I'm impressed with the demos I've heard on the Garritan site for Personal Orchestra. I'm always hesitant in spending money on something that might not work for me so I like to ask questions first.
Here's the way I want to use Personal Orchestra. I have one machine a PC running the latest version of Sonar4 producer edition. Attached to that PC are 12 midi ports. 8 of them (a midisport 8X8/s) go to hardware synths and controllers that I use all the time. The other 4 ports is a midiman 4X4 that is attached to yet another midiman 4X4 port that goes to my second PC. I have a Midiman audiophile 24/96 sound card on that second machine that takes audio out and goes into my main mixer.
My question to the forum is can I run Personal Orchestra and get all the functionality of using all 4 ports with 16 channels each for a total of 64 midi channels pumping through Sonar to my second machine with the second machine running Personal Orchestra?
I've tried many soft synths and found them lacking in sound and functionality. This one, by the demos I've heard, sounds like just what I want if it will work.
Definately go for GPO. If you still want more, supposedly GPO Advanced will be coming out during the 2nd Quarter and you will be able to upgrade, which will will add to an already huge collection of realistic instruments and articulations.
To me GPO offers the best value for money out there, nothing else comes close to the flexibility and programming of GPO and the sample quality is astounding.
Other's are more capable of giving you the answer to your last question. However, judging on the abilities of most if not all of the musicians on this forum, there seems to be no end to what you can do with GPO. Regardless of all the technical jive cosmic debris, you just can't afford to be without this library in your arsenal! Go for it!
I use Sonar for a plethora of things. From simple piano, bass and drums with one voice, to 30 tracks of midi with 40 tracks of audio.
I'd rather keep the processing power on each synth or Soft Synth than on the Sonar Machine. Actually the Sonar box is only a 1.2 Gig PC with 512 Meg of Ram and a 10K RPM SCSI drive Driving a motu 2408 and 12 midi channels.
In comparison the Soft Synth machine is a 3.1 Gig Processor with 2 Gig of Ram but an Ultra IDE drive and only 4 midi channels. I feel that sample processing should be done standalone and triggered by midi.
If I may add what I have done. Trond, one of our beloved members told me that I should buy a program called V-STack made by Steinberg. It is a $60.00 program that is downloadable from Steinberg's website and allows a ton of Kontakt/GPO players to read midi from an external device, like Sonar on a separate computer. I too agree that it is really nice for the DAW computer to not waste any CPU energy running samples/sounds.
I run Digital Performer on a Mac, and GPO on a separate PC. The audio channels from GPO/V-Stack get transferred from the PC to the sequencer computer via the MOTU's ADAT lightpipe. I believe that is what you are wanting to do.
V-Stack is a high quality, easy to use program that allows you to control as many Kontakt players as your system will allow. Super cheap too. Gobs of audio channels and midi channels, you'll love it!