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Philip Robinson

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Posts posted by Philip Robinson

  1. I have a rule for people getting started, and that is don't get caught up in what's the best and what sounds like it has the most value (features, sound quality, etc.)


    When you're getting started, you need a baseline. The baseline is the set of instruments (or even just one library, like Albion, Symphobia, EWQLSO) that you learn how to use and you're "set". Meaning you can write orchestral music using them, and that's your fallback level of quality for mockups and such.


    Your baseline can be feature-rich and detailed (the Hollywood series) or incredibly dumbed down and easy to use (like ProjectSAM Orchestral Essentials). Once you have your baseline, and you are consciously feeling like "I'm trying to write music with a certain sound but my current set doesn't let me do it, but that other set will", only then should you start buying more libraries. For instance, let's say my baseline strings are CS2. CS2 is amazing, but it has no divisi. If I'm working on something and I need to write divisi, that's when I'm able to justify buying a library with divisi (like LASS or NISS). If I like to centerpiece a violin in my orchestra, I invest in a solo violin like Embertone Friedlander.




    This is a slippery slope that never financially pans out in your favor (it may creatively, but I only give practical advice). You end up buying a metric ton of shit you never use in your music, and keep buying more when you get excited about new releases from your favorite companies to build up your "library". Don't "build up your library". I took that stance with purchasing stuff and I have bought so many thousands of dollars worth of tech I don't use and rarely have ever used outside of a single project. It's one of my biggest life regrets, actually, to be tangentially dramatic. :) It burns mostly because most developers employ a no resale policy, so I can't sell something when I'm done with it. It digitally follows me and stays on my Kontakt drive forever, and ever, and ever, and ever...


    Start with your baseline, and buy something when your baseline doesn't cut it. As you absorb more stuff into your baseline, you use it more often because it's the sounds you really wanted, and it becomes your new baseline.


    That's why amazing computer orchestrators layer different libraries. They didn't learn "layering tricks" from Daniel James on YouTube then go out and buy 3 different string libraries to stay in the game; they went through the grueling process of deciding their current libraries weren't giving them the sound they wanted, then visiting the market to find who developed a library for it,

    This is such great advice. So, I'll try out the default instruments with Logic and see what I use a lot and what's passable and decide what to do from there. I don't want to cause any big life regrets for myself! Lol.

  2. If it helps, I would consider some pretty important criteria for an orchestral library that suits you:


    - What do you want to do with the library, specifically? You mentioned as a "backbone", so maybe a supplementary role is sufficient?

    - Does it have the features you want for your purposes? For example, you may want to consider (among other features) whether they have ensemble patches, intelligent voicing, keyswitches, solo patches, etc.

    - Is it within your budget? These libraries are often several hundreds of USD.

    - Does it give you the instruments you want? For instance, LASS2.5 gives you only strings (in excellent quality, but yeah, only strings), while Bravura Scoring Brass gives you only brass (you should definitely take a look at it---fantastic value for your money!).

    - Do you want it enough to wait a while until you make enough money to get it, if it's outside your budget right now? For instance, LASS2.5 is I think $1400.

    - Does it sound good in terms of sound quality? (They're all sampling the same real-life instruments, so it's mainly a matter of how well and in what way. For example, is it dry enough? How confident are you with reverb? etc.)


    It may also help to try looking at kvraudio.com and searching through their database. They have all sorts of product reviews, links to product pages, and clear product descriptions.

    Ack! More to think about! And I'm really not sure about some of these things, like what sort of sound quality I'll like best. I'll be sure to check out kvraudio though.

  3. Logic and most other DAWs are FANTASTIC for orchestral music. So fantastic that the worlds most talented and esteemed composers use them for scoring. What you want to look into these days are libraries like Spitfire's Albion series, East West Hollywood Strings/Brass, Berlin Woodwinds/Strings, 8Dio's Adagio series, LASS2 and Cinesamples' offerings also (especially Cinepercs).


