Orchestral library for 1000€

lutzek

New Member
Hello,

I'm starting my journey with orchestral arrangements and I would like to buy my first orchestral VST. I read your opinions, went through a "basic guide" and I still have some doubts. This is my first attempt to this topic, so I'd like to spend no more than 1000€ for this. So first - I am interested in creating "pure" symphonic music (at least for first months, to learn how to do it good).

I thought about NI Symphony Series (full version), but I see, that - in general - people don't have a good opinion about it (especially woodwinds). One of things that I'm interested in is an access to each instrument section (this is not a "must have", but it would be good to have this possibility).

Albion series from Spitfire Audio sounds great, but it is 5 packs, 450€ each, so that exceeds my budget.

EastWest - i watched some tutorials and it looks really complicated to me. Also (for me) - strings sounds a little bit rough.

Berlin Orchestra Inspire - I don't have an opinion about that one. Is one mic position a big problem?

Metropolis Ark series - also exceeds my budget.

Maybe i should use different vst's for each section?

Thank you for support :)
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
I'm starting my journey with orchestral arrangements
Then you should start with libraries that have individual sections, and NOT with Albion, ARk, etc. Those can come later.

You should check this out, it is pretty simple, and straighforward, with a limited amount of articulations, but good for the price.

https://www.bestservice.com/the_orchestra.html

Also (for me) - strings (EW) sounds a little bit rough.
The strings sound really good. As close to what real strings sound like as you are ever going to get, as with some other libraries, like Spitfire and Cinesamples and Orchestral Tools..
 

Manaberry

Active Member
Hi! Happy to see another composer diving into the orchestral world!

My very first advice will be this one: Wait until summer for possible sales.
There is "Ensemble ready" vst like Albion One from Spitfire Audio or Inspire from Berlin. They are both very great. Usually, for those kind of product, only your personal preference (and I'm talking about the sound of the library) will be decisive for the final checkout.

Metropolis ARK series is very pricey but it's top quality product. Most of the time, libraries in this price range are considered as "specialized library". So you usually get a lot of articulations, sounds, mic positions and FX to play with.

Anyway, take your time to carefully review each library that would fill your needs. And remember, trust your sound preference ;)
 

Ben

VSL Support
May I suggest the VSL Special Editions? (https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Starter_Editions/Special_Edition_Complete_Bundle)
At the moment there is a 30% discount sale for upgrades going on. So you can buy the cheapest of the sections (https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Special_Edition_Vol1/SE_Vol1_Percussion_More) for 50€ and then upgrade the rest for additional ~1010€.

Or just get Vol 1+2: Get the Percussion from Vol1 and the Guitars and Keyboards from Vol2 for 50€ each + upgrade to full volume = ~800€.
Of course you can also get just Vol1.

Vol 1 has the most basic instruments for orchestral music, with Vol 2 you get additional instruments for chamber and ensemble. Vol3 adds hollywood sized strings + muted strings.

You can upgrade from SE to the Full Instruments if you want; the SE volumes are imo the best value for such a complete orchestra.
(Also VSL has a 30 days return policy. So if you are not happy with this library, just contact them.)
 

CologneScoring

New Member
8dio just started releasing their renewed Adagio Strings. The Violins are on sale right now (48 USD), and they claimed to realease the other sections during the next weeks, I assume for the same price. So if you like their sound it‘s worth to take a look there.
 

august80

New Member
Just a note - you wouldn't need the whole Albion series if you're just getting in orchestrating. Albion II is discontinued, Albion 3-5 are fairly specific in their purpose, and just kind of expand a bit into more niche areas of the orchestra that Albion ONE already covers at a general level.

Also - you could get the Composer Cloud from East West for like $30 / month, and that gives you every product they have while your subscription is active. It might be safer way to get into learning, since it's a modest investment you can cancel. And plenty of very good composers use East West Hollywood series and get amazing results.

Honestly, if you're just getting into this, I think having a subscription option for a quality product is a smart way to go. If you don't like it, you're not out much money, and you'd still have time before your monthly payment expires to make a decision on something else.

The other two people are suggesting sting libraries only - not sure why, since you're asking about the entire orchestra.
 

Zee

Active Member
if i were you i'd start with something like Amadeus Symphonic Orchestra, it has both solo and Ensemble (small and full Section), covers all the standard orchestral instruments and it sounds alright out of the box
 

ism

Senior Member
Why don`t you start first with a affordable greatsounding Ensemblepatch instrument like Adagietto:

https://8dio.com/instrument/adagietto-vst-au-aax-kontakt-instruments-samples/

And after that if you see you need more you can build other libraries around it.

My experience, while there is lots to love about Adagietto and Adagio, is that it’s a terrible place to start. I’d think out it to fill out a pallet later, but it would be a frustrating place to start.
 

Niah2

Active Member
You don't have to buy all the Albions, they are very different from one another. Example: albion IV is dedicated to mostly effects, and dissonant textures.

I assume that by "pure symphonic music" you mean pure sounding orchestral music with no sound design sounds, synths, or other hybrid stuff. But what exactly type of orchestral music are you aiming for? There are libraries that are after a certain specific style or sound. example: EW hollywood series.
 

