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Help me find my inner self (a.k.a "What would you buy for intimate and hybrid scoring")

Andrewind

New Member
Hello all,

Not sure if this is the right sub-forum to post to so don't hesitate to move it if I'm posting in the wrong section.
After buying what I consider enough orchestral libraries for now, I'm wishing to spend a few more bucks to cover some other bases.

Short question : I initially bought BBCSO Core & NSS because I wanted to learn how to properly orchestrate (this is still an ongoing process), but I'd pretty much like to explore something a little bit more intimate (The Queen's Gambit/The Crown) and hybrid sounding (Dark, The Expanse, Watchmen TV) . My question is as simple as that : which sample libraries &/or VST would you recommend for those needs under 500€ ? I've made some pretty extensive research, and so far my choices are leading me to the following list, but maybe you might recommend me something better/different (it's really a thread about exploring possibilities, including "keep your money you got more than necessary to craft the type of sound you're looking for") :

SAMPLE LIBRARYSYNTH / SYNTH-ISH
SF Contemporary & British Drama Toolkit
SF Olafur Arnalds stuff
Novo Intimate Textures
Albion Neo

u-He Zebra
Omnisphere
EdNA Earth
Stratus
BT Phobos

Just to be a bit more precise, these are the one are already own :

SAMPLE LIBRARIESSYNTH / SYNTH-ISH

BBCSO Core
Audio Ollie Nashville Scoring Strings
SF Originals Intimate Strings,
Epic Brass & Woodwinds Felt Piano, Percussion
Output Analog Strings
NI Arkhis
Heavyocity Mosaic Voices
NI Noire
u-He Diva
Repro
Arturia Pigments.

Thanks in advance for your contribution !

Extra bonus : If you also happen to have some SFX Synth/Library recommendation, I'm down for it.
 
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wilifordmusic

Active Member
Before spending any more money, Go over to Spitfire Labs and hit download all.
There is a wealth of musical material that can be used in an intimate and/or hybrid fashion.
They range from solo acoustic instruments to modular mashups.

I've got several pieces in a playlist over on soundcloud that utilize only Labs instruments. You can find them on soundcloud under my tag "wilifordmusic" if you are curious about the Labs.

ps then buy zebra and zebra hz ;)

Steve
 

versko19

New Member
Hello all,

Not sure if this is the right sub-forum to post to so don't hesitate to move it if I'm posting in the wrong section.
After buying what I consider enough orchestral libraries for now, I'm wishing to spend a few more bucks to cover some other bases.
I would say you're in luck for the Queen's Gambit since the composer recently posted a video demoing a view of the libraries he uses. For the piano, it's a combination of NI Noire and Alicia's Keys. Looks like you're already covered with Noire! He also had a bunch of SF libraries like Kepler Orchestra I believe.

With regards to your questions for a warmer, more intimate sound, and hybrid style scoring it looks like you already have a few great libraries to get you started. However, I can't recommend Cycles enough if you really wanna start doing cool, Dark-like, Annihilation-esque sound design sound mangling for your compositions.

Another great library for that "Dark" sound is Realitone's Sunset Strings. Check it out and you'll hear exactly what I mean, but it can help you deliver that kind of textural string vibe. Another great developer for the textural, sometimes intimate, sometimes aggressive strings is Westwood's line of solo strings.

All the Olafur Arnalds stuff will of course get you there as well. Felt Instruments also has some really nice, warm-sounding strings that are again a bit different from your typical legato-driven, classic articulation string library along with other really interesting, analogue, warm libraries.
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Omnisphere (get some "The Unfinished" libraries too)

Look for good solo strings... I like Spitfires solo strings but they probably blow your budget. 8dio, VSL...

https://musicalsampling.com/plck/ (not important but good to get movement into smaller arrangements)

Look at pianobook.co.uk for nice intimate pianos for free
 
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Andrewind

Andrewind

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Before spending any more money, Go over to Spitfire Labs and hit download all.
There is a wealth of musical material that can be used in an intimate and/or hybrid fashion.
They range from solo acoustic instruments to modular mashups.

