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Topic: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

  1. #1

    Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    I have to say that this has been the year for sample libraries. I know there have been a lot of heated debates over each library, and I don\'t intend for this thread to be a bashing or support group for bias users. I just want to say that having donwloaded nearly every demo presented by each company, the only major difference is not audible - it is in the user-friendliness of the library and of the creator.

    I have been doing AB tests of all the different demos, and I can honestly say that I have a very good ear. However, when it comes down to it, each have very synthy sounding demos, and each have demos indistinguishable from the real thing. I speak this from a comparison of $250 to $5000 libraries. Every library has excellent demos. Imparticular, I want to focus on an even more astounding comparison than EWQLSO Silver and GPO - I want to focus on EWQLSO Platinum versus GPO as an example. After I make some comparisons, you can fill in the blanks for Silver and Vienna.

    Listen to one of the excellent demos from Thomas B. Lets take \"Underneath the Sea.\" This is an astounding piece. Immediately, people praise (and rightfully so) the orchestration and sound of Platinum. Lets take a lesser known demo from GPO. Take \"Peace\" or \"Gary Christmas\" from Francesco Marchetti. \"Gary Christmas\" resembles \"UTS\" in both dynamics and style. AB each of these. Each have a solo violin heading into the crescendo. While each have different instrumentations, the only audilbe difference is the solo violin of GPO sounds more accurate and the crescendo in \"UTS\" is more dynamic. While I am not sure whether this is due to the amount of dynamic layers in each note, it could be fixed (if trying to duplicate the crescendo) by mixing as well.

    So many people have been quick to jump on one side of the libraries when each is capable of producing something extremely realistic. Tonally, the libraries vary. There is one main \"effect\" in producing the samples that Nick Phoenix knows he employed and Gary chose not to (and I am not talking about release trails). While neither is right or wrong, that is the main difference in the *sound* you hear. Silver is a great value for an outstanding library. GPO is incredible as well. I have my opinion as to which I will be buying soon, and it is honestly based on every aspect of the business.

    All I am really saying is close your eyes, push play on each of these demos, and tell me which one sounds more realistic. I think that the answer will surprise you. We can AB bad demos all day, but put the best of each library up against each other and I think [monetarily] it will surprise you. If anyone has a better AB comparison, feel free to offer it, but pick one that is strong in all suits. This is the potential of the library.

  2. #2

    Re: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    And when I say [monetarily], I mean take demos from every library money can buy right now, then listen. I wasn\'t trying to infer GPO is better than EWQLSO Platinum, I meant the comment as a broad spectrum comment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    South Ken, London

    Re: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    Originally posted by jkerr:
    I just want to say that having donwloaded nearly every demo presented by each company, the only major difference is not audible - it is in the user-friendliness of the library and of the creator.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">My ears tell me otherwise. Maybe we should persuade Thomas J to mock up the Sea demo using GPO [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] . It would be very interesting to hear.

    Addressing this and many other threads that are in a similar vein, the problem I think is that a number of us are looking at these libraries as self-contained entites that must remain seperate from other libraries in order for quality results to be achieved. This is the biggest nonsense of all. There are sounds in platinum unattainable by other libraries but there isn\'t a celeste that can equal the one in the GPO - which I think sounds great. I heard a couple of the GPO nutcracker demos that sounded really effective, but I know better results could be obtained mixing sounds from GPO and EWQLSO.

    Taking a trawl through my templates shows that I still rely on samples from years back. I still use the ancient Prosonous chinese cymbals and string marcato patch for selected moments in pieces even though the library as a whole has long been superceded by a dozen others. The Vitous cor anglais remains one of my favorite woodwind patches that I\'ve yet to hear bettered, despite releases from libraries of higher audio quality.

    The problem arises when a composer has to make a decision based around limited funds. Many libraries now tout themselves as self-contained so a newcomer often feels compelled to chose between the various ones available. Many of us that own a number of libraries know that this isn\'t necessarily the final answer though and I think this needs to be constantly emphasised to those new to the sample orchestra world. Claiming that one library will answer all your prayers isn\'t the way to go, IMO.

    As to the user friendleness of the library. Well, I\'ve yet to use a sample library that hasn\'t required a learning curve of some kind, however slight or steep, although that tends to be rectified by sitting down and simply learning to play (and often edit) the instruments.

