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Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Printable Version

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RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - peastman - 06-10-2018

Classical, mainly though not entirely orchestral.  (And I really wish I could do choral music, but sadly there just aren't any sample libraries up to that task.)


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Mattias Westlund - 06-10-2018

(06-09-2018, 04:43 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: Having listened some libraries such as Inspire or even the somewhat maligned Orchestral Essentials, to me Miro sounds entry level at best.

Well that is true, and I thought so myself at first. What eventually won me over -- reluctantly, I'll admit -- was that primitive or not compared to contemporary libraries, Miro 2 has a character all of its own. Like I said I kind of prefer older/less advanced libraries anyway and you need to keep that in mind when reading the above review. In fact I wouldn't recommend it at all if you don't have some other stuff to combine it with and smooth over the rough edges and weak spots. So I hope no one is taking this as my whole-hearted endoresement of Miroslav 2 CE -- I just wanted to express how I was pleasantly surprised by a library I wasn't expecting much from, due to bad experiences with its predecessor. That's all.

Also, I think people in general need to learn how to make the most of what they have instead of constantly pining for something "better". The fact that so many composers are unwilling (unable, even?) to accept the limitations of their tools and learn how to work around them has contributed to a lot of modern VO's sounding much the same. There is limited room for originality and having a trademark sound when everyone's using the same libraries, you know?

That said, yes the Miroslav 2 libraries (both CE and the full version) are overpriced, considering what you get for your money. If CE was, say, $50 and the full version $150, that would put things in a completely different light and I would have no problem recommending them. As it stands, I'd say don't get them unless they're on sale and you know what you're getting yourself into.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - bigcat1969 - 06-10-2018

Fair enough. Hopefully I didn't come across as misunderstanding your review or hating it. It was a good piece of writing. I respect your work and your opinions.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - peastman - 06-10-2018

Quote:Also, I think people in general need to learn how to make the most of what they have instead of constantly pining for something "better".

That's a very good point.  I can't really say that I need a better library.  But then again, that might just reflect my own ignorance.

I rely primarily on a mix of instruments from SSO and VPO.  I also have Logic Pro, which I find very useful for non-orchestral or more unusual instruments.  Going forward I expect to also be using occasional instruments from VCSL, especially the keyboards and percussion.  And I have GPO which I've found to be mostly useless.

But I worry whether I'm missing something by relying entirely on free and inexpensive libraries.  I can work within their limitations, and in a lot of ways I think it's amazing how much they can do.  But do more knowledgeable people hear my music and think, "This sounds like it was made with cheap instruments.  It would have sounded better if he had used a better library?"  I'm totally willing to spend more money if I'm certain of getting something valuable for it.  But I don't want to spend $600 and then discover I wasted it on a library that's no better than what I already had.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Mattias Westlund - 06-10-2018

(06-10-2018, 07:20 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: Fair enough. Hopefully I didn't come across as misunderstanding your review or hating it.

Not at all! I was commenting on the general "only the best is good enough" attitude that appears to be prevalent in the VO community, rather than your post in particular. Sorry if I made it sound like that.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Mattias Westlund - 06-10-2018

(06-10-2018, 07:28 PM)peastman Wrote: But I worry whether I'm missing something by relying entirely on free and inexpensive libraries.  I can work within their limitations, and in a lot of ways I think it's amazing how much they can do.  But do more knowledgeable people hear my music and think, "This sounds like it was made with cheap instruments.  It would have sounded better if he had used a better library?"  I'm totally willing to spend more money if I'm certain of getting something valuable for it.  But I don't want to spend $600 and then discover I wasted it on a library that's no better than what I already had.

Well... keeping in mind what I have said previously, both in this thread and in others, I'm probably not the right person to answer this question. To reiterate, I'm not into modern hi-tech libraries, I don't own any, and I'm not overly interested in them either. I guess I'm more of a "retro-VO" composer than someone who lives at the bleeding edge of sampling, looking for new ways to take the realism of my music to the next level. I still feel that I'm limited more by my skills as a composer rather than the shortcomings of the libraries I have at my disposal (basically, there are examples of virtual orchestration from the very early 2000's that sound far more convincing than anything I've ever done, which means technology isn't the main issue here). So this is my $0.02.

