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Mats Nermark

Orchestral library?

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Hi, I'm getting more and more into composing using symphonic orchestral textures. Some because I like it and some because my customers request it. So far I've been using the factory content in Native Instruments' Kontakt 5. This is not bad but I think there may be better options out there. While I think there may be better sounding options out there, I also think there must be plugins/libraries that are easier to use in a DAW when recording. I can find any really good way of using key switches for changing articulations. So if you have any experience at all of orchestral libraries, I'd like to hear about it. Suggestions, recommendations, horror stories and entertaining anecdotes are all welcome! Cheers, Mats N

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Most people are raving about the LASS: Los Angeles Scoring Strings

 

Couple this with the library ORCHESTRAL RUNS, and you're good-to-go.

 

Thanks! I've read about this but it seems like it's strings only and I would like a library with brass/horns and winds as well. Solo and ensemble.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

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LASS certainly has its fans and is well respected.

 

Speaking as someone who has spent a chunk of my professional life doing orchestrations and using orchestral sample libraries, I can tell you there is no simple one-size fits all answer.

 

You can narrow the choices down a bit if you decide what sound you're looking for and whether or not you need control over individual instruments.

 

If you just want to play a string section and not orchestrate specifically for Vln I, Vln II, Vla, Vc, and DB, for example, then I'd look at one of the Symphobia titles or the new Albion One.

 

However, if you do want that level of control, then you'll want to decide whether you want a library with a cinematic sound or a classical sound. If you prefer a cinematic sound, EastWest is having an 80% off sale on their Hollywood Orchestra right now. If you're looking for a classical sound, the Vienna Symphonic Library series is a very good choice.

 

This is just a quick post. There are a lot of other great choices out there, but that's all I have time for right now.

 

Other considerations include how much RAM you have and whether or not you can dedicate very fast hard drive or an SSD to orchestral sounds.

 

If you want to consult a forum that specializes in this topic, look no further than V.I. Control. In fact, someone there is working on a roundup review thread at this moment. Here's a link:

 

Buyer's Basic Guide to Orchestral Sample Libraries

 

This thread may be of value to you as well:

 

Best orchestral library for out of the box playing / quick workflow?

 

I hope that helps you get started, Mats.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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LASS certainly has its fans and is well respected.

 

Speaking as someone who has spent a chunk of my professional life doing orchestrations and using orchestral sample libraries, I can tell you there is no simple one-size fits all answer.

 

You can narrow the choices down a bit if you decide what sound you're looking for and whether or not you need control over individual instruments.

 

If you just want to play a string section and not orchestrate specifically for Vln I, Vln II, Vla, Vc, and DB, for example, then I'd look at one of the Symphobia titles or the new Albion One.

 

However, if you do want that level of control, then you'll want to decide whether you want a library with a cinematic sound or a classical sound. If you prefer a cinematic sound, EastWest is having an 80% off sale on their Hollywood Orchestra right now. If you're looking for a classical sound, the Vienna Symphonic Library series is a very good choice.

 

This is just a quick post. There are a lot of other great choices out there, but that's all I have time for right now.

 

Other considerations include how much RAM you have and whether or not you can dedicate very fast hard drive or an SSD to orchestral sounds.

 

If you want to consult a forum that specializes in this topic, look no further than V.I. Control. In fact, someone there is working on a roundup review thread at this moment. Here's a link:

 

Buyer's Basic Guide to Orchestral Sample Libraries

 

This thread may be of value to you as well:

 

Best orchestral library for out of the box playing / quick workflow?

 

I hope that helps you get started, Mats.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

 

A VERY good post. Thanks, Geoff!

This is a lot to digest, but I'm motivated so I'm off to hunt for info. :-)

I'll be going to NAMM so maybe I can investigate some stuff there.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

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Hi Geoff,

 

Thanks again for your thoughtful response!

 

Speaking as someone who has spent a chunk of my professional life doing orchestrations and using orchestral sample libraries' date=' I can tell you there is no simple one-size fits all answer.[/quote']

 

After having pursued the links you gave me, I'm afraid this seems very true.

 

If you just want to play a string section and not orchestrate specifically for Vln I' date=' Vln II, Vla, Vc, and DB, for example, then I'd look at one of the Symphobia titles or the new Albion One.[/quote']

 

At this time I do not have enough skills or time to orchestrate specifically for individual sections. Checked the new Albion One and that sounded very nice and had some neat interface functions that would suit my workflow.