    I\'ve not known the creators of most of the libraries I\'ve used on a personal level and it tends not to be my principal concern as long as the product works. I can\'t recall anytime I\'ve asked a question and its not been answered so I guess company service is pretty uniform everywhere. Come to think of it, I can\'t recall many complaints BY CUSTOMERS aimed at service provided by sample library developers on NS either.

  4. #4

    Re: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    I know there are subtle differences in instruments. Some patches work better than others in a library. I have used GOS, SAM Horns, LOC, and others together. Each of these libraries are brilliant and should be owned. My point is that as a collection, each can bring to the table a strong collection of sounds. I have almost decided to give up on the GPO/Silver/Vienna/EWQLSO debate because the truth is that they are all VERY GOOD. A good programmer & composer can make these sound identical to the real thing.

    As for having Thomas do \"UTS\" with GPO - I\'ve been thinking this would be a good idea too since the GPO debuted. The problem arises that he was hired by East West for the demos. I don\'t think he will mock up his recording in a competitive library of 1/10th the price...However it is a great idea. I second it and think it will give everyone a good idea of the two libraries unbiased.

    I guess the best example we have to work on is Beethoven\'s 5th for GPO & Silver. However, I want the following point to be understood. AB modern recordings of orchestras with each library. I find it hard to decipher the real one versus the programmed one. My ear is trained and very accurate. I can tell you what sounds real and what doesn\'t in a library. But, as a whole, the library will come off as close to a recording as possible. I\'ve listened to Zimmer\'s recordings of live and thought they were programmed. I know he adds synth sounds sometimes, but I am not talking about those. If everyone would get off the overly critical band-wagon, then each library will show its light.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    Originally posted by jkerr:
    I have almost decided to give up on the GPO/Silver/Vienna/EWQLSO debate because the truth is that they are all VERY GOOD. A good programmer & composer can make these sound identical to the real thing.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">But to equate them is not a very genuine analysis. For instance (and I know I use this comparison constantly), VSL has full-depth recordings of some 40-odd Gongs and Tam-tams. It has a full set of BooBams. It has bullroarers, waterphones, toad-croakers, mallet instruments played with every conceivable sticking and bowing, about 30 cowbells played with every type of mallet and bowed, dozens of cymbals, dozens of EVERYTHING. This is percussion alone.

    There is a difference in that. It means as a composer, you can compose for a very sophisticated percussion ensemble, beyond what is provided as somewhat \"generic\" percussion coverage in other libraries. You can even choose a tiny subset of percussion instruments, and get rich and deep enough coverage to compose cogent, performable, form-rich music for percussion.

    And you can take that analogy forward to any of the sections.

    In contrast, a collection like Silver or GPO may be able to produce a realistic, enjoyable sound of a certain type of music, but cannot even begin to approach the COVERAGE of sections which enables one to produce rich music from tiny orchestral microcosms.

    And rightly so, since there\'s a world of difference between $250 and $5000.

    So while the comparisons being made here have some validity (Beethoven to Beethoven, say), they\'re quite one-dimensional and limited. Value has a much deeper definition than that, and one must look at criteria which are much deeper than these in order to truly define what represents value (and how much value) to working composers.

  6. #6

    Re: Observations of Current Orchestral Libraries

    Bruce, I always enjoy hearing you respond to my posts (even though I haven\'t been posting too long). I look up to your insight in a lot of ways. I agree that there are articulations and extra instruments in libraries that differenciate them from others. I can understand those arguments. I will go as far as to say that each library is a different tool in the toolbag. However, my point is merely that all of these posts turn into a lot of garbage about (as PapaChalk put it in the thread \"A Review of EWQLSO Silver/Speculation on GPO) \"blue is better than green.\" You have certain creators tooting their own horn about how their library is better when they each produce excellent sounds. As a general statement, anyone wanting to orchestrate *with a standard orchestral instrumentation* can do so on any of these libraries and produce stunning results. I really cannot stand reading the \"commercial posts\" for certain libraries when people should just listen to the demos and decide for themselves what their budget will allow. I think that people would rather gloat than use a library for a reason (at least the majority of the people who post on this forum). I have been reading posts on this board for years, only recently becoming a member. It seems to be turning into a library creator war though.

    In fairness to Gary Garritan and a few others, they seem to respect the board for its purpose and carry out their business in a professional and curteous manner. This is just a general statement, no ties to certain libraries are involved.

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