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tweex
12-02-2009, 05:59 PM
So I am always curious as to what others are using to create their different orchestral tracks, mixes and songs. I love to hear what software people have found effective over time. I also always want to hear how templates and tools have evolved for different people over time.

So the question for this thread is simple:

For orchestral work, what programs, software, VI, plugins, etc do you use now and how has it evolved over time.

My list of software will be here shortly (as I'm running a little short on time) but I really want to start the postings!

And please, don't use this as a place to flame others for their choice of software.

tweex
12-02-2009, 07:09 PM
Sorry for the double post, but here is my current list:

Even though I'm rocking 10 gigs of RAM, I have three separate template files for my orchestra work:

1. Strings, Brass, Woodwinds
2. Percussion
3. Choir/Vocal

My primary VI software is East West Quantum Leap Symphonic OrchestraGold Pro (NI version) for all my tonal instruments. I also have some Vienna Symphonic Library patches layered in there along with a new sample library called Cinematic Strings. They have a free download of a unison marcato patch that sounds great layered in there.

For percussion, I use the sounds available in EWQL Gold for more of the traditional sounds (timpani, snare, tambourine, etc) but when I do more cinematic work, I rely on Stormdrum 2 (SD2).

For vocal work, I have EWQL Symphonic Choirs (PLAY version).

For more ethnic instrumentation, I utilize EWQL Silk which covers just about any Asian sound that I might need. I also have some patches and samples from Reason that I'll use every once in a while, but it's rare.

In the future, I'm hoping to expand my library a bit with a couple more packages:

1. RA
2. Voices of Passion
3. Hollywood Strings or VSL comprehensive strings (for legato work mostly)
4. Some Project SAM packages.

Souliarc
12-02-2009, 09:07 PM
Back in the day, I composed everything (orchestral and electronic) through Reason using the Orkester sound bank and Factory sound bank. I think I did well with what I had, but I just didn't like the workflow.

Nowadays, I use Sonar 8 P.E. I haven't been very prolific with my music pieces and had trouble completing them... but when I do compose I use Kontakt 2 as my primary sampler. All of my libraries and their instruments get loaded into Kontakt. EWQLSO Gold is my main orchestral instrument supplier.

For acoustic drum kits, and just all out awesome percussion, I as well StormDrum. I just have the first instance of it though. The Studio Kits rock!

To put a little spice on things with some ethnic flavor I use QL Rare Instruments.

Kontakt is such a beast. It handles everything so well and is probably the main contributor to my ease of mind.

GarretGraves
12-02-2009, 09:59 PM
Im with Souliarc. EWQLSO Gold has become my dominant orchestra supplier as well. Only two things missing from it tho. And that's choir and keyboard instruments. But I use Garritan Personal Orchestra for keyboards (Which also has some decent quality instruments on it but doesnt offer as much as EWQLSO). For drums im using Superior Drummer 2.0 which I HIGHLY recommend. Using them in FL 7 and mixing down a wav file and importing it into Adobe Audition for guitar and bass work.

By the way, what the hell kind of a name for a program is EWQLSO? Sounds like someone couldnt come up with a name, got frustrated and slammed their hands on a keyboard! I mean, what do the letters stand for?

Meteo Xavier
12-02-2009, 11:50 PM
???

East West Quantum Leap Symphony Orchestra.

Please tell me you're kidding or I am misunderstanding something. I wouldn't come off like this if you didn't own it.

Moseph
12-02-2009, 11:53 PM
I use VSL SE Plus and Sonar 6. I'm beginning to hate Sonar, though. I do a lot of CC automation, and it's a headache dealing with individual nodes. I really need something that can do vector-based automation curves and also has a multi-track layered piano roll. I know FL has vectors, but it doesn't have the layered piano roll. Does anyone know of something that has both?

EDIT: SIR 1 for reverb with this (http://noisevault.com/nv/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=29&func=fileinfo&filecatid=136&parent=category) or this (http://noisevault.com/nv/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=29&func=fileinfo&filecatid=120&parent=category) providing the impulse response, harmonic exciter (http://www.kvraudio.com/get/712.html) on the whole mix to make it sound more live, transient smoother (http://www.fluxhome.com/products/Freewares/bittersweet2) to mellow it out just a bit.

tweex
12-02-2009, 11:55 PM
I mean, what do the letters stand for?

EWQLSO = East West Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra

Souliarc
12-03-2009, 01:16 AM
I'm beginning to hate Sonar, though. I do a lot of CC automation, and it's a headache dealing with individual nodes. I really need something that can do vector-based automation curves and also has a multi-track layered piano roll. I know FL has vectors, but it doesn't have the layered piano roll. Does anyone know of something that has both?

To bring up a multiple tracks in the piano roll, hold ctrl and select each MIDI track by the number (it lights up green). When you have all the MIDI tracks selected, hit alt-5, then bam, there ya go. As far as vector automation, you can do that on the track itself in the track view, not in the piano roll. I haven't had any problems holding down ctrl and alt while drawing the controllers in the controller pane in the piano roll view, though.

GarretGraves
12-03-2009, 02:17 AM
???

East West Quantum Leap Symphony Orchestra.

Please tell me you're kidding or I am misunderstanding something. I wouldn't come off like this if you didn't own it.

I actually did know but was also joking.

Moseph
12-03-2009, 04:14 AM
To bring up a multiple tracks in the piano roll, hold ctrl and select each MIDI track by the number (it lights up green). When you have all the MIDI tracks selected, hit alt-5, then bam, there ya go. As far as vector automation, you can do that on the track itself in the track view, not in the piano roll. I haven't had any problems holding down ctrl and alt while drawing the controllers in the controller pane in the piano roll view, though.

