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Help me spend my money... (Orchestral Libraries)

Ganampf

New Member
Hi!

I'm thinking of eventually making some bigger investments into Orchestral Sample Libraries...
Until now i've only used free stuff (Sonatina SO, pocketblackus Cello, Cubase Halion Piano); now i want to get some fine stuff for really starting to do epic compositions that sound great (and sound like they can straightly be used for, not like lame midi sketches)

My idea was spending quite a big amount of money, so that i won't have to buy better stuff in a year or so because I'm not satisfied anymore.

After some research here is what seems to be a great set of libraries:

Cinematic Studio Strings (400€)

NI Symphony Series Brass (Solo and Ensemble, Package Price 499€)

Berlin Woodwinds (550€, I'm not sure about spending most money on Woodwinds when I haven't even used woodwinds much yet, but is there any comparable library with solo and ensemble instruments?)

-> With these 3 I'm almost at the same price as the Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra; Spitfire always seemed like the best sounding Library by far to me (apart from the enormous price), but almost every source states that it lacks energy and "In-your-face"-effect (and after reading that I can also hear that) for Trailer Music and Cinematic stuff, which is actually on what I want to focus..

Percussion: From what i've heard and read, Spitfire Percussion is a must; otherwise some 8Dio stuff like the dhol ensemble

Piano: I'll also need a better Piano, I still have to compare some; but as it's just one Instrument it won't be too expensive so not my main problem. Suggestions are welcome!

Choir: I think I'll renounce that for now... There's some pretty neat stuff but I'm a retired student not some rich ass ;D


What do you think about my choices?
Would be great to hear some advice from more experienced people (especially more experienced with the libraries i want to purchase)

Thank you in advance! :)
 

WindcryMusic

Senior Member
I would personally be inclined to steer you away from NI Symphony Series Brass and toward something like CineBrass or Spitfire Symphonic Brass (or perhaps other options with which I don't have personal experience, like SampleModeling or Chris Hein, etc). It depends upon what you are looking to do, of course, but I think either of those options offers improved realism and more long-term value than the Symphony Series Brass does. The NI/SoundIron offering has very (overly?) large sections and is recorded in a wet space, so while the result is certainly "warm-sounding", it lacks the level of detail that can be found in these other packages, and can sound kind of synthetic in a head-to-head comparison.

I'm not even mentioning Berlin Brass here, only because it is in its own realm investment-wise and I don't think it would be wise to stretch that far from where you currently are. You could look at Metropolis Ark 1 if epic is truly where you are at ... but if you have more general needs as well, then perhaps CineBrass moreso than Spitfire, just because for epic stuff CineBrass seems to have a little more bite. I have all three of those, and use them all: Spitfire for when I need the brass to "soothe", CineBrass when I need the brass to "sing" and MArk1 when I need the brass to "snarl". I also own the NI/Soundiron brass .. but frankly I don't use it anymore.
 

aelwyn

Member
With your emphasis on "epic," "energy" and "in your face," I'd echo the others' suggestion that you look into Metropolis Ark 1: http://orchestraltools.com/libraries/metropolis_ark_1.php

Granted, it doesn't have the really granular instrumentation of individual section libraries (for instance, the strings in Ark 1 are divided into a set of articulations for "high strings" and "low strings" rather than violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, bass), but give the demos a listen. It's a pretty amazing sounding library, and a total blast to use IMO. Plus you'd get a fantastic sounding choir, too.
 

galactic orange

Sensor Number
now i want to get some fine stuff for really starting to do epic compositions that sound great
For the benefit of those posting here, the term "epic" might have a different meaning to different people. When I joined this board, my idea of epic didn't mean Braaams, 12 horns, and gut juggling percussion. That being said, M Ark1 and something like Damage would be great for that (and more) if that's the sound you are after, as @mikefox789 suggested.
 

trumpoz

Senior Member
Hollywood Orchestra Diamond is a steal at the sale price. I purchased Strings/Brass Gold a number of years ago for more than that (not complaining either).

It is a great core library and you can continue to add to it over time with other libraries that fill the gaps. HS and HB are still awesome libraries even though they are 5-6 years old.
 

Rohann

Professional Forum Browser
You can always try EastWest's Cloud subscription for a month and see if you like the products. The Hollywood series is a great staple for a "Hollywood" sounding orchestra. Spitfire's symphonic library sounds really quite beautiful but doesn't seem to have some of the same "bite" -- different, not worse.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
Spitfire's Albion One is a great place to get started. Project Sam's Orchestreal Essentials was one of my first libraries and that was a good introduction too.