I've got several pieces in a playlist over on soundcloud that utilize only Labs instruments. You can find them on soundcloud under my tag "wilifordmusic" if you are curious about the Labs.

ps then buy zebra and zebra hz ;)

Steve
Thanks for your answer ! I checked your work with labs and you got some pretty cool things layed down. I already had a bunch of them but decided to take a further look, there are definitely some great additions that I'll use as texture pads ;) Regarding pure synth VST, I figured I'd rather get some pretty focused libraries at the moment, to keep some kind of focus, and to just go with my u-He & Arturia stuff for now.
I would say you're in luck for the Queen's Gambit since the composer recently posted a video demoing a view of the libraries he uses. For the piano, it's a combination of NI Noire and Alicia's Keys. Looks like you're already covered with Noire! He also had a bunch of SF libraries like Kepler Orchestra I believe.

With regards to your questions for a warmer, more intimate sound, and hybrid style scoring it looks like you already have a few great libraries to get you started. However, I can't recommend Cycles enough if you really wanna start doing cool, Dark-like, Annihilation-esque sound design sound mangling for your compositions.

Another great library for that "Dark" sound is Realitone's Sunset Strings. Check it out and you'll hear exactly what I mean, but it can help you deliver that kind of textural string vibe. Another great developer for the textural, sometimes intimate, sometimes aggressive strings is Westwood's line of solo strings.

All the Olafur Arnalds stuff will of course get you there as well. Felt Instruments also has some really nice, warm-sounding strings that are again a bit different from your typical legato-driven, classic articulation string library along with other really interesting, analogue, warm libraries.
Thanks Versko, a lot of awesome stuff here. I'd seen that video from Carlos Rafael Rivera and was already planning to set up my own piano layering in my template using The Gentleman (upright) for the treble range and Noire for the warmer/darker dimension. I checked Cycles out and it does some crazy stuff, think I could reach this with a lot of work in Pigments but I guess it has a lot of value tied to the great sound design already made by the authors.

And GOSH, thanks for that Realiton Sunset Strings. Saw the ad some times ago but didn't took the time to check out the features and the demo, those drifts and "granluar" col legno & ricochet would definitely be a great addition.

Adressing @Saxer answer too (thanks for your reply btw), I'm getting that solo strings would also be a strong addition, a lot of them have been quoted, which one would you recommend the most :
- Blisko series from Felt Instruments
- Westwood solo strings
- 8dio (Intimate Strings? Deep Solo series?)

Also thanks @Saxer for the recommendation on pianobook, seems like there's a ton of content there and I might dedicate one night to go through all of it.
 

SupremeFist

Senior Member
Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions is amazing (but don't bother with Composer Toolkit).

Solo strings is a rabbit hole but start with Sospiro Strings and then see whether you really need more after these two libraries.
 

companyofquail

Active Member
i would just go with the list you have and take out omnisphere and replace it with kepler from spitfire. i would also say to take a look at pharlight and straylight because you can easily drag and drop samples into the presets and get totally new stuff. also make sure you take a look at luftrum. you may aslo want to look at the luftrum sound pack expansions for the u-he synths. you have a lot of nks compaitible stuff, do you use nks?


 

ism

Senior Member
The Spitfire Olafur stuff is an obvious starting point, especially the Chamber Evolutions, and of course Tundra, and maybe also Orchestral swarm, which is lovely and textural also.

But don't forget Time Macro/Micro (OT), or Sunset Strings (Realitone) - the official demos are very hollywood but it has fabulous textural depths just waiting for someone to write a "ode to a snowflake observed upon a Sweedish Glacier one fine midsummer morn" type intimate track (hey, maybe I'll have a go at that myself). Heavocity Intimate Textures is more hybrid, and doesn't have the quality of sonority that these other once have, but there have been some lovely demos from people using in this way also.

Ben's libraries can work in this space also. Especially Sospiro strings and Oscinllation strings.

Woodwinds also have more to offer in this style than I think is always acknowledged. Tundra has some wonderful wind textures. But I've also be playing with Sotto (Sonokinetic) to experiment with wind textures. And I've been looking at Vertigo flutes from Cinematique Instruments. But it's again, much more on the sound design side of the spectrum, and not at all a deeply sampled instrument. Vento looks pretty cool also, if it wasn't so expensive.
 

