I just ordered GPO on Saturday and I'm looking forward to playing with it when it arrives later this week.
That said, I have listened to a lot of GPO-produced music on the sound clips section of the forum, and the strings have left something to be desired. However, I'm aware that it's possible that I just haven't listened to the right things, since many of the clips posted here are quick mock-ups.
So what I'm wondering is: how realistic of a sound can be achieved with GPO's strings (violins, violas, cellos, etc. -- excepting the harp, which sounds pretty darned good)? I'm not expecting miracles considering what I paid for the library. And there are other sampled instruments which I will probably be using more frequently, such as the piano and oboe. But it would be nice to know the limits of GPO's strings in terms of realism.
If anyone could offer some insight (or even better, a few GPO-only sound clips), I'd greatly appreciate it.
GPO strings can sound as good as libs costing much, much more and more important, it has a user interface that is intuitive and easy to get good results from. But, as in everything the realism you acheive will be a function of how much time you put into learning GPO, how well you understand the thing you are trying to emulate and how realistic your expectaions of what samples can and ultimately can't do and keeping within those parameters.
But, the bottom line is GPO can do things that are shockingly good for a package that only costs as much as 50 Happy Meals!!
Everlastingman, these are not on the demo page of Garritan's website, but this is a perfect opportunity for me to post a few things that I have done with GPO, without having to bump them from their original posts and look bad. Sorry everyone else. Both of these pieces are all GPO.
Ave Maria with just harp and solo cello, and Alabaster Box with alot of other instruments from GPO, the vocal is not GPO
This is not the best I have heard from GPO, but Alabaster Box was the first midi piece I have ever created, in fact, I just got into midi in the spring of 2004, so, I feel this is a good example of what you can "AT LEAST" expect. Like Fred said, it all depends on how much time you are willing to put into it. That's it in a nutshell.
Just like with real instruments, the sound you get depends on the skill of the user. If you put a real Stradivari in the hands of a beginner it will not sound that good. Our goal is to provide education so the user can master digital orchestration.
Because strings are the backbone of the orchestra, they require special attention. To get the best sound, it is best to build ensembles or weave individual solo string instruments with the sections. If you listen to real strings, you will hear individual strings weave in and out, sometimes noticeable or other times lost in the mix. They have different start times and dynamic shapings. With unison sections (like all other libraries have) one is confined to preset block groupings. By weaving solo instruments you can acheive a much more musical sound. GPO gives you 24 individually programmed stringed instruments in addition to sections. It takes more work, but it is well worth it.
Follow the suggestions of Gary and you will hear what you can do.
I think the best way to understand the limit of the GPO strings is to use them, try and try again with different solutions.
As other people said, probably the first limit is the user experience as for real instruments.
Try GPO and then post your results as mp3 in the demo section: there are a lot of kind people here who can help you and give you suggestions and the first ones are Gary and the forum moderators.