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Topic: Making a big purchase--need advice

  1. #1

    Making a big purchase--need advice

    Hey all,

    I just successfully sold my Roland XP-80 on eBay, woohoo! $1400 smackers [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Now, I get to go on a giga sample shopping spree.

    So here are some options I\'m considering. And PLEASE, if you know I can get these samples for lower than the prices I\'ve listed, let me know!

    AO ($680) + VOTA ($450) + GigaHarp ($180?)


    AO + LOP ($380) + VOTA (yeah, the total here is a bit over my budget by $100 or so.. no biggie)


    AO Winds ($270, but not GIGA format) + VOTA + LOP + ...dunno.. maybe World Winds? suggest something [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Many of you already know my style and what type of library I\'m trying to build. I already own GOS Lite and SAM Horns. I\'m into composing for games, I like doing work for fantasy themes.. sweeping, epic orchestral scores. I chose AO winds over DDSW because I like having the effects like flutter tongue, glissandi, trills, etc. I chose VOTA over SOV because VOTA can handle faster passages better. As far as LOP, I might be able to do without that for a while if AO\'s percussion is pretty good. The percussion I tend to use the most: cymbal crashes, cymbal rolls, timpani, snare, and tam tam. But it would be nice to have other stuff like general percussive hits, triangle, and so on. Along the same lines, if AO\'s harp is pretty good, then I may delay on getting GigaHarp. Getting AO (full set) seems like a pretty good idea I think.

    Anyway.. if someone could offer some advice, I would appreciate that [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I don\'t want to make a mistake in such a big purchase. And again, if there are lower prices for these samples, PLEASE don\'t hesitate to tell me. Otherwise I plan on getting all this from soundsonline.com and northernsounds.com (for LOP).

    Thanks, guys!

  2. #2

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    Hmm you\'re a bit keen on VOTA but why when you don\'t even have a good brass section yet? Most of the time you won\'t need a choir and while I\'m not against buying VOTA I think you should get yourself some damn good brass first. AO simply isn\'t gonna do it. Sure, you have SAM Horns but that\'s just horns.

    AO + LOP + DDSB/DDBE is my recommendation. You\'ve got reasonable winds there in AO, great percussion, and great brass. You already have some great strings so you\'d be sorted. You can buy the extra stuff like VOTA and Gigaharp in your next purchase.

  3. #3

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    When you say get AO, you mean the AO full set or just winds? If I get the AO winds (AKAI) I will miss out on the keyswitching.. which may not be a big deal, maybe.

    To be honest, I\'m not much of a brass person. French horns are all I need mostly [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I actually suck at orchestrating brass.. mostly because I can\'t identify (by sound) which instrument is which. If I hear a brass instrument, who knows what it is. I can tell french horns finally.. but sometimes I still have trouble identifying trumpets, trombones, bass trombones, etc. That might sound stupid.. I dunno, I just have a problem with those instruments, and so, obviously, I can\'t really compose with them yet.

  4. #4

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    You really ought to learn to identify the different brass instruments. One way you can do this is by getting a full score and recording of something with a lot of brass, like The Planets by Holst. Then you can follow the score while you listen. They\'re all pretty distinct to me, but I used to play trumpet in the school band, and I listen to a lot of orchestral music with brass too.
    Also, french horns are almost always panned slightly to the left of center, so that might help identify them.

    Anthony Lombardi

  5. #5

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    Identifying brass instruments is very easy even to an untrained ear if you go by a few general rules:

    1) learn their ranges. You will immediately be able to tell what instruments are playing just based on your knowledge of their ranges.

    Standard ranges are as followed:

    Horns : C2 -> D5 (although some composers call for horns playing as high as G5 (R. Strauss springs to mind)

    Bb Trumpets : E3 -> D6 (great players can reach the high F but you rarely hear that in film scores)

    Trombones (Tenor): E2 -> C5
    Trombones (Bass) : B1 -> C5

    2) listen to the sound of the instruments as they are very different from each other. Horns tend to sound bold and powerful but lack the sizzle and spark of the trombones and trumpets. High D in horns is a really identifiable sound and whenever I hear a high D in horns in a piece of music I can pick out any information I want pertaining to key signature, harmony-relations etc.
    Trumpets are really easy to identify. They are more agile than the rest of the brass family and you will therefore often hear them play the quicker parts in a score. Trumpets are usually coupled, compromising 4 musicians on a 4-part chord. Trombones often play 3-part chords or in unison, while horns are often doubling trombones or trumpets in a comfortable range, at the unison or in octaves. The sound of trombones and horns in perfect unison can be hard to pick apart. It can confuse even the most trained ear. In FF parts it is fairly easy to hear, as the crisp sizzle of the trombones add power to the warm and full horns. They are also on different sides of the stereo image; horns on the left and trombones on the right.


    About your sample library questions I would strongly recommend you to buy a seperate percussion library as the AO percussion, cymbal crashes in particular, are really weak. The recording has weird phasing errors and the lack of variations, especially in the piattis (crashes) is a shame.

    The strings in AO are far from great, but with some clever programming you can make them sound fairly good. If realism isn\'t your primary concern, then they should do in heaps. The woodwinds in AO are also better than anything else out there, with perhaps the bassoon and oboe being the exceptions.