Evans

Guitarist who likes orchestral VIs
i would just go with the list you have and take out omnisphere and replace it with kepler from spitfire
Kepler warrants further investigation before committing, in my opinion. It has a frequent appearance in the "which sample purchases do you regret" thread.
 

Mr Sakitumi

Member
I have OACE (Olafur Arnalds Chamber Evolutions) and it has beautiful underscore textures as well as the waves feature (which i can play for ages).

Keep in mind that it is not an agile chamber string library, but at the 2 things it does, it does them well.
For what you get it is rather pricey at full price, but luckily I got it at 40% off last year's SFA summer sale (so maybe hold out for a few months if you do plan on it)

I also picked NI's Orchestral Tools textural bundle sale last year, which had both Time Macro and Micro.
I would highly recommend Time Micro for intimate scoring (although I do love both equally)

There is also a really cool playability in the OT Time libraries that I don't quite get the same with SFA OACE, Orchestral Swarm, LCO Textures & Symphonic Strings Evolutions.
Those SFA libraries are great for holding long chords and changing them slowly (allowing the textures to dictate the pace and feel)
But with the Time libraries, they just feel more responsive to phrasing, chord changes and use of the mod wheel.

Along with the Free LABS, check out some of the free Cinematique Instruments / free Klang Series .
Some very creative instruments for intimate scoring inspiration.

Don't underestimate Reverbs and the use of other FX in your arsenal.
You have a great list of libraries that you already own and some FX spice can do a lot to reimagine them.
Working with your LFO's on Diva and Repro, you can create your own pulses for Hybrid scoring.
If you got something like Valhalla Shimmer or Eventide's Blackhole (wait for sales) they can also re-imagine some or your current libraries.
 
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companyofquail

Active Member
Kepler warrants further investigation before committing, in my opinion. It has a frequent appearance in the "which sample purchases do you regret" thread.
thank you for letting me know this. i suggested it because i have taken my laptop and keyboard to a lot of peoples houses/studios and it consistently gets a "i really like this" from people that are into sound design/fx/experimental styles of music/sound.

def good to know about peoples regrets before i just start throwing around suggestions on the internet
 

cloudbuster

eɪlɪəˈtɒr
Before spending any more money, Go over to Spitfire Labs and hit download all.
+1 and since you already own Arturia Pigments you could get the upgrade to V2 and use the sample and granular engines etc... to mangle the [email protected] out of samples you already own (alternatively you could look for relatively affordable sample mangles like Padshop Pro/2, Iris2, ... or the free Vital).
 
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Andrewind

Andrewind

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Well, that's a lot to process.

First I let you know that I went with the Realitone Sunset Strings today as I saw a lot of love for it here & as I really wanted to grab it while the intro offer was still on. Super excited to start using it.

Now trying to adress everything that has been discussed here and my feelings at the moment, I got a lot to figure out now but
  • I'll further investigate Olafur Arnalds Evolutions, OA Chamber Evolutions & OT Micro (especially since I can get edu discount thanks to some online classes I follow)
  • Other libraries quoted all sound great, but a bit too niche/specific for me at the moment as I can't really figure out how they should be used, and as I need to prioritize (only got 340€ left to spend).
  • Definitely going for a solo string library, but I still don't know whether it should be (god that's a rabbit hole !) :
    • Blisko series from Felt Instruments
    • Westwood solo strings
    • Sospiro Strings
    • Alder Violin & Cello
    • 8dio (Intimate Strings? Deep Solo series?)
  • Regarding sound mangling, I'm definitely going to follow some previous advices given here and not invest further. I keep the S+A stuff on the side as it got me really hooked, but yes, I already got some Luftrum & The Unfinished presets for Diva & Repro, Pigments for granular & everything related to sample manipulation, and some Audiority Xenoverb / Replika XT or Valhalla Delay & Supermassive to do crazy stuff with the reverb/delay.
  • Went with the LABS & Cinematique Free stuff as some suggested

So my main concerns now are :
1. OAE/OACE VS OT Micro ?
2. Which of the solo strings quoted before ? Sospiro sounds good but I think that the lack of short might really soon be a strong limitation.

