Does anyone actually like or use phrase based orchestral libraries?

Discussion in 'SAMPLE Talk' started by Robert_G, May 3, 2019.

  1. OP

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    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 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.
  2. markleake

    markleake Recovering sale addict

    Nov 8, 2015
    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.
    sostenuto, jbuhler and Sibelius19 like this.
  3. Sopranos

    Sopranos Senior Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    How about The Orchestra?
    Sibelius19 likes this.
  4. chocobitz825

    chocobitz825 Active Member

    Aug 7, 2018
    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.
  5. JonSolo

    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 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.
  6. gpax

    gpax Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    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.
    Robert_G likes this.
  7. OP

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    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 what you say makes sense.
    markleake likes this.
  8. OP

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    So you think the NI libraries contain those more basic type phrases?

    How are they for tempo sync to a daw?
  9. driscollmusick

    driscollmusick Member

    Nov 1, 2017
    Taos, NM
    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.
  10. gpax

    gpax Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    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:

    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
  11. mverta

    mverta One with the Force

    Jul 10, 2008
    Los Angeles
    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.

    kmaster, LHall, Eduardo Lopez and 9 others like this.
  12. novaburst

    novaburst Senior Member

    Dec 21, 2015
    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.
  13. OP

    Robert_G It really is just an expensive hobby for me

    Feb 6, 2019
    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 could be worth it just for the learning curve.

    dzilizzi likes this.
  14. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

    Sep 14, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I just use entire orchestral recordings and submit them as my own. Much easier.
    LHall, dzilizzi and shawnsingh like this.
  15. shawnsingh

    shawnsingh Active Member

    Jun 2, 2018
    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.
  16. dzilizzi

    dzilizzi I know nothing

    Feb 27, 2017
    Somewhere near Los Angeles
    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.
  17. The Darris

    The Darris Senior Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    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.
    Land of Missing Parts likes this.
  18. Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

    Dec 12, 2015
    Michigan USA
    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.
  19. Phillip Dixon

    Phillip Dixon Air on a shoestring

    Oct 16, 2017
    why ?... i think phrase librarys are like video 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: May 6, 2019
  20. Sibelius19

    Sibelius19 Music is just color and rhythm --Debussy

    Dec 12, 2015
    Michigan USA
    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.
    chillbot likes this.

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