I am prompted to write something here about my overall impression after working with GPO since the begining, but first....
I have been seemingly critical of a couple of aspects of GPO (mainly the brass) and going over my recent comments, I fear I may have hurt Gary some sales (Gary I've pm'd you on this). The web forums are great places to discuss these things with like-minded people, but on manufacturer or developers forums like this one, 'crossing over' with comments or outright discussions of competing products is out of place really. One glowing praise or comment here (or there!) about a competing product's merits can send a potential buyer into a quandry or turn him off to a great library like GPO, in spite of how many superb demos are posted. This is true and I have recently observed this firsthand. I won't go into details here, but I recently was contacted by a polite chap who thanked me for saving him from a purchase of GPO, instead he was buying 'another' library. I felt very bad in and quickly e-mailed this person back to explain that he had taken my comments too strongly to heart and might be making a terrible mistake of another kind.
My wife tells me I'm opinionated and she may be right. The forum that Gary has created here is so open and the regular members so polite that it is easy for me to let my many years around the music industry, as both amatuer and professional, dictate to people. I apologize to the forum and Gary. It has never been my intention to hurt Gary's or any other developer's sales.
Now that I've said that, I will make my final comments on GPO's worth as an orchestral library. Understand, I am not going to 'faun' over it to make up for the guilt or something. To anyone reading this who is new here and has not taken the plunge on GPO or 'another' library, I would take my comments very seriously. I have spent many many hours in front of orchestras listening, recording and even sampling them. I really do know what I am talking about!
GPO is the best orchestral library out there. Really. Why? Because it puts so much control at your fingers (and mouse!) compared to everything else out there. A rash statement? No.
There are several other fine collections of orchestral instruments and sections and I have recently gotten into another one of them with much pleasure and excitement at the possibilities. They all sound superb.
GPO takes away the complexity of each component sound and makes it an actual pleasure to work with. This should not be undersestimated. It will be your 'decidiing factor' if you don't know what to buy. Really.
I have most of the older libraries. They were quite good actually, but after you started recording with them, their awkwardness and arcane programming quickly could destroy the creative process. GPO does not do this. It is deceptive in it's approach in that this quality is not apparent just listening to the demos and reading the ads.
Where GPO is hard to underdstand at first, may be in the use of the very good brass. I have experimented recently and found the root of my frustrations over the brass these past few months. I have also complained that the 'dry' approach to sampling taken by GPO and certain other libraries is inherently 'wrong'. This in fact, I am somewhat mistaken about. I have ignored certain procedures with GPO that can be taken to overcome this 'dry' close sound to a large degree. I am surprised I have not stumbled over this before, but the alure of ambient libraries is such that it makes music 'quicker', though this too might be an illusion.
The application of the brass overlays are but one part of getting that section to sound real. What my ear has been missing was not accomplished by careful application of convolution reverb alone, either. I have been experimenting with an effect chain I put together with certain delay and compression which I apply separately to each indivdual brass instrument, each on a separate track which gets the remaining convolution reverb applied to those separate tracks. Then a submix is made and an overall reverb is applied sparingly with some minor eq adjustment. Then I use my spectral enhancer plug-in dynamically with an envelope on the tracks to emphasize certain brass crescendi.
All of this makes for exciting brass parts which can have more expression in the attacks than I previously thought possible. It also makes the construction of as realistic as possible presentation of one's music a more strenuous and detailed endeavor. This is the strength of GPO over certain 'other' libraries, as the complexity of what one wants to achieve is totally up to the indivdual.
Some may simply want to get their ideas down, others like myself are after ultimate realism (though that in itself is actually an unrealistic goal with any library!). If you put in the time, GPO (even in it's present state) can take you there. I am guilty of wanting instant results as much as the next person, so other libraries offer sections and such which really do limit what you can achieve, though they are producing some excellent music, too!
For music students, there is no better library. GPO's method of ensemble building more closely resembles actual orchestra convention. Pre-sampled ensembles are great for quick work, but they are not best when one is trying to hone one's orchestration skills. This why many composers are choosing GPO---it most closely fits with the way they were trained. I have an aquaintance who e-mailed me the other day to tell me his son will be buying GPO for the above reasons alone.
The woodwinds of GPO continue to impress me. They are simply the best for the money (and for more money!). The strings already had fame as the GOS library from which they are derived. The string attacks can be 'goosed' by careful use of compression. I was informed a while back by a conductor friend that they still do this on occasion to live strings for recording certain works.
The solo strings rival the KH set and sound better in some cases. They can be made into a nice emotive section with not as much work as the brass, even. Updates or expansions might have solo strings specifically designed for this purpose allowing better blending for a different string texture. Though I still prefer sections recorded in a beautiful sounding hall like GOS strings, the individual solo strings can work if one applies the right procedures as I detailed above for brass.
