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Best Sounding Synth Module for under $1500

Discussion in 'Recording' started by heybluez, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. heybluez

    heybluez Guest


    I am looking for a synth module for good Orchestral sounds and possibly good drum sounds.
    I was looking at a Roland 3080 but am open to suggestions.

  2. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

    Hi Michael

    What is your budget?

    What are your orchestral goals? Do you wish to simply "hear" a composition? Are you writing for TV or movies and need an "imitative" orchestra? Is this for playing live?

    What kind of drums? Acoustic? Electronic?
  3. heybluez

    heybluez Guest


    Thanks for the quick response. I am looking initially to do some scoring for a PSA then, possibly, for an indie film, etc. I will probably record a lot with live instruments but I am looking for the possibly of being able to midi a lot of it. For example, I would like strings that sound as real as I can get for the money. I am also looking to get something that is exandable....or at least that I can add to as I get more money.

    I am looking to spend $1500 or under.....looking at the Roland JV-1080.


    P.S. I work mainly in Pro Tools LE but would like to have the ability to get scores on paper based on my MIDI or actually put notes on a staff and have the computer play it back..would DP 3 be the best choice? Remember I would like to easily go between Pro Tools and the sequencer.
  4. pan

    pan Guest

    "but would like to have the ability to get scores on paper based on my MIDI "

    Have a look at emagic's logic!
  5. Irene

    Irene Guest

    I would seriously look at getting a software solution.
    Even my XV5080 with Orch 1&2 is looking and sounding a bit long in the tooth.
    Having said that, it is a great bread and butter combination, but the XV5080 will sound better than the JV1080.
    What about a soft sampler and some cool orchestral sample CD's? Then look at Sampletank or some NI instuments to add to your palette.
    There is better cheaper stuff on the market now.

  6. Mercuri

    Mercuri Member

    Try Peter Sielaczeck's Advanced Orchestra. Something like $800 and you can't get more realistic for sampling.
  7. heybluez

    heybluez Guest


    Those Peter Sielaczeck's Advanced Orchestra strings are awesome! I cannot believe how good they sound...at least in the demo. Now (being an audio guy and not a midi, etc person) how do I get GigaStudio to work with my pro tools? Does it have the ability to translate my playing to a staff that I could edit, etc? Is there another way to use those sampled sounds?

    Just so you know...I use a Mac mostly but am very capable with PC's as well.

    Thanks for all the help,
  8. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    If you're doing "imitative" orchestral work forget about ROMplers. They are not up to the challenge. This isn't to say that they aren't good, its just that they don't have the memory to cover everything one needs for orchestral work.

    For strings, check out the Garritan Orchestral Strings, I think its the best. The Sielaczeck is good (IMO) but I think everyone has heard those and the Miroslav samples over and over. The Garritan strings have tons of ensemble combinations, articulations, playing styles and more.

    To play the strings, you'll need GigaStudio. I think its best to run Giga on a seperate PC.

    To sequence the strings, you'll need a good MIDI sequencer. I use Logic.

    To get it to sound as real as possible, you'll need to hire someone who knows how to do that. You don't just play it in and it sounds good. A skilled sequencer operator can do much more than "input notes". This is not something learned overnight (just like recording!).

    For even more realistic results, overdub a solo instrument or small section. This will lend reality to your "orchestra". A lot of low to mid-budget stuff is done this way. It works very nicely.

    If spot-on imitative strings are what you're looking for, it will cost much more than $1500.
  9. Irene

    Irene Guest


    I'm really intrigued by the Giga Orch route. I'm a Mac user. Are Giga going to stay PC only?
    And is is not possible to convert the banks, instruments and samples to something like Soft samplecell compatibility?
    Surely buying a PC and sound card isn't the only way??? :roll:


  10. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

    Hi Renie

    Well, Tascam acquired Nemesys and Tascom makes hard disk recorders. I was thinking they'll probably make some sort of "stand-alone" unit. Pure speculation on my part but not unreasonable.

    The good people at Chicken Systems are working on their Mac version of Translator. I've found it to be indispensible for converting sample libraries.
  11. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Hi Nate

    I've been waiting quite a while for the chickens!!

    Are there any real down sides to format converting Garritan? I can't see that there would be a lot of vital extra-sample info that could get lost and make it foolish to attempt..


  12. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member

    Hi Renie

    The downside is that your sampler probably won't be able to fit very many samples in it. The Garritan strings are probably mostly unlooped. The individual samples will be pretty darn big.

    The terminology temporarily escapes me but the native Giga sample engine stuff probably won't convert. I think the Garritan strings use a lot of switching via keys outside the sample playback range. So you hit, say C-2 and get Arco, C#-2 and get Pizz, D-2 = Marcato, etc. If your sampler can't do this, well...you know...heh.

    The Chicken Systems software is pretty darn good. I've used it to convert a bunch of E-mu stuff to Giga and it works pretty well. There were a few times that it did wacky stuff to the amp EGs. But that was quickly fixed in the editor.

    This is with the old version. Supposedly, the new version is even better at converting E-mu stuff.
  13. zap221

    zap221 Guest

    I use Awave Studio for format conversions. http://www.fmjsoft.com/. It can convert about 200 different formats, and lets you control parameters. I use it for several format conversions. I think it's better than Chicken.

  14. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Cheers for that hot tip zAp221!
    It sounds tasty....
  15. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    Ah yes, AWave is good too. I've used it for weird audio conversions and its batch capability.

    I dunno if its "better" 'cos its been quite awhile since I used it. I'll have to check it out again.
  16. zap221

    zap221 Guest

    Maybe Awave isn't better as far as functionality, but I just like the interface. CD Extract is great for akai conversions. Don't know how good of a job it does with GIGA though.
  17. patrick

    patrick Guest

    Yes, if you want anything close to realistic orchestral sounds, Gigastudio is the way to go. But let's also be realistic about price. You'll want a PC to run it, if not dedicated solely to GS, then dedicated solely to GS when you are using it. So maybe at least $800 for that(probably more), plus the cost of GS.

    Then of course you want a sound card that will work with GS without any problems. If you have a digital mixer, then the cheapest giga-compatible RME with 8-channel adat output would be good. If you don't have a digital mixer, then you might also be looking at some solution with external converters, which will cost you a lot more. So with the sound card we're probably well over the $1500 already.

    Oh, yes, then we need to buy the samples. Oops, sorry, over budget!

    Oh, yes, if you want the whole orchestra going at once, you might also be looking at multiple PC's with multiple installations of GS.

    Not knocking GS at all, but just saying that it is not a several hundred dollar solution, but more likely a several thousand dollar solution. But you get what you pay for, and it's a better solution than spending thousands of dollars on several hardware samplers.

  18. Nate Tschetter

    Nate Tschetter Active Member


    Totally agreed with Patrick. This is not a sub-$1k proposition. However, $5k will get you a nice custom PC and a couple shithot libraries.

    Its not as sexy as fondling the knobs of a Moog but a useful tool nonetheless.

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