Personally I would be OK with just using freeware and cheap libs today. I mean, in a desert island type of scenario, where I just had freeware to choose from, I'd have no problem making some cool music with it. There is just SO much stuff to choose from nowadays compared to just 10 years ago. Sure, you won't be able to cover all bases and you'd be limited in terms of versatility, but sound quality is the least of your worries. Even free stuff sounds pro-level these days -- you're usually limited in terms of articulations and dynamics instead. But creative usage of samples should get you a long way.

(06-10-2018, 07:28 PM)peastman Wrote: But do more knowledgeable people hear my music and think, "This sounds like it was made with cheap instruments.  It would have sounded better if he had used a better library?"

I can only speak for myself, but people who are more into the technological aspects than the music itself is not my target audience and I honestly don't care what they think Wink They're missing the point IMO, and while you should always strive to make your music sound the best it can on all levels, getting obsessed with sample quality and "sounding professional" is counterproductive. Just use the tools you have and make some good music. If you eventually find that you need better tools, get them. No one else should tell you that your music would be better if you had better samples, that is just stupid and safe to ignore.

"Well that Jimi Hendrix guy was a decent guitarist, but he would have sounded much better with a modern guitar and amp." Said no one ever (I hope) Smile


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - bigcat1969 - 06-10-2018

If our biggest arguments are worries that we might be offending each other, than I think this is a pretty good internet message board.

I take your point and agree that there is a sort of I must have the best attitude while possibly working on skills with what we have might be more productive than trying to all be Hans Zimmer (not that there's anything wrong with Mr. Z inspiring us) while using his officially endorsed products. I say that having just completed a completely horrific Opus #1 using loops, no skill and misusing excellent instruments so maybe I have a guilty conscience as a prime example...

Oh and to those techno snobs, Mattias' latest low tech album is a masterpiece and i refuse to recant...


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Samulis - 06-10-2018

On that note, I had a contest a few years ago where people were given a bank of about 50 samples and could only use up to 25 of them-
https://www.newgrounds.com/playlists/view/249a7aa6bb6b08db9aa1e7bece818e1b

To be honest, some of the results surprised me a lot- if this is what we can do with 32 megs of decent quality samples and a little ingenuity, why the hell do I still hear generic tracks made with massive libraries? The amount to which the modern professional composer may use his/her advantages of gigabytes of samples as a crutch cannot be understated. Whether or not this is the downfall of creativity or a step towards more realism is a call we each need to make.

Not to pull things too off topic... The real difference (imho) lies in the attitude between dealing with a small set of samples and a large set of samples. When I load up a flute on the ESI-4000 or even a single flute sample in ARIA or something, it is a different mindset I am in versus when I load up a giant 10-articulation flute patch in Kontakt. For starters, the sound I get by its limited nature instructs how I should use it. I think I've said this before, but composers from before 2004 who really used their equipment to its maximum potential as Mattias points out, were not just intimately aware of the sounds and limits of those sounds, but were much better at perceiving how they could adjust and work with those sounds to bring out their strengths and weaknesses. A common example is pitch bend usage. I can try using pitch bend now, but it won't come anywhere near the skill of someone who has spent years learning to use it tastefully and suitably.

In addition to the inherent 'instruction' of how the sound should be used, it also forces me to be more creative to conceal the limited nature when the inevitable joints in the work are visible (e.g. switching between two distant samples may require using a leap to avoid an unseemly transition). You are also more likely to use effects and other resources to shape the sound of the sample to taste, as your changes will be more apparent and additionally help conceal the shortcomings of the samples even more.

With many large sample sets today, there is a 'plug 'n play' sort of design, which is most handy for composers for games and TV who need something ready when they load it. The shortcoming of this is the loss of a decades-old art of sample and patch tweaking. When I load up an instrument on the ESI-4000, there's about an 80% chance I'm going to tweak in somehow, even if it's just adding a control I like or changing an attack or release value to taste. When I load up a patch today on some big library, the most I might do is load a mic position.

