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Topic: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

  1. #1

    Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    (I realize there are 70 million posts on this forum about which is the best orchestral library, but having read 80 percent of them, I'm not sure any really answered my upcoming question. I'll buy the feathers and tar myself if I'm severely out of place.)

    I'm a Finale 2009 user. I use "Human Playback" (and the included GPO samples) pretty extensively in my audio realizations; "HP" isn't perfect, I know, but it's a start. I'm happy to spend two, three, four hours tweaking a piece in Finale to make the audio sound good, but I simply don't have the time (or the inclination) to spend dozens of hours on a single piece to reach note-by-note perfection. I don't really have the time or the inclination to learn a sequencing program either.

    So what orchestral libraries are more forgiving of the problems that come from a piece not perfectly tweaked? I'm considering the upcoming GPO; EWQLSO Silver or Gold; VSL Special Edition (which, in the reading I've done, sounds like it may not be right for my situation); Kirk Hunter's various libraries; XSample; and Miroslav Philharmonik. I'm certainly willing to entertain any other orchestral libraries in a similar price range, however.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts,


  2. #2

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    This should be the piece of cake that you're looking for.


    I use it to help me further improve my orchestral project
    propgram speed and diminish loading huge orchestral samples.

    good luck

  3. #3

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    All the products you mentioned are good.

    I will say though that XSample Chamber Ensemble comes ready to use out of the box for both Finale and Sibelius. It actually sets up all the files for you and is available in the programs themselves, including custom human playback(in Finale) settings. Easy as can be, and highly recommended if you need orchestral sounds in your notation package. And they have tons of articulations, round robin, velocities, etc. Great stuff for that purpose.


  4. #4

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    Finale works well with GPO--much of the original work on HP was designed to interface easily with Garritan libraries. If you buy a full Garritan library such as GPO, just use the "notation set" of instruments.

    The other products are good...Xsample is nice, but limited in choice (no brass, for ex.) and pricey.

    I was not familiar with the Myst Sonic product...is it strings only?

    When I got into use of sample libraries with Finale, I chose GPO and have not regretted it once...I find Garritan's libraries to be a great balance between affordability and playability.

    Finally, Human Playback is an evolving function; it has improved greatly since its inception, and I have a general sense that it will continue to evolve and develop over time.

    One useful technique that Finale users have employed is to make multiple scores--one for the score itself, one for parts (linked parts still are "imperfect" in some aspects), and one for playback. The one for playback can be marked up a bit more, which offers good marginal benefits for a small marginal investment of time.

    On a more practical and immediate level, there are a lot of Finale+GPO and Sibelius+GPO users who know all the tricks and FAQs and are very willing to answer them.

    Happy hunting!!
    Jim W.
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  5. #5

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    Hi mdprins,
    I would recommend you new GPO and try before bye Harmony Assistant from Myriad.

  6. #6

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    While we're talking notation sound, what is with the voice sounds for Sibelius? And what do you change them to?

  7. #7

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    At the moment there are only three libraries that have HP preference sets for Finale.
    1. GPO
    2. VSL Special Edition
    3. Xsample

    If you want to use any other libarie and make use of HP you will have to construct your own custom HP prefs specific for that library.

    What kind of music are composing? Orchestral? Chamber music? Contemporary scores?

    I work exclusively with Finale 2009 and have all three of the above libaries. Although the actual samples from VSL are really good this is the library that doesnt work that well with Finale. (It works really well with a DAW such as Logic though.) The most serious problem with VSL is that different articulations differ a lot in volume. If you write a violin melody with mixed legato and staccato articulations the staccato notes will "stand out". The combination Finale & VSL also uses a lot of CPU so you will need at least a Mac Pro for playback of a decent orchestral score from Finale (15-20 staves and more).

    For use with Finale I would strongly recommend Xsample. The sound quality is superb and most important: it works almost flawless with HP and Finale.

    Hope this helps.


  8. #8

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this!

    Quote Originally Posted by Albert Schnelzer View Post
    What kind of music are composing? Orchestral? Chamber music? Contemporary scores?
    I should have mentioned this earlier. For the project I'm working on, it's mostly varied combinations of solo strings, solo woodwinds, English handbells, harp, and piano, with some french horn and a little other brass thrown in. (The best English handbells there are -- pretty much the only decent English handbells there are -- are already included in the GPO lite included in Finale, so that's not an issue.) Here are four examples of what I'm doing.

    From what I've read here and elsewhere, I'm leaning toward XSample, with two caveats: (a) I'd really like some better brass -- particularly french horn -- than what's included in GPO lite, and there's no brass at all in XSample. And (b) XSample is the most expensive library of the ones I'm looking at -- four times the cost of the upcoming GPO Aria. There's never a perfect answer, I suppose...


  9. #9

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    Hi Matthew

    I'm a notation software (Overture4) and orchestra libraries (Kontakt base) user, too. I have been using Kirk Hunter Ruby since two years ago. This library sounds voluntary as if it has human will in some degree. Kirk Hunter library has original humanizing scripts. Sometimes I don't like the sound, but in a lot of cases, I accept the result because I don't need to tweak MIDI any more. With the notation software and KH Ruby, I usually edit only tempo and velocity and some keyswitches which make legato sound and tremolo sound and so on. So the MIDI tweaking is almost done when I complete composing. This is a sample which was directly exported from Overture4. I have not yet completed its mastering, so it may sound not very good.

    And, recently I had a chance to use VSL orchestra which came with Kontakt3 package. I found it is easy to use with the notation software, though I felt it very difficult three years ago. Maybe my skill has made progress in any way imperceptibly. Libraries require our progress in using them to a greater or lesser extent.
    GPO, Strad & Gofriller, Kirk Hunter Ruby, etc.
    Kontakt2&3, Cubase studio4, Overture4, PC (Win XP, E6850, 4GB RAM), MOTU8282mk3
    Yokohama, Japan

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Re: Good orchestral libraries for lazy notation program users?

    I think GPO is the easiest solution. Add Xsample if you write a lot of chamber music.

    Personally, I don't use HP nor VST at all in Finale since that slows software down. So, I use my customized good old soundfont.
    No matter what the situation, I find that customizing sounds and software template really advances productivity in the end.
    Kentaro Sato (Ken-P)

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