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I've been thinking about writing an article on free orchestral samples, I haven't decided though if it's going to be a roundup or something of a more general nature. In any case I decided to sit down and have a thorough look at what's around these days. Obviously I'm well aware of VSCO2CE, VPO and NBO and the other usual suspects (MIS, MSLP, Philharmonia etc). But aside from that, has anyhting interesting popped up in recent years?

And well, what can I say. Wow. I found so much stuff that I decided to whip up a quick composition using only freebies.

Listen here.

Please note that this does NOT use SSO/VPO/VSCO2 or any other complete orchestral package. It's just various instruments added together into a pretty impressive (if not highy versatile) setup. The composition doesn't make much sense I might add, it's more of a demo reel.

Samples used: Sonuscore Orchestra Chords, ldk109 violin, Carlos Vaquero Transverse Flute, Intimate Strings Lite, Strezov Tutti Staccatos, Ixox Flute, Flcellogrl cello, Meatbass, Rubner bass, Christian Schwenk Studio 49 Royal Percussion, JH Windchimes (well, they're bar chimes actually), Cinesamples Triangle, G-Town cymbals and bass drum, Gothic Harp, MTG clarinet, trumpet and piccolo, Ethan Winer bassoon, MIS oboe, Jasper Blunk fortissimo horns, ProjectSAM trumpets, MIS bass and tenor trombones, Philharmonia tuba.

There's a lot of other stuff as well, though not used in this composition (yet). It's incredible how the orchestral freeware market has changed over the last eight years or so!
Sounds to me like you made good use of the samples you chose.

Perhaps it's my mostly untrained ear, but free samples are sounding pretty high quality compared to what I recall from the pre SSO days.

I'm guessing that some of the samples you used imposed a few limitations though. I would assume "Sonuscore Orchestra Chords" only lets you play chords as played by the entire orchestra? If I recall, ldk1609 violin doesn't cover the full playing range of the violin. I'm not criticizing the samples, just curious about some of the limitations imposed on your quick composition.
The ldk1607 violin has the entire playing range, but the articulations have only a single dynamic layer. This is a pretty common thing with these free samples -- single velocity. So you're kind of limited in that regard. The Jasper Blunk samples for example sound great, but being only single velocity their usefulness is limited (unless you play fortissimo all the time).

As for the orchestra chords, that's pretty cool. It's divided into three parts: bass notes, major and minor full orchestra chords, and major and minor chords in the high strings. Using it felt kind of like cheating at first but TBH it really adds a nice texture if you keep it in the background. And it's an awesome tool for coming up with interesting chord progressions!
Some very cool sounds! I do wonder if a filter could be used on the fortissimo samples to make them sound at softer dynamics. We experimented with this in VSCO 2 with quite good results.

There's some slightly fishy tuning here and there, but overall it's very usable sounding!
(06-25-2017, 04:42 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]Some very cool sounds! I do wonder if a filter could be used on the fortissimo samples to make them sound at softer dynamics. We experimented with this in VSCO 2 with quite good results.

Yeah, I did the same thing with SSO (though unfortunately it seems it only worked properly in Dimension LE/Pro) so I guess that might be a solution.

(06-25-2017, 04:42 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]There's some slightly fishy tuning here and there, but overall it's very usable sounding!

Yep, I kind of gave up on a few instruments that were difficult to tune as this was only a demo type of thing. I think I'm going to try and mesh this with my VSCO2CE project and see how that sounds. Kind of like the ulitmate freebie orchestra template Smile
Thats rather cool, you can really achive more and more with just freebies and starting virtual orchestration is getting more a more accessible, which is pretty damn cool. And it also shows that not only good samples are important, but also how to use them. (When I started I didn't use reverb ever, really weird sounding, but someone had to tell me, that that is what i needed.)
What are the strings sounds at 1:22? They sound rather nice.

(06-25-2017, 04:42 PM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]Some very cool sounds! I do wonder if a filter could be used on the fortissimo samples to make them sound at softer dynamics. We experimented with this in VSCO 2 with quite good results.

Can you describe how you did that? I tried experimenting with it a bit on brass samples and it come out rather synth sounding, but I wonder if i maybe just cut to much frequencies (I just used a eq and used an expanding highcut with ReaEQ). What I heard from VSCO 2 sounded rather more convincing then what I had achived.
Some really good sounds there Mattias. I know you've commented about this before, but it's such a shame for users such as myself that almost all of those mentioned are made for, and only for,  the all conquering Kontakt!
(06-26-2017, 08:18 PM)Viktor Wrote: [ -> ]What are the strings sounds at 1:22? They sound rather nice.

The staccato strings are Strezov Tutti Staccatos. And they work extremely well with Embertone Intimate Strings Lite. I just wish I had a small(ish) pizz section as well, and you could throw these in as 2nd violins with VSCO2 CE. 

(06-26-2017, 08:21 PM)Robin Bagnall Wrote: [ -> ]Some really good sounds there Mattias. I know you've commented about this before, but it's such a shame for users such as myself that almost all of those mentioned are made for, and only for,  the all conquering Kontakt!

Not sure what you mean there... I'm not a Kontakt user (all of this was done with TX16Wx) and while a few of those samples were released as Kontakt patches, the raw wave files can be accessed and mapped in anything you like.
Not sure what you mean there... I'm not a Kontakt user (all of this was done with TX16Wx) and while a few of those samples were released as Kontakt patches, the raw wave files can be accessed and mapped in anything you like.
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Sincere apologies. I googled them all and they mostly seemed to be locked to Kontakt. I had no idea that the wave files were accessible in such situations - I thought you had to have the full version of Kontakt to release the raw wave files, hence my comment. Having just downloaded the Sonuscore freebies, I see that is not the case. Sorry - honest mistake.

Still, my mistake has yielded a bonus for me - I wasn't aware of TX16Wx and it looks like a fantastic tool, thanks.
(06-26-2017, 08:18 PM)Viktor Wrote: [ -> ]Can you describe how you did that? I tried experimenting with it a bit on brass samples and it come out rather synth sounding, but I wonder if i maybe just cut to much frequencies (I just used a eq and used an expanding highcut with ReaEQ). What I heard from VSCO 2 sounded rather more convincing then what I had achived.

Not all of VSCO 2 uses EQ's- but a few instruments do (primarily some woodwinds that aren't really that dynamic to begin with).

Definitely go both higher and lighter than you might think. High frequencies aren't totally slashed, they are attenuated (thus, best to use an EQ rather than a LP filter if possible- or a shallow LP). Also look at some examples of quiet and loud sustains and compare the frequency spectrum, that might help.

In VSCO 2 Pro, we used the EQ in Kontakt, but you the EQ in SFZ should work, although I am afraid they redid the way effects work between SFZ 1 and SFZ 2 and all the documentation on SFZ 2 is this one book you have to buy (not very helpful for an open standard). I have a copy and I could probably help you with that, but I'm out of town at the moment.
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