The Gold orchestra is definitely a great sounding orchestra, geared more for a film type of sound... The problem is, it has built in ambience and it's really designed to work with itself... Emerald has a lot of great sounds, strings are great, brass and woodwinds good, and it has a complimentary percussion set, but maybe the miroslav percussion could fill in for what's missing... Emerald is versatile and definitely another good contender...
Gold bundle has a huge sound, a very good pallet of articulations but the samples are extremely wet and hard to blend with other sounds - and this is a main aspect: I do a lot of contemporary stuff and I like to mix several different sounds (Giovani Ed., True Strike 2, some PMI sounds like anvils, bells, carillon and others. Some soft synths as well) and I am a little afraid Gold won't be the best choice.
In the other hand, Emerald sounds really nice (I think it can also have that big cinematic sound) it's cheaper - 230 euros vs. the 460 euros of Gold bundle - but lacks some articulations...
Perhaps adding some VS pro module(s) would be the best option...
I'm also in a place of choosing between Emerald and GoldXP - does Emerald sound better than the demos on Kirk's site? I would prefer to go that way but need a better level of confidence than what the demos give me.
PM me with your answer.
Everything on my site from 02.13.06 on is pretty much all Emerald except for percussion and ethnic sounds. Percussion still being Gold.
I began using Emerald with "Enter the Museum" but only bass and strings.
The brass wwinds and percussion are gold in that one with no gold strings or bass.
That was the test song that made me switch over the wwinds and brass also to Emerald.
Playability is the keyword.
Emerald has it for me, Gold is harder to manage when playing.
Also, all of my mixes are pretty raw, using only 2 reverbs and very occasionally a tiny little bump of eq. around 400. At most about .4dB.
Never any compression.
That might help you.
Also, if you go back to, "Tango" "Circo Tango" Rascallion Waltz" and
"One Heart's Azimuth" you'll see I hadn't yet started using Emerald.
Those are all Gold.