Scoring Central

Full Version: Help buying my first orchestral library
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
Hi all!

I'm VictorSeven, an amateur composer and pianist (mostly into videogame stuff). I am always trying to improve my composition techniques (and I have little idea of orchestration). I found this forum the other day and I really wanted to register and talk about music and learn new stuff. Also, I saw that main members are known names to me Smile

I've been working with Virtual Playing Orchestra and some other freebies for some time. However, I want to start composing for games more seriously, so I decided to invest a bit of money to upgrade my libraries. Reading this topic I think that my best options are the VSCO 2 Pro and EWQL Hollywood Orchestra Silver.

There are two important things here I need.
- First, I compose mostly for games, and I do not want to sell myself as "epic/rpg music orchestra" musician because I do not feel confident enough to do that. Also I like to do also jazz and electronic music, and I enjoy composing for different instrumentations and styles. 
- Two, my workstation is ALWAYS OFFLINE, so I need a way to activate my buy withouth being connected to the Internet.

Regarding EWQL, I haven't found any detailed guide on how to activate the instruments without connection. Looks like I actually need the iLok key in this case,  but I am not sure. I would like to clarify if it is possible to do this and how. 
It looks like EWQL has more quality and articulations, but it only features "classical" orchestra instruments. These are the main pros of this library.

On the other hand, VSCO2 Pro has a bunch of exotic instruments and some jazz-sampled stuff. In the manual it states clearly that the registration only needs me to install NI manager and write my activation code.

So I would like to know your opinion. Price is similar (EWQL Hollywood Silver is 300€ vs 230€ of VSCO 2 Pro). For now I believe that VSCO 2 has a decent quality to start in the market and would give more flexibility, but I'm a complete noob and I believe it is better to listen to you before. Wink 

So, nice to meet you all! I understand that you may be tired of this kind of questions. I will come with many interesting orchestration questions next time, I promise! Big Grin
Hi Victor, welcome to Scoring Central! Smile

I'm obviously *extremely* biased, but my suggestion of EW Hollywood Silver vs. VSCO 2 Pro, I would suggest VSCO 2 Pro as the more fitting choice, given the criteria and styles you have noted.

EW's Hollywood line is indeed quite good, but is several years old and not without flaws. While some of the Hollywood content is great, borderline excellent (e.g. Hollywood Brass, Strings), other parts are quite lackluster (particularly the woodwinds). True legato is a fantastic feature, but is not as essential as I think some would make one believe. Understanding principles of good phrasing will do nearly as much. The main benefit of the Hollywood line is that it, well, sounds like a big film scoring orchestra. With Silver, you'll be giving up multiple mic positions and quite a few instruments otherwise found in Gold and Diamond. My frank opinion on the Hollywood line after several years of use is that it is not worth buying unless it's Diamond, and especially not worth getting if that style is not your thing.

The old general purpose stand-by of composers is EWQL Symphony Orchestra, EW's previous orchestral library. SO is solid, not all that great anymore, but is mostly fit towards more 'epic' music, like Hollywood. I find SO is particularly good at being consistent and well recorded, while as a developer, I find there are many lapses and flaws with the sampling of Hollywood. What SO lacks in sample count, it makes up for in scope and consistency, being the choice of many composers. With the Diamond version, or Gold with separately purchased close mics, SO can be quite versatile, although its weakness is excessive baked-in reverb; thus it's not suited for chamber or intimate works. It's also very old, dating from around 2004 I think. Again, the strength is towards the loud, 'epic' style.

Note that all EW products require an iLok. As far as I am aware, you can authorize a code to the iLok from your online system, then plug the iLok into any other system (including an offline one) to use it.

VSCO 2 Pro is fundamentally designed from a different perspective from either of the other libraries, as much as a race car is from a bicycle. VSCO 2 Pro is more of an artistic project than a 'check the boxes' commercial product; its key focus is on diversity, as there are instruments and articulations in VSCO 2 Pro that don't exist elsewhere in sample form. The library is ideal for people who want something a bit more introspective and exploratory, which gives you multiple options and directions for each instrument and sound. Where EW only offers one, at best two of each instrument, VSCO 2 goes up to 4, 6, even 8 (in the case of triangles!); in addition, many instruments have multiple microphone positions to experiment with. The trade-off is in sample density per instrument, with VSCO 2 Pro having generally fewer samples per articulation/note. Lastly, if you have any issues with the library, you can get in touch with me directly, rather than some support team somewhere.

If you can open and use Kontakt and Native Access on your offline computer, you should be able to use VSCO 2 Pro. I would advise testing to make sure Native Access and Kontakt (or Kontakt Player) will run fine on your offline system.

At the end of the day, these are just my suggestions. What really matters is your preferences and the direction you would like to proceed musically. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What libraries can serve to allow your strengths to shine and disguise your weaknesses?

My most important advice is to listen through the solo playthroughs of patches and listen to see which ones you like or don't like. Do any inspire you already? Can you hear them being of use to you in your works?
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...Vue4jax8ey
This is controversial and feel free to contradict me, but I won't go near ILok. My best friend is a computer guy for a school and knows a fair amount about this stuff. I had him look into Ilok for me and he was horrified. It basically 'takes over' your computer in ways that in other worlds would be considered a rootkit and he and other network admin whatever you call them guys would never allow. Also Ilok has nightmare stories about customer service, google it. NI/Kontakt isn't nearly that invasive and has decent customer service.
Welcome!

I second Bigcats' suggestion to avoid iLok. I think it's lurking on my computer somewhere from when I tried the demo of one of those Sonivox Orchestral Companion libraries, but I've always avoided it as best I can. I consider iLok an invasive species.

