Do a search on here for "Kirk Hunter" and read the bajillion threads. That was the final straw that caused me to order them. Of course, when they showed up today, they sent EXS instead of K2. So they're just sitting here, taunting me (yes, they're sending the correct ones).
And when you call them, you don't get a voicemail system, you get "Hello, this is Kirk."
i just finished a short where i used Emerald's strings and woodwinds minus the bass clarinet as there is none in Emerald. i am extremely pleased with this library. i also have VSL VI and find emerald much easier to use. call me crazy. i am starting a new project using VI and find myself wanting the ease of use of KH Emerald.
ALSO, Kirk is great! I had a funky tremelo sample and he went way out of his way to track it down and replace it for me. KH gets the thumbs up from me.
I own EWQLSO Silver and the Gold XP bundle, the Kontakt 2 VSL light and several other Symphony Orchestra plugins and sample sets.
KHSO Emerald is by far my favorite GO TO orchestral sample set. It is non-protected, so I can convert them to whatever format I wish. However, Kirk Hunter is such a master at Kontakt 2 scripting that the sheer number of instruments (Kontakt 2 presets) are STAGGERING. You get keyswitching, legato and round robbin presets as well as tons of articulations for every instrument.
The strings are lush and sit fantastic in a mix with minimal effort and sound even better with some reverb on them. By far, the strings are THE reason to buy this set!!!
The brass sounds big and bright and ballsy - just fantastic brass.
The woodwinds kick ~~~ - really sound good.
The percussion is adequate (the piano sucks, but there are a million piano sample sets) and very useful.
If you were to buy KHSO Emerald (or the upcoming Ruby) and EWQL Storm Drum - you would have a pretty great combination for orchestral work!
I simply cannot say enough good things about Emerald - it gets used in every single music project I create.
very versatile too, lots of interesting articulations very unlikely to be found in a library this affordable
The Kirk Hunters library has his own sound, and I like it very much. I like also the sound from Gary Garritans library and many others. For me it is great that there are so may different librarys on the market, and there is no library that is "the best". Also as the Garritan Library, Kirks library is easy to use, and for me that is the first argument to compose with a library... .
In the last days I had composed a marching title with the library from Kirk Hunter for a german carnival event, and it sounds very great for that... . I will post it the next days here.
The demos are nice, but I find demo songs to be sometimes misleading as the amount of meticulous midi crafting may not reveal the playability and usability of the library. I want to spend as little time in a midi editor as possible - I prefer real time performance, instrument by instrument.
I did a few of the demos... they are in fact my first real attempts at virtual large orchestra mockups (although I've been writing for live players for many years). I played each instrument in live, no quantizing. I then recorded the volume changes with cc values. I wouldn't say there was any "meticulous midi crafting" in my demos at all. I used the giga version, and I only used a limited subset of the samples. I think you could do MUCH better than I did with more ram and the K2 version, since it includes legato scripting etc.
One thing that's hard to beat with Emerald is the consistency of the samples from note to note. The attacks are all very controlled, making them very easy to play. They manage to be tight without sacrificing expression or character.
There is a comment about the piano above that I do not agree with... it's an "orchestral" piano, it's somewhat ambient and very good for blending with the orchestra as a percussion instrument. It's not your traditional "close miced solo piano simulator with 1000 layers/resonance/etc", and I think that is a good thing.
Not to clash horns or be a PITA, but when I play the KHSO Piano as compared to my real piano, and a myriad of piano sample sets I have, it just falls way short. Of course, that's my opinion and you know what they say, opinions are like buttholes - everyone has one and they all stink.