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Author   Topic : "Ochestral music composing software?"
Jimmyjimjim
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:57 pm     Reply with quote
I know there are alot of musicians around here-

What would be a good program to do orchestral compositions? I'm alright with notation, bad with keyboards- is there a program out there that you can use to compose full-blown symphonic (or close to) pieces by sequencing- without a synthesizer? Or better yet, without an expensive sound module?

Thanks,
-E-
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balistic
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:59 am     Reply with quote
It's expensive, but Synful is pretty nice, if you don't want to invest in a huge sample library. You'd need a sequencer/VST host to use it in.
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[Shizo]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 12:25 pm     Reply with quote
Yeah, you probably woun't find a stand-alone program for orchestral composition. They usually come in virtual sound modules (VST or DX format) which you use in a sequencer, and good ones cost a lot. There are some cheaper alternatives with good sounds which you can find here: http://www.kvraudio.com/

There are also some synthesizer VSTs which try to emulate the string sounds, and some of them are free (but they don't sound too good).

Oh yeah, you may also find free SoundFonts on google (.sf2 file format) which are basically archives of audio samples which you can use in your sequencer. The quality of free SoundFonts greatly varies, so you have to download a ton before you find some good ones. Most sequencers (even the free ones) support VST and SoundFont formats.
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Jimmyjimjim
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:11 pm     Reply with quote
Thanks for the replies, guys.

SO- if I have this correct- A VST is a program that "hosts" a sound module like Synful or similar. It seems there are software based VSTs? Or I could get a hardware based VST like a Receptor.

What VST host or sequencer do you recommend? Also it would seem I need a MIDI input device(like a synthesizer/keyboard)? Am I assimilating this correctly?

Thanks, this is really new to me.
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[Shizo]
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2006 12:14 am     Reply with quote
Well, VST is the popular plugin format. The sequencer/workstation is the one that "hosts" tese plugins. The plugins are usually syntherizers, samplers, effects and combinations of everything. You can use VSTi's (VST instruments) as sources of sounds in your composition.

I use Fruityloops
balistic uses Orion
Hamst3r uses Buzz

There are others of course, from really simple Hammerhead, to the classic ProTools.
Good luck with your "music trip" Smile
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Lunatique
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 5:39 pm     Reply with quote
When it comes to orchestral stuff, you really get what you pay for.

For composing/sequencing without a keyboard using only notation, you can look into softwares like Finale, Sibelius..etc. They are the industry standard for professional composers.

For cheap yet complete orchestral sounds, look into products like Kirk Hunter's Emerald, IK Multimedia's Miroslav Philharmonik, MOTU's Symphonic Instrument, Edirol's HQ Orchestral, Garritan's Personal Orchestra, Eastwest Quantumleap's Symphonic Orchestra Silver Edition..etc. Brian mentioned Synful, and I can attest that it does sound wonderful. I also use the Edirol one--which is awesome for using low resources yet having a complete orchestra. However, for the most professional/detailed sound, I would highly recommend Kirk Hunter's Emerald--for the price, it's absolutely stunning how complete the sample library is. The downside is that you'd have to learn the idosyncrasies of dealing with a highend sample library. You'd also have to get a soft sampler like Gigastudio or Kontakt for Emerald too (the others mentioned all come self-contained with a playback engine).

If you ever want to look into the super pro highend stuff, Vienna Symphonic Library, Eastwest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Gold/Platinum editions, Sonic Implant's Symphonic Collection...etc are the cream of the crop at the moment. There are also lots of section libraries from other developers like Project Sam's libraries, Dan Dean's libraries, and a ton of others.

The best place to ask for expert advice is to go to Northern Sound Source's forum. It's the hotspot for professional composers working in film/TV/games. KVR is not very good for orchestral knowledge--they're mostly electronic guys who are experts on synths and effects, but pretty much clueless about anything orchestral.

Personally, I'm a Sonar user for my main host sequencer, and for orchestral stuff I either own or have used most of the stuff I mentioned.
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Jimmyjimjim
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 10:22 pm     Reply with quote
Excellent-

Thanks man, I'm going to check out all of those.
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ceenda
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 2:16 pm     Reply with quote
You might also like Overture 4. It's (afaik) the first of the notation editors to feature VST support, so you can use the libraries directly inside. Maybe check out some of the demos (bear in mind these are probably all using different sound libraries).

That said, I nearly always end up taking stuff into another sequencer like Sonar anyway (or alternatively Orion, FLStudio, Cubase etc. - depends on your workflow), as Overture lacks a more fully-featured mixer for adjusting the levels, EQ etc. of different instruments.

Also, the libraries that Lunatique mentions have different 'timbres', if that's the right word. Garritan has lots of articulations and plenty of solo instruments for finer orchestral work (especially on a budget), whereas the EastWest libraries tend to have more of the "Hollywood" style feel to them, which makes them great for filmscores or game music.

Don't get caught in "host wars". Just demo as many packages as you can and decide for yourself which best suits your workflow.
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