Virtual Orchesta Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by rmccam, Jan 7, 2005.

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  1. rmccam

    rmccam Guest

    I'm not savvy with virtual instruments (I prefer the real thing), but I'm working on a project that doesn't have the budget for real players so the virtual route seems to be the only option.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on which virtual orchestras are worth taking a look at? (Vienna Symphonic Collection, Garritan Person Orchestra, etc., etc.) What are the differences between them? And of course, price versus quality is the name of the game here.

    If it matters, I'm a ProTools Mac user.


  2. rmccam

    rmccam Guest

    ... particularily, how is Garritan Personal Orchestra versus East West Quantum Leap Orchestral Silver??

    Thanks again,

  3. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Central Copenhagen
    Stay clear of Vienna, unless you're a multi millionaire. In my opinion, it's way overpriced and you're never going to need all those samples.

    Have you heard the demos from Garritan? They're quite impressive, and the price is also much more reasonable. I would stick to that in your case.
  4. midiwhale

    midiwhale Guest

    I think Garritan GPO is great value and layers nicely, but EW has the superior sound with less IMHO.

    The vienna is down to personal taste.
    For simple arrangements I still like Miroslav, Dan Dean and Kirk Hunter.
  5. runamuck

    runamuck Guest

    I own both Silver and GPO.

    The fidelity of Silver is more detailed overall and the high end, especially, is a bit cleaner.

    GPO is a bit better regarding articulations and instruments offerred . GPO makes available many more solo instruments but dont expect to use them in any exposed way to fool anybody.

    I use Silver most often.
  6. rmccam

    rmccam Guest

    Thanks everyone.

    Maybe I should clarify...

    I need strings (probably 2 violins and a cello), to go on a pop ballad. I'm not looking for it to sound like a pad, more singular notes and melodies.

    What would you suggest for this particular project? (runamuck, I'd like to hear your opinion since you seem to have the software that I'm looking at)


  7. underworld

    underworld Guest

    how do those compare to the Ediron Orchestral VSTi? That's the only virtual orch I've heard....
  8. runamuck

    runamuck Guest

    OK. If you're talking about solo instruments then I would steer you away from both GPO and Silver.

    I am very famuiliar with what is available regarding cello. The two that I am most familiar with are Dan Dean's Solo Cello and Kirk Hunter's Solo Cello. I have used both extensively.

    The Dan Dean cello is smoother, doesnt have as much character, is more a generic sounding instrument, and generally works better on most things when the cello is way back in the mix compared to Kirk Hunter's. You will not fool anyone into thinking it's a real cellist playing live if it's exposed much at all. Or I should say, I'm pretty darned good at drawing velocity maps, using volume swells, etc. and I cant acheive realism with it.

    Kirk Hunter's cello is better as a solo instrument but that said, I have a few complaints. Number one is that the tone of the instrument and the way it was recorded is not exactly to my taste.
    But with work you can get 80% there as far as realism goes.

    I just finished a project with cello as the main solo instrument. I hired a great, great cellist, recorded her part, and it was just terrific.
    But I realized a day or so later that I really wanted to add cello in a few extra places in the piece that of course was not indicated in the score. I couldnt afford to bring her back in for addidional recording so I went about trying to use the Kirk Hunter library to fill in those missing spots.

    No one can tell where I've added the sampled instrument although in each spot it was fairly short (two measures at most) and I really had to spend some time with velocity, volume data. and EQ

    So to sum up, I would recommend Kirk Hunter's cello over Dan Dean's in most cases.

    As far as violin goes, I dont have first hand experience but have heard very good things about Kirk Hunters as well.

    Hope that helps,


    BTW: You're going to need a sample player for either of those libraries. I use Giga Studio (PC only) but you'll need to check on software samplers that are compatable with both the particular library and that will run on a Mac. Check on Apple's Logic sequencer sampler (cant remember the name of it) and MOTU's Mach 5 for starters unless you have one already.
  9. You could probably get a couple student musicians from the local university to lay tracks on a song, or two for the price of GPO. In the end it'll be the real thing and ALOT less expensive than if you tried to get a convincing result from samples.

    GPO and Silver are great for what they are, but if you want convincing solo instruments you'll need something a little more pricey like GOS, or VSL Solo Strings and a sampler to play them. In addition to that, there's a pretty steep learning curve to it all. You need to learn to use the software, midi sequencer and samples just so that you can find out that you also need to learn how to program a convincing midi performance.

    On a positive note, once you have all this stuff, and know how to use it well, it will be there for you, free of charge, any time you need it.
  10. Ellegaard

    Ellegaard Active Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    Central Copenhagen
    Also consider Synful Orchestra, the VST instrument.

    If you're looking for solo instruments, I strongly agree with Andrew. It's a waste of money to spend a fortune on samples that are eventually not going to sound anything like a real instrument. It is especially critical with solo strings.

    If you pay a couple of conservatory students for an hour you will have plenty of time to lay some decent tracks. It may cost less or more than a sample CD, but the end result will be way better! That's just my opinion as a violinist.
  11. Krou

    Krou Active Member

    May 27, 2001
    I just got my EW Symphonic Gold library and I'm utterly blown away.
    I got in on the group buy which cost me $399 instead of the regular $999 price. To call it a great deal is an understatement. To be fair, I never messed with GPO so I can't compare, but this EW library is absolutely amazing.

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