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Been watching a thread at VI-control.net...wanted to get some opinions on same topic. Wanting to stay less than $300, and have narrowed my choices to:

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 (it gets a lot of hate in forums...but GPO5 sounds much better than GPO4) $120   
Quote:Please for the love of all things holy, don't let the Garritan marketing BS persuade you. The library is a collection of archaic, outdated samples which are continually rehashed and extras taped on top to try to cover the fact that it's so mindbogglingly outdated compared to the competition merely by increasing a number to seemingly demonstrate "progress". They aren't great samples, even at the time they weren't anything special, and it's not going to last you beyond a year of your creative growth before you are itching for something more modern and powerful.


EastWest Symphonic Silver $200

Sonivox Film Score Companion $250 (no solo strings)  samples good but VST too buggy

VSCO 2 $239 $150 on sale

Vienna Special Edition 1 $285+ $30key good, but too expensive to grow with

Kontakt 5 with library that come with it $125 cross grade on sale

I don’t want Albion and others like it  due to not having individual section and instrument patches and only have large ensemble patches. 

Opinions please!
If you're willing to spend a SHITLOAD of time fiddling with volume controls, panning, and EQing for EVERY instrument in order to balance them out, then get GPO 5. Otherwise avoid it like the plague.
The only two I have personal experience with are EWQLSO Silver -- which is still a decent library if you don't mind the Play Engine, and the huge Hollywood sound is what you're after  -- and the Sonivox libs. Maybe you should give this one a read before deciding on spending money on that bundle.
Hmmmm...thanks for the info on Sonivox. Struck it from the list.

(01-11-2018, 08:28 PM)StevenT2112 Wrote: [ -> ]If you're willing to spend a SHITLOAD of time fiddling with volume controls, panning, and EQing for EVERY instrument in order to balance them out, then get GPO 5. Otherwise avoid it like the plague.

Could you elaborate on struggles with GPO5 or are the struggles with an earlier version?  Just curious because the GPO5 update added 9GB of sample content. Also, I usually fiddle with panning and levels for any cue/mock-up, but not so much EQ so just wondering about your mileage with GPO5.
Some (mostly objective) thoughts from a Kontakt user's perspective:

(Based on the full version of Kontakt 4, mind you). Like all libraries, the stock Kontakt orchestral library has its strengths and weaknesses. I get a lot of use out of it, still, but that's with a lot of supplemental stuff that I've acquired over the years.

It is mostly made up of an old collection of Vienna stuff-- a "Vienna Lite" from the early 2000s, basically. What you'll notice is that the samples are all very dry; not much room noise to be found. I'm told that is the case with most Vienna samples (something to think about when considering their stuff). This makes the brass rather weak in the Kontakt library, I've found. It seems brass likes to have something to bounce off of to really sound sweet.

Very few patches have modwheel x-fade options, and you'll have to go under the hood to get things like simulated legato going. All in all it's a fairly simple library with a simple interface.

There are many advantages to owning a full version of Kontakt, but if you're looking for a one-stop-shop to start with, and you aren't too concerned at the present with expanding your libraries or getting into tweaking patches yourself, you may want to consider VSCO 2. I don't know about Garritan or EW, personally, but VSCO 2 will likely have the sorts of useful programming (simulated legato and so forth) ready to go upon start up that is only sparingly represented in the Kontakt stock library, or which would require you to do some tweaking yourself.
GPO 5 is still pretty weak, new content and all. Virtually all that new content is some comparatively massive pianos (although by modern standards, a 2-4 GB piano is little) and some strings Gary Garritan recorded back in like 2002 for some "world's best string library ever" that cost like $1000 or something... except the world has moved on in those 15 years to things like true legato and round robins. I gave a listen to all the demos and I wasn't impressed in the slightest by the strings- EWQL SO could do better back when it originally came out! The only part of GPO 4 I used once I got EWQL SO was occasionally the flutes, but I lucked out when making VSCO 2 and found an amazing flute player by random coincidence, so that's no more.

