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Great Orchestral Library that does not cost too much.

Tareck117

New Member
So.. this is my first post in this community so first : Hi everyone !

I play music since I'm 6 but I started using DAW only in 2015 and I want to do orchestral music.

At the beginning of the year I bought Reason 8 and I love it, but VST compatibility is a big bummer since most of orchestral libraries are VSTs/Kontakt .

A friend of mine showed me Cubase and I think I am going to buy Cubase Element since :
  • I don't need Cubase's instruments (I can use Rewire and use my Reason instruments)
  • It does not cost that much
  • The midi editor
  • VST/Kontakt/Play
TLDR :
I don't want to spend 2K in orchestral libraries but I would like to buy one or two great libraries to make orchestral music.

I have heard of several but I am not sure which one I should buy and I would like your opinion.

Here are the libraries I had in mind :
  • Project SAM Orchestral Essential 1-2
  • EWQL Symphonic Orchestra (Silver ? Gold ?)
Any feedback is welcomed.

Thanks.
 

NYC Composer

Senior Member
For an entire reasonably priced orchestra, EWQLSO Gold or VSL Special Edition would be my recommendations. EW's is recorded in place with hall sound, VSL's is recorded much drier. Both have strengths and weaknesses- listen to demos and see which you prefer.
 

muk

Senior Member
Hi Tareck

What style(s) do you want to write? Do you have experience with orchestration or are you just starting to explore it? If the latter is the case, section based libraries would be a good starting point. They do some of the orchestration for you, kind of. It's easier to get good sounding results that way at first, and later on they are good if on a tight deadline. Symphobia, Spitfire Albion, Cinesamples Cinesymphony are some good examples of this type of library. If you want to have control over every single instrument, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra and VSL Special Edition would give you that at an entry level price. There is a steeper learning curve than with the section based libraries, but you have more flexibility as you have each instrument of the orchestra at your fingertip.

Finally, if you want to go all in, there is an unmatched deal at EWQL: you can get their complete Hollywood Orchestra (which is their deepest sampled, top of the line product) for 599$. Obviously the learning curve would be steep indeed - certainly too steep if you are new to sampled instruments - but you'll get a product that is used by many professionals and that ranks among the best you can get today. You'll get a crazy amount of samples, uncountable articulations and patches for each instrument of the orchestra. If you are not experienced with sample instruments I would think it would be way too much to learn all at once. But at some point later on this may be a deal that is too good to pass.
 

Jdiggity1

Senior Member
Moderator
If I was starting from scratch, I'd get East West's Complete Composer Collection 3 Gold.
I would include:
Symphonic Orchestra Gold
Symphonic Choirs Gold
Stormdrum 2 Bundle
Silk
Ministry Of Rock
Goliath
Spaces

7 top-notch libraries for $845.52.
If that's too much, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold. ($247.50)

I started with Symphonic Orchestra Gold on a macbook with 8GB RAM back in 2011. I'm now on a much more powerful system, and have thus updated to more intensive libraries, but EWQL SO still makes it's way into my template here and there.
 

Guy Rowland

Senior Member
The thing with Cubase Elements is you're quite limited in terms of numbers of tracks. The questions muk asked would also be mine. If you have a pretty limited DAW and not much experience, the ProjectSAM orchestral essentials series would be perfect starters, with plenty of orchestration help built in and a very light footprint. Then as you grow, you can start adding libraries with dedicated and more demanding instruments, and scale up your DAW with the full version of Cubase. It would avoid the danger of jumping right into the deep end, getting trillions of terrabytes of libraries that are relatively difficult to use, and learning a lot of craft all at once.
 

Vin

Λᴉu
I'd get Reaper ($60) instead of the limited Cubase Elements and either VSL Special Edition or EWQSO Gold.

Alternatively, you can check out the EastWest Composer Cloud - for $30/month you get the access to all of the their libraries, including both EWQLSO and the newer and much more powerful Hollywood Orchestra.
 
OP
Tareck117

Tareck117

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  • #7
Hi Tareck

What style(s) do you want to write? Do you have experience with orchestration or are you just starting to explore it? If the latter is the case, section based libraries would be a good starting point. They do some of the orchestration for you, kind of. It's easier to get good sounding results that way at first, and later on they are good if on a tight deadline. Symphobia, Spitfire Albion, Cinesamples Cinesymphony are some good examples of this type of library. If you want to have control over every single instrument, EWQL Symphonic Orchestra and VSL Special Edition would give you that at an entry level price. There is a steeper learning curve than with the section based libraries, but you have more flexibility as you have each instrument of the orchestra at your fingertip.

