Be aware that there are some limitations. I think AO is a great library and gives a very good nag for the buck. Look around these boards and you will find lots of incredible sounding music done with AO.
Having said this, keep in mind that the majority of the instruments only have 2 velocity layers (mp and ff), the sustains are either looped or shorter than other libraries, the ambience is pretty dry, the instruments are not chromatically sampled.
I do think that it has some great Brass and Woodwinds. The percussion ain\'t bad either. The strings are a bit weak, a good complement to AO would be the GOS LITE library if you\'re on a tight budget.
I find that these libraries are nothing but tools, like a chisel and a hammer, in the right hands you can achieve incredible results, but it\'s up to the artist to get to that point.
Either way, I think it\'s $680 well spent. It will give you a good starting basis on which you can expand later.
It\'s the most comprehensive orchestral collection out there, in one boxed set. Beats miroslav in terms of articulations but not in sound. Of course it all boils down to personal preference. I still use many of the sounds in AO. Mainly the woodwinds though because that\'s the only alternative I have actually. A good woodwind ensemble library is still a big gap in the commercial sample library market. Hopefully Kirk Hunter will do them right.
$700 is a very reasonable price for such a diverse set. I strongly recommend it as a starters kit.
It was my first library and I don\'t regret the purchase one bit.
FWIW, I think the AO mp-to-p strings are still the best ones out there. I\'ve heard Garritan, and I use Miroslav and a bunch of others. But if you look at my strings template, at least half of the slots are still filled with AO samples.
Can\'t really speak about the other instruments, because I have never really taken the time to get to know them.
Based on my personal experiences with AO, it´s an excellent starter library and generally a good bang for the buck. I never liked the strings in general (especially the violins...), but those basses have a lot of punch in them and they sound really good imho. Then again, some people can use the violins better than I can.
AO Brass is the only commercial brass-only-library I´ve bothered to purchase so far, and I think it´s great because of all the expression (fr glissandos, tr/tb crescendos)
A tip: Layer SAM trumpets, AO FF trumpets and AO FF Trombones for an awesome brass ensemble sound! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
The woodwinds are very usable and playable, as already mentioned (in previous topics).
I don´t have the percussion or solo strings.
The only thing AO is missing imho are big marcato strings.