Compare this-
https://soundcloud.com/garritan/full-strings-short-bows (GPO 5 with "fancy new strings")

To this-
https://samulis.bandcamp.com/track/clockwork-army (EWQL SO Gold + Close mics expansion- note that bandcamp does compress too, so it sounds even better when you download it)

Compare this-
https://soundcloud.com/garritan/romantic-strings (GPO 5 "fancy new strings")

To this-
https://instaud.io/1guD (EW Hollywood Strings)
or for a more fair fight-
https://www.newgrounds.com/audio/listen/521263 (EWQL SO Gold)

Compare this-
https://soundcloud.com/garritan/solo-and...short-bows (GPO "new fancy strings")

To this-
https://youtu.be/OWakzevdVio?t=1881 (VSCO 2 Pro, layered strings ensemble (it's even better if you use sections separately))

Or this...
https://soundcloud.com/garritan/flute-or...s-and-runs (GPO Flute with "Sonic Morphing" (a.k.a. a filter, I assume- at best, some sort of crossfading, although I doubt it)

To this...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d1mdp4SkjQ (VSCO 2 Pro, Flute I)
Or this...
https://youtu.be/-d1mdp4SkjQ?t=318 (VSCO 2 Pro, Flute III)

I believe I can rest my case now, hahaha. Please for the love of all things holy, don't let the Garritan marketing BS persuade you. The library is a collection of archaic, outdated samples which are continually rehashed and extras taped on top to try to cover the fact that it's so mindbogglingly outdated compared to the competition merely by increasing a number to seemingly demonstrate "progress". They aren't great samples, even at the time they weren't anything special, and it's not going to last you beyond a year of your creative growth before you are itching for something more modern and powerful. At least an option like EWQL SO, Spitfire Albion, VSCO 2 Pro, or heck, even the Kontakt default library is something which can still be made useful even when you have grown both in resources and skill far beyond where you are now. I still use the Kontakt default pop library sometimes- I did a whole track using it once and to be honest, it's not half bad, so long as you don't know what a drum kit is supposed to sound like. XD

EWQL SO Gold is what I would recommend if you don't mind waiting for a sale, though it's best if you can buy the close mics too as those greatly improve the mixing options (or just get Platinum). Nonetheless, I've heard some utterly amazing stuff done with Silver even- an old friend of mine from Newgrounds always made such impressive pieces just with Silver. SO is still to this day the "gold standard backbone", although it's been so over-used, it's almost shunned to an extent. I still identify the instruments from it regularly watching TV. The thing that gets me to this day with SO is that it is actually enjoyable to play on the MIDI keyboard, like I can sit down and just start composing. I don't feel the urge to tweak, I don't feel like it's not saying what I want it to say, it just feels like breathing to use. Maybe it's because I've worked with it so much, but I just think the patches sound and feel "right" in that library, even if they are a little long in the tooth now (the lack of true legato and tepid modwheel crossfading on some patches can be a hinderance). You also should never add reverb on top of EWQL SO- it's plenty wet, just the way it is (heck, even with a little close mic mixed in!).

The Hollywood stuff (well, the brass and to some extent the strings) are very beautiful, but the cutting and patch editing is downright terrible and well, everyone has a horror story about using PLAY/iLok, so there are disadvantages to the EW route.

The Kontakt library is better than GPO, but not by a whole ton (GPO's orchestral percussion (drums/cymbals) is worse than most GM soundfonts... so literally anything is better). Buying Kontakt does mean you can use all those libraries by Bigcat and other devs too, so don't discount that too much- you may not get all the mileage you want from the Kontakt library, but there's great stuff like Alpine Project (freeware) and Ivy Audio stuff (also free) to add on to that.

I wouldn't recommend any Vienna options. They are too expensive for what they are and aren't useful without dedicating your life to learning how to use them properly and your bank account to buying their still-overpriced premium options (when you compare them with the capabilities of Berlin and Spitfire products), which is completely unnecessary now that companies like Spitfire and EastWest make sample libraries you can play instantly out of the box that hurt the bank account a little less. They try to convince you with the numbers game and the whole "oooh, Viennese players!" stuff, but at the end of the day, it's what you hear that matters, not who or why you hear it. At your point in creating music, you shouldn't be tied up in making sure the cellos are panned exactly to the right spot for the reverb plugin because they are recorded in an anechoic chamber and impossible to mix right otherwise- you should be loading a cello patch and writing.

Not to plug too much, but VSCO 2 Pro is currently still $149, and those cellos are just where you need them. Wink

That said, if you do get VSCO 2 Pro, I would recommend planing for the future to supplement it with something with more "cinematic orchestral" attitude, particularly with strings, if you plan on doing something bigger feeling.
(01-11-2018, 10:49 PM)Nayrb Wrote: [ -> ]Very few patches have modwheel x-fade options,

Looking at the manual for Kontakt 5, looks like they've added x-fades-starting at page 85 of Library Documentation. I hope it is as they say...
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/pr...downloads/

(01-12-2018, 10:13 AM)Samulis Wrote: [ -> ]I believe I can rest my case now, hahaha. Please for the love of all things holy, don't let the Garritan marketing BS persuade you.
I think you made a strong case sir. Striking from the list

Quote:EWQL SO Gold is what I would recommend...
I like this too. They are all currently on sale, but maybe there's a better sale later?
Silver $200 | Gold $400 | Platnum $600.  Silver fits my price range better Smile  .