NI's system, on the other hand, is relatively painless and my experience with customer service has always been good. I think they might have some sort of offline activation where you just use a device that is online to punch in various serial numbers. I did that once, but it was back in 2008, so something might have changed since then. Definitely try installing and activating the free Kontakt Player per Sam's suggestion.

As for which library to buy, I think you may consider VSCO2 as your best option given that you like to do jazz and other styles. Over time you can always grab up third party Kontakt Player libraries at a discount (especially around the holidays) if you need or want something else. Chances are one library won't suit all of your needs anyway. But VSCO 2 is pretty impressive and while Sam says attempts to get a big epic sound out of it will meet with mixed results, I still think you could get away with plenty, given what I've heard in examples.
Thank you for your answers! I was more inclined to VSCO, and after your suggestions I believe that it is the one that fits better my musical and technical requirements.

Quote:I'm obviously *extremely* biased, but my suggestion of EW Hollywood Silver vs. VSCO 2 Pro, I would suggest VSCO 2 Pro as the more fitting choice, given the criteria and styles you have noted.

Even if you are biased, you gave strong reasons to prefer VSCO 2 over EWQL in my case. I want something flexible, and I believe the diversity you mention in VSCO can benefit my style.

Quote: I second Bigcats' suggestion to avoid iLok. I think it's lurking on my computer somewhere from when I tried the demo of one of those Sonivox Orchestral Companion libraries, but I've always avoided it as best I can. I consider iLok an invasive species.

I knew nothing about this kind of problems with iLok. I will read a bit more about it, but I will try to avoid iLok for sure. I hate software that goes wild without asking... Dodgy

Quote: If you can open and use Kontakt and Native Access on your offline computer, you should be able to use VSCO 2 Pro. I would advise testing to make sure Native Access and Kontakt (or Kontakt Player) will run fine on your offline system.

Perfect! I install Kontakt Player and Native Access. If they work, then I will go for Versilian. If they work I believe I will have no problem with the Versilian installation (since in principle I only have to give Native Access the activation code, and no online-check is needed).
 
Now I only have to look for an affordable synth instrument to finish my basic setup. Hopefully the Kontakt Player factory presets will have some decent samples to start with.

And then I will return with proper music question and discussions. Tongue
Again, thank you very much for the help!
Just to provide a different perspective, I have used the iLok software for upwards of a decade now and I have never encountered any issues with it. From what i can tell it doesn't affect performance, it doesn't call home, it's just a service that lies dormant using hardly any resources until you launch an iLok-licensed plugin, at which point the plug checks with the service to see whether it's activated on this system or not. That's it. If there's any malign rootkit type shenaningans going on, I would be very interested to see any evidence of it. iLok's bad rap is largely due to their countless issues with hardware dongles in the past, we've probably all heard the horror stories. But the software works fine. Of course I'm just a single person so my experience has no statistical value, I just felt it warrants a mention.
(01-13-2019, 10:12 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: [ -> ]Just to provide a different perspective, I have used the iLok software for upwards of a decade now and I have never encountered any issues with it. From what i can tell it doesn't affect performance, it doesn't call home, it's just a service that lies dormant using hardly any resources until you launch an iLok-licensed plugin, at which point the plug checks with the service to see whether it's activated on this system or not. That's it. If there's any malign rootkit type shenaningans going on, I would be very interested to see any evidence of it. iLok's bad rap is largely due to their countless issues with hardware dongles in the past, we've probably all heard the horror stories. But the software works fine. Of course I'm just a single person so my experience has no statistical value, I just felt it warrants a mention.

I'll grant that my opinion was formed by a dongle-based experience over ten years old. I do feel that the iLok experience I had when I tried the Orchestral Companion demo was much smoother. I was bothered by the fact that Sonivox didn't mention that I needed it to run the demo, though.

In any case, I wouldn't want to scare anyone off of a perfectly suitable library based on my own subjective concerns. I'm sure I might one day find something I just have to have that requires iLok and find it's not all that bad.
There are lots of free synths that might work for you...
https://freedigitalinstruments.wordpress...nth-links/

I also did some sampled synths that might be of interest...
https://bigcatinstruments.blogspot.com/2...ynths.html
Hi again. I have been looking to the Native Access software before buying VSCO2.

Sadly, it looks like I cannot use it. The FAQ states:

Quote:My computer is not Connected to the Internet. How do I Install and Update my Products?

Native Access requires an internet connection in order to install and update your products. KOMPLETE (ULTIMATE) hard drive users can install directly from the hard drive but the computer needs to be connected to the internet when entering the KOMPLETE (ULTIMATE) serial number.


It doesn't even allow the installation of Kontakt Player -which has to be downloaded through Native Access. I will try to find a solution to this, but in the meanwhile, I cannot buy any library...

I find this stuff from the big companies quite inconvenient. I know they had a lot of problems with keygens and so on, but now the only way I can install the libs without modifying my setup is downloading illegal libs.  Angry I am not going to do it, but I wonder why making everything so complicated for the clients.

If anybody knows any workaround to this, please share! Thank you!
(01-18-2019, 07:32 PM)VictorSeven Wrote: [ -> ]but I wonder why making everything so complicated for the clients.

I don't mean to be a dick so don't take this the wrong way, but you do realize that a computer not being connected to the internet is something very, very rare in this day and age? I know some people keep their DAW systems offline for various reasons but that is hardly the norm and you can't expect a big commercial entity like NI to take very minor use cases into consideration. That's a bit like going to McDonald's and complaining that they don't serve cold hamburgers because you happen to prefer them that way.

Just connect your machine to the internet to install and activate everything, then unplug it when you're done. I'm pretty sure NI don't require constant internet access for their software to run.
Pages: 1 2