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[QUESTION] Which Orchestral Libraries are a must-have for film/game scoring?

Last-Echo

New Member
If you could choose only one per category, i.e (Solo Strings, would be separate from the orchestral range of string libraries). Which Libraries are a must-have and why?

I am trying to build myself a collection of libraries that I would be able to compose almost any orchestral score with. Anything from EPIC pieces, emotional solo segments, versatile percussion, and intricate brass libraries.

To put it simply I want to be able to make all range of music from the biggest most epic scale pieces, to the most emotional and detail focused scores using only couple of stringed instruments.

I don't mind spending up to 2 thousand British pounds, if I know that the library will serve its purpose for years to come.
 

BenG

Senior Member
Well, this is incredibly subjective and you won't get the same answer twice. But, here's my list...

1. Cinematic Studio Strings
2. Cinematic Studio Strings Solo
3. Cinematic Studio Brass
4. Berlin Woodwinds
5. Spitfire Perc Redux
6. Voxos
7. Embertone Steinway D
8. Omnisphere

That should last me like 6-7 before needed to upgrade!
 

Hanu_H

Senior Member
Cinematic Studio Series is definitely a good choice. Not completed yet though and might be a bit limited with articulations. If you are experienced with your DAW and know how to mix, VSL might be a solid option as well. AudioBro just released MSB, so you could buy LASS, MSB and LADD and have a pretty flexible orchestra at your hands.
 

dhlkid

Senior Member
Go check out hollywod composer template, u will get some idea

Junkie XL
Cinematic Stuio Solo Strings
Cinematic Strings 1 & 2
Hollywood Strings
Berlin Strings
LCO
Old East West Orchestra
Cinebrass
Cage Brass
Berlin Woodwind
Claire Woodwind

John Powell
Albion 1 & 5
Cinematic Strings 2 & Studio Strings
Bespoke Spitfire Strings & WW
BML Woodwind
Cinewind
Berlin Brass
Symphonic Brass
Cinebrass
Hollywoodwinds
 

erica-grace

Senior Member
I would steer away from the drier libraries, like the Spitfire Studio Series and the Cinematic Studio series, and lean towards the wetter libraries, like the Cinesamples libraries, the Spitfire Orchestral series (recorded at Air studio 1), the Albions, and the OT libraries recorded at Teldex.

Not that there is anything wrong with the drier libraries, because there isn't. It's just that the sound is not representative of film and game scores - which is what you asked for, as generally speaking (with some exception, of course) film and game scores are not recorded in the types of spaces that these drier libraries were recorded in.

Oh, and don't use pro templates (John Powell, etc) as a guideline for what you want. Those sounds are used for writing only - with an occasional exception, none of those orchestral sounds appear in the final score. They are almost always replaced with a real orchestra.
 

Hanu_H

Senior Member
Yeah, I kind of have to disagree as well with choosing wet libraries over drier ones. It's not that simple. I think it's better to have some kind of control over the space if you only are gonna use one library. But of course you can do great music with both and it's all about what you want and what suits you the best.
 

Sean

I don't know what I'm talking about
I would steer away from the drier libraries, like the Spitfire Studio Series and the Cinematic Studio series, and lean towards the wetter libraries, like the Cinesamples libraries, the Spitfire Orchestral series (recorded at Air studio 1), the Albions, and the OT libraries recorded at Teldex.
CSS isn't very dry, especially compared to SStS. Maybe not as wet as some other libs but I definitely wouldn't put it under a "dry" category.
 

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
I am surprised to not see some of the obvious things from the last several years that have become staples.

Metropolis Ark 1 & 2 would come to mind, along with some hybrid tools such as Alpha & Bravo. Also the Eduardo Tarilonte products (ERA series, etc) come to mind. Since you mentioned libraries, I assume that synths are not on your list, but there are many there that work very well too.
 

ProfoundSilence

Senior Member
CSS(and csb) were recorded in trackdown in Australia, which has about the same cubic volume as teldex(however pretty different build up frequencies)

tail/ambience length will be similar between the two venues - although the mic choices are very different. Some EQ can make either sit together - but I'd just like to point out that despite the large amount of sample editing, css is not dry - even if the samples seem like they can stop on a dime. HWS/LASS are the same exact way, they both were recorded in spaces but then had a lot of their tails edited off, but if you actually compare shorts from any OT stuff with CSB/CSS you can hear that they are equally reverberant, even if the tree(and ambient) mics from OT is physically further sounding than the main/room mics from CSS/CSB.

also, rinascimento is an excellent alternative to ERA stuff.
 

