I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present.

The big but, is that I use Sibelius 7.1, and want something that will play back picking up dynamics, phrasing and articulation, without me having to do anything extra....also I need (more than orchestral sounds) a decent choral library. I have looked at East West, but cannot find out if it will simply sing an "ah" sound (what I have currently.) I would LOVE words, or even vowel sounds, but don't want to commit composing time to typing all in. Vienna sound library looks at though it would do this, but the cost is way more than i have to spend !

I know that East West does not pick up lyrics from the score, but basic choral sound is decent, so I don't mind just one "ah" sound for the playback. 

Has anyone had experience of EastWest and Sibelius, with choral music?

Or is there anything out there that will do this? (Im not keen on Garriton Personal Orch choral sounds, or Note Performer.) Thanks to anyone who answers ! Getting desperate to hear anything even resembling what is on the score !!

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  • Hi Suzanne -

    I don't have an easy answer for you, mainly because I'm a composer (self appointed) not a techie/digital guru. As far as I know there is no product that does what you want.  Someone else may chime in here and say "try this!" and we can both learn something which would be great.

    I've used Sibelius, East-West, NotePerformer, VSL and DAW software for a few years now and nothing I've found is easy. The good news is that there are composers right here on CF that are getting good results with the same or similar products. Have you listened to a good sample of what's here?  You should do that and ask specific questions of us. But I can tell you that it all involves work, study and expense. (ouch)

    East/West does not directly sell a sound set for Sibelius.  There are third party vendors and talk about DIY but a quick search finds no easy answers. Personally I think EW has some good choral sounds but their products are not all very good compared to what else is available, I wouldn't invest in them without careful shopping and research.

    I don't know anything about VSL's vocal stuff but their products are usually among the best available for classical applications. I don't think anybody has a good 'word builder' plug in, but as always I could be wrong.

    The only product that I know of which comes close to doing what you want is NotePerformer. The latest version gets good reviews.  It has a free demo and is fairly easy to set up and use and people here on CF get good results with it, again you should listen and ask questions.

  • Hah, another one here who can't help. I have a natural distaste for notation software - it's genetic, I can't help it - until they come up with a Notovid-19 jab. Not sure if Pfizer wants to get into notation software but there's always a hope.

    But I do run a few VSL libraries and if you think you might be interested, keep in touch with their site, the "News" tab, because every month they put something up at a good sale price. When the pandemic started they had a line called "VI Heroes". It went on for about half the year when things were priced down by 30-50%. Better, individual instruments could be had from many libraries. 

    The Voice "bundle" came as a set and I bought it for the solo voices.  around £250 for the lot - the SATB choir, the earlier Vienna Sopranos, the 7 soloists. VSL is the only outfit that gives that range of soloists. I like them all except the soprano who sounds a little raucous in her lowest 5th. But the coloratura, mezzo and contralto are gorgeous, to me. The standard library (just ahhs comes in at half the price. The extended one has the same articulations but 'ooos').

    I can't find any soloists with word-building except Realivox Blue (soprano). Realivox Ladies has a variety of sounds that can be built into syllables but it's more geared to popular styles.

    None of which helps does it? But I thought I'd mention the VSL cheap sales. There's software to make Sibelius use them. 

  • Thanks so much for your reply Ingo. Yes, price (as you say, "ouch" ) is always going to be an issue. Still, sometimes i suppose we have to "bite the bullet" and get the best we can afford at the time. 

    Interesting to hear what you say about EastWest. I liked the sounds i heard, but had not heard much else at that point.

    I have already listened to Note Performer, and downloaded the free 30 day trail but did not care for the fade away of each note produced in the strings, and especially did not like the choral sounds. I decided to save my £80,00 and put towards owning a better choir ! (Much of what i write is choral !)

    This was helpful though, as will send me out on a further quest !

    Ingo Lee said:

    Hi Suzanne -

    I don't have an easy answer for you, mainly because I'm a composer (self appointed) not a techie/digital guru. As far as I know there is no product that does what you want.  Someone else may chime in here and say "try this!" and we can both learn something which would be great.

    I've used Sibelius, East-West, NotePerformer, VSL and DAW software for a few years now and nothing I've found is easy. The good news is that there are composers right here on CF that are getting good results with the same or similar products. Have you listened to a good sample of what's here?  You should do that and ask specific questions of us. But I can tell you that it all involves work, study and expense. (ouch)

    East/West does not directly sell a sound set for Sibelius.  There are third party vendors and talk about DIY but a quick search finds no easy answers. Personally I think EW has some good choral sounds but their products are not all very good compared to what else is available, I wouldn't invest in them without careful shopping and research.

