I need to make a recommendation for a young composer who needs better sounds than PCI soundcard drek.
He\'s 14, a friend of my son, and will be conducting one of his pieces at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland later this year. He uses Sibelius 2.1 on a PC and a typical PC soundcard. I spoke with his mom last night and she wants to get him some better sounds for his upcomming birthday. Her budget is probably a couple hundred bucks or so.
I see three options:
1) Get the cheapest available GSIF soundcard with a Giga bundle, along with the cheapest available GM MIDI disk. (Problems: a bit over budget, technically complex, may need PC upgrades [HD/RAM], can\'t do big previews - must render tracks to disk.)
2) Get a soundfont capable Creative soundcard. Buy soundfont disks. (Problems: deadend, limited sound quality, medium technical complexity.)
3) Buy a module, like Roland\'s Sound Canvas line. Maybe the Edirol SD-20. (Problems: deadend, limited sound quality.)
I recommended solution 3). The main advantages are that it\'s technically simple, it can load/play enough sounds simultaneously to allow reasonable real-time composing. The SD-20 is $300, which is a bit over budget though.
1) Which would you recommend?
2) Anybody out there want to sell a used module that covers the orchestra?
You might try to find a used JV-1010 on Ebay and buy a used Orch. board. When I was 18 I got a 1080 and orch board and that\'s all I used until after I got out of college (granted Samples weren\'t as easy to use then, so maybe that\'s why i didn\'t try to use them!). I still think it\'s a good place to start. A new 1010 was $400, so used you\'re probably only $150-$200. Orch board used is probably $75 and the sounds are way better then sound Canvas. He should be able to get free Sound Diver software for 1010 to do editing. It\'s really quite simple.
Best thing about the 1010 is after he upgrades his orchestra, he can still use the 1010 as a cool synth module. It\'s got all the sounds of the 2080 which was a $1400 unit! Granted the display\'s a little small.. but you know.
Hate to say it, but I\'d argue for getting him a decent sound card, say the M-Audio Delta, that sells for $150. (When I bought this, it came with Gigasampler, but no good sounds.)
He could then download one of the many good, free VSTI supporting, sequencers, along with VSTI soundfont players, and many decent soundfonts and samples that could be used to build soundfonts. This system would let him do a lot.
Later (as soon as possible, the best present, would be the Edirol Orchestral, which would give him a lot to work with for many years to come.
Sound card: 150
I know it\'s about twice what she may want to invest, but starting with just the sound card and putting other money (birthday\\Christmas?\\etc) together over the next year would give him a much stronger system.
There\'s a great software ROMpler called the Edirol orchestra which I use for parts checking with Sibelius on my laptop. It could be just the ticket as its sounds are way better than any cheap rack synth, its not expensive and not difficult to set up.
Very easy to get to grips with and fun to use [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
I think Edirol Orchestral is nice and fun to play with for that amount of money... Of course, its nothing against GOS but more than enough to fill in for general sounds and definitely the best sounding thing before jumping to the higher level samples like DD, SI, KH etc... Installation is a breeze too...
Anyway, I am not sure how this will answer the 2 questions you posted but I will see what I can do...
(1) Does it work with Sibelius?
Not sure but this is how I use it in Logic (v5.5 on PC). I install it as a VSTi and open it as an Audio Instrument. There are 16 channels of instrument per instance of the Edirol Orchestral and say if I were to access channel 3 of EO, then I would need to switch my keyboard to transmit on channel 3, otherwise I would still be on channel 1 (or whatever channel my keys was transmitting on). This is a little irritating and I am not sure how you can tell Sibelius to transmit on certain channels as I don\'t have it... I suppose Cakewalk will be able to do that?
(2) Asio cards...
This Asio thing is good for low latency (I think it stands for Audio Streaming In Out?)... IF he is composing just from Sibelius and not playing live from a keyboard (i.e. inputting notes in Sibelius manually with a mouse), then I am not sure if this ASIO card will make a difference as he doesn\'t need to do things live... My Asio card (Hoontech C-Port) offers various levels of buffer sizes to adjust the latency when I play on the keyboard... I usually set it to the lowest buffer level to have no latency, but do get pops and clicks... Once I am done with the composition I put it back on the highest buffer level and listen to it and all works fine, so I guess its not critical unless you are playing things live...
Hope this helps??? Oh yah, not that it matters now but the CP on EO is you have to insert the disc once in a while...
You can now get freeware vst sequencers and hosts that will enable the kid to run both Edirol and Sibelius simultaneously without having to cough up extra. Best place to look is the KVR website. If you have any trouble here, drop me a private mail because I have a freeware vst sequencer somewhere that uses just 2% of the processor on a 2Ghz laptop and is as steady as a rock. Not very complicated compared to Logic or whatever, but it\'ll do just the job.
Check his processor & HD is up to the task though. If his processor is lower than, say, 1Ghz, he might run out of notes in a complex arrangement all too quickly.
Roland HQ Orchestral is for VSTi and DXi, only. No standalone. It requirs good CPU...
If a module is fine, I recommend Roland XV-2020.
It is half-rack size, 64-poly, 16-multi, usb, and it have 2 SRX-board slots. So, if one have more money, he/she can buy \"SRX-06 complete orchestra,\" and \"SRX-04 Symphonique Strings.\"