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Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:55 am
by BillW
I'm searching for something that includes strings, harp, and orchestral percussion esp timpani.

I have a decent timpani freebie so that's less important. I've been underwhelmed with free strings VSTi's - esp DSK. To be honest, Accoustica Instruments do the job just as well.

I've posted a bit on this in the "plugins" forum but I think this site gets much more traffic.

I downloaded Sonivox trial versions of percussion, strings, woodwinds, and brass. But I ran into issues with it and my virus protector. And I decided to not pursue that - despite the sale price on plugin boutique - since I've also read about their lack of support (Sonivox, that is) and lack of manuals or any help in reducing the learning curve on how to trigger articulations etc.

So any other ideas on alternatives? I'm trying to keep it down to maybe $150 at most. To that end, I'm researching Garritan Personal Orchestra ($119 at Sweetwater) and "IK Multimedia Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE Orchestral Software Instrument" ($149 at Sweetwater) - not to be confused with other similarly named offerings from them that are much more comprehensive and much more expensive).

Any thoughts / suggestions / experience?

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:36 pm
by chibear
First of all I'd stay away from DSK unless they finally got their act together. I had masses of grief trying to work with their instruments. It turns out, according to a coder friend of mine, the coding is extremely sloppy.

GPO has some wonderful instruments and some complete dogs.

Miroslav 2 is way overpriced for the quality. IMO it's easier to produce an acceptable product with Miroslav 1 if you can get it.

Watch for sales. On sale you should be able to get the following in your price range:

EWQL Symphonic Orchestra silver or gold
EWQL Holywood Orchestra gold : while it is possible to keyswitch between articulation in these, all available articulations do not have keyswitches, so better to run them as multitimbrals. Both orchestras a pretty even with maybe some weaknesses in the woodwinds.

Kirk Hunter Diamond Orchestra (needs full version of Kontakt) has 'build your own' articulations keyswitches. Good Orchestra except for woodwinds which are abysmal.

Whether you like it or not, watching your posts it seems like you're heading toward wanting the full version of Kontakt. Get it on sale. Buried within the factory libraries are the 'vsl legacy orchestra' samples, which have some real gems. Also this opens a universe of free or cheap instrument libraries

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:24 pm
by BillW
Thanks chibear.

Full version of Kontakt would open more doors for me. I do need to consider that avenue.

EWQL seems like it would in fact be best. But the price is pretty steep for what I'm willing to spend now.

All in all, great and very helpful information!

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:20 pm
by Ian Craig
Hi,

I got Garritan Personal Orchestra, Instant Orchestra, Concert and Marching Bands (for instrument variations), Pipe Organs & Harps (all on sale). I like the Aria Player that is required to load them and the fact that I can add 16 layers of sounds is great, along with the reverb sends in the mixer (which works for me), so I'd cautiously recommend them.
Whilst I absolutely respect anything ChiBear has to say on the subject, I do not respect Kirk Hunter, whose threats upon purchase that anyone who uses their sample libraries has to credit them and that they search the internet for evidence of the use of their libraries by anyone who doesn't credit them. I find that beyond offensive, so after paying £125 for one of them, I've never used them, I've just been ripped off, as I've not been made aware of any refunds policy. If there is some way of selling the thing to someone else I'd gladly do it, though only after making people aware of this.
.. It was 'Kirk Hunter Virtuoso Ensembles' my advice AVOID

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:49 pm
by mixyguy2
First off, based on what's said above, I would have no problem laughing in Kirk Hunter's face and daring him to "get" me if I bought his stuff and didn't give credit, which I seriously doubt I'm under any legal obligation to do and there's no way he could prove anyway. What a joke. Do I have to put Microsoft and Lenovo in my CD liner credits too? Sorry, "special thanks to...Bill Gates" etc aint happening. Anyway...

