Composers' Forum

Music Composers Unite!

Just a quick note. How you present your work is important. You can compose something great, but if you use bad samples, your presentation will stink. The solution. Go through your samples and choose which sound best- expressive, real, etc. For example, I have an old 'rompler', an Alesis Quadrasynth Plus Piano. It came with about 500 patches. Out of all of those samples, I like about only a dozen or two. I compose music with those particular samples in mind. I really recommend writing for your best samples available, even if that means writing for only a dozen patches/samples. This will really help the presentation of your work. And, of course, if you can afford to acquire great (expensive) sample libraries, do it!

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I've heard good things about Vienna. I was hesitant because you need a dongle. Not a deal breaker. Mainly I'm running out of usb ports. Most composers who liked Spitfire also liked Vienna. If I see a deal I might look at their libs in the future. Never heard of Appasionata. Sounds interesting.

On lousy orchestration, yes I agree. I also think there should be a differentiation between classical/orchestra compo libs and cinematic music. It seems most libraries are made with cinematic in mind. The two approaches share some things. Others not so much.  Cinematic often goes for big in short bursts while classical music goes for everything in between using the music only to connect a listener. Often these libraries aren't intimate enough. Sure it's easy to play a whole section. Not so easy to always capture standout instrumentation and depending on the complexity of solo work, the response/delay of the midi keyboard and library response to midi makes a huge difference. I don't want sloppy in solo work. Articulations need to be clear and fast for standout parts. Not washed in reverb. Some samples don't quite get me there for that. Since I'm an acoustic musician part of my goal was to use more intimate parts as accompaniment. Not really into arpeggios and round robins. They work great for cinematic work. Not for other stuff, for me at least. 

A person can land deals on these third party Kontakt libraries and get probably more intimacy i.e. duets, small ensemble work rather than buying up these huge cinematic libs IMHO.

I've wondered what the difference is between "cinematic" and symphonic sample libraries - though I suppose "cinematic" has a better selling pitch. There must be lots of wannabe cinema composers out there. Well, they aspire to compose so why not?

Another point seems to be a greater reliance on preset doublings and phrases, more bangs and crashes.

But I haven't done much research. If there's one thing these sample library houses isn't good at it's succinctness. Oh, they're all the most beautiful samples ever to grace the universe and by tomorrow you'll be the greatest composer since Beethoven, Mozart and whoever your favourite is. When you haven't much time, screen after screen of hype isn't useful. 

I had to reject EWSO strings as they didn't include solo viola and double bass.

Also agree that a physical license key is a nuisance. When my laptop has 3 usb ports, one taken up by the licenser, another by the streaming SSD and the third with the mouse receiver it looks grim! If I want to back work up separately the whole lot has to be switched off. If I wanted a new library I've had it unless I can load it to the internal. I'd get one of these expanders but most times I use my laptop on my lap so all this stuff sprouting from it would just augment the nuisance.

We get by though.

I have Cinematic Strings, and they don't sound all that cinematic, which is why I like them. I think you're right Dane, it's mostly just hype, aimed at all those John Williams-wannabees out there. For solo strings, I use Vienna Sp. Ed. 1 (that's the name of the library, not my educational background). Or sometimes EWSO, or on rare occasions even Garritan. Whatever works in a given situation. Although I'm not big on solo strings so it's not a problem I worry about much.

Fortunately, I'm a desktop guy, and have enough USB outlets. I have two dongles, one for EW and one for Vienna. Not a problem, I never think about them. Laptops, blah, you can have them.

Just my opinion, but a usb key is about the silliest thing I've heard of. Not that I'm advocating their use, but there are cracks out there. I hope the libraries that use these keys are well worth the hassle of yet another thing sticking out of your computer to get bumped, broken or lost. I'm guilty of all three.

I use both a laptop and a desktop. It just depends on what I need to do at the time.

