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Native Instruments Symphony Essentials worth it?

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
Why not just upgrade to KU11 and reserve judgement on the FULL till you play with the essentials? The essentials come with KU11.

To be fair, the Strings (done by Audiobro) are the best part of the collection. My irritation was more with the Woodwinds and Brass (which were done by SoundIron). Still, there are much better string collections out there. I am still voting high for Berlin Inspire, even if it has less overall volume, the quality is just so much better.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I'll chime in here. I used to own the complete (full) NI series collection. I sold it because I couldn't write the sort of music I wanted to write with it. That's not to say it's a bad collection. It's a capable enough tool *providing you write within it's capabilities.*

Obviously, I can't go into massive detail else I'd be here all night, but here are some random comments:

Strings:
The auto-divisi is great and is a thing of witchcraft. Not often mentioned is that you can mix and match the divisi sections, reducing the ensemble size for more intimate productions. The legato is OK on slow and medium passages, but falls apart on faster stuff. There's a "fast portamento" trick you can use to smooth out some of the transitions, as detailed in one of Corey's videos. It works OK. The library ships with a convo 'verb active. You'll need it to smooth the transitions out.

Percussion:
Highlight of the bunch. Massive amount of mixing options and great sounding room.

Solos for woods and brass:
Here is where things get a little strange. Most of the solo legato lines are sampled (as far as I can tell) at a single dynamic which is something akin to a mf. I found assigning the mod wheel to cutoff frequency (along with "dynamics") helped get some variation in the parts.

There are other strange choices too. For example, the solo flute legato has no vibrato. The non-legato version does, so you'll be key switching like a crazy person. Lots of other strange random choices.

Regarding the effects, swells etc. I think someone above mentioned that they're fixed in time. If I recall, in the "multi articulation" patches they are indeed fixed. But in the "breakout" separate patches, time stretch versions do exist. This is the same across both woods and brass. Perhaps someone with the library still installed can confirm. That said, I never used them in the "heat of battle" so YMMV etc

Fake legato:
Something that I found quite useful on the brass and woods. For most sounds, there's an artificial legato available. Given the right mix and composition, this can be surprisingly effective especially when a "true" legato version of the sound isn't available.

Random musings:
I think there are better (and more expensive) libraries. But. At the current discounted price, if you're a Komplete or Essentials owner, it's astounding value. If you want the NI orchestral stuff under the current upgrade deal, I'd go straight for the full fat version.

I can understand people's frustrations with the NI orchestral stuff. You'll need to fettle with it. It's not "out the box ready" like, for example, Albion ONE. But with a bit of care, some time spent setting it up to your liking, and providing you write to the libraries strengths, I think it's pretty good.

Except the celeste in the percussion library. That suuucks.
A
 
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pderbidge

Senior Member
Sorry, I missed that. That's a good deal mostly for what you get with Komplete and the ability to upgrade to Ultimate in the future. There is no doubt that for a complete orchestral package that East West Hollyood Orchestra on sale will give you a more capable set of tools for orchestral writing but since you don't like Play there are certainly benefits to getting into the world of Komplete and the symphony essentials is better than people on this forum give it credit for. The sounds are there, you just won't have the breadth of articulations that HO will give you. You will, however be open to a world of free and cheap kontakt libraries that are really cool.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
I have some capable and enjoyable libraries, including NI Symphony Essentials.
Essentials gives me Symphony Series Crossgrade for < usd 300. is a solid value (for me).

Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio alternatives, are decisions involving usd 'thousands'.
< usd 300 for NI SS content provides an amazing toolbox that will take me forward for several /many years.

Also _ LASS was mentioned, and I own and enjoy LADD immensely.
LASS Bundle is currently $749. __ no Brass, no Woodwinds.
 
OP
Voider

Voider

Came from the future
Why not just upgrade to KU11 and reserve judgement on the FULL till you play with the essentials? The essentials come with KU11.
Because K11U alone isn't worth 500 bucks to me, I am really mainly interested in the orchestra. I'd prefer what K11 offers + the full series instead of just the essentials with some bonus from Komplete.

That being said I guess upgrading to K12U around winter might be way more interesting anyway, than upgrading to the full Symphony Series later.