    I don't know anything about VSL's vocal stuff but their products are usually among the best available for classical applications. I don't think anybody has a good 'word builder' plug in, but as always I could be wrong.

    The only product that I know of which comes close to doing what you want is NotePerformer. The latest version gets good reviews.  It has a free demo and is fairly easy to set up and use and people here on CF get good results with it, again you should listen and ask questions.

    sound libraries for choral works comparable with Sibelius
    I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present. The bi…
  • Thanks Dane !

    I hate notation software (well the sounds mostly) too; but I guess it saves all that part copying eventually (if anything gets played !) and is handy for converting to pdfs to send music through email. Gosh, to think we used to sit can copy all that by hand ! (There was something quite nice about it though... sort of a feeling of continuity back to the days of the great composers...all having to do the same thing.) (You might just hear me shouting at Sibelius from wherever you live though !)

    It sounds as though the VSL sounds may be nearer to what i want. If the sounds of the vocalists and choirs do "ahs"  and just do that straight from my scores, then that is fine with me. Of course I would love word builder, (or rather what it could produce...) and maybe one day i will invest) but at present I just want something where the sound is not like the "chipmunks" and i don't actually have to apologise for it every time I send someone a demo ! I am not vert techi... (willing to learn.. and have got way better since lockdown !!) but would rather spend my time writing music and poetry ! I can't even stand having to "tidy" the actual scores ... in fact, is there any software out there that will take the music straight from my brain to the paper, while I just sit there?! 

    Anyway... it looks as though it might be the answer, and you have clarified one of my main concerns. Happy to get the software to make Sibelius use them too.

    Thanks ! Suzanne



    Dane Aubrun said:

    Hah, another one here who can't help. I have a natural distaste for notation software - it's genetic, I can't help it - until they come up with a Notovid-19 jab. Not sure if Pfizer wants to get into notation software but there's always a hope.

    But I do run a few VSL libraries and if you think you might be interested, keep in touch with their site, the "News" tab, because every month they put something up at a good sale price. When the pandemic started they had a line called "VI Heroes". It went on for about half the year when things were priced down by 30-50%. Better, individual instruments could be had from many libraries. 

    The Voice "bundle" came as a set and I bought it for the solo voices.  around £250 for the lot - the SATB choir, the earlier Vienna Sopranos, the 7 soloists. VSL is the only outfit that gives that range of soloists. I like them all except the soprano who sounds a little raucous in her lowest 5th. But the coloratura, mezzo and contralto are gorgeous, to me. The standard library (just ahhs comes in at half the price. The extended one has the same articulations but 'ooos').

    I can't find any soloists with word-building except Realivox Blue (soprano). Realivox Ladies has a variety of sounds that can be built into syllables but it's more geared to popular styles.

    None of which helps does it? But I thought I'd mention the VSL cheap sales. There's software to make Sibelius use them. 

    sound libraries for choral works comparable with Sibelius
    I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present. The bi…
  • Hi Susan,

    I  use The Happy Choir, an internet service that provides a real singer for a fee per song, and have been quite happy with the result. I can give more details or samples of their work on my songs, ask if interested -

    Gav

  • Thanks a lt Gav,

    Yes, do post an example or two... I'm interested in all options !

    We actually found last night ( well, Geoff,  my husband  and also a composer. actually...  he's more techi than me  !) That East West do a hire per month service... just £15.00 a month, so you can get the basics of a month or two for one piece, and if you require more, you can pay more for the next month. Seems quite good, as I could start with basics, and try their Word builder for a while one day, to see how i got on. Seeing as their packages are all in the hundreds of pounds, this looks a good deal to at least try it..... now into new computer of hard drive to run it ! My computer is well over 10 years old... more like 12/15 ! 

    I am still interested in The Happy Choir sounds though, so please do post any samples you have.

    Thanks ! Suzanne

    Gav Brown said:

    Hi Susan,

    I  use The Happy Choir, an internet service that provides a real singer for a fee per song, and have been quite happy with the result. I can give more details or samples of their work on my songs, ask if interested -

    Gav

    sound libraries for choral works comparable with Sibelius
    I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present. The bi…
  • The proprietor is a man named Carlos Cordero and he does all the singing. I sent him a Finale File and an MP3 and he uses those to come up with a price quote. Not sure if he works with other notation programs.

    Here is a sample for one voice, Alto. This cost me 100.00$

    https://youtu.be/Gi8Lw1RNz6w

    Here is a sample for two voices, Baritone and Mezzo-Soprano. This cost me 200.00$

    https://youtu.be/Imx5PHKkU4k

  • Hi Gav,

    Firstly, I really like the rather haunting melody in "Remembering December," lots of beautiful moments