I have issues with Sonivox and IK Multimedia so they're out for me so can't speak to their strings. IMO Acoustica's string are basic but sound good; unless you're hard-core about the finer nuances of articulations etc, if that's the worst you do you're in fine shape. If you're really dying to burn up some money, the "big 4" appear to be Garritan, Vienna, LA Scoring Strings (aka LASS) and East/West (aka EWQL). Also Native Instrument's Session Strings, probably. Sorry have not had a chance to try or buy any as yet, but FWIW. Based on what I've read there's no clear winner and you're probably fine with any, so I would probably avoid NI stuff as generally IMO they are really overpriced. Maybe you can find trials?

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:07 pm
by mixyguy2
EDIT: this appears to be a dicey if not outright fraudulent site; my apologies for posting earlier. I thought it was legit but in hindsight should have been more on guard. I strongly suggest NOT using: http://vst-club.com/vst-instruments/gar ... -2767.html

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:49 pm
by chibear
Ian Craig wrote:Hi,


Whilst I absolutely respect anything ChiBear has to say on the subject, I do not respect Kirk Hunter, whose threats upon purchase that anyone who uses their sample libraries has to credit them and that they search the internet for evidence of the use of their libraries by anyone who doesn't credit them. I find that beyond offensive, so after paying £125 for one of them, I've never used them, I've just been ripped off, as I've not been made aware of any refunds policy. If there is some way of selling the thing to someone else I'd gladly do it, though only after making people aware of this.
.. It was 'Kirk Hunter Virtuoso Ensembles' my advice AVOID


Ya I tried Virtuoso Ensembles and didn't bite. As far as the copyrite threats, that's something new. I've had quite a few conversations with the man and, while I wouldn't invite him out for coffee, he didn't seem that far over the edge. A lot of the pros use his stuff and I've yet to see the KH accredation. Are you sure the statement wasn't directed at those ppl who quickly use his demos without buying?

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:16 pm
by Ian Craig
mixyguy2 wrote:PS! Just stumbled on this, no clue about it, but an earlier version of Garritan's "Personal Orchestra" for $17.50! The current version for comparison sells for $150. FWIW: http://vst-club.com/vst-instruments/gar ... -2767.html


I thought I'd test this site out by buying something for $5 (plus $5 to download ???) i.e. $10
I selected the paypal option but no window came up but it said 'thank you for your purchase'. The download is only available after payment completes and I was sent an invoice link but no download link.
I think I've found this site before several years ago but the site has no record of the account I'm pretty sure I created and Google has no password logged for it, so I think I got to this point with it about 3 years ago, but when the paypal option doesn't work I think they might email me about bank account details, which they are not getting. In other words, I think the site is a scam to get bank account details off people. Please avoid rushing into these things !

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:22 pm
by Ian Craig
chibear wrote:Are you sure the statement wasn't directed at those ppl who quickly use his demos without buying?


It's all on this page (or sub pages), tell us what you think, I could be wrong https://www.kirkhunterstudios.com/support/

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:13 am
by chibear
Ian Craig wrote:
chibear wrote:Are you sure the statement wasn't directed at those ppl who quickly use his demos without buying?


It's all on this page (or sub pages), tell us what you think, I could be wrong https://www.kirkhunterstudios.com/support/


Those clauses have been there forever. What he wants is a credit if you have credits in your album notes for musicians etc. I think that's kind of an industry standard, just buried deeper in the fine print for the rest.

I'm in the habit of listing libraries and fx used on my Soundcloud page just to make sure my butt is covered.

I think the draconian search you referenced in your other post applies to pirating and yes there are companies that specialize in checking water-marked (which I think KH is) products looking for piracy. Don't know the actual process, but the pirate, the original purchaser, and the end user of the pirated library are in deep do do when caught.

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:23 am
by BillW
I may simply start another thread on Kontakt - is it worth it?

My latest gripe with music software sites is their reluctance to list all the instruments you get with it. On NI's web page for Kontakt they talk about the vast library as if everyone knows about it and what it includes.

I have to admit given the price I never considered it - especially since I'd never use it to create my own sounds. But I never realized what all comes with it - I thought incorrectly it was simply needed to run certain other packages that (for some reason) required the full version.

An internet search uncovered what was in the library back in 2013. That helps - but really, why wouldn't the software company provide that? It's not just NI - I've seen the same in looking at orchestra stuff - I'm hoping in general for a few instruments (such as timpani) and in some cases all I can see is things like "70 percussion instruments". OK - an orchestra percussion section almost certainly included timpani, but why not list the instruments?

