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Virtual String Instruments

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  • Virtual String Instruments


    I was wondering if anybody uses Garritan Pro Orchestra for their compositions?

    I've used them for my compositions for the past three years but i'm wondering whether in a competitive market such as film scoring whether I should invest in a better Virtual String Instrument

    All of the examples from my website and Soundcloud are from GPO if you're interested in listening to them.

    I tend to try and steer clear of using much brass in compositions because i don't think that GPO replicates this accurately enough.

    I think the next step is to upgrade to east west symphonic library, any thoughts on this?


    Mark Quinn

  • #2
    I am not a composer so feel free to disregard my input. I would invest in a program that replicates the brass instruments. In a film score, little can convey the emotion of a chase scene or a shocking incident better than a brass instrument. Strings are fantastic for serenity and even have their place in the aforementioned chase scene or shocking incident but you just cant do what a film score needs to be done without brass.


    • #3
      Hi Mark,

      If I was you I'd definitely invest in a great sounding string library, as 99% of the time you'll be using the string section regardless of the genre. A good brass and woodwind library is desirable too but a great string section is a must, especially a library with convincing legatos. The danger of not upgrading is you may lose out to other composers with better software than you, and you don't want that.

      You have two options: a) buy individual section libraries (string, brass, woodwinds etc.) they're normally more expensive but sound better and have more articulations. b) buy an all-in-one ensemble library like EWQL Symphonic Orchestra, Spitfire's Albion series or Project Sam's Symphobia series that contains all sections in one library, normally cheaper but not as many articulations.

      Obviously, this boils down to your budget and the computer system you're running, as some sample libraries are very taxing on your CPU, so bare that in mind.

      Hope this helps!

      Composer for Media


      • #4
        Hi Mark

        For years I composed on a Ensoniq TS-10 (no longer made), but the music libraries out now blow that older technology away.

        I did listen to Garritan Pro Orchestra brass samples, and I agree, they aren't very realistic, especially when playing arpeggio or trills and increasing in octaves. For brass, I would try looking for something that lets you interact a little more intimately with it. I know for awhile there was a system that even incorporate a tube for "over blow". I can't remember who made it, but the technology was not based on polyphony models, which is really a mute point now anyway.

        As for the east west symphonic library, I did listen to those as well. I think the sample are top notch and well worth the investment.

        Just curious though. Are you playing this in real time, i.e. you have a keyboard connected to your Pro Tools, or are you programming them directly into your score? Lastly, do you use quantization? The reason I ask is because sometimes I would use this for my procession parts and set as a click track, but using quantization for the other instruments would give it too much of a synthesized sound, meaning, too perfect.


        • #5
          I dont play them live I program them using logic express and you're right it does make it sound too perfect.

          To be honest I spend as much time trying to 'humanize' the score once i've programmed it as I do in programming it in the first place.

          I think investing in eastwest and also investing in a good weighted midi keyboard is the next step forward.

          thanks for all your replies.


          • #6
            Here's some of my music that I composed on the Ensoniq. Everything is played in real time, no programming, although I did quantize some of the drum tracks.

            Most of this I composed during a very dark period of my life.

            Porcelain Heart

            Everything is You

            Lost in the Rain