 

The thing I think I would miss in a library like Albion One or Garritan Instant Orchestra, which seem to be similar in scope, would be solo instruments. I love the sound of solo flute, piccolo and oboe together with a full string and/or horn section. So maybe I will have to check more than one solution.

 

This looks like it's getting more expensive by the minute.

 

However' date=' if you do want that level of control, then you'll want to decide whether you want a library with a cinematic sound or a classical sound. If you prefer a cinematic sound, EastWest is having an 80% off sale on their Hollywood Orchestra right now. If you're looking for a classical sound, the Vienna Symphonic Library series is a very good choice.

 

If you, or anyone else have the time I would appreciate your opinion of what differs between a cinematic sound and a classical sound.

 

If you want to consult a forum that specializes in this topic, look no further than V.I. Control. In fact, someone there is working on a roundup review thread at this moment. Here's a link:

 

Buyer's Basic Guide to Orchestral Sample Libraries

 

This thread may be of value to you as well:

 

Best orchestral library for out of the box playing / quick workflow?

 

Excellent links! And so much more to lear about rather than just about the tools. I will doubtlessly spend hours learning from there.

 

I hope that helps you get started' date=' [b']Mats[/b].

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Most definitely!!!!!!

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

 

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At this time I do not have enough skills or time to orchestrate specifically for individual sections. Checked the new Albion One and that sounded very nice and had some neat interface functions that would suit my workflow.

 

The thing I think I would miss in a library like Albion One or Garritan Instant Orchestra, which seem to be similar in scope, would be solo instruments. I love the sound of solo flute, piccolo and oboe together with a full string and/or horn section. So maybe I will have to check more than one solution.

 

This looks like it's getting more expensive by the minute.

Orchestra sample libraries are, of course, among the most expensive to record, mix, and program due to all of the players involved; but that said, the orchestral sample library market has become glutted since the early days in the '90s. Libraries have grown to roughly ten times the size and are now selling at approximately a tenth of the price of the thousands of dollars they used to cost.

 

Of course, professional composers are still spending thousands of dollars on orchestral libraries; but now, they're buying multiple collections and mixing and matching, as you're considering.

 

If you' date=' or anyone else have the time I would appreciate your opinion of what differs between a cinematic sound and a classical sound.[/quote']

The quick answer is that the cinematic sound tends to be larger than life. This is usually accomplished in one or more of the following ways: by increasing the size of the orchestra beyond the instrumentation used in classical music, by increasing the ambience of the orchestra favoring hall mics over close mics, by combining sample libraries, by adding synthesizer textures to the mix, or by adding samples to magnify real orchestral recordings.

 

The latest fad is a cinematic sound on steroids dubbed "epic." There are epic libraries that triple or quadruple the size of the orchestra. There's also a trend in the opposite direction of "divisi" libraries that automatically divide single sections into smaller sections when more than one note is played—as would happen in a normal orchestra. In other words, if a 12 player section is playing a melody that split into two parts, you'd typically hear six instruments playing each line. The divisi choice is common in classical music.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Edited by Geoff Grace
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Orchestra sample libraries are, of course, among the most expensive to record, mix, and program due to all of the players involved; but that said, the orchestral sample library market has become glutted since the early days in the '90s. Libraries have grown to roughly ten times the size and are now selling at approximately a tenth of the price of the thousands of dollars they used to cost.

 

Of course, professional composers are still spending thousands of dollars on orchestral libraries; but now, they're buying multiple collections and mixing and matching, as you're considering.

 

 

The quick answer is that the cinematic sound tends to be larger than life. This is usually accomplished in one or more of the following ways: by increasing the size of the orchestra beyond the instrumentation used in classical music, by increasing the ambience of the orchestra favoring hall mics over close mics, by combining sample libraries, by adding synthesizer textures to the mix, or by adding samples to magnify real orchestral recordings.

 

The latest fad is a cinematic sound on steroids dubbed "epic." There are epic libraries that triple or quadruple the size of the orchestra. There's also a trend in the opposite direction of "divisi" libraries that automatically divide single sections into smaller sections when more than one note is played—as would happen in a normal orchestra. In other words, if a 12 player section is playing a melody that split into two parts, you'd typically hear six instruments playing each line. The divisi choice is common in classical music.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Thanks again, Geoff! You are, indeed, a scholar and a gentleman.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

 

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Thank you for your kind words, Mats! I look forward to hearing how this progresses.

