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royosho
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51 posts since 12 Oct, 2017

Postby royosho; Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:29 pm Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

I'm sure there's a similar thread somewhere, I'll delete this one, just point me to the current one (I've only found old non-recent threads about orchestral libraries).

However, here's the deal. I have 200 to spend, no kontakt, no money for it. I'm experienced at using free libraries like SSO and VPO2 and am looking to score film/game soundtracks non-professionally (obviously... $200 library). I've looked at sonivox film score companion, miroslav 2 ce, garritan personal and eastwest silver. sonivox is buggy, miroslav ce/garritan have questionable quality and eastwest silver doesn't have all articulations (no cello/bass pizz etc).

I've found kirk hunter virtuoso ensembles for 160.00. Seems awesome and better (good samples, key splits, mic distances, works with kontakt player free) than the other options. However I'm hoping owners of any of these libraries could weigh in, because apart from sonivox, there aren't free trials of the others so i'm having to depend on a badly compressed youtube videos for sound quality or company videos omitting weaknesses of the libraries. The only downside i've noticed of KH ensemble is no solo instruments and is "slur" legato? I saw on really old threads there's sometimes sales of the KH diamond orchestra at 100 dollars.

Is the more expensive, simpler KH ensemble a better purchase than the others because of its sound quality and articulation? Is the KH Diamond worth waiting for (possibly indefinitely)? Or are miroslav 2 CE or garritan personal better than they sound from the videos and worth the purchase because they have all the instruments? Remember I don't have kontakt full and 200 dollars is the limit. I'd like to hear from owners of these libraries, preferably from owners who have tried multiple ones. Thanks and sorry I couldn't find a similar existing current thread.

[Edit] Just noticed a couple more downsides of KH ensemble - violins 1/2 play in unison, percussion rolls aren't tempo synced.
DSmolken
KVRian
 
1343 posts since 20 Sep, 2013, from Poland

Postby DSmolken; Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:20 pm Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

If it's really important to you to have a lot of choice in instruments and articulations, then ask yourself - are you OK with using VPO2 and other free stuff to fill the gaps in things like solo instruments or bass pizz or whatever's missing in a commercial library? If you are, then those gaps are not a big deal. I'd even consider trying to find a good sale on a string library, and using the free stuff for everything else.

Do VSL do sales that would put SE 1 under $200?
royosho
KVRist
 
51 posts since 12 Oct, 2017

Postby royosho; Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:35 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

DSmolken wrote:If it's really important to you to have a lot of choice in instruments and articulations, then ask yourself - are you OK with using VPO2 and other free stuff to fill the gaps in things like solo instruments or bass pizz or whatever's missing in a commercial library? If you are, then those gaps are not a big deal. I'd even consider trying to find a good sale on a string library, and using the free stuff for everything else.

Do VSL do sales that would put SE 1 under $200?


I've never spent any money on plugins, VSTi or samples libraries and always thought skill, technique and processing were discerning factors to make quality recordings. They're definitely part of it, however I'm starting to realize there's a level cap. Recently i tried the free trial of sonivox, the cheapest possible orchestral sample library, and i nearly cried. The quality of all the samples far surpass any free samples libraries I've ever tried and no one is more disappointed than I. Could i fill the gaps with free instruments? Well, I'm gonna have to flat out say there are no free brass libraries that could sound like they're even in the same realm as VSL strings for example. I couldn't use EastWest pizz violins with VPO2 pizz cellos because the difference of sample quality is too extreme for even the most skilled engineer to remedy. I understand many people will disagree with such a statement because, in certain cases, unskilled production/arrangement/songwriting/processing etc could be the cause. However, with sample libraries, I think much of the quality of the sample is baked into it at the recording level, and the thousands of dollars worth of instruments/recording equipment/spaces etc usually result in simply better sounding instruments.

