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Topic: Please advise on orchestral library and volume/expression pedal purchase

  1. #1

    Please advise on orchestral library and volume/expression pedal purchase

    I've been lurking around NS for a while now, and this is my first post. I have two questions:

    1) I currently use Edirol Orchestral, and although it's quite nice for certain things, it's fairly dated compared to the alternatives available out there now, especially considering that the alternatives cost less, but give you more. Financially, I'm not ready to commit to an expensive library yet--that'll have to wait until I feel that my compositional skills can justify the purchase. So, what are my options for the less-expensive alternatives to Edirol Orchestral? I know there's EWQLO Silver Edition, Garritan Personal Orchestra, Advanced Orchestra..etc out there, but people's opinion on them vary greatly. Sample libraries aren't like VSTs where you can download demo versions and test drive, and the mp3 demos don't always tell you what you need to know. Synful Orchestra looks interesting, but it only has solo instruments, and a bit expensive compared to competitors.

    As far as what I'm looking for--I'd like to have as much articulation as possible--including rare ones that you'd use for scoring horror films and comedy/cartoons. Expressiveness while maintaining ease of performance control is another important factor--I hate piecing together articulations and patches to form one single melodic line. It gets too technical and not enjoyable to play/record like that.

    2) I use a Korg Triton LE as my midi controller/rompler, and I'm thinking about getting a expression/volume pedal for it for better control while playing/recording. I've only used sustain pedals before, so I'm don't know what it's like to use a volume/expression pedal. Can someone educate me a bit on how one uses it, how it shapes the sound you're playing (a solo violin, for example), and if the data shows up in your sequencer? Brand/model recommendations would be nice too.

  2. #2

    Re: Please advise on orchestral library and volume/expression pedal purchase

    Unless you have a Yamaha synth/master keyboard in your MIDI chain you should avoid their expression foot pedal (FC-7) - basically Yamaha have decided to invert the polarity of their sustain and expression pedals, thus making them useless in combination with a lot of other brands. This is unfortunate because their expression pedal is among the best (the kurzweil isn't too shabby either, if you can get hold of one). Some MIDI keyboards have the option of switching between the two settings, effectively accepting any type of pedal. Beware if you own any M-Audio controllers as they claim to support the various types of pedals out there, but in fact don't support the FC-7 at all for some reason.

    I've got mine acting as a modwheel CC controller (CC#1) instead of expression since most of the instruments in my templates are dynamic cross-fading ones, and the only thing I actually use it for is when I'm sketching out full strings parts (or when I'm in a hurry) using a Cubase combi/folder (cross-fading violins, violas, celli and basses). Instead I'm using the standard yamaha modwheel for controlling dynamics and a slidermate: (http://www.encoreelectronics.com/cont_knob3.html) for everything else. If they would just start putting the darn sliders on the left-hand side of the keybed we wouldn't have to keep buying these additional MIDI controller surfaces.

    The only reason you'd ever really want a volume pedal (unless you've used one for 6 years like I have) is if you're doing TV-scoring and need to produce endless amounts of dynamic string parts. The mechanics of your hand is much more fine-tuned than your foot, at least by default, so you'll have a smoother result on the modwheel. The plus-side of the volume pedal is of course that you have both your hands free, enabling you to voice your string section as you would voice your piano parts. Unless you're worried about the typical keyboard block-chord sound in your string parts this is an excellent time-saver and a great creative tool. I recommend having the volume pedal on the left foot. That's the foot you're using when you're clutching in a car, so if you're used to stick-shifts (I can't stand automatic myself - takes away half the driving experience!) chances are you'll have a smoother muscle memory on that one.

    Viel Glück
    Last edited by Thomas_J; 01-28-2005 at 12:27 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: Please advise on orchestral library and volume/expression pedal purchase

    Given your criteria:

    "as much articulation as possible ... Expressiveness while maintaining ease of performance control ... hate piecing together articulations and patches to form one single melodic line"

    you seem like a great candidate for Synful Orchestra. Which would get you a lot of the way there, check out some of the user demos that do start combining instruments ( at synful.com or on this forum). But given all your needs (full orchestra - rare sounds) you might want to back it up with a library. Synful and your Edirol might do the trick. But Synful with GPO sounds really perfect for you. I (HO) see it as quite a strong bundled choice for many.


  4. #4

    Re: Please advise on orchestral library and volume/expression pedal purchase

    Thanks for the awesome advice and suggestions! That warning about Yamaha pedal incompatibility is much appreciated, as I probably would've gotten exactly that one when I go shopping. LOL

    I've always been an automatic shift driver--you know why? Because so I can eat while driving, Get naughty with a girl while driving, and other things. . .. Stick shift makes that too problematic. Heheeheh.

    I'll probably get Synful, but I'll try the demo first as see if I can get it to sound as good as others did. Problem is, if I get Synful, I'd still find holes in my sound palette. I'd probably have to get either EWQLO Silver or GPO. I'm very interested in the just announced MOTU Mach Five and IK Sampletank 2 orchestral/symphonic stuff too: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...623#post252623

    Let's wait for some demos and see how they sound.

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