Good summary! To add on what you're saying, I would say VSL Special Edition isn't really that too far out of someone's budget. There are student discounts (I'm speaking from Australia but I'm sure it's a worldwide thing) available which lowers the price even more. Just getting the first SE without the Extras will give you some damn good basic samples to learn how to sequence and (hopefully) orchestrate properly. Orchestration will always be a funny one in the world of MIDI sequencing, but if you can make VSL sound coherent I think you'll be on your way to higher level sequencing. What's good about VSL is that it's dry mic'ed. So there's no way to try and lie to yourself about what the mix or the balance of instruments sounds like cause it's right in your face!