I definitely appreciate the free sampling community and without them i wouldn't have the skills i have today, and free libraries are making dreams come true and providing opportunities to musicians who would otherwise never have been exposed to the divine experience of music. However, I'm gonna have to say, (though there are exceptions! especially for some individual sampled instruments) paid libraries are just on a different level than free ones, and at a certain point, a musician who uses orchestral samples must eventually make the journey to the paid sample library realm. I was a freeware purist for 20 years, looking down my nose at kids who think all they need to sound better is more expensive gear or samples. And even though I still believe most of the time, those kids wouldn't know what to do with 1000 dollar library, I've reached a point where, yea, i need some better quality samples. And maybe you could tell from this in-depth reply that it really weighs on my soul that money ultimately has a bearing on the quality of art nowadays because it never did before, when beatles were making albums on 4 tracks and fender strats cost 100 dollars. It sort of makes me sad. However if i ever want to get paid for my work, not only do i have to keep up with people who own super expensive libraries, I have to keep up with people who steal super expensive libraries and to top it off, I only have 200 dollars to spend lol. Sorry, you probably didn't need my life story.
DSmolken
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1343 posts since 20 Sep, 2013, from Poland

Postby DSmolken; Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:34 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

Well, yeah, but doing it for $200 is going to involve some massive compromises. You will not be able to get all the instruments, all the articulations, and a decent sound. You can try to make more hybrid music, where you can conceal samples that are lacking in various ways under some synths, effects, guitars etc. Or you could even spend the whole $200 on a solo cello, and make music for cello and piano only (there are a few decent free pianos out there IMO) hoping that makes enough money that you can buy some more samples with the profits.

Or wait patiently for a sale or resale of secondhand stuff from somebody who's upgrading. There was an Impact orchestral bundle deal on VSTBuzz a while ago which would have gotten you their strings, brass, and some other stuff for about half your budget, so that might have been an option, for example.
a_Scientist
KVRist
 
86 posts since 1 Jul, 2015

Postby a_Scientist; Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:51 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

Wish I could help. Looks like a challenge :) If you could only raise price to 300, you could pick up EW (discount). Or, Hollywood orchestra silver can be considered the best, if on discount.
Miroslav 1 sometimes sounds not as good you'd want it to that's true (I used it). Don't know about 2. 1 is outdated, 2nd may compete with others today or may not.
You probably need more search. New libraries appeared. But some of them look differently, like some recent library which plays phrases for you and you don't control every possible note. But sounds impressive perhaps.
These types of plugs are expensive, if you need a better sound.
If you've never been to bestservice.de, try looking there as they have multiple brands. Avoid something outdated though - often it's hard to use.
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topaz
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4176 posts since 14 Jul, 2001, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, U.K

Postby topaz; Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:53 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

..
Last edited by topaz on Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
szurcio
KVRian
 
691 posts since 24 Nov, 2005

Postby szurcio; Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:16 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

I still think Versilian Chamber Orchestra (Professional Edition) is the best deal for around $200 unless you need massive orchestrations. It's a great sample library even regardless of its price. It's definitely higher quality than Garritan libraries, with a good selection of various articulations.
a_Scientist
KVRist
 
86 posts since 1 Jul, 2015

Postby a_Scientist; Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:43 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

szurcio wrote:Garritan libraries

Agreed. Demos don't sound impressive. "Kirk Hunter" is like, sounds better. I mean the name :hihi: But I'm not sure if library containing a name of a person can be very good.
There's also Halion from Cubase. Cubase deserves attention no doubt, but it's worth reading about Halion in-depth.
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bigcat1969
KVRian
 
1338 posts since 30 Jul, 2013

Postby bigcat1969; Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:27 pm Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

I think Sam is doing a 25% off orders over $50 right now so the pro version of Versillian would be what about $170? Is my math right?
IMO biased opinion, it is a really good value as a mid range small orchestra. Tons of solo instruments especially in brass and woodwinds and good percussion. Not as deeply or perfectly sampled as the huge budget orchestras of course and a bit inconsistent, but solid stuff with tons of articulations and many mic positions generally and really good Kontakt programming. It's a Player library so you don't need full Kontakt.

My free stuff doesn't do it justice as I can't do Kontakt nearly as well as Versillian can. The crossfades are well done and cut and the scripted legato works pretty well for being scripted. Of course the Kontakt convo verb helps. It isn't going to sound like Berlin or Spitfire though.