MatFluor

Senior Member
I'm in the Spitfire camp mainly.
On that note, you would need to spend more than 2k if you want that kind of versatility, since every library is strong in a different area and has downsides in another. So:

-Winds: Symphonic Winds (good for most use cases), VSL (dry and still nice sounding), Samplemodeling Winds (very realistic if you play it right)

-Brass: Symphonic Brass (large, British, mellow), Infinite Brass (Upfront, Action), Trailer Brass (Braams, Bold), Adventure Brass/Caspian (Action, Stacc-Marc lines, similar to Infinite Brass), Audiomodeling (or Samplemodeling, sorry) Brass (very realistic if you play it right)

- Choir: Oceania (great Stacc-Marc choir), Lacrimosa (on the bigger side), Dominus (soft churchy)

- Percussion: Spitfire percussion redux

- Piano: Emotional Piano (name speaks for itself), Keyscape (tons of pianos), NI pianos (Una cords is nice, grandeur is a versatile one), Fluffy Audio Scoring piano (I just like the sound), Olafur Arnalds Felt piano (nice felt, very soft and mellow), Spitfire Orchestral Grand (sits very well in an Orchestral mix, more oldschool "Goldsmith" sound, not good for "exposed solo piano"), Pianoteq

- Strings: Symphonic strings (big), Chamber strings (details, very nice sound, very nice articulations), CSS (more old-school sound, more feathery), Chris Hein Strings (nice Overall sound), Berlin strings (a favorite of some people)

- Solo strings: Spitfires solo strings, Sacconi Quartet, CSSS, Embertones Stuff, Chris Hein solo strings, Audiomodeling solo strings

- Other: Omnisphere of course, Komplete Ultimate, Super Audio Cart (video game sounds from consoles), and some small libs here and there like Spitfires Evos, Albions (4 and 5 are my loved ones). OT Ark series must be named as well here

Keep in mind - that's more my opinion. For a very versatile start you can also just get Komplete Ultimate+Omnisphere and do a lot of stuff, since you get instruments for pretty much every style, I closing the old VSL stuff, which in some cases still hold up very well (Harp, Woods). Plus you get Drums, Bass etcetc.

Don't forget a beefy machine to run everything on, a couple TB of space for the libraries and RAM to load everything in.
Dry vs wet libraries is a question that you need to look into - I use mainly wet stuff, that's because I like the sound of it. But when I do a different style, it bites me back a bit because some styles just don't go that well with a huge room like AIR. But for that I have other links to take that dry spot if I need it.

So in the end - a full must have imo is Komplete Ultimate and Omnisphere. You can do soo much with that already. Once you have some experience under your belt (don't know if you have some already), you can look detailed I to all libs and make good choices rather than spending 10k+ now to be able to compose every style. Chances are, I missed some other very good libs that are way better for some use cases.
 
OP
L

Last-Echo

New Member
Thank you all for giving me an insight into this vast subject. The only product I currently own that has orchestral elements to it is the Komplete 12 Ultimate. I will be looking into all of the suggestions and try and decide which ones are to my liking.
 

James H

01001000 01101001
I am surprised to not see some of the obvious things from the last several years that have become staples.

Metropolis Ark 1 & 2 would come to mind, along with some hybrid tools such as Alpha & Bravo. Also the Eduardo Tarilonte products (ERA series, etc) come to mind. Since you mentioned libraries, I assume that synths are not on your list, but there are many there that work very well too.
I agree, all the Ark's are staples when the word Epic is used as in OP's original message.
BO Inspire I use often
Anything from OT actually. I'm saving for the WW and Brass
 

Wolfie2112

Senior Member
Try the EastWest Composer Cloud trial and see if it suits your needs. For years, I used EW libraries to compose just about everything you can imagine, they made up about 90% of my templates. I'm bias though, because I've been using EW stuff since before their Play engine came out. I now use a lot of Kontakt based libraries as well, but EW is still a huge part of my instrument choices; especially for anything orchestral. There are a lot of good suggestions here, but you certainly don't need to spend 2 thousand Pounds. Just keep on researching, and find libraries that you think will work for YOU. My personal recommendation is the Spitfire Studio series (core) and EW Composer Cloud, that gives you a TON of options, and both "wet" and "dry" libraries.
 

Jacopo Freddi

New Member
So in the end - a full must have imo is Komplete Ultimate and Omnisphere. You can do soo much with that already.
Are you referring to the NI Symphony Essential suite? I've found that the true value in that suite is mostly in winds and brasses, strings only come as sections and not as detailed as the other instruments - plus they've being suffering from an annoying bug almost since release.

Are there "good enough" solo strings (and possibly sections) for orchestral scoring (both classical and scoring-oriented) in the Komplete Ultimate packages? I've been trying but I find that:
- Session Strings is more on the "pop" side
- Action / Emotive Strings are useful for quick patterns and sketches, but nothing you can't do with a well built library and a bit of time
- Symphony Essential / Series... I've written about those above, but maybe someone can show me the upsides
- the "old" VSL content is just so barebone, I'm not sure it would even hold out a minute against Spitfire Solo Strings or a full VSL package.

I'm considering some Strings, Solos especially, and it feels like Emberton, VSL Solo Strings 1 or Spitfire Solo Strings are great bang for bucks. But demos deceive us.
 

constaneum

Senior Member
No library is must-have.

What do you have now?
just grab everything if you have the $$. It's an endless thing. haha Each time when newer and better products coming out yearly, you might or even "would "have the urge to upgrade.

but for a start, if you're not into ensemble patches and prefer isolation, then i'll suggest the following

1) Low Budget setup - East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra / VSL Special Enditions
2) Mid Budget setup - Hollywood series / Cinematic Studio Series / Spitfire Audio Studio Series)
3) High Budget Setup - Spitfire Audio Symphonic Series / Berlin Series / VSL Synchron or Dimension Series
 
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