I need to find a good library for small chamber group setups with lots of realism (say, terrific solo instrument sounds with lots of articulations and good velocity switching etc).
Can anyone recommend a library/set of libraries that would work for something like that?
Thanks in advance!
PS. I see people seem to like VSL a lot, but 1) it seems more "orchestral/large room/full sections" in nature?, and 2) it sounds like it's a nightmare trying to figure out what you actually get with a given package?
There are three brands which provide excellent tools for chamber-sized simulations:
1. VSL (all of its 'solo' libraries, plus the small ensemble libraries such as the Chamber Strings and the Woodwind Ensembles)
2. Anything from Westgate
3. Anything from XSample
Obviously, not every instrument is equally successfully captured by each of those developers, but believe me, if you focus primarily on these three, you can build yourself an extremely versatile and powerful toolset. (I write almost nothing but chamber-type pieces of music and I rely heavily on these three, with not entirely displeasing results.)
And if you want to add truly expressive performances which no existing sample library can offer, you should also look at WIVI and Synful (not sample libraries, but dedicated softsynths for emulating acoustic instruments). They both still struggle a bit with timbre (Synful more so than WIVI), but they more than make up for it by offering complete control over articulation and performance (which is often just as important as timbre).
And should you ever require a trumpet, only one solution: The Trumpet.
The only other thing you need then, is a really great reverb, like Altiverb. Don't overlook this element, cause it's really important.