DJ samples from vinyl - choosing phrases that I like from the library, imagining how they work together, splicing, crossfading, occasional pitch correction, layering etc.
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I understand any of
This is one of the reasons why I'm considering it. I am still very much learning the art of Composing and Mixing.
Layering in Ostinatos, Arpeggios, Runs, and stuff like that I'm still pretty green at.

I'm still new in this game....and ideally, I want to write these myself....and I already have a bit...but I think I could learn a lot by getting 1 or 2 phrase based libraries on a deal.
Even if in a year or so I never use them again....it could be worth it just for the learning curve.

Thoughts?
I mostly bought them for the midi, as it helps me learn how to write the various instruments in midi. And I find the phrases useful as long as I use them like I would NOVO or Analog Strings. Especially the woodwinds, as I don't have any woodwind pad/texture sounds.

I would love to learn how to use them to write a full piece, but I'm not good at the massaging yet. I love the sound of SK's orchestra/space.
 

The Darris

Senior Member
Broadly I agree. I admire all the pioneering work Sonokinetic has done to make loops more musical and give you more control, but it just gives me a headache. Grosso is probably my least used library I’ve paid money for.

I sort of came to the bizarre conclusion that the older simpler phrase libraries are better - just simple phrase players that you can use in a second and not start having to dig out the manual to achieve a what should be a simple result. Vivace loops still get occasional use here, almost entirely for their atonal Hermannesque phrases that are simply better than faffing with multisamples if you need a bit of that in a chase sequence or whatever.

But these cases are rarities. Action Strings I never use, just can’t see the point (though again IIRC there are a few loops that I should keep in mind as they are very effecty and tough to reproduce with multisamples.)
Couldn't agree with you more!! Sonokinetic's phrase based libraries have gone down hill for me. Grosso was exciting for me at the time and I used it quite a bit but not so much anymore. When Capriccio came out, I as pretty happy. There was a lot more usable content there, especially with the multi-sampled percussion and Runs patches (something that helped get away from the overly used Hollywoodwinds).

However, with even all of that said. I still reach for Vivace or Tutti far more than any of the others. I wish they would go back to that style and just record the sections separately. Also, nothing against the guy they use to write and orchestrate their phrases, but they need to diversify that position a bit as that individual's writing crutches and weaknesses have started to show, especially when it comes to writing for woodwinds.

I guess I'm agreeing with you mostly Guy. At the end of the day, I just wish developers would make their products more simple and less about being "next gen" or having to trump their previous products. I personally feel that Spitfire's quality has diminished A LOT since they re-branded the BML series and re-did Albion (though, I do know you prefer the new one). But, despite their diminished quality, they've always kept the same interface and functionality which makes it easy to learn their newer libraries, even if they aren't that great anymore. Simple is sometimes always the way to go. The best innovations were due to limitations.
 

Sibelius19

Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy
Big fan. I think pushing buttons to trigger phrases is a fantastic way to let children feel the thrill of being an actual musician.

This one will play more than 25 songs, tunes, and phrases for only $18, which is a great value.

People who don't know anything about composition will never get anything out of a phrase based library. I see these sorts of things as tools. They're only as good as the people who use them. I'd like to see a composer play their entire symphonic work by themselves :) It gives people who may not afford to hire musicians and orchestras a chance to hear their compositions. It can actually be quite inspiring for some of us. But I get the joke. It's funny.
 

Phillip Dixon

Air on a shoestring
why ?... i think phrase librarys are like video games...you cant play football , or fight, but with these you can delude yourself into thinking you can.. waste of money...
and pointless....for me.
 
Last edited:

Sibelius19

Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy
why ?... i think phrase librarys are like video games...you cant play football , or fight, but with these you can delude yourself into thinking you can.. waste of money...
and pointless....
again...can you play all of those instruments for your self even if you can orchestrate? These are tools. You either use them or you don't. Why disparage people who use them? I use them, but I also use other libraries which aren't phrase based. Someone who cannot write music will get nothing out of these.
 
Top Bottom