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garethcoker Envato team says

Anyone care to comment?

Honestly, the solution is just to get everything you possibly can – as long as it suits your workflow.

I prefer to buy the libraries that just ‘work’ and sound ‘expensive’ with very little programming work. Honestly, that’s what I expect from libraries in the first place. If they’re not well scripted or well programmed, I’m not interested. I get very irritated when developers release products that are clearly unfinished. Only ProjectSAM and Spitfire Audio and to a slightly lesser extent Soundiron and Cinesamples, seem to release polished products on release these days. Orchestral Tools also release exemplary products, but they are not (yet) a major developer. Berlin Woodwinds is PHENOMENAL .

The Wallander instruments are said to be more expressive, and this may be true, but the ‘sound’ of those instruments is still just too digital and fake. And you need to have good knowledge of how to use a wind controller, which frankly, I’m not interested in.

Obviously, what things ‘sound’ like is all subjective.

As for you HodsonD, you have a huge budget. I wouldn’t bother with Symphobia 2, Symphobia 1 has the core articulations that you need and Symphobia 2 isn’t that much better that more extensive. I don’t find myself using Symphobia 2 that often.


The other choice is how dry you want your samples; again, this relates to the above distinction because if you are scoring and orchestrating from the baseline as it were, you will want dry samples; if you are direct screen scoring, you will want instant reverb and mic settings

Not something I’ve ever considered, if the samples sound good, they are. It’s pretty easy to put samples in a different sounding room, and samples aren’t recorded as super-wet as they used to be (the old Eastwest stuff for example).

So yeah, don’t stress too much about what you buy. A skilled composer / synthestrator will be able to get great results out of any of the major sample libraries. If I were you I’d spend two thirds of my budget on ‘staple sounds’ (orchestra, percussion, piano, etc…) and the other third on ‘niche’ sounds (ERA, Eastwest Silk, obscure 8Dio/Soundiron stuff, etc…). Just make sure you know what you’re getting, and look for tutorials/vids on Youtube so you can see how the sample libaries actually work. At the very least, it helps to have an in depth knowledge of Kontakt. If you get ERA , that will be a whole different interface for you to learn – it’s not difficult, but it all takes time.

Hope that helps.

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Willjames says

for strings I’d recommend Cinematic Strings 2 – really intuitive, easy to use and great sound too.

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curtisschweitzer says

As a short addition to what others have written here, let me just put in a +1 for East West Hollywood Strings. It is a truly fantastic library if you know how to use it—and fortunately, it is architected in a way that really caters to the knowledge that experienced orchestrators already have.

Having said that, I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone who hasn’t actually written for a live string orchestra before, because the entire library is designed to mimic that experience. All of the articulations and special techniques, for example, are listed using their proper italian names—and I’m not just talking about staccato vs. legato either. Special techniques like ricochet, flautando, spicatto, and staccato on the bow feature prominently in the “short” patches, and the “long” patches are often grouped by bow change, legato, and portamento. It is absolutely necessary that the composer be familiar with these techniques and how to use them.

I’m sure other string libraries use these same terms, but if you’re not familiar with them, it is a good idea to read up on them in an orchestration textbook before trying your hand at HS. Additionally, HS allows you to change finger position quite easily, and I can see that experience being difficult if one weren’t completely familiar with the usual process of writing for live strings.

Since HS groups most of the patches by specific instrument section, with different patches for Violin I+II, etc., it is very helpful to understand traditional string scoring. The divisi patches in particular are fantastic, even if they come with some slight tuning issues. I find myself writing a lot more counterpoint when using HS, because most the patches are not polyphonic by default, often forcing you to score each string part separately in order to achieve a realistic sound. (There are, btw, a lot of great polyphonic patches, but per EW’s suggestions, it is much better to score each section separately—you’ll achieve an incredibly realistic sound).

The results once you start treating HS like a real string section can be stunning, however. I’m still working on changing my thinking from the typical “sit down and write melody-dominated homophony” that has pervaded my composition since I’ve been writing for libraries, but after going back and reviewing my training as a classically-based musician, I’ve found that I can get some pretty great results out of this library. My most recent piece here on AJ uses HS Diamond with a few patches from EWQLSO , and I’m pretty happy with the result:

http://audiojungle.net/item/ominous-intro/3267247

tl;dr: HS is really in a league of its own as far as string libraries go, but it requires that the composer really know their stuff in order to properly execute using this tremendously deep, rich, and beautifully-engineered sample library.