Quote:Buying Kontakt does mean you can use all those libraries by Bigcat and other devs too, so don't discount that too much- you may not get all the mileage you want from the Kontakt library, but there's great stuff like Alpine Project (freeware) and Ivy Audio stuff (also free) to add on to that.
I like the idea of opening the door to Kontakt and there vast library possibilities. Especially the great work from people on here Smile .

Quote:I wouldn't recommend any Vienna options. They are too expensive for what they are and aren't useful without dedicating your life to learning how to use them properly and your bank account to buying their still-overpriced premium options
I checked there demos...the SE demo is just OK.
But your right...getting into more of their samples for better sound gets expensive!
Listening to their demo of Symphonic Cube of Princess Leia's Theme sounds very nice, but for $4,500?!? As a hobbyist, probably never.
Listening to their demo of Super Package of E.T. Adventures on Earth sounds super realistic, but for $13,500?!? Again, as a hobbyist, probably never.
Not to mention you probably have to buy in to there reverb software to get it to sound like they do. Another $650.  Vienna maybe if I ever hit it big (again most likely no for me Smile ), so striking from  the list.

Quote:Not to plug too much, but VSCO 2 Pro is currently still $149, and those cellos are just where you need them. Wink
I am still very much onboard with this option. How long for the sale? I in the middle of a big family purchase, so it'll have to wait for a while.

Quote:I still identify the instruments from it regularly watching TV.
Just curious what shows have use it?

Quote: but I lucked out when making VSCO 2 and found an amazing flute player by random coincidence, so that's no more.
My compliments to the flute player!!! The samples sound really nice.

So I guess I'm kinda split...Buy Kontakt 5 and VSCO 2 Pro, or buy SO Silver and VSCO 2 Pro. I think either option would keep me busy for a while.
Quote:Listening to their demo of Super Package of E.T. Adventures on Earth sounds super realistic, but for $13,500?!? Again, as a hobbyist, probably never.

Keep in mind you can best all of this with stuff like Spitfire BML even for literally a fraction of the price, especially around holiday season. By "best" I mean it is easier to use, faster to use, near-instantly sounds fantastic, features equally qualified musicianship, and has all the advantages of Kontakt libraries. If brand loyalty wasn't a thing and they didn't have extensive deals with institutions and colleges, Vienna would have folded at least 3-5 years ago. Economically speaking, realistically speaking, there are just so many better solutions on the market today. Yeah, it was the top stuff 10 years ago, but there are so many fantastic high-end orchestral libraries today, it's hard to even tell what's worth looking at when you have a budget big enough.

Quote:I am still very much onboard with this option. How long for the sale? I in the middle of a big family purchase, so it'll have to wait for a while.

Friends & Family discount, I reckon. Send me a message when you're ready and I'll hook you up. Otherwise, there'll be another sale around the end of Q1/early Q2 for sure.

Quote:Just curious what shows have use it?
Literally anything made from 2005-2015 or so, especially the cheaper the production (documentaries, sci-fi flicks, etc.). Games, films, movies, documentaries, library music for all of the above, etc. I pick up on 6 Horns Sus 4 Lay and similar (the horns patches are very... distinct), but the percussion is also very easy to spot (it has a ton of highs and yet is still damp to the bone). I'll occasionally catch on the strings or some of the woodwinds. These things happen when you use something too long.

Quote:So I guess I'm kinda split...Buy Kontakt 5 and VSCO 2 Pro, or buy SO Silver and VSCO 2 Pro. I think either option would keep me busy for a while.
I like both options. Wink
Quote:Friends & Family discount, I reckon. Send me a message when you're ready and I'll hook you up. Otherwise, there'll be another sale around the end of Q1/early Q2 for sure.
Thanks! I will take you up on that!
Hi jmcmillan,

FWIW, here are some examples that an enthusiast has made of his work with some of the libraries you are considering.  He's into film scoring which may not be your intended use, but may give you more to listen to (as if there weren't enough to listen to on youtube user channels!!!)...

https://www.youtube.com/user/kash117/videos

Hope this helps,
CH
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