As I can afford neither GPO nor a computer capable of running it well, I thought I would try something completely opposite to the current bigger-better-more trend in sampling: To make a piece using old/cheap samples, and to make them sound as good as possible through the use of controllers and creative composition.
Here is the first pass of my experiment--an unfinished piece called Lisa's Song.
This piece uses the Orkester library that comes with Propellerheads' Reason, except for the oboe, which I programmed myself from a royalty-free oboe library. These are by no means in the same league as GPO or any of the other 'pro' libraries out there.
So far, there is very little expression in the piece, except some modulation in the oboe and a tiny bit of attack changes in the strings. My long-term goal is two-fold: to see how good I can make these samples sound, and to eventually move it into GPO for comparison. (Is there any kind of student discount on GPO?)
Obviously I'm biased, but I think it's going to turn out pretty well. I'd love to hear what you think of my experiment.