Dane, I believe the sample library companies biggest customers are Television/movie/video game/advertisement composers. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. For every successful movie composer there are likely 1000 or more wanna be's. I don't mean to be pessimistic, but this is pretty much how I see it. Given this fact the library companies probably sell more of their wares to guys like us that to the actual pros. This was probably by necessity on their part because a few heavyweights in the movie biz doesn't generate enough income for them. I don't think Spitfire would be having a 50% off sale if they were selling like hotcakes to pros.

Given this way of looking at the situation, I believe many of the libraries are made with cinema in mind and using the libs for symphonic work is a decidedly 2nd use for them. JMHO. YMMV. I don't think we would have pre programmed articulations and round robins for the orchestra composer. That's all stuff designed for fast composition in movies. We can still use it for classical/symphonic/orchestra if we remove some of that movie"fluff" .

On dongles. I have a few now. I guess one can always get a hub, but some things won't work correctly using a hub.I use one for Waves plugins. The nice thing about it is if my computer blows up or gets taken away by a hurricane and I'm still around. If I can find the dongle I can simply download everything into a new computer, plug in the dongle and away I go. I use one to go between computers.using the same plugins. iLok now offers a cloud solution where you basically sign on to iLok in the cloud and run iLok plugins using their cloud as a key instead of a physical iLok. I think it's clunky. Seems to demand a lot of cpu on my machines unless it was my plugin-MCDSP 4L4000. Waves plugins can use any usb stick. I don't mind that as much. Daws like Cubase use a proprietary dongle. It's not iLok, but you must buy it. You can't use just any usb stick.I am not a fan of that. Out of all of them I like the way Waves does it best. They offer the most freedom to choose what you want to do.

Not sure about Vienna. My guess is it's not iLok. Probably also proprietary. The German companies seem to be hell bent on that model.

Vienna uses E-licenser.

Yes, a usb stick with a two year warranty. $26.If you loose the stick after that, I assume you can buy another. Same in the case of a hardware crash or theft. I suppose there are a few advantages, but not many. 

Timothy a powered hub is always best. Laptops don't have enough voltage.

That Vienna key comes with a helluvan overhead. If you lose it or break it during the guarantee period you have to buy your licenses again at 20 Euros per license. It's only guaranteed against failure. To avoid re-buying the licenses, Vienna offers an insurance plan - 70 Euros for two years. If then you lose your key, you buy a replacement, the Vienna bunch transfers the licenses to it and the plan is brought to an end so you have to buy another plan. 

They certainly know how to coin it. 

When I bought the beginners bundle 1+ (on sale at nigh on half price) I knew I faced an overhead - £80 for licenser + plan and the cost of an SSD.

I think the samples and free player are excellent.....but I don't know. I have nothing to compare them with except my antique set and they're a lot better than those though I have sold music based on them. 

However, I live in terror that this licenser key will fail....There it is, pulsing away at about 0.5Hz. There has to be a better way.

My EW key is at least 10 years old and the E-licenser at least 6 or 7. Both sit in the back of my desktop, so I have never have a problem. again, with a desktop, which you're not constantly lugging around, the odds of something happening are far less than with a laptop. I can understand the concern if you have a laptop.

Consoling and thank you for the assurances. I've had a USB stick go defunct and got obsessive about back-ups. I do 2 of the DAW and Vienna samples. As it is, I can do a software license with EW but have no free slots for a drive to hold the samples, not that I have need of them yet. 

I don't often lug my laptop around but I appreciate its portability sometimes having it beside me at the piano etc.

Michael, Can you tell me if I can use an old Korg usb stick for the licenses? I was cleaning and found it the other day. No longer needed for Korg because they went to a different validation scheme that no longer uses the the dongle.

Seems I remember someone mentioned on another forum they used their old Korg stick for something else successfully.

"Knock on wood"- I have never had a usb stick go bad on me in like 20 years or more. I'm sure it happens on occasion though. In the case of Waves, they give you one free license replacement unless that has changed. After that, they charge you but I don't believe it's much.

Tim, my USB sticks were purchased from EW and Vienna at the time I got the libraries. So no I assume they are not Korg sticks. I am not familiar with Korg in any case.

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