Yeah, I knew how to do multiple tracks. I meant that anything I switch to also needs to be able to do it.

Using the track view to to automate CC values, however, had not occurred to me, and it may prove to be quite helpful. Although it does kind of negate the usefulness of the layered piano roll since you have to use track view with inline PRV turned off to even see the curves. I wonder why you can't do it in the piano roll.

EDIT: My issues with drawing the values in the piano roll view are 1) if I want to insert a smooth level adjustment at an arbitrary point, I need to know exactly what the last value set was so I know what level to start at (which using vectors avoids) and 2) trying to do detail work is hell because the handles on all the nodes get in each others' way if the curve is too dense. Also, as far as I know, you can't assign a keystroke to switch the CC value displayed in the lower piano roll pane which means moving the mouse to a small, out-of-the-way button and clicking twice every time you want to change the CC displayed (although I think Sonar 8 lets you open multiple panes).

Souliarc
12-03-2009, 05:10 AM
Using the track view to to automate CC values, however, had not occurred to me, and it may prove to be quite helpful. Although it does kind of negate the usefulness of the layered piano roll since you have to use track view with inline PRV turned off to even see the curves. I wonder why you can't do it in the piano roll.

Well, even when you're in the track view with inline PRV off, you can still see your MIDI data in the clip.

EDIT: My issues with drawing the values in the piano roll view are 1) if I want to insert a smooth level adjustment at an arbitrary point, I need to know exactly what the last value set was so I know what level to start at (which using vectors avoids) and 2) trying to do detail work is hell because the handles on all the nodes get in each others' way if the curve is too dense. Also, as far as I know, you can't assign a keystroke to switch the CC value displayed in the lower piano roll pane which means moving the mouse to a small, out-of-the-way button and clicking twice every time you want to change the CC displayed (although I think Sonar 8 lets you open multiple panes).

I can see your frustration :P

1.) It may not be the quickest way, but you can right click and hold on the previous node to see the value. You do still have vector automation in the track view though.

2.) For doing detailed work, don't you want to be zoomed in more horizontal anyway, which will avoid the problem of the dense nodes? And yeah, 8 allows you to open multiple views of CC values in the controller pane.

I think overall, the nodes have their advantages, and vector has it's advantages. Ultimately though, we should have a choice to which one we would like to use, and where.

Sorry to derail your thread a bit Tweek...

tweex
12-03-2009, 04:55 PM
Sorry to derail your thread a bit Tweek...

Hehe.

So who else can give us the 411 on your current setup?

DZComposer
12-03-2009, 05:18 PM
I primarily use EWQLSO Gold Pro XP for my main orchestral section sounds. I sometimes use GPO4 (Garritan Personal Orchestra, version 4) for solo instruments. Most of my percussion comes from Virtual Drumline 2. For Choirs, I use the old Voices of the Apocalypse library. Organ, I use the organ from Project SAM. Piano, Garritan Authorized Steinway Pro. I'll pull saxes from Garritan Jazz and Big Band or from Garritan Concert and Marching Band, depending on the sound style I want. I'll also grab some euphonium from COMB as well when needed.

When I get the money, I want to add the SAM Brass and SAM TrueStrike (No PLAY or dongles like StormDrum) to my arsenal.

Most of that will load into Kontakt, the only real exceptions being GPO4 and the Steinway, which uses the Aria sampler developed by Garritan and Plogue.

I am particularly fond of a Kontakt script library called SIPS (it stands for Solo Instrument Performance Suite). It creates a very nice legato sound for my brass instruments. http://nilsliberg.se/ksp/scripts/sips/sips.htm

dannthr
12-03-2009, 05:32 PM
You can zoom in to the CC pane with the mouse wheel, if you have one.

I prefer nodes, if I want to smooth a curve, I simply redraw it. It's very convenient for me to redraw a curve.


For orchestra, I have two computers. One computer is the general use computer as well as sequencing and recording. The second computer only runs Kontakt 2.2.4.

At the moment, I'm using an additive template (whereas in the past I used to use a premade orchestra setup). In standalone Kontakt I load a template with 64 blank instrument banks and 13 blank stereo outputs labeled by instrument group.

When I add a dry articulation, I assign it an output. When I add a wet articulation, I do not. When I add an unpanned articulation, I add a stereo modeling effect inside the instrument fx. When I add a prepanned articulation, I do nothing (unless the panning isn't to my taste).

On the outputs, I have several impulse responses--both commercial and custom-made--that emulate positions on the stage (Front, Middle, Back--Left, Right, Center). I have a few different stages recorded but whose dimensions are similar and each one works better on different kinds of instruments than others.

Always tweaked contextually, as I add.

Doing this allows me to mix as I write, for better or worse.

But having a set process on how to add makes having an additive template quick and easy to use.

In SONAR, I load a new default file, (2 Audio, 2 MIDI) going into the piece, I already know (generally, perhaps not specifically) what I'm going to need, and so I start setting up track folders to eventually arrange instruments.

I typically use the first Audio as my master record channel, where I will apply some mastering templates, just a really simple limiter, some really soft multiband compressor, not too much, just slight tweaks. At the very end I'll add a polishing reverb (an impulse response from ANOTHER hall, but very subtly added) and normalize to peak or an average RMS if the client needs some loudness--but I prefer peak.

The other Audio channels are pre render audio channels, if I have a live player, or if I have some weird sound FX that I made, etc.

If I have those, I might have a staging channel where I'll record and then everything will get bounced to the mastering channel.