Chibear astutely assessed that I might be better off simply getting the full Kontakt rather than incrementally buying one package after another. I have Chris Hein Horns and now looking at orchestral packages. Perhaps the full Kontakt would have been a better route? Tough to say given I'm happy with the horn package I have.

Even on sale I'm sure I'll have to spend $300 for it and I feel I can get what I need for half that. Still, as chibear surmised, I'm sort of at the point where I might want to simply invest more in the hobby now to take it to another level.

Thanks all for the comments and suggestions!

Bill

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:29 am
by BillW
chibear -
you also suggested considering EWQL Symphonic Orchestra silver or gold or EWQL Hollywood Orchestra gold

I'm leaning away from the gold editions both due to budget and due to what I'd use them for. I'm not likely to try to write or record truly symphonic pieces. I'm just looking for more realistic sounding strings primarily - and some other instruments I don't' have in my horn section. So all the articulations etc available in the Gold version would likely not be used.

But I see a pretty big price difference in Hollywood Silver ($199) version Symphonic Silver ($129). That difference holds true for each version (gold hollywood is $332 vs Symphonic Gold is $265)

I'm researching through their (well written) manuals to see why that would be. I'm wondering if you have any experience that would help me understand, Naively, I'd think the "Symphony" would be more expensive since that sounds like it's a larger sample and more - well, classical / "legit" etc. Hollywood sounds less complete - more scaled down, sort of a "pop" version of the Symphony.

Makes no difference to me - maybe Hollywood fits what I want better since I'm not going for a true Symphony sound.

I've narrowed it down to one of those versus Garritan - but I suspect EWQL would be the better option.

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:33 am
by BillW
Sorry for so many posts without taking a breath here - but the sale on EWQL ends today and so I've been researching heavy.

I feel like I understand the difference between SO and Hollywood - with Hollywood being newer and some say having more articulations etc. Worth the extra money apparently. And SO has a concert hall feel which is not what I'd want for my (primarily) classic rock recordings.

However, I also realize now either one has a pretty big requirement for disk space - even the Silver version.

Beyond that, the documentation says their PLAY engine requires using a 64bit DAW. I've been sticking with 32bit MX, for reasons I can't quite remember in detail but I think it had to do with VSTs and VSTis - and while that issue (or whatever it was) may not even be a factor anymore, I'm hesitant to switch just for a library I won't use regularly.

And so I'd be probably need to buy a new hard drive and then move to 64 bit (and work through whatever potential issues that might imply. And then pay about $80 more than Garritan. Which I suspect suits my limited requirements fine.

Plus I'd have to decide all this today if I decide on EW. So now I'm considering Garriton - or sticking with Acoustica Instruments for now.

Again - thanks much for opinions. Limitations on money and system hardware narrowed the decision down for me.

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 11:56 am
by chibear
Symphonic is an older library. It has wet samples. I think it was recorded by the Seattle Symphony and has some samples by orchestral gods, solo trumpet in particular. The upside is the lush sound right out of the box, the downside is you are pretty much stuck with the sound. Great for purely orchestra stuff. My Waltz Burlesque, When the Music Stops, and the Copland Fanfare on my Soundcloud page were all done with Symphonic Orchestra Platinum.

I don't have Hollywood Orchestra but will probably some day. It is recorded by and meant to mimic the great studio orchestras. It is a dry library so you need to do your own reverb. It is quite popular with Cinema composers. Especially Hollywood Strings needs to be run off a SSD.

EDIT: just read the 2nd post. I don't think you could successfully run Hollywood Orchestra in 32 bit. It requires way more RAM than 4GB.

Re: Orchestral VSTs

Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:10 pm
by BillW
Thanks again chibear. I see the EWQL is out of my league in term of hardware. And likely I'd be WAY under-using its features.

So I may pull the trigger on Garriton as a compromise. I think it said the disk space needed is only 16GB.

Doesn't seem worth looking into anything else - especially freebies.