To be fair, the Strings (done by Audiobro) are the best part of the collection. My irritation was more with the Woodwinds and Brass (which were done by SoundIron). Still, there are much better string collections out there. I am still voting high for Berlin Inspire, even if it has less overall volume, the quality is just so much better.
Is it usual that parts from a library are recorded in different places? I'm curious if that might be the reason for the different sound of the NI series.

@Alex Fraser Thank you for your in depth review :) It read pretty positively and I think I could look beyond this little flaws if I'd decide that the sound is for me, as I have learned to do so anyway when working with the Kontakt 5 factory orchestra which is really dated, but still lovely.
 
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Alex Fraser

Senior Member
@Alex Fraser Thank you for your in depth review :) It read pretty positively and I think I could look beyond this little flaws if I'd decide that the sound is for me, as I have learned to do so anyway when working with the Kontakt 5 factory orchestra which is really dated, but still lovely.
No problem, but bear in mind I've only used the full versions!
If you want it, just get it. Someone else's requirements and expectations won't be the same as yours, so take any opinions (like mine!) as tips rather than absolute reasons. Focus on what the library *can* do, rather than what it can't. No library is perfect.

Not sure why I'm going all zen. I must be tired.

A
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
I have some capable and enjoyable libraries, including NI Symphony Essentials.
Essentials gives me Symphony Series Crossgrade for < usd 300. is a solid value (for me).

Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio alternatives, are decisions involving usd 'thousands'.
< usd 300 for NI SS content provides an amazing toolbox that will take me forward for several /many years.

Also _ LASS was mentioned, and I own and enjoy LADD immensely.
LASS Bundle is currently $749. __ no Brass, no Woodwinds.
 

pderbidge

Senior Member
Plus at $749 it includes the Legato Sordino's. I paid $999 for LASS 2 and didn't even get that included. This is my only sore spot with Audiobro because as a LASS 2 owner he still wants $200 for me to crossgrade to the sordinos which I think is too much for a loyal LASS owner, therefore I went for the 8Dio Agitato Sordino Strings on sale for a whopping $52.88 plus it has way more articulations than the LASS LS. I still love LASS 2 I just think given how old this library is and the fact that early adopters paid quite a bit for LASS 2 and now that he has it included at regular price for $999 that perhaps a $50 upgrade to LASS LS or max $99 is more acceptable. OK Rant over.

By the way, you can get Lass Lite 2+ LASS FC 2 for $339 but once again- strings only. Even today LASS is considered to have some of the best legatos and those First Chairs will get used a lot as well. They can really make for some great solo strings in some cases. Some will complain about the Tone but honestly nothing that a little eq and mixing can't tame, plus you'll learn some important mixing tips in the process. I think some people feel that mixing is a separate process from composing and although it can be, there are things you will learn that are actually invaluable to composing by learning how to mix properly.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Plus at $749 it includes the Legato Sordino's. I paid $999 for LASS 2 and didn't even get that included. This is my only sore spot with Audiobro because as a LASS 2 owner he still wants $200 for me to crossgrade to the sordinos which I think is too much for a loyal LASS owner, …... OK Rant over.

By the way, you can get Lass Lite 2+ LASS FC 2 for $339 but once again- strings only. Even today LASS is considered to have some of the best legatos and those First Chairs will get used a lot as well. They can really make for some great solo strings in some cases. Some will complain about the Tone but honestly nothing that a little eq and mixing can't tame, plus you'll learn some important mixing tips in the process. I think some people feel that mixing is a separate process from composing and although it can be, there are things you will learn that are actually invaluable to composing by learning how to mix properly.
I enjoy your perspectives and they help me continue to sort most important needs /wants. I have serious affinity toward LASS or would not have raised it as a specific alternative to the current NI_SS offering.
LASS 3 will surely intro at even higher price, so future options don't look much brighter.

My current skill level is at very early days and most respected paths can only help the learning.
 

TrojakEW

New Member
Essentials are not worth for the price even with 50% off. I get NI SS collection only because of K11 ultimate crossgrade. 299 for whole collection is not that bad. Percusions for me is the best of the bunch. Rest is also usable. Strings I can only compare to old 8dio addagio collection that I have and for me addagio are far more superior not because SS doesn't have solo strings but sound in SS is even with close mic "wet". There is audible baked reverb that doesn't sound that nice to me.
 
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