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Orchestral Tools up to 63% off - which one

Paul T McGraw

Senior Member
There are only so many people who can make a living being a composer. I am a hobbyist. But from what I can tell, the media market is not expanding at the same rate as the number of composers trying to enter the business.

At the same time, good sample libraries keep proliferating. Where is the money going to come from to support all of the products? It isn't going to come from the pros. As @NoamL pointed out, that market is saturated. I do believe it is possible for new products to emerge, but developers will be best served if they don't just take a "me too" approach.

At this point, I would love to see a sample library taking the Wallander NotePerformer concept of working with notation programs and improve the sound, dramatically. I really prefer to work with notation, and while composers until now have had to use a DAW for competitive sound, I bet there are many of us who would prefer to use notation.
 

Henu

Senior Member
In my case, the fun part is that even though I make my living as an in-house composer/ producer and my employer is providing me the tools needed, I still end up buying myself roughly 80% of the libraries I use at work.

The reason is simple- no job lasts forever. And what would I do when it ends some day when all the tools I worked with stay with the company? Go home and start working with Kontakt 5 Factory Library until I can afford EWQLSO next year? Owning the licences myself not only makes my future way more secure but also grants me the moral right to use them in tasks done outside the company. And when I do those outside gigs, I usually save the income to my audio tools budget funds, using that money to invest later on new software, hardware and sample libraries to feed that future-proof machine.
 
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StillLife

Senior Member
Wow, tempting. Currently own nothing from OT, partly because they did not have NKS... At the time I considered buying Inspire, now I am considering the Inspire bundle. Any comments from anyone who has owned them for some time?
 

Vik

Scandi Member
Even though IMO Afflatus is some of the nicest string sampling in the last 2 years since CSS.

I wouldn't call either library "overpriced" (notice, that's a word I avoided in the previous post) because they have much more sample content than cheap libraries like Adventure Strings. It's not that they're too expensive, it's that the features which make them more expensive, are not pulling their weight in the competition with cheap "it only does one thing, but it gets it done" libraries.
Interesting to hear your thoughts about this, Noam. Like you, I wouldn't be worried on Cinematic Studio Strings behalf; maybe CSS even was a major factor I'm making it harder to sell products in the circa $800+ range, since they worked hard at making CSS good and still sell it for what they sell it for $400. Some companies make a lot of extra money by reducing their price, and a lot has happened in the VI market the last 5 years only.

I'm not pessimistic about OT either. I have no idea how they are doing financially, and it's of course hard to keep up with Spitfire many campaigns, products and (at least in periods) active presence here. But Berlin Strings is circa 5 years old now, is still highly respected, sounds good, and has features that AFAIK no others have. Maybe OT felt that they could have sold a lot more of their Inspire and Ark products, and want to do something with that now - hence the new sale.

The days of selling a single orchestral department (especially strings or brass) for $500+, or single instruments for the equivalent add-it-up price, are over forever.
Regarding Afflatus/Berlin, I don't really see Afflatus as a single product. One can configure it in so many ways that not only does it serve as both a chamber and a symphonic product and soon first strings, but as a modular library where you can combine the different presets to get pretty much any configuration you want. Like SSS and SCS, SAS also has more ensemble options than OT. So the Afflatus selling point isn't being feature rich like Berlin Strings - it's something else.

Maybe Strezov, like Audiobro (LASS and SAS has many similarities) plan to do what Audiobro does with LASS: it has a high list price ($1400) but is 'always' on sale. Or maybe they'll keep the price, and at some point in the future divide the library into for instance main sections, ensembles, expansion kits and first strings. But even today, Afflatus doesn't compete with Berlin Strings with it's 8/6/5/5/4 configuration, or SSS (16/14/12/10/8), or SCS (4/3/3/3/3) or OT First Chairs etc - it competes with all of them, and can as such be seen as at least three or even four products. So I'm not worried about the future of SAS either; it's tone (maybe except for maybe the basses?) and modularity/divisi sells it. Here's how modular it is.

Maybe the current situation will will result in more manufacturers offering demo versions, or maybe they'll start considering selling single instruments like eg Performance Samples does; that would be great. PS is another company I actually wouldn't be worried about, because they have that special focus on tone, which has worked well for Audiobro LASS, Hollywood Strings and Wallbank/CSS, and has also sold a lot of sul tastos and flautandos for Spitfire.

I'd be more worried about small companies which make good, but specialised libraries - but which lack important stuff that will make users move on to other products soon er or later, or only serve as additional extras for someone with more complete libraries. Also - Spitfire survives well, it seems, even with Berlin Strings being more feature rich and doing better with their 8/6/6/6/4 range than SF does with their Studio Strings in a very similar config (8/6/5/5/4). I don't think they would have kept doing well if that didn't reduce the price for SSS/SCS a lot since they were called Mural and Sable.
Maybe one key to success for SF is that they focus on the kind of libraries/articulations they really like (combined with active marketing). LASS doesn't succeed due to intense marketing, but because they did some good stuff 10 years ago which many of their users still use and prefer (polyphonic portamento, auto-divisi) + a tone their users eiter like or dislike, but which at least enough people like to keep preferring LASS over others.

That was a long post, I guess all I wanted to say is that I think companies (just like composers) will survive if they do what they love - combined, of course with some marketing, hard work and giving their users what they need or want. :)
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Hmm. I thought Inspire 1&2, but then I heard the Contrabass Clarinet. So maybe the Arks.....