    There are all kinds of awful misinformed opinions floating around out there about using specific DAWs or notation software like Sibelius but if we listened to types of opinions we'd all be using Pro Tools and buying $5,000 hardware compressors and EQs. In the end all that a DAW does is with regard to orchestral sounds is create a way for you to enter notes into VSTs, even if you go the notation software route you're going to need the same VSTs (in Logic's case AU), and you'll have to painstakingly edit legato transitions, note start times, mod wheel transitions, decays, keyswitches, arpeggiators and faulty Kontakt scripts (or god forbid you go via EastWest and have to deal with the PLAY engine...) in the same exact way. Any DAW out there that supports VST/AU will work pretty much identically in that regard. 


    So yeah, composing the song may be at best 40% of the work. The rest of the work comes down to you and your DAW, and spending many many hours trying to make your thousands of dollars of samples sound decent. So if you are used to GarageBand and can work well in it, go with Logic and you'll be set. Always remember that writing your music is step 1, and orchestrating it is step 2, and in the digital music realm you're orchestrating a second time for the samples, not to an orchestra, and that requires ridiculous amounts of editing because every sample library is recorded differently with its own legato timings,keyswitches, crossfades, patch structure and all around quirks.

    Logic definitely seems like the, um, logical choice for me but it sounds like settling on an instrument library will be much more difficult  :|

  4. Logic's orchestral stuff is, like most DAW's, crap. It's not what they do. Not specifically, anyway. For good orchestral mixes, you'd want an orchestral sample library (or several), and those are costly. They are compatible with Logic and other DAWs, though, so that shouldn't be an issue.

    What are some recommended sample libraries then? Regardless of what DAW I go with, sounds like I'll need some anyway. Might as well know what I'm getting into lol. I've heard people mention the Vienna Symphonic Library...?

  5. After spending about 10 years with Garage Band, someone gave me Reason Essentials last year and I was very excited to try it out. But most of the things I like to write are orchestral or at least have an orchestral backbone and Reason was not very good for that (just trying to find a place to buy the Miroslav Refill was overly difficult). So I'm looking to start fresh with a new DAW that will fit my needs better. Since I use a MacBook Pro and have experience with Garage Band, I'm leaning towards Logic Pro. I hear it's orchestral stuff is pretty good and the $200 price point doesn't hurt. But I wanted to get some opinions from the community here first. Is Logic Pro good for orchestral writing or should I check out something else?

  6. As far as orchestral instruments, you can not use external plug-ins in Reason. You have to use what it gives you or look for things called a "ReFill" which is basically additional instruments to use inside of Reason's sampler, or "Rack Extensions", which are additional instruments you can put in the giant rack.

    The only decent orchestral ReFill is Miroslav, but even then it's "eh". There are no orchestral rack extensions.

    You picked the one DAW in the world that tries its hardest not to let you make the decisions on what sounds and effects you like to use. :cry: It's part of Propellerhead's "closed box" philosophy, which says that Reason is all you need to make music and there should be no need for externals (the philosophy falls flat because a lot of included stuff for sample-based music is abysmal, and you're stuck making cool electronic music but not much else).

    Well poop :sad: Was not aware of Reason's closed box nature. Hmm. I'll check out Miroslav at least. Thanks for the info.

  7. Hey, everybody. I've been using GarageBand for upwards of ten years but I recently got Reason Essentials and would just like a little help or advice. I've messed around with it a bunch (especially the drum machine!) but I'm still lost on the finer points, and none of the tutorials I've watched online have been that helpful. If anyone knows a good set to watch, I'd love to know. The big thing that is thwarting me right now is I can't figure out how to dynamically change tempo, volume, or panning. If someone could impart that bit of knowledge to me, I'd really appreciate it.

    The other thing I wanted to ask about is instruments. I prefer to do orchestral things and the included orchestral instruments are unsurprisingly awful. But I don't know if I need instrument libraries or sound fonts or patches or what. I'm willing to pay for nice stuff, so let me know what's the best. (Depending on how expensive things are, it might be good to know about some free options as a stopgap measure. I just don't know.)

    I'm looking forward to getting to know Reason better and eventually submitting some stuff here on OCR. Thanks for any help you guys can give.

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