Now if you could go to $300 and if it goes on sale, I got Berlin Inspire for about $300 on intro pricing and it sounds like the big boys but it has many limitations. There are basically two velocity layers xfaded and only a few solo instruments, but my goodness that sound....

Some folks
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royosho
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51 posts since 12 Oct, 2017

Postby royosho; Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:13 pm Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

Thanks very much for all the replies! I think I have two options...

bigcat1969 wrote:I think Sam is doing a 25% off orders over $50 right now so the pro version of Versillian would be what about $170?...It's a Player library so you don't need full Kontakt.


Thanks, I didn't realize it worked with kontakt player and at 170 it's my main option. The pros and cons are obvious. A full library with every instrument I'd ever need, however the sampling I'm sure isn't at the level of the more expensive libraries. Still, there are youtube videos of every single instrument (!) and many of them sound really impressive. The other option you all will probably think is crazy, so I'll try to explain my reasoning.

DSmolken wrote:Or you could even spend the whole $200 on a solo cello, and make music for cello and piano only (there are a few decent free pianos out there IMO) hoping that makes enough money that you can buy some more samples with the profits.


Ok, brace yourselves --

Alicia Keys Grand Piano - 100
Tia Guo Legato Solo Cello - 100

I know, I know, it's basically the opposite of the first choice, choosing quality over quantity (and in this instance the trade off might not be worth it). However bear with me...

When i was young I played metal guitar. When I started playing professionally, I gravitated towards blues music and learned that complexity isn't necessarily better and simplicity quite often offers much more opportunity for expression. When I first started making electronic music, I was terrible at it because I had so many sounds to choose from that I never accomplished anything. Then I started from the start, learning about the basics of synthesis from NES tunes, then the more complicated form of sega genesis FM synthesis and eventually to modern synthesis. I learned from working with chiptunes that limitations definitely spurn creativity because I wasn't focused on the sounds, rather on the music. Ok enough life story, I just wanted to explain where i was coming from so you could understand my reasoning. Now the specific pros and cons of this choice...

Pros -

The limitations/simplicity of not worrying about sounds will allow me to focus on writing music and produce content quicker.

I literally listen to cello + piano music alternatively to full scored classical about 50% of the time (and the cello is always legato coincidentally).

the piano and cello are two of the most versatile orchestral instruments.

I write all my arrangements on a piano.

both libraries are top quality, especially the tina guo cello.

I could try to save up money to add ensembles, other solo instruments or upgrade cello to full articulations (maybe there's a crossgrade price). I could even add some nice free instruments.

Both are kontakt player instruments.

I could look at Alicia Keys and Tina Guo while making music every day. ha jk.

Cons -

I could be pigeon holed into a certain style of music - especially considering the cello is only legato! (however there is a sustain setting available for chords)

the cello is missing maybe a half/whole octave at the top, further limiting its versatility.

the cello has automatic swells when a note is pressed, the speed of the swell is controlled by the speed at which the key is pressed. Is there a MIDI programming control for this? (I'm not using a keyboard. I'll definitely have mod wheel/velocity envelope control etc).

both libraries are from famous popular musicians. Not sure whether it has any bearing on the quality/price positively or negatively, however when I bought my prs guitar, I was deciding between what I have now and the Santana version, and decided against buying something with a celebrity name attached to it - quite happy with the choice i made.

its 200 dollars for 2 instruments.

Those are my thoughts on both options. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and think, wow what was I thinking?! So I'll give it some time and read the replies. Maybe there's even other nice solo instruments I could consider (though I'd probably only consider the cello/piano combo, solo strings/piano etc). Thanks again!

[Edit] Embertone's Blakus Cello - 125 - considering instead of Tia Legato, and maybe looking at free pianos instead of Alicia keys keys. I'm really liking the Blakus Cello, searching pianos/harps/violas/violins to go with it. Still haven't forgotten about Versillian, just seeing whats possible.
Last edited by royosho on Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Saukar30
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1003 posts since 2 Mar, 2005

Postby Saukar30; Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:13 pm Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

I think personally... you're limiting yourself with the $200 thing for orchestral libraries. If what you want to do is orchestral arrangements, at some point in time, you're gonna have to shell out some bucks.