I recently bought Hollywood Orchestra Diamonds and whilst it is simply epic value of money, I ended up buying a slave PC and a copt VE Pro so I could run it properly. However, it is pretty special - though ~I am still getting the hang of it.

If you have Komplete, the Symphonic Series is currently on half price cross grade. I just bought the Sidegrade to NI Symphonic Stings for just over £ 120 - which is very good value, and I like the tone and the auto Divisi looks very interesting.

Berlin Woodwinds I don't have, but hear very good things about it. However it will cost you around 550 euro (unless you are VAT registered) as OT charge VAT on top unless you are outside the EU...

There is so much good stuff out there....
 
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Ganampf

Ganampf

New Member
Thread starter
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Thank you all for your long and good responses!

As reading through them, I realised that i might have been a bit too unclear about what I'll want to do.
As my far goal is to be a Film composer, I do want to be able to create some In your face-music; but of course that is not primarly what film music is about, just one small part of it (and which might be best to advertise my music with to ordinary people, who aren't much into music theory but get amazed by the fat sound).
I am also planning to study composition or something similar in the future, so what I really do need is an Orchestra where I can control all of the Instruments individually. I really would love to just buy Albion and some Epic percussion and Blast them out of my speakers, but for the future that is not what seems senseful to me.

So it seems to me that the choice comes down to Hollywood or Spitfire Orchestra, if not buying top-notch seperate libraries, which will be way more expensive.

As for Hollywood Orchestra, I really was about to purchase it like 2 months ago when it was on 50% easter sale; what kept me from it was the shipping cost + the tax I have to pay to get it here to Germany.. when paying like 1/3 of the price just taxes I feel like getting way less than I pay, and I felt like it would be better to invest that money (i think it was like 200€) into better stuff. Also I would hate myself for buying it now with 25% when it was at 50% back then.. do you guys now when such sale will be coming back?
And, so do you think Hollywood Orchestra is the best choice?
I guess I'll just try out the composer Cloud and wait for a better sale then...
 

SJSharky

New Member
what kept me from it was the shipping cost + the tax I have to pay to get it here to Germany.. when paying like 1/3 of the price just taxes I feel like getting way less than I pay, and I felt like it would be better to invest that money (i think it was like 200€) into better stuff.

You could order it from Thomann or some other place. I believe Hollywood Orchestra Diamond was on sale for 483€ recently (not anymore unfortunately).
 

ghandizilla

and .then()
Strings : Can't go wrong with CSS (and CSP : piano problem solved).
Brass : NI is really not that great. It has been poorly recorded in the first place... CineBrass is still great (and the adaptive legato update is coming ;) ). See the 12-horn ensemble and the Monster Brass Low Ensemble for very epic purpose. See also Metropolis Ark 1 if you wan't to do only loud things. My two cents: CineBrass will be more versatile and a better long-term investment. I strongly recommend Sample Modeling for the soloists. It outstands every other libraries.
Woods : Berlin Woodwinds has a bit of a learning curve, and I read you don't write for woods that much... See Fluffy (more "romantic" sound) or Auddict (more "classical" sound) if you wan't to program faster your woods line. Auddict is great for polyphony in one instrument!
Perc : Don't know Spitfire Percussion, but if you don't have other Sptifire products in your template, it will not be the first choice. It has less velocity layers than CinePerc. And CinePerc is very extensive. You have everything you need in it, from traditional to epic and ethnic.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
So it seems to me that the choice comes down to Hollywood or Spitfire Orchestra, if not buying top-notch seperate libraries, which will be way more expensive.
Both of these libraries *are* top-notch. Not sure where you would got the impression they weren't?

Spitfire, Hollywood, Cinesamples, OT, Cinematic Strings, VSL, 8dio... all of them are going to be very good. There are others also like Auddict and Fluffy Audio which offer some good alternatives that may suit better for woodwinds, brass, drums, etc. Probably not so much the NI stuff. Some libraries will be stronger in certain areas or suit a particular style better, and they will *all* have their own particular sound. Some are wetter in sound than others. You will want to listen to many of the examples to work out what you like the sound of best. And I'd suggest listening to tracks containing those libraries that are independently made also, or even some of the "shootout" style tracks you will find on this forum, as they can be more revealing of the differences than tracks made by/for the companies producing the libraries.

I'd always recommend subscribing to Composer Cloud as a first step, as it gives you a lot of exposure to the pro level instruments and you can use that to work out what you like/dislike and help you make more informed decisions.