Finally, if you want to go all in, there is an unmatched deal at EWQL: you can get their complete Hollywood Orchestra (which is their deepest sampled, top of the line product) for 599$. Obviously the learning curve would be steep indeed - certainly too steep if you are new to sampled instruments - but you'll get a product that is used by many professionals and that ranks among the best you can get today. You'll get a crazy amount of samples, uncountable articulations and patches for each instrument of the orchestra. If you are not experienced with sample instruments I would think it would be way too much to learn all at once. But at some point later on this may be a deal that is too good to pass.

Well I am just starting to explore. I am still very new to this but it has become my main hobby.
I can pass entire evening on my computers just trying instruments and recording things (like probably most of you..!)

Section based libraries are nice, but I think I would like to have solo instruments too. Even if the learning curve is steeper.

Since I live in canada, 599 USD is 783 CAD (biggest gap in 11 years so its very not a good period for canadian customers to buy stuff in USD). These libraries would be a little bit to expensive for me.
Maybe one day when I feel I need them and I know I can use them properly.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions and your time.

FYI : In 2013, 1 USD was 1.03 CAD
 
OP
Tareck117

Tareck117

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Thread starter
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The thing with Cubase Elements is you're quite limited in terms of numbers of tracks. The questions muk asked would also be mine. If you have a pretty limited DAW and not much experience, the ProjectSAM orchestral essentials series would be perfect starters, with plenty of orchestration help built in and a very light footprint. Then as you grow, you can start adding libraries with dedicated and more demanding instruments, and scale up your DAW with the full version of Cubase. It would avoid the danger of jumping right into the deep end, getting trillions of terrabytes of libraries that are relatively difficult to use, and learning a lot of craft all at once.

Cubase elements has 48 audio track and 64 Midi tracks. For a beginner, I think its quite enough !

https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/line_up.html

Does ProjectSAM Orchestral Essentials have a lot of instruments ?
 
OP
Tareck117

Tareck117

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I'd get Reaper ($60) instead of the limited Cubase Elements and either VSL Special Edition or EWQSO Gold.

Alternatively, you can check out the EastWest Composer Cloud - for $30/month you get the access to all of the their libraries, including both EWQLSO and the newer and much more powerful Hollywood Orchestra.

Why would you get Reaper instead of Cubase ? From what I have heard, Cubase is
  • Much more user friendly
  • Element version is 99$
  • Has a lot of experience (~30 years)
  • The midi editor is awesome
  • The limits of the Element version are not that bad
    • No track freezing
    • Not many instruments (I have reason and I will buy VST, so I don't really care)
    • 48 audio tracks and 64 Midi tracks
  • Is compatible with Reason via Rewire without that much configuration (compared to what I have tried with Reaper which was a pain)
But, Composer Cloud seems like a viable option..!
 

muk

Senior Member
In that case look into VSL Special Edition and EWQL Symphonic Orchestra. These are the two high quality entry-level packages that come to mind. They cover the most common orchestral instruments and articulations and will both be a good starting point.
 

Jimmy Hellfire

Senior Member
I'd go with VSL Special Edition.

ProjectSAM Orchestral Essentials is cool stuff, but I'm not really a fan of the concept. Not at that price point. It certainly depends on what kind of music one is planning to make, but for me, if I went with those back when I was just starting out, the whole ensembles and combination patches approach would have turned out quite limiting quickly. To me, it's quite a pricey product when you consider that you're only getting the most basic of articulations and no individual sections. Some people don't really need more, though. And for them, the simplicity of that kind of setup and workflow can prove to be valuable and beneficial to the overall productivity. It's just not for me.

The VSL route seems affordable at first view, but it isn't even that inexpensive when you count in the additional stuff you'd need to make it really shine. I would definitely get a MIRx venue. It's truly the missing part in the puzzle and makes the whole process of working with those samples much more simple and satisfying. It takes care of the whole spatialisation and reverberation thing completely by itself and sounds a lot better and more "real" than what you probably could conjure up by fiddling around with conventional reverb setups, creating ERs, tails and all that.

But it costs money. And then there's the PRO version of the sample player - something that one perhaps doesn't have to get right away, but probably will end up doing eventually, just because it adds a lot of additional value to the whole thing. So in the end it does sum up quite a bit.

I'd still prefer it to the more affordable EQWLSO. It's just the better product overall, especially with MIRx added. Better, more natural sound, better programming, superior player, gorgeous true legato (something that SO lacks completely), more flexible ... it just goes a longer way mid/long term.
 

devonmyles

Active Member
I was in the same boat as the OP, and went the VSL route.
I have been lucky, because the have been doing monthly sales this year.
So I have ended up with SE1 & 2, and SE1 and 2 plus, all price discounted.
Plus this month VE5 pro and the Instrument Pro are at discount, so grabbed them too,
with one of the Hall verbs free. I found VSL a great way to learn about all the sections.
You can also add single instruments from the bigger libraries, which I plan to do.
For me it was a great way to get rolling, pretty much buying stuff monthly,
rather then shelling out all in one go.
 
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