A good option would be payments plans. Im not sure if you're in the US or not but there are a few websites that offer payment plans. I understand some people scoff at them, but if you are really judicious with your budgeting you can make it work. I got most of my studio equipment back in my younger days by doing that.

The choices you have are more limited with these retail outlets, but they all have some good libraries.

Places in the US the do this are Sweetwater, ZZounds, American Musical Supply.
https://www.sweetwater.com/payments/
https://www.zzounds.com/payplan
https://www.americanmusical.com/content--name-EzPay

Eastwest as some good libraries and you can pay monthly on there cloud as well.
http://www.soundsonline.com/composercloud

This way you could buy something and then work for the next 30 days to get the rest of the money that you need. It may not be the best choice for you, but its just a suggestion.
royosho
KVRist
 
51 posts since 12 Oct, 2017

Postby royosho; Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:26 pm Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

Saukar30 wrote:I think personally... you're limiting yourself with the $200 thing for orchestral libraries.

Yea, I agree. Versillian is really my only full orchestra option I'm considering. However I've been searching solo instruments to try and build a sort of basic combo I could start creating higher quality work with. I've found a really good sounding cello (i think), the Embertone Blakus, it works with kontakt free. Its 125. At the moment, I'm exploring accompaniment options. Pianos are versatile, however other options could be harps, flutes, strings. I could maybe even use free strings in the background. There are actually alot of good kontakt free solo instruments around 100. I might wait for an Embertone sale, they seem legit.
royosho
KVRist
 
51 posts since 12 Oct, 2017

Postby royosho; Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:12 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

I think I'm sort of overwhelmed from researching all the solo instruments. There weren't many full orchestra options in my price range, however when I changed focus to individual instruments and ensemble sections, I realized there are all kinds of choices. At first, I though it couldn't work because I'd have to combine different quality instruments, and I could, however I've realized alot of paid libraries sound so good they wouldn't require much accompaniment to create great music. Even one nice sounding violin could bring my music to a level I never even imagined. Embertone's solo cello and violins are awesome to me, even though many people might consider them low end. There's lots of other solo and small ensemble options just out of my price range and I might wait until there's a sale somewhere. I'm considering purchasing either one or some combination of Embertone's Friedlander Violin, Blakus Cello, Tina Guo Legato Cello, Cinematic Studio Piano, maybe Alicia Keys keys. They all sound so good, I can't even fathom how much better higher quality libraries are. I'm hoping sometime soon there will be a sale on a combination of solo strings, namely violin and cello. Suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
Harry_HH
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2831 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:05 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

First thing, what I would do, is to make yourself clear, what is the "orchestral library" you need. Is it full symphony orchestra library, a chamber music library, a string library, or some kind of mix of those.
What I have found, is that very often a good quality (chamber) string library (violin, viola, cello, double bass), well-arranged generates much better result than a mid-quality, full symphony library. What kind of music/arrangements are you going to do?

Little is more in the orchestral arranments, in my opinion. I hear too often poorly arranged, too-full-packed orchestral arrangements.
I would rather build up my orchestral library from different sources, that buy just one big library.
I own Kirk Hunter Spotlight strings, which I have complemented by some selected Chris Hein brass and wind instruments. I paid for the Spotlight strings, when those were on the sale/group-buy much less than $ 200, if remeber correctly.
For orchestral percussions I use my old EWQLO set (I don´t use strings or other instruments of this library anymore),
and some Kontakt factory library percussions. For additional percussions, some individual stuff from Sonicouture and Fxpansion.
Then a good grand piano belongs, of course, to my orchestral arrangements, I own several piano libraries of different styles.
My next purchase in this are will be a couple of solo instruments, such as the BS Emotional Cello or CH Solo Violin.

Of course these a plenty of good, but very expensive additional products, which I´d like to own, e.g. from Spitfire audio or Vienna Symphonic library, but I really don´t need those that much, at the moment (sic).
Last edited by Harry_HH on Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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topaz
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4176 posts since 14 Jul, 2001, from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, U.K

Postby topaz; Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:08 am Re: Best First Orchestral Library Under 200 Dollars?

What a confusing thread. :hihi:
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