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permian says

What an interesting thread. Have spent all the morning reading and checking the links. I’d like to have a lot of similar threads on the forum, in which people that are really pro sharing their experience. And telling us the stories of how the big a-list guys do their works! )

So I have a couple of questions on how to force them to put your name in the A-list the topic.
It’s been 2 years since the first message, and some new libs and soft were released. Do you have some changes in your library-list, may be changes in opinions about the things you mentioned?
Gareth? Craig? Russell? Anyone whose name I was shamefully-lazy to know?:)

Also, may be a lame question. I’ve noticed that all the aforesaid drums/percussion libs are the libs working through the Kontakt, which is, I guess, some kind of pro-standard. But is there a decent sampled library with its own vsti-interface?

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Art-of-Sound says

What would be recommended for a choir? Has anyone tried Soundiron Venus Symphonic Women’s Choir vs. Cinesamples Voxos Epic Virtual Choirs?

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curtisschweitzer says

I’ve noticed that all the aforesaid drums/percussion libs are the libs working through the Kontakt, which is, I guess, some kind of pro-standard. But is there a decent sampled library with its own vsti-interface?

All East|West sample libraries that I know of use their PLAY engine, which is included. I use their StormDrum2 library for percussion (in addition to the standard percussion samples in Symphonic Orchestra), and I know that it does not require an extra vst-interface.

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HodsonD says

I am still researching, but some conclusions re choice of library:

Mostly depends what films and which Directors scoring for: mega-budget Hollywood: the Director here will want a live orchestra, so what they need is a fully featured, finished score and collection of parts scores: this will probably have been finished by the composer and/or arranger and/or orchestrator using the standard samples on any of the big name scoring programs; Mid-budget films – these want a great sounding orchestal score, but cannot afford the 100K a week – or is a day? – to hire a live orchestra! Anyone possessing the complete VSL library, and who knows how to use it, will obviously – if they are talented – will get the contract; Some Indie Directors – especially for arty films and shorts – will want a superb sounding score, but have little or no money to pay for it! They mght be lucky and get a talented Music College student, who owns a couple of good libaries and who knows how to use them, to come up with the goods; or the Directors might have to ‘do’ with someone who can compose by ear whilst looking at the cuts, and perhaps these composers might be wise to invest in the instant style orchestral sample libraries such as Viviace or Tutti; NI Action Strings, Project Sam Orchestral Essentials; but these four libraries cost a cool 1200 Euros for a start!

Low-budget/ chcik flicks – these will only have limited budgets and, frankly, will have to ‘do’ with whoever they can find to work pro bono or cheaply: they might hav e to ‘do’ with someone using the Miroslav sample set for Reason 5 by Sonic Reality; I say ‘do’ because, hey, these sample sets are fantastic, but obviously working with MIDI piano roll, not every articualtion can be reproduced; nevertheless, if ‘music is the bridge over which the emotional intent of the Director is brought to the viewers’ then it does not matter how cheap the sample library used: Garitan and Miroslav (IK Multimedia) are certainly not cheap sounding.

It seems to me that the Indie Director is the most difficult to cater for: and I know one Irish filmscore composer who used both sample libraries and live musicians to get the results; this was costly, so he released to score as a commercial download only to see it find its way onto a ‘free music download’ site and all his sales dry up! I can’t help wondering if he actually paid out money to score the film!

Neil Haydock may recommend the newbie to work pro bonu, but paying out to score a film is going tad too far!!

For this reason alone, someone starting out in their career has got to be very budget conscious; and after all, if a MIDI file is available, then this can be given to the Director; if he or she does not like the sound file, they can get someone else to work on the MIDI data using a better sample library; of course, they must pay fo the copyright, surely?

Personally, as I am starting the Career, I would probably invest in a coule of ‘instant orchestral libraries’ such as those by SonoKinetic (Tutti); samples for my favorite DAW (Reason 5) and one specialist library and something like VSL Special Edition Plus package and take time out to learn to use it effectively. Is that being budget conscious? Hardly, and time must be spent getting good at handling the libraries!

One last consideration: if, like me, you have no music training and only minimal notation skills, libraries like NI Action Strings, have the scores displayed, which may provide good information on how to score certain orchestral effects, all part of learning zone!

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Crian says

I’d need some nice guitar-sounds – Do you know any VSTi that creates a sound like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR4WqPovoLs&feature=channel&list=UL

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garethcoker Envato team says

I’d need some nice guitar-sounds – Do you know any VSTi that creates a sound like this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR4WqPovoLs&feature=channel&list=UL

The guitar sound at the beginning of that track is a patch from Samplelogic Cinematic Guitars.

http://www.samplelogic.com/products/cinematic-guitars

Cinematic Guitar 2 was also released recently – http://www.samplelogic.com/products/cinematicguitars2

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Lmz says

http://audiojungle.net/item/ominous-intro/3267247

What mic position(s) did you use for this? I’ve got HS gold and enjoy it, but would prefer the sound to be a bit ‘closer’. Considering picking up Diamond at some point for that reason only.

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