    Buy smart and expand your library as you go along. The brass in AO is terrible. You would be well adviced to buy DDBE as it sounds like night and day compared to your selection in AO. Trust me on that one.

    And good luck!


  6. #6

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    “Bb Trumpets : E3 -> D6 (great players can reach the high F but you rarely hear that in film scores)”

    Thomas is correct about standard usage. I thought I’d add one aside about brass instruments in general and trumpet in particular: ultimate range extension is almost entirely player dependent. Especially in the Jazz arena the upper limit of the trumpet has commonly been pushed beyond C7. Some players have established careers on this ability. Maynard Ferguson became famous for his ability to consistently play to the Bb6 with a full and powerful sound. When he was with Stan Kenton he regularly performed to the C7 and occasionally to the Eb7. Cat Anderson consistently performed to the Ab7 and Leo “The Whistler” Shepard had a usable range to beyond the Bb8. At this extension the trumpet has more in common with violin harmonics than brass instruments, but it is physically possible. To some extent, there is an historical precedent for this prior to the development of Jazz as well (mostly having to do with natural, non-valved instruments), but the point is: There is no clear limit to the upper range of brass instruments – and that fact can drive players nuts! Fortunately, as Thomas points out, standard applications rarely demand this of players.


  7. #7

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    This is all great information but you don\'t have to think about ranges and stuff to basically increase your ability to pick the brass instruments out. Think of it like this; Trumpets are the highest register (soprano), horns are more of a mid range (alto), trombones are low (tenor) and tubas provide the bass. Trombones played in a higher register can sometimes sound like horns a bit but remember that Horns will be on your left so they\'re easy to pick out.

    I\'d reccomend DDSB \'cos that\'s the one I own and know is very good. It comes with more than just the standard bone, horn and trumpet with several other useful brass instruments as well. I can\'t reccomend DDBE \'cos I don\'t own it but I don\'t think it comes with a tuba.

    Originally posted by MDesigner:
    When you say get AO, you mean the AO full set or just winds? If I get the AO winds (AKAI) I will miss out on the keyswitching.. which may not be a big deal, maybe.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">I\'d get the whole set \'cos I think it works best moneywise. You\'ll need something from all the CDs at one time or another and will probably go back to it time and time again.

  8. #8

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    Tom Hopkins, very interesting topic! Jazz legends going crazy with their trumpets [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] It\'s indeed a fascinating subject, but some of these legends actually managed to reach the high notes without \"cheating\" (i.e drilling a hole in the mouth piece) - and that\'s just amazing!

    Horn players have, since the romantic aera been selected by their ability to play high or low notes. Horn players would specialize in either the high or the low register, and they would be seated as followed (in a 6 horn ensemble): 1-3-5 , 2-4-6, where odd numbers would consist of high players and the even desks of low players.
    In these modern days, both the players and the instruments are of better quality and professional horn players are required to cover the standard range.

    Anyway, this is getting a bit off topic [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    Whatever you do you should learn the instrument ranges of all the orchestral instruments by heart. It will simplify everything you do. Grab an orchestration book if you\'re serious about this, and listen to orchestral music 24/7! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    You will eventually be able to pick out the different instruments. It\'s just a matter of training your ear, but you can speed boost the learning time with the few tips you have been given. Remember that often the task can be very difficult. I.e where you have bassoons, trombones horns and celli in unison at MP-MF (a loooovely sound) - you will probably be confused by all the other instruments. Bassoons is the one woodwind family instrument that just kind of disappears or blends in, warming up the whole orchestra like magic, even though you can\'t necessarily hear it!
    Because of this blending phenomenon (creating all new exciting sounds from just unison instrument blends) it can be quite hard to pick out instruments in a complex score. Therefore you should be listening to scores of a certain complexity but in a transparent orchestrated way.


  9. #9

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    Thanks for the tips, all! You\'re right, the tough part is when the composer blends in a few instruments.. it becomes more difficult for me to identify what\'s going on.

    About the samples: I\'m reconsidering AO winds vs. DDSW, just because I know the quality of the DDSW is far better. But see, there are times I want to use things like flute glissandi in action type pieces, and I know the DDSW library doesn\'t have those effects. And a MIDI-created glissandi just doesn\'t compare to one that was sampled. So that\'s my dilemma. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Also, I\'m totally torn between DDSB and DDBE. Can anyone point out differences/similarities? Why I would want one over the other?

    The bottom line is, I just don\'t use brass a lot in my compositions. I might pick up DDSB or DDBE later, but I think for now, I\'m going to get AO, LOP, and VOTA. That is, of course, if this ebay buyer pays me [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img] Hopefully they were just out of town for the weekend and didn\'t respond to my two emails. I really don\'t want to deal with a bum buyer on a $1400 item. [img]images/icons/mad.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Re: Making a big purchase--need advice

    DDSB or DDBE?

    I would advise DDBE. I have both and I love both, but if you are taking one be sure to grab DDBE.

    DDSB is great, but it asks for a lot of work and it is a close miked solo library, so getting that big bold section sound is not that easy out of the box.

    DDBE on the other hand gives you that big epic sound straigh out of the box because it\'s all about far miked section and IMHO it will help you a lot to learn more about the brass section in orchestral seting.



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