Is Ark 3 worth it if you have most of 8Dio's percussion and HWO Diamond?

I can see I'm going to be listening to a lot of YouTube videos in the background while I'm working this week. Actually it is useful to be only half listening for these things. Blah Blah Blah, orchestra sound, Blah Blah Blah, orchestra sound, Blah Blah Blah, orche- woah, what is that? Go back. Okay, this is good. I want this.

That is kind of how I pick these things. That and I listen to people with more experience than me.
 

sostenuto

Big NKS Fan !
Ark 3 is nothing like these. It’s a very peculiar library but also quite inspiring. At the same time I’ve found I generally replace it after having used it to generate ideas.
Main Perc lib here is LADD. Interest in Ark3 is about equal with content in addition to Perc.
Apart from 8DIO, would you feel Ark3 likely adds little to LADD ??
 

dzilizzi

I just hang around pretending I know something
Ark 3 is nothing like these. It’s a very peculiar library but also quite inspiring. At the same time I’ve found I generally replace it after having used it to generate ideas.
Thanks. I have so much stuff now. I really need to start playing with it all. I was planning on quitting buying after BF, but this is really hard to pass up.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
@Vik what this forum loves and what pro composers will be attracted to are slightly different things.

We are all slightly software nerds here, we love gadgets and knobs to turn. It's part of the fun. It's cool to have an orchestra at your fingertips, and it's a challenge to make a realistic mockup. If VI's don't create great sounds until you learn the rules of controlling them, well, that's part of the puzzle.

Every person I've met who could call themselves a "working composer", every single one, wants the same thing. They want tools and assistants who will make their workday easier. Remember, it's a job not a hobby. Their job is scoring picture and things that get in the way of that are chores. And no good composer has ever had to hear a great mockup to know their music will work. The mockup is just a logistical hurdle put there by the director.

Once I interviewed with someone, he said that he owns Hollywood Strings but does not use it because it's too complicated and could I recommend something better. If EastWest's articulation system is too much of a bother (and I sympathize) then what chance does Synchron's Vienna Player or Berlin Strings' C.A.P.S.U.L.E. have?
 
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CGR

Pianist, Composer & Arranger
Has anyone had experience with the Orchestral Grands? I remember reading somewhere about programming/playability consistency issues.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
Main Perc lib here is LADD. Interest in Ark3 is about equal with content in addition to Perc.
Apart from 8DIO, would you feel Ark3 likely adds little to LADD ??
I don't really think of Ark 3 as a percussion library, though it has a lot of percussion in it (but I seldom use it). I think of it more in terms of the moniker, "beating orchestra," that is, for quickly mocking up repeated orchestra hits and ostinati, and especially for atonal effects and sharp clusters.

Its Full Orchestra Marcato multis are also very fun for right out of the box completely over-the-top epic blasts. Watch Daniel James's walkthrough to get a good feel for this side of it.

 

Vik

Scandi Member
If EastWest's articulation system is too much of a bother (and I sympathize) then what chance does Synchron's Vienna Player or Berlin Strings' C.A.P.S.U.L.E. have?
I don't know much, if anything, about EW's player or the Synchron player, so I'm not sure if I get what you mean?

Personally, I strongly dislike having to tweak stuff when in the midst of making music; I can't make music in nerd mode.

After some initial confusion coming from having spent time with Mural just before I started using Berlin, I find the Capsule UI rather straightforward now. Not as simple as CSS or Afflatus, but easy to use due to the adaptive legatos and the combined multi-presets. But I dislike that one cannot switch between advanced/adaptive legato and other artics within one instance of Kontakt in Berlin (and in SCS/SSS). I'd also like to see some improvements for this area in Capsule, and one reason for this is that I don't want to deal with all those abbreviations:

Capsule.png

Are you suggesting that OTs Capsule and VSL Synchron are more complex than Hollywood Strings? Confused. :)

Edit: OK, I think I got it. You think the simpler-to-use-and-less-expensive libs will 'win' over the more-expensive-and-harder to use libs for the reason you described. That makes sense, but I think and hope that someone will make products which are both reasonably priced and easy to use - but also have deep editing functions when you need them.
 

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Parsifal666

I don't even own a DAW, I'm just a troll.
I personally first bought Ark 1 and was kind of bummed out with it because I felt I already had a lot of the content in other libraries. Once I bought 2 I was totally sold on both, so I highly recommend folks jump all over this deal.

You can make full mockups with just those two libraries, super easy to mix, everything. Don't walk, run.
 

RandomComposer

Active Member
Oh my gosh, 500 US for Met Ark 1 and 2? I just paid over 700 two months ago...no way I could have foreseen this. Bumming.
Yeah I don't really understand, OT said that they weren't doing sales in order to avoid screwing over loyal customers. Then they choose to suddenly dish out large sales without warning, thereby screwing over loyal customers
 

cosmodave29

New Member
I personally first bought Ark 1 and was kind of bummed out with it because I felt I already had a lot of the content in other libraries. Once I bought 2 I was totally sold on both, so I highly recommend folks jump all over this deal.

You can make full mockups with just those two libraries, super easy to mix, everything. Don't walk, run.
I've actually really been digging Ark 2 these days. Lovely choral sounds, the brass are phenomenal and the strings are great. It was underused by me in the first year of owning it but I've been on projects now that demand this kind of sound and I'm eternally thankful I jumped on it when I did.
 
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