Judging by what you’re looking for (real acoustic instruments, not “epic” effects etc.), I think you’ll be very pleased with VSL. It’s too bad you can’t try before buying (unless you’re somehow able to make their cloud-based demo sessions work for you), because taste in VIs is so subjective. One option would be to buy and try a single SE section rather than immediately take the plunge on the whole library. The upgrade price tends to be little or no higher than the difference between the part and the whole. Myself, a few months before I bought my first VSL libs, I bought the EastWest platinum orchestra. Big disappointment. Very hard to connect with the instruments musically. VSL was like striking gold for me, as someone who likes to feel I’m playing the actual instruments in a small space where they can sing without need of embellishment (of course, sooner or later they do get the reverb and hot sauce). Put it another way, if you listen to the remarkable demos on the VSL site, they don’t lie. And even the SE edition subset of the VSL instruments covers a very generous range of articulations, including an astonishingly expressive legato.Thank you for your input mikefrommontreal. To answer your question: I'm not particularly interested in "epic" music at the moment (that might change someday but it is definitely not my priority). I'd say I prefer the more 'conventional' orchestral music at the moment which is something I am interested in exploring. I'd like to explore orchestral instruments (individual and ensembles) in other non-typical orchestral compositions. For example I really like what Snarky Puppy and The Metropole Orchestra have done on Snarky Puppy's album Sylva (I do own Komplete 12 which provides me with the other instruments which are typical of a band such as Snarky Puppy). I really love jazz and many of its modern offspring genres (funk, fusion, modern church gospel music, neo-soul, lo-fi hip hop and some big band music as well) and exploring orchestral instruments in such setting is something I'd like to try. Having solo instruments with a decent quality sound is definitely something I'd prefer over something that Albion One offers for example (only ensemble patches) but I don't want to exclude the ensemble instruments either.
Thank you for your input as well, Ben. I know that it might not be everything one needs but one has to start somewhere and I'd like not to start with something I'd regret purchasing (I think I'd regret choosing a library with poor sound quality more than missing some articulations).
Regarding the breath controller sugestion I must admit it does sound intriguing after checking what it does/can do. Thank you for the suggestion.
Manuel Stumpf, thank you for taking the time to share these suggestions and your thoughts. I'll definitely check the Hollywood Orchestra which I haven't considered yet. The others don't really seem to fit my needs based on your descriptions.
Hanu_H, thank you very much for your suggestion. I did take some time to listen to a few demos and some of them sound great while one of them did dissapoint me quite a lot with the sound quality (Lands To West of West by Tobias Escher at around the 1 minute mark). Will take the time tomorrow to listen to everything else.