I feel these are the main question marks I need to solve bef
 

Sarah Mancuso

Esselfortium
I'd definitely recommend OACE over OAE. OACE is super versatile, while OAE feels much more niche and difficult to use IMO. If you're looking for something textural with solo instruments, the soft/texture layers in British Drama Toolkit are surprisingly great.
 
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Andrewind

Andrewind

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Also check out Tableau Solo Strings from OT.
Yes ! Had a look at those this afternoon and it's got a super price point for me (40% with the EDU). Still gathering other opinions about solo strings. So much to process actually...


I'd definitely recommend OACE over OAE. OACE is super versatile, while OAE feels much more niche and difficult to use IMO. If you're looking for something textural with solo instruments, the soft/texture layers in British Drama Toolkit are surprisingly great.
Alright note taken thank you ! I just also need to familiarise with those "Strings Hi / Low" patches as those do not have separate sections. Need to figure out what does what.
 

SupremeFist

Senior Member
Yes ! Had a look at those this afternoon and it's got a super price point for me (40% with the EDU). Still gathering other opinions about solo strings. So much to process actually...
If you don't want to go down the rabbit hole of choosing separate libraries for solo violin, cello etc (which would kill your budget) then Tableau is a pretty nice "starter" set (especially the viola) and quite versatile. (Though NB you can't control the rebowings in sustained notes.)

In the meantime make sure you get the pocketBlakus cello, which is zero dollars!
 

jcrosby

Senior Member
SAMPLE LIBRARYSYNTH / SYNTH-ISH
SF Contemporary & British Drama Toolkit
SF Olafur Arnalds stuff
Novo Intimate Textures
Albion Neo

u-He Zebra
Omnisphere
EdNA Earth
Stratus
BT Phobos


Extra bonus : If you also happen to have some SFX Synth/Library recommendation, I'm down for it.

The one thing on the OP's list I'd say is totally non-essential is Phobos...

Not that Phobos isn't cool, but it hasn't been updated in ages and it's a bit too heavily focused on breakbeats and electronic rhythms, (all of which have a very distinct BT sound, which for 9 out out of 10 people is irrelevant to the type of electronic rhythms they'll typically work with)... Its UI also isn't the greatest and it's fairly limited in terms of what you can do in terms of building melodic patches.
It gets the least amount of use compared to Zebra,Omnisphere, Kontakt, etc. And in an ideal world where transferring a SF license were actually possible I'd put the license up for sale without hesitating...

eDNA in contrast would be far more useful... If I had to summarize eDNA I'd describe it as a bunch of solid all-around useful organic synths that can be woven into just about any context needed... They're not attention grabbing sounds (generally), but sounds that layer well and help establish a mood more than stand out...


In terms of SFX - that's a broad category... You have SFX libraries that while mainly are film SFX can easily be re-contextualized musically, and often contain some musically intentional samples (Boom as one of many examples); then you have instrument libraries that wander toward the SFX category but ultimately are focused on some aspect of your composition like transitions, rises, sub percussion (8Dio hybrid series as one of many examples).... Maybe you could be more specific as to what you're looking for?
 
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versko19

New Member
So my main concerns now are :
1. OAE/OACE VS OT Micro ?
2. Which of the solo strings quoted before ? Sospiro sounds good but I think that the lack of short might really soon be a strong limitation.
As a poster above said, definitely OACE. I have OAE and it is very niche compared to OACE, which is definitely more flexible. OAE is generally a nice layering library, textural, but a lot more specific.

With regards to solo strings, it kind of depends on what you want to write. The Westwood will give you somewhere in between slow melodic writing, and texture-driven compositions, while something like Spitfire Solo Strings, or Tableau Solo Strings will give you a bit more of the straightforward compositional vibe. I would suggest considering the main context for your strings, whether it be more lyrical, legato-driven stuff, or the more contemporary, textural kind of stuff. From there I think it can help you narrow it down even further.
 
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