The percussion is lively without sounding 'juiced' (inapropriate for an orchestral library. If you want juce, add it yourself, I say). There are all the percussion toys you might need for 98% of the music you would make with it.
The piano is simply GPO's 'hidden' treasure! It is not apparent from the ads at all that you are getting a truly superb, playable instrument. And it won't weight your computer resources down either! The pipe organs and the harpsichords are so much value in GPO that just the keyboard instruments and harps would make this a 'must have' library for the money IMO.
Add to this Gary Garritan's commitment to offering the best value for students and composers and you have there alone, the reason to buy. I must say I have never encountered a sampleware developer with Gary's attitude and ethics. He actually is concerned how customers like GPO and how they would see it made even better. Again, this makes me sheepish for having made my remarks in competitor's forums.
GPO can indeed sound big, if you know how to get it, and you must learn how to get it if you want to be sucessful in the film music biz IMHO. I know I have been complaining about this 'bigness' thing, but I was wrong. Houston Haynes and the others are right. I have been lacking in my approach and that was what I was finding fault with, but never realized it until just recently. I can get the 'big' sound with another library I have but it is not as satisfying or as varied as GPO.
GPO is fun! You can just get so far with other libraries and then they seem to be lacking somehow and you end up getting what you need but your intellectually exhausted after a long session of constructing your music.
MY best recommendation for ANY library right now is GPO. Others offer some extras right out of the box and GPO will be updated, so don't concern yourself with it if your shopping about and find yourself reading all this.
Bottom line for those interested in an orchestral library: BUY IT! I take back my comments on other threads, really. Forget the Giga too. The libraries are nice but waayyy too expensive now. And you will not get GPO's 'fun' factor and expressive results so easily. GPO's basic programming is so GOOD and integral to it's use that don't worry that it's in a 'player only' format! Believe me, you could not do better yourself. And I'm something of an expert at orchestral programming.
But now to the regular forum members, I must announce that I will be absent from this forum indefinitely.
I have poor health and much music to work on now that I have the tools I need. I need to devote time that is being spent here on my own music making. I have been just 'fooling around' the last six months waiting for things to gel, instead of working on something serious. That will be changing after tonight.
I may check back here on occasion to hear somebody's music or check for updates. Financial considerations force me to abstain from any more purchases for quite a while. I have what I need now. Now to get busy.....
This forum is populated with the best members anywhere on the web, IMHO. And the best moderators. Best of luck to all.
Ah, to be human is to learn in many ways. You go and work on your music and know that (and I think I speak for all) you are as much of this family as anyone here. After reading your post I have grown to respect you even more than before more so as a free individual.
Please do stop by and maybe post some of your work. For myself, it is the inner heart of the composers music I love to comment on not the technical. Now, I am rambling sorry.
Be at good heath and peace of mind. Good luck with all your musical endeavors. And always remember ... IF EVER YOU NEED TO JUST HEAR SOME CRAZY OFF THE WALL MINDLESS JOKES...LOOK ME UP!
Now what the heck was this all about?
PS - My wife woke me up twice while I was reading your post. Just Kidding!
First, may your health improve so that you music will be more of a joy to your own personal existence.
Secondly, thank you for notating (pun intended) all of the goodness connected with GPO and Gary himself.
I just received GPO and really haven't gotten into it yet because I just bought a new computer for it and it hasn't arrived with its custom accessories yet, but I will be up and running soon. I can't wait to compose with Gary's music tools. So many of our members have done such great things with this program and I am delighted to be among them--to finally let my music sing alongside of the other family members.
I know you consider youself lucky to have a talent for music and for making GPO work wonders for you. Imagine how fortunate we are to have our own world of pleasure just composing and playing music. It makes you think its even better than medicine, because it really is. So, I wish you well in the near future and hope that your health improves to the point that you will be back here with us everyday. We need you Nexus......you have a lot of experience and skills that motivate "the family."
Finally, I pray that your music will give you the piece of mind that you need to enjoy everyday of your remaining life. We are here for just a short time and we take the temporal part of our lives for granted sometimes. Compose, orchestrate, and listen to what you have created......and thank God that he gave you such a gift that will sustain you in very dark moments.
update: I spoke with Gary last night and he has persuaded me to spend a little more time around this forum than I had planned. I'll try to pop in with a comment or two and if I ever get my 'brass technique' down pat, I'll write a little tutorial.
From what Gary told me, there most likely will be no need for such, as the the new BigBand expansion will be a killer for the kind of brass composing I've been experimenting with.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments about GPO. Writing that post must have taken quite a bit of time that you could've used for yourself, but the gracious contributions of you and others make this forum a place worth visiting regularly. Thanks.
I'll miss seeing your posts Nexus.....I hope things go well for you in the future. Hopefully we'll hear from you later.
PS. Just for interest (as it's sometimes difficult to judge the tenor of ones own posts and people's reaction to it) I, for one, never thought of any of your posts as being unreasonable.....just my two cents worth.....