 

(And thanks also for your endorsement, Craig!)

 

Best,

 

Geoff

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Thank you for your kind words' date=' Mats! I look forward to hearing how this progresses.

 

(And thanks also for your endorsement, Craig!)

 

Best,

 

Geoff

 

Well, this is definitely a project that goes under the heading "I don't know what I'm doing, but since I enjoy doing it, I'll do it anyway". :-)

I have no knowledge of how to properly orchestrate or the properties and ranges of the instruments involved. So far I'm just sitting at my MIDI keyboard, recording stuff in my DAW that somehow reflects what I hear in my head and what I want to convey.

 

Interesting process!

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

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Hi,

 

Progress report.

 

I have studied the options and considered what I want to achieve. I realized that I already had a few useful option in Kontakt 5 (contains some limited instruments from VSL). I also have loads of synth plugin if I wanted to go the route to "enhance" the orchestra with some non-traditional instruments.

 

So what I need was an instrument that gave me a sense of big and wide. After some consideration, I got Albion One as I found their string section to be very much to my liking. After some use, I think the brass is also quite good while the wind section is the weak spot. Of course, if you need some less massive parts in your music then you need something other than Albion One to compliment it as there are no solo instruments at all.

 

One feature I like with Albion One is that I can play and record the different articulations in one instrument using different MIDI channels. I found this to be easier than using key switching.

 

So now I'm off, getting my feet wet. And while it's frustration hearing things in my head and in movie sound tracks and not having the knowledge to get it done myself, it is really very rewarding to just sit down and let my creative mind speak using this new musical language.

 

While I will never be another John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard or Geoff Grace, I am a happier person feeling blessed to have discovered this.

 

Geoff - I'm very much in your debt for your fine advice.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

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Hi,

 

Latest update on my orchestral adventures.

 

Got the Albion One and found it great for the bigger sounding stuff but needed another instrument set that supplied the solo instruments. I already have the Kontakt 5 and that has some instruments from VSL so I use those.

 

If anyone listens, I'd appreciate some advice how to make the solo instruments sound more like a part of the larger orchestra.

 

Here's my first try at this:

https://soundcloud.com/bt-king/still-another-step

 

Had lots of fun doing this, so there will be more in the future.

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

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Hi Geoff,

 

Thanks again for your thoughtful response!

 

 

 

After having pursued the links you gave me, I'm afraid this seems very true.

 

 

 

At this time I do not have enough skills or time to orchestrate specifically for individual sections. Checked the new Albion One and that sounded very nice and had some neat interface functions that would suit my workflow.

 

The thing I think I would miss in a library like Albion One or Garritan Instant Orchestra, which seem to be similar in scope, would be solo instruments. I love the sound of solo flute, piccolo and oboe together with a full string and/or horn section. So maybe I will have to check more than one solution.

 

This looks like it's getting more expensive by the minute.

 

 

 

If you, or anyone else have the time I would appreciate your opinion of what differs between a cinematic sound and a classical sound.

 

 

 

Excellent links! And so much more to lear about rather than just about the tools. I will doubtlessly spend hours learning from there.

 

 

 

Most definitely!!!!!!

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

 

Color me clueless for asking this but don't most Orchestral Libraries worth their price have solo AND ensemble choices for instruments?

 

And how do you build up sections of violins without having each of the patches cancel each other out and thinning the sound?

 

And from what I've read on the internet, a lot of people spend a fair amount of time building the "killer ensemble" of whatever they want, rather than recording their music? Is separating everything out to the nth degree really that important, when it's all supposed to blend together in the end?

 

 

 

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Well, this is definitely a project that goes under the heading "I don't know what I'm doing, but since I enjoy doing it, I'll do it anyway". :-)

I have no knowledge of how to properly orchestrate or the properties and ranges of the instruments involved. So far I'm just sitting at my MIDI keyboard, recording stuff in my DAW that somehow reflects what I hear in my head and what I want to convey.

 

Interesting process!

 

Cheers,

 

Mats N

 

This will help-Don't even have to register, just dive in!

 

http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/forumdisplay.php/77-Principles-of-Orchestration-Online

 

 

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