Again, whether or not this is all good or bad is a matter of taste.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Viktor - 06-10-2018

(06-10-2018, 04:40 PM)peastman Wrote: Classical, mainly though not entirely orchestral.  (And I really wish I could do choral music, but sadly there just aren't any sample libraries up to that task.)

I think while what Bigcat and Matthias say is basically true and skill is more important then technique, there are some things, you can hardly fake, no matter how skillful you are. Depending on what you wanna do in your music, you can have a far easier time or a far harder time on what you wanna achieve. I think there are some points to consider if its the first library your buying. I'll give you some points that I think would have helped me in getting my first library.

- Does my music make extensive use of staccatos or other round robin heavy arrangements?
I know the first thing we're thinking of here is trailer music (which I think I'm the only person enjoying it to a certain degree on this message board Big Grin), but you also mentioned classical, I tried to make a mock up of La Mer by Debussy and Nuits and it was borderline impossible, because of some brass staccato sections.

- Do I need x-fades in my music?
X-fades were a fucking epiphany to me, when I first encountered them, since I'm really into big swelling moments and stuff like that. If you're music doesn't need that, then can be fine without them, but it can also really help to give more expressions to melody sections. Volume automation alone though can also be very powerful.

I think their could be more precise questions, to what I'm trying to bring across, which is the general question, if the library will in general help you with your vision or stand in your way.

Also I would recommend, maybe thinking of getting a good reverb instead, that can also really push you're music to the next level, which sounds like what you're after and can be far cheaper. But if wanna get a new library I would side with Bigcat and try to get Kontakt via crossgrade or on Black Friday. If you wanna get better samples most of the time you sadly will have to have a full version of Kontakt and the orchestra samples in there were at least to me an upgrade to what I had at the time (which was Miro 2) and I still use the Strings pretty often.

What is also pretty cheap or can be free, is trying to incorporate other sounds into your library. I'm making a lot of progress right now in my skill by making more use of synthesizers and pads, while this might be not your cup of tee, if you're strictly into classical. But hey, your handicapped by using a computer to make music anyway, why not try to make use of the advantages that can also come with it?

That turned kinda ranty, but I hope it was helpful.

(06-10-2018, 08:44 PM)Samulis Wrote: On that note, I had a contest a few years ago where people were given a bank of about 50 samples and could only use up to 25 of them-
https://www.newgrounds.com/playlists/view/249a7aa6bb6b08db9aa1e7bece818e1b

These tracks show that you can come much further in Virtual Orchestration, if you stop trying to imitate an orchestra and just make cool sounds that in some way resemble an orchestra. There are some truly "unrealistic" set ups in there, but why trying to compete with something that you can always just imitate, if you can also create something new, more inspiring, that also gives itself the right to exist. I think Vengalis is a really good example of that.


RE: Miroslav Philharmonik 2 CE (a review-ish kind of thing) - Mattias Westlund - 06-10-2018

(06-10-2018, 08:35 PM)bigcat1969 Wrote: trying to all be Hans Zimmer (not that there's anything wrong with Mr. Z inspiring us)

Absolutely not. Zimmer seems like a genuinely likable, down-to-earth guy and I feel kind of sorry for him, having inadvertently spawned masses of clones aping his style, and then catching flak because these clones are making boring, derivative music. That's a shitty situation right there.

(06-10-2018, 08:44 PM)Samulis Wrote: The real difference (imho) lies in the attitude between dealing with a small set of samples and a large set of samples. When I load up a flute on the ESI-4000 or even a single flute sample in ARIA or something, it is a different mindset I am in versus when I load up a giant 10-articulation flute patch in Kontakt. For starters, the sound I get by its limited nature instructs how I should use it. I think I've said this before, but composers from before 2004 who really used their equipment to its maximum potential as Mattias points out, were not just intimately aware of the sounds and limits of those sounds, but were much better at perceiving how they could adjust and work with those sounds to bring out their strengths and weaknesses.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, is the secret to good virual orchestrations summed up in five sentences my Mr. Gossner! And no, I'm not being sarcastic here, that literally condenses all my thoughts on working within limitations of sampled instruments (no matter what era they're from) into one paragraph. Let the samples lead the way instead of forcing them to do things they simply can't.