Hi Chris, I saw your comments in the Listening Room - and hope you won't mind me commenting here rather than prolonging the thread in question.
Referring to the Listening Room post, your comment follows:
"....it's just that I'd love to know whether/HOW you got such a lovely string sound from GPO strings. I love the sounds, but they've never been that good for me personally and I wish I could figure out what I'm missing."
I have reason to believe, the individual concerned was mostly using strings from an alternative library that is a lot more expensive than GPO. Not only is the software more expensive - but the hardware required to run it effectively is also likely to cost a lot more too.
The GPO strings are excellent but there are two or three issues that need to be considered.
Strings are a critical part of most pieces of music and you need a wide choice of articulations and patches at your disposal to produce the best results - and the most expensive libraries have more of these. None are perfect or complete and it is common practice to layer strings from different libraries which is what I believe was being done in this instance.
GPO strings have most of what's needed but you will need to do a lot of tweaking to breath life into them which is true of ALL libraries. Some of the best results I've heard have been achieved with Finale Human Playback. A few mouse clicks is all that's needed to create emphasis and make notes rise and fall. Other libraries may have patches for this (and cost a lot more) but GPO and Finale HP can produce great results. You can achieve the same without Finale but the amount of effort required is considerable - and seldom executed very well.
The strings also occupy a broad section of the performance space, so careful use of panning is required to obtain spatial realism. The GPO patches are 'dry' and the strings in particular will benefit from a good convoluting reverb. These are now more readily available - and will make a big difference.
And finally, composition is important. When writing for strings, think strings not keyboards! The best string samples in the world will sound unconvincing if the music is really for keyboards. Strings generally follow a linear or contrapuntal form rather than the block chords or arpeggios that get hammered out on keyboards.
So lots going on here Chris, but my view is that the GPO strings can hold their own.