Then probably your next step is something like Cinematic Strings, Spitfire, or Cinesamples.

But don't discount the ensemble libraries. Libraries like the ARKs, all the Spitfire Albions, etc. have their place.

For percussion, be aware that the orchestral percussion libraries won't have enough in them to cover louder ensemble / trailer style drums.
 

Hanu_H

Senior Member
I think for the full orchestra you could also add CineSamples to the list. I've heard some great pieces with that as well.

-Hannes
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
There's a copy of Vsl special edition in the classifieds for around 400. Might be worth a look and you can expand on it later - or even sell it on unlike spitfire/east west.
 

holywilly

Senior Member
VSL current offers very discounted price for both orchestral & appassionata strings, both strings are fantastic for use it solely or blend them together. Plus, VI Pro is the best VST engine, it's efficient and highly customizable.
 

mc_deli

n trepreneur
Thank you all for your long and good responses!

As reading through them, I realised that i might have been a bit too unclear about what I'll want to do.
As my far goal is to be a Film composer, I do want to be able to create some In your face-music; but of course that is not primarly what film music is about, just one small part of it (and which might be best to advertise my music with to ordinary people, who aren't much into music theory but get amazed by the fat sound).
I am also planning to study composition or something similar in the future, so what I really do need is an Orchestra where I can control all of the Instruments individually. I really would love to just buy Albion and some Epic percussion and Blast them out of my speakers, but for the future that is not what seems senseful to me....

I'll throw in... I was in a similar situation to you. I did buy NI Symphony Brass, Berlin WW... and CS2 (CSS hadn't been invented yet otherwise it would have been that!) and Cineperc Core as my orchestra. This was @18 months ago and the Spitfire stuff was priced a bit too high and the repackaging hadn't happened (plus no resale on their stuff was a bit frightening).

NI SSB and BWW, like a lot of other libraries, are hard to use. And hard to blend. Making my four sections work together is very hard. To the point where I have kinda given up on making "full orch" tracks. Of course, the time and talent it takes to write those pieces is also an issue!

In the current market, knowing what I know now... I would go for a more playable, blendable set out of the box. I don't like subscriptions and don't have a monster machine so I wouldn't go EW HWO... I'd buy Spitfire, no doubt. I have bought so many other other SA libs since so it is truly a no brainer. At the time I was advised to buy SA, but it was just too much €€€ at the time to get the whole orch. Now with just the basic mics it is at least an "understandable" €€€ though I am also VAT registered so I could justify it more easily.

That said... blowing 1k-2k on a full orchestra may be massive overkill. Are you really ready to master these? Do you have the rest of the set up to justify this, the time, the composing chops... it's your money... will it make you happy...? You might be much better off scaling back the ambition a bit. To this end, MArk1 is great, really good fun out of the box, but AlbionOne would be my top tip for you.
 

TigerTheFrog

Reid Rosefelt
Hi!


My idea was spending quite a big amount of money, so that i won't have to buy better stuff in a year or so because I'm not satisfied anymore.

:)

As you haven't begun your study of orchestral composition yet, I would suggest you take things one step at a time. You will end up spending much less money, and being MUCH more satisfied.

Buy Cinematic Studio Strings and piano and devote yourself to learning how to compose for strings.

And then wait for sales for the other things. You need to spend a few dozen hours listening to demos of brass, woodwinds, and solo instruments. Read the manuals--learn what the strengths and weaknesses of these libraries are in a profound way. Zhao Shen's guide is a great start. http://stormsoundmusic.com/guide People on this forum are very generous and will give you advice about what will blend with CSS.

But the Cinematic Studio Series Solo Strings are due to be released soon and the Brass is expected for later this year. It just might be that the CSS Brass is the best and most reasonably priced blend for your strings, as it will have been played by the same musicians in the same hall. The other stuff is supposed to come out next year.

If you really make a go of this and become a composer, you're going to need lots of libraries. But you'll be so happy if you don't spend thousands on libraries you don't use.

This is what I'm doing, and it works for me. I've been picking up a lot of nice solo instruments when the opportunity presents. And Omnisphere. :) Please buy Omnisphere.
 

Jeremy Spencer

Senior Member
I'd always recommend subscribing to Composer Cloud as a first step, as it gives you a lot of exposure to the pro level instruments and you can use that to work out what you like/dislike and help you make more informed decisions.

Couldn't agree more, for $29 a month you can't go wrong. The Hollywood series is definitely epic, and there are tons of EW libraries worthy of epic productions. I'd say 80% of all my work is done with EW libraries.
 
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