Ive been browsing numerous libraries for ages...and none of the ones i own are enough to fufill my needs, and i cant get the sound i want out of them. I have QLSO Silver, and its very basic and it lacks lots. It also sounds pretty inexpressive at times. GPO is good, but i like a more aggressive style of playing. I do use GPO for softer pieces alot though.
I came across old AO...and from what i can tell it might be what im looking for. The "man our orchestra really sounds great today " demo has an impressive section at the end thats ruined by that techno crap, and the demo for Upgrade 97 (these demos are from www.soundsonline.com) sounds fairly realistic and i like the sound. Now...
Which version is best? Theres lots of versions of AO...i was looking at the 5CD Giga one becuase i use Giga format mostly and all, but the AO Extended for EXS/HAlion has crossfade patches and 4 velocity layers (against the GIga version's 2). I would most likely need lots of velocities and crossfade patches. The demos for the extended didnt impress me at all though. They sounded fake, and worse than what i have now. Then theres upgrade 97, wich sounds pretty good to me, and it was recorded in a hall.
So are these demos BS, or is AO still good? The next level would be VSL Opus 1 (which id like, but its too large and expensive for me currently)...i wouldnt purchase QLSO Gold because i dont like its super-bright sound. Id like a hollywood sound, but QLSO...is not hollywood at all. Its just way too bright and crisp. I think AO is what im going at but i dont want to be out 500$ and end up with crap. Older libraries do seem better for my needs though, and i hope this will fufill my needs despite its age. The only problem im concerned with is that AO has lots of noise and hiss.
So can anyone answer my questions? Id be grateful for any info!
Advanced Orchestra was very impressive in its day, but that day has passed really... mind you, it is still usable (and I know there are many here that are still using it) but at $550 it is, lets say, a tad overpriced at this point... I am also a big fan of what VSL has been achieving, and if I were you I would really save the extra bit to just get Opus 1. It is miles ahead in terms of versatility and sheer sound quality. Plus, the full price of it is deductable if in future you upgrade to the even bigger collections.
To answer your question more specifically, in my opinion, yes - spending those $550 would be a waste at this point. They won't stand in as credit for any upgrades either...
GPO would be a better option if the extra money is really a problem - they even have an upgrade cross pricing deal with VSL.
I'm using an older copy of AO, and the Upgrade 97, too. It still sounds very good to my ears. I don't like the strings very much, although some of the patches in the Upgrade 97 library greatly improve on the original patches. The brass sounds pretty good and has a good variety of articulations. I'm using the Giga version, and the mod wheel increases the "brassiness". The woodwinds are pretty good, too. The percussion sounds good, but is slightly shy of instruments. I recently bought GPO, which I'm still getting used to. I'd have to say that individual samples in AO sound a bit higher quality, with more clarity and presence. But when used with a complete orchestra, the sound quality of both libraries is pretty equal. AO is recorded dry and I think it would blend pretty well with GPO.
AO Woodwinds are still very useful and blend very well with Westgate and GPO. It has some great sounding instruments, like its English Horn for example. The AKAI version converts very well to Giga. With its many articulations (like vib and non-vib), I wish someone would combine the various instruments into single key-switched instruments. They would not be very cpu/memory demanding at all. If you have Westgate, Silver and GPO (among others) and can get a good deal, get AO Woodwinds.
Well AO's Strings wouldnt be a problem because ill buy Ultimate Strings along with it, and thats only 100$ and works for string melodies. Plus i already hav lots of string samples. The thing id like is that AO has premade woodwind runs and stuff and that would make things easier. For brass i might buy the sam trumpets and maybe the horns along with the trumpets. Altogether i think i could achieve the sound i want...but im just not so sure of AO...
For Opus 1 id have to buy another harddrive, because my crappy 30gig is full (500mb left ). And Opus 1 costs substantially more. How accurate are the demos of AO? Are they BS like some, where theyre beefed up or tailored so professionally its impossible to emulate?
Thanks for the help too, as i dont have lots of money so this is a big decision .
I wish someone would combine the various instruments into single key-switched instruments.
The Giga version I have is keyswitched.
I also have Ultimate Strings and they sound excellent with AO. The strings in GPO sound very good as well, but they don't quite have the fullness of the Ultimate Strings library. The marcato patches are great.
As far as the AO demos, I've never gotten anything that sounds like them, but my compositions are quite a bit different than those. I'm not sure what string patches in AO they were using, because I never was able to get the variety of attacks and bowing they seem to use from AO. But Ultimate Strings should give you what you need. If AO is available as seperate sections and are a good deal, I'd just buy the woodwinds and brass, possibly the percussion, along with Ultimate Strings.
I could get AO woodinds, and percussion (and maybe brass, but i most likely will opt for SAM) i guess. The reason i was looking at AO though was because it was a cheap full library. I dont mind mixing libraries in the same format, because they all use the same sampler, but what i have now....ugh ...some VSTs, some samplers..different samplers. My sample collection is kind of a mess and its frustrating to work with.
I suppose that if i buy AO Brass, WW, Perc, and Ultimate strings then theres not really much difference than if i picked the AO strings, which are noisy and cold sounding at certain times (i found some soundfonts of the AO violins. the pizzicato is very hissy, but the rest of the articulations are okay. i like the detache, and the runs, hits and double stops are useful ) AO is sampled every three keys too...which pushes me away from it somewhat.
EDIT: Ultimate strings and all the sections of Ao would cost 50$ more...
Always hard to judge whether a library will suit someone else.
I've been using AO (but less and less as other newer libraries replace different instruments). It has many strengths, and weaknesses. These days, one of its strengths is its relatively small size as other libraries get so gigantic! It uses samples on every third half step, stretched in gigastudio to cover three notes. But doesn't sound bad, timbrally, because of that.
Here's an imperfect recording that uses the solo strings from AO, with piano. You can hear some of the different articulations and some of the basic timbres and ambiance. The recording was made several months ago, with gigastudio 2.5.
Download mp3 (quintet for piano and strings, movement II)
I have QLSO Silver, and its very basic and it lacks lots. It also sounds pretty inexpressive at times.
...i wouldnt purchase QLSO Gold because i dont like its super-bright sound. Id like a hollywood sound, but QLSO...is not hollywood at all. Its just way too bright and crisp. I think AO is what im going at...
I own both EWQLSO Gold and AO. If you really think that QLSO sounds "super-bright" and "inexpressive" then please don't buy AO!
I think that most people buy EWQLSO 1. because of its rich hall sound (I don't like the term "Hollywood" sound, but it's often used in this context) and 2. because every single note in this library was played very expressively (I often compare EWQLSO to the old Miroslav Vitous library in this regard)! The least terms I would use when trying to describe EWQLSO are "inexpressive" and "super-bright".
AO, on the opposite, is one of the brightest sounding orchestral libraries I've ever heard. The samples were recorded relatively close-miked and without any expressive playing - they often sound like "dead" notes without any musical meaning to me. I seldom use this library since I have Gold, though I agree that the woodwinds (and some of the phrases) can still be useful. Anyway, I certainly wouldn't recommend this library if you want to achieve a "Hollywood" sound.