I can\'t sleep so I thought I\'d post my experience with and some constructive criticism of the Silver EWQLSO library, as well as a few opinions I\'ve drawn about the GPO library from hearing the bounty of demos posted on Gary\'s site. Take the GPO comments with a grain of salt as I have not actually worked with the library. I wanted to provide an average user\'s perspective about the Silver offering from EWQL.
Like many of you, I was torn between the two libraries and decided to go with Silver for two reasons: 1) the proven quality of the Platinum edition and 2) the upgrade path.
I couldn\'t have been more pleased with the service I received from SoundsOnline regarding my purchase - it arrived in no time and the employees were very helpful on the phone.
After installing the library and the DFD extension from NI, I got down to business. Initial impressions were favorable - the Kompakt interface is stable, very easy to use, and the on-board effects, while CPU hogs, fill out the sound quite well.
I believe in calling things as they are and not gushing unless it\'s warranted. After playing around and composing with the library for a week, here are what I consider to be the good, the bad, and the ugly about Silver:
- Doug and Nick obviously thought long and hard about the compromises necessary to deliver this library and their choices were almost to a one the correct ones: articulations are not repeated between violins I and II, combi pizz is used rather than individual string section pizz with little noticeable difference, percussion is not skimped on, brass is well-represented, the instruments omitted are generally not missed, and the piano, choir, and organ are very, very strong additions to the value of the library.
- The section strings are more effective, in my opinion, than what I have heard of GPO - the basses are more powerful, the cellos smoother, and the violins, especially in the upper registers, more refined.
- Olivier is to be commended for the reworking of the Steinway B - it transitions effortlessly from p to ff and really sings. One thing to maybe consider is changing the default velocity scaling, as, out of the box, it requires a heavier touch than the rest of the instruments in the library.
- As evidenced in the \"Cartoon\" demo, the percussion really has bite and the timpani is superb.
- The french horns, trombones, and trumpets are generously represented and are quite fun to play.
- I\'ll start with something that actually belongs in the good category, but may be bad in the sense of leaving you wanting more: a single program from the Gold library is included, an 18 violins program, and it is without question the single most beautiful program in the Silver collection. It is large and more CPU intensive than the other programs due to its reverb tails, and it gives you an idea of the computing power necessary to run Gold. The natural reverb is stunning and will undoubtedly result in many a Silver user immediately saving up for their next fix (Gold).
- The woodwinds are, I feel, the weak point of the library. They\'re not terrible, but they\'re also not as good, at least individually, as what we\'ve heard in the GPO demos. You simply can\'t play the New World Symphony with Silver and make it sound anywhere near as pretty as the GPO version. The flutes are way too sibilant for my taste and not as sweet as the GPO flutes. There is no clarinet vibrato, and the winds in general are vibrato-poor. The ensemble winds fare quite a bit better, but overall the paucity of articulations in Silver is felt hardest in the woodwinds.
- The Steinway represents 1/5 of the library\'s size. Two of the programs are 200 megs, but the Dark Piano program, using all of the library\'s piano samples, is somewhere around 500 megs. All three piano programs sound great. If size was a concern (keeping the entire library around 2.5 gigs), the extra 300 megs used in the Dark piano program could have been put to better use (i.e., I would have included more woodwind variations).
- The harp includes one articulation and it is only a short pluck.
- Nothing really, I just wanted to use the complete movie title.
So where does that leave you if you\'re on the fence? You\'re left with hard choices. Silver is a nearly complete orchestral library with a \"bigger\" sound and better section strings, brass, and percussion (to my ears) than GPO. GPO is a more complete library than Silver with better woodwinds, marginally better solo strings, much better harp, and the advantage of multiple soloists for many of the instruments.
As has been suggested, perhaps the ideal compromise is to obtain both, and I believe this is the path I will follow. As it stands now, I feel that I have to compose to the strengths of Silver, and while some can work that way while waiting to purchase Gold, I would prefer not to. At the same time, had I purchased GPO alone, I believe I would miss the power of the brass and the majesty of the strings that is present in Silver, not to mention some kickin\' choir samples and the investment toward the sweet spot in orchestral libraries which is EWQLSO Gold. The marvelous natural reverb truly puts this library in a class of its own.
The bebop clown