Shredoverdrive

Active Member
My advice :
- Don't buy anything full price. Wait for sales (summer or better, black friday or christmas)
- Try what you can try (like try sound for the Chris Hein and the VSL SE libraries : https://www.bestservice.com/try-sound.html, or the Composer Cloud for one month for East West - 20 bucks and you can cancel it afterwards).
- Decide whether you want dry samples you can place and assemble as you please but that will take some work (Chris Hein, VSL - because Mirx will be out of your budget...) or wet samples that sound very good straight away but will give you less flexibility (Spitfire, Orchestral Tools...)
- Think about the protection policies (the horrible VSL dongle, Iloks for some)
- Think about no resale policies (most companies, like Spitfire, East West or Orchestral Tools).
- And last but not least, check your technical abilities : Orchestral Tools products sound amazing but the Berlin series (apart from the Inspire 1 and 2) are CPU and RAM hogs.
- Ah and consider the Cinesamples series also. I don't know much about them but they sound good and people seem to like them around here.
 
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muk

Senior Member
+1 to what @erica-grace wrote. I wouldn't start with ensemble libraries that don't give you control over each individual instrument or section. I would not advise to buy 8dio either, because a) it is difficult to build a complete orchestra (you need quite a bit of knowledge about the orchestra and 8dio's offerings to do that), b) they are not beginner friendly in my opinion c) their quality control is shoddy, and you need to knowledge to program around that (if at all possible).

Instead I would recommend one of these options:

1) VSL Special 1 bundle for 535€. Gives you all the bread and butter instruments and articulations. I'd especially recommend it if you want to write in classical styles and/or want to write chamber music as well as full symphonic. It has a bit of a learning curve (but nothing unmanageable), and you either need to have/acquire some mixing skills, or buy Mirx on top of it.

2) If you want to write in a cinematic style, go for Cinematic Studio Series Strings and Brass. Complete your orchestra with VSL Special Edition Woodwinds, and a percussion library of your choice. The Cinematic Studio Series should be very well suited for beginners, as their libraries are laid out nicely and consistently. The downside is that the tone is geared towards cinematic music and won't be as well suited for other tasks.

3) Steinberg Iconica. I haven't read much about this package. But it's another complete orchestra with consistent programming, and hopefully high quality samples.
 

robgb

I was young once
If you're just getting started with orchestral arrangements, I STRONGLY suggest you consider getting Sonic Scores's AMADEUS SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA, which has all the basics at a price ($150) that is far, far lower than it should be, considering what you get. It also sounds damn good and was scripted by Tracy Collins of Indiginus.

 
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ism

Senior Member
If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t mess around with ensembles like Albion 1, or the Arks or cheap libraries like Adagietto. I’d go straight for best in class libraries like Spitfire Symphonic Winds, then the chamber strings, then some specialty libraries like the Olafur Chamber Evo, Tundra, maybe Time Macro. Then add more detail with some solo strings, and woodwind soloists - Berlin WW Exp B probably.
 

Bluemount Score

Senior Member
Then you should start with libraries that have individual sections, and NOT with Albion, ARk, etc. Those can come later.
Why though? I prefer individual sections as well, for flexibility and a "more classical" workflow, but as a beginner it's easier to start with something like Albion, which in fact is a library made for bloody beginners.
It depends on what style you are going for. The classical orchestral setup, or something that isn't exactly organized like that, but sounds good in it's own way.

And, as said before, definitely look out for sales and better be a little patient instead of buying at full price ;)
 

ism

Senior Member
Why though? I prefer individual sections as well, for flexibility and a "more classical" workflow, but as a beginner it's easier to start with something like Albion, which in fact is a library made for bloody beginners.
It depends on what style you are going for. The classical orchestral setup, or something that isn't exactly organized like that, but sounds good in it's own way.

And, as said before, definitely look out for sales and better be a little patient instead of buying at full price ;)

Totally valid preference of course. But there’s also an orthodoxy inherent in it of learning to compose for the full orchestra first. Historically, it’s always been the case that composers start with solo instruments, then graduate to small ensembles, and only attempt to write symphonies with a great deal of technical mastery behind them.

If you want to write big thonking trailers, then by all means start with Albion or Ark 1.

But some of the logic of starting with the full symphony also quietly assumes that affordable sampled instruments sounded so bad that you needed the full orchestra to cover up all the flaws in the individual instruments. For instance, no one ever wrote any half way listenable chamber music with GPO 1, I’d wager.

With at least some current best in class libraries being more or less affordable (SSW on a wishlist sale being my go-to example), I think the logic of starting with a full orchestra is not nearly as strong as it once was. At the very least the underlying assumptions should be foregrounded and reconsidered.
 

ism

Senior Member
Adagietto is only cheap in price. It sounds excellent.
Agreed - or at least it certainly can be made to sound nice. And I would certainly pick it up now. But it was a terrible, frustrating, first string library, in my experience. And the money I ‘saved’ wasn’t worth the headaches.