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Topic: Best Orchestral Library??

  1. #1

    Best Orchestral Library??

    Hello All
    Im very new to this stuff so I have a very basic question...
    What is considered the best Orchestral sound library?
    Thanks Much!

  2. #2

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??


    This is an amazing opportunity for a war between members! And flames and stuff! (not that much happen really).
    Unless you can provide a bit more info or reason for your question, I don't see much reason to answer.

    What budget?
    What style?

    And then I'll be back!

  3. #3

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    If you look through previous posts on this forum, I think you will quickly get a good view on which orchestral libraries are out there, and what strengths and weaknesses each one has. Keep an eye out for threads such as "Best Brass Library" and so on, there have been many of those threads in the past and each one usually contain some nice information, especially for someone who is just starting out.

  4. #4

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    There's simply no "Best" orchestral library. There are 3 big ones: SoniVox Symphonic Collection, East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra XP Pro (Platinum and Gold versions, since Silver is a lite version, in other league), and Vienna Instruments Collection.

    EWQL Gold + Pro XP is now on a big sale, so it's a very good option. It has been recorded with reverb in the Benaroya Hall of Seattle. It has a big orchestral sound, ideal for bigger than life scores.

    SoniVox: in my opinion it's quite expensive. It's now in Giga and K2 format. It has a VERY NICE tone but it lacks the advanced performance possibilities of Vienna Instruments. It's been recorded in the Sonic Temple, and the string section seems to be more intimate (smaller) than EWQL's.

    Vienna Instruments have been recorded in a custom studio the company built for that purpose. Recordings are almost dry (not anechoic, but with very little ambience) so you have lots of control over it, ideal for using with a high quality convolution reverb.

    Those are the big ones, and the expensive ones too. If you're on a budget, you can look at others, like Garritan Personal Orchestra (the Advanced Version will be released sometime, and I´m sure it will be in the big ones category), Kirk Hunter's Emerald. There are others, like MOTU Symphonic Instrument, Halion Orchestra, EMU Modern Orchestra, Peter Siedlaczek's Advanced Orchestra, but those don't seem to be used too much.

    What a lot of people do, is to have a core library, and complement it with other section libraries, or separate instruments. I have Garritan Personal Orchestra (my first one) and Kirk Hunter's SO Emerald, which are two budget complete orchestras (Emerald has a very limited percussion section). Then I have ProjectSAM Brass (very good sounding) and WIVI Brass (it's not a sample library, but synthesized brass instruments, you should check them) For percussion, I use ProjectSAM True Strike 1, which I love.

  5. #5

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    Quote Originally Posted by Loghead
    Hello All
    Im very new to this stuff so I have a very basic question...
    What is considered the best Orchestral sound library?
    Thanks Much!
    As the others have said, there isn't really a consensus 'best' library. It depends what sound you want, how you want to work, and how big your budget is.

    If you're totally new to the whole sampling thing then you can't go wrong with GPO. It doesn't have a million articulations, but it sounds great and is really playable. More importantly, unless you want to work by constantly bouncing down individual parts to audio, then the larger libraries require several machines to run even a few instruments. Given that you may already have spent $1000s on the library itself, and you then need to set up network that NORAD could be proud of, it's an expensive way of finding out whether you're into this. Whereas the whole of GPO can be run on one reasonable machine. And, if it turns out that you do need to expand to the larger libraries, GPO still sounds good enough to supplement them, so it's not even wasted when you 'upgrade.'

    It may well be that the other smaller orchestras, such as the Kirk Hunter Emerald, are an equally good way in, but I can't really talk about what I don't know

  6. #6

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    Franken-library is the best No matter what library you choose, they have all strengths and weaknesses, so take a bit of this library, and a smidge of that library, and viola!

    Seriously though, I have heard great works from many different libraries on the market, and while the final results is heavily dependant on the user, selecting a library that captures your ear is important.
    Sean Beeson
    Composer for videogames, film and television

  7. #7

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    VSL is the best. Everything else is poo-poo. Just kidding.

    Okay, perhaps the best way to break it down is by price brackets.

    Between $100-$500 here's what you're looking at:

    Kirk Hunter Orchestral Library $99.00- From everything I've heard, it's great BUT the price is a little deceptive as you need Kontakt 2 to run the library.

    Apple Orchestra Jam Pack $100- Supposedly scaled down VSL samples which makes sense as I do hear similarities between them and my full VSL libs. BUT you need an Apple Mac, Garageband (which comes with all newer Macs) or Logic Express/Pro. The new Logic Studio has this jam pack built in. Nice.

    Garritan Personal Orchestra- Excellent control over most parameters and a healthy variety. Also excellent community.

    EWQL Silver Pro XP- Very filmish like sounding orchestral lib. It's the little brother in the family by East West. While sounding very good, the lib lacks chromatic sampling and release trails which mean reverb. Solid lib though.

    HALion Symphonic Orchestra- Excellent lib although a little sparse on articulations. What they do have is both 16 and 24 bit versions so you can load the smaller lib on a laptop and then play it back on a bigger system with 24 bit and not have any difference in the basic sample- just the resolution.

    Miroslav Philharmonik- A little older and the samples aren't velocity switching- meaning you have separate patches for FF horns as opposed to mf horns (dynamic levels). The SampleTank engine is one of the better players and you can manipulate and tweak a lot of parameters easily. I like Miro for its warm sound.

    MOTU Symphonic Instrument- Not too good lib which basically sounds a tad better than my old SRX Roland sound cards. The Period instruments are nice but I would suggest staying away from this one.

    VSL Vienna SE- This, for the price, IMO is the best deal you can find. It has lots of instruments (but less separate articulations than Gold or KH Ruby or Emerald) and the player is a delight to navigate. THe only hitch is that you need a good reverb because the samples were recorded with little to no ambience, and two, the library comes with both Standard and Extended libs- meaning you get licences to play the entire lib but the Extended lib sounds are locked after a month . To get an unlock code, you need to shell out $595 more dollars. Personally, well worth the money I spent. If I had to start all over again, I would buy this library for my orchestral samples and Dimension Pro for everything else. Alas, $10,000 later and I have every library on the planet.

    Kirk Hunter Emerald/Ruby- I don't own these libs but people rave about how playable they are. I totally understand this as I use Garritan Pocket orchestra strings on some things because they are playable. I believe it's the same for Kirk's lib. once again you need either Kontakt 2 or EXS (Logic Pro) to play these samples. I wonder if Kirk will ever adopt a stand-alone player?


    If you are just starting out, these libs are a good beginning. I don't think it's prudent for you to jump into the massive VSL or EWQLSO or Sonixov territory if you are beginning. I hope I'm not sounding patronizing or condescending but having an expensive library is only a part of the way of achieving a realistic orchestral piece. Knowing orchestration is more important and knowing what instrument can play which range, in what combination is crucial.

    Hope this helps in some way!

  8. #8

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    Wow! Thanks for all the great info, that really gives me an idea of how to go about it. Im not new to audio but Im new to the digital world.
    My intent for this is to be able to do soundtrack work and have the most realistic orchestration possible.
    Thanks again guys, I really appreciate it.

  9. #9

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    Quote Originally Posted by davecos
    VSL is the best. Everything else is poo-poo. Just kidding.

    But you are not that off

    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." --Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

  10. #10

    Re: Best Orchestral Library??

    There is no such thing as "the best".
    Only that which makes you happy that you bought it.
    Apply your ears,then apply your logic.
    And when you decide,then what you have adopted,will be your "best".

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