This might sound sarcastic, but it's not really my point to be. I've been out of contact with the latest in the top-end market for a while and I'm trying to get some starting up tips and also to argue a few things.
What I am looking for is the best possible orch samples around (strings, brass, woods & perc), but I need them to be useful in the practical situation. For the past 3 years I've been using DD brass and woodwinds along with GOS strings. Now, GOS is a bit of a drag – even though I consider it to be worth the price I paid. They sound good, but they take too long to work with. The ppl who orders the music want it “yesterday”, so in the practical situation there is little time sitting around programming lots of prg changes, modulation, expression curves and such. I need to the efficiency in the work process to be able to compete with the time it takes to get prof musicians to play the stuff down on tape.
As an example: Two months ago I did music for a 3 min trailer of an upcoming movie. The music I did was for a Cello section (GOS) and a single flute (DD). I found myself having to spend like 10 days (8 hours a day) work to get it to sound like a real person is playing it - from both a rhythmical, expressional and “personality-wise” point of view – even though I call myself a fairly fast and rather experienced programmer (been using Steinberg since 1987). The bitter truth is that I could’ve composed it with GM samples, printed the sheets out, called a studio and gotten 6 prof musicians to play the piece down on tape. That would have costed just as much for my employer as paying me to work for 10 days, but it would’ve sounded better still and it would have been done in a day or two – as opposed to 10.
I can work with GOS if I must, but absolutely nothing more complicated than that – there is no time in the practical situation. I have listened to Garritan’s personal orchestra, which is a good idea but I need the sounds to be at least a little better than that. However, I strongly suspect that the VSL or EW libraries are even more complicated to work with than GOS – although their sound seems better than GOS. If they are, they can’t be very useful unless you have plenty of time at your hands.
So, from that point of view, what would be the best sounding orchestra libraries to work with, which are less complicated or at most as complicated as GOS strings? Any suggestions?
(I use Cubase SX2 with Gigastudio 160 2.54 and 2 strong PCs)
Actually QLSO is far easier to use than any other option because you dont have to f*** about with EQ and panning and s***. And if you get QLSO Platinum you dont have to worry about verb either. Id get VSL for solo instrument lines, for that it will cut down on the time trying to make that sound good. Make sence mutha f****?
What I am looking for is the best possible orch samples around (strings, brass, woods & perc), but I need them to be useful in the practical situation... I need to the efficiency in the work process to be able to compete with the time it takes to get prof musicians to play the stuff down on tape.
Kirk Hunter's new Strings/Brass/Winds Concert Edition goes a long way in addressing these issues. The full info will be out on Kirk's new web site later this week. Meanwhile, I'll focus on the strings because that's what's being worked on right now.
1. Concert Edition has all the players recorded in their seated positions. You get full ensembles, chamber strings, and solo strings. All of the preceeding were recorded open and muted, close and far mic'ed. Thus, you get the equal of THREE libraries in one (ensembles, chamber AND solo strings!), PLUS close and far mic'ed positions.
2. There are two gig files for each section. One file is labeled LOAD 'N GO and the second is labeled CUSTOM. LOAD 'N GO is just what it says. You have the option of working with VEL_VOL/AFT-VIB (Light vibrato up to heavy vibrato) or MW_VOL/AFT_VIB. There are variations, and extra instruments. But basically, everything is organized by work style.
3. In the CUSTOM folder, you get ALL the instruments set up as 1 layer instruments with dynamics for most instruments ranging from pp to ff. For example, if you just wanted expressive legato mf in all the strings, you just drag into GigaStudio (OR import into another virtual sampler) the 5 instruments you want, and voila! All in their correct seated positions playing the custom articulation you set up in under five (5) minutes. For composers who like to program, everything is organized so you can quickly import and program your own custom files.
In the next few days, you can get more details at Kirk's new web site, www.kirkhunter.com .
Tomke, I do understand where you're coming from. Working under a deadline with the increased pressure of providing a believable mockup can be harrowing. And yes, when you're doing this professionally you cannot afford the luxury of spending 10 days on a 2-3 minute cue unless those paying understand the difficulties.
If you're staying with Gigastudio you may want to consider VSL. The performance tool in both the First Edition and Pro Edition is fabulous for getting relatively realistic instrument performances (brass, woodwinds, strings) in short order. It would take hours, even days, to get some of the legato expressions found in VSL by doing it with programming techniques.
VSL is no silver bullet. You still need to build a template and pan the instruments to their sections in the seating arrangement. VSL has a relatively dry recorded space that provides early reflections so you'll need to consider ways to add a convincing hall. There are several great convolution reverbs out there with sampled hall spaces - Waves, Altiverb and the upcoming GigaPulse are some. Some of the instruments may need a tiny bit of EQ to bring them out in the mix. The good news is that once you have a useable template with some of the tweaks added, you can save it as a starting template and use it as needed. I have several templates built for this reason.
East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra (EWQLSO) handles much of this tweaking right out of the box - EQ, hall, etc. The cool thing about EWQLSO is that the hall they recorded it in sounds so real and convincing - no muddiness from "reverb stew" (where all the reflections from each instrument begin to clash giving a muddy overall sound to the piece.)
For a fast mockup on an intense schedule where producers are demanding it yesterday, I reach for EWQLSO. For pieces requiring a lot of detail (legato phrasing) I reach for VSL. Lately I've been using both together - it works.
I have been working with GOS2 for a while, it's ease of use is pretty much unique. You can load the five string sections into 5 MIDI channels and have all the articulations available, and I mean ALL of them, thanks to programming options in Kontakt and HALion3. As Gigastudio 3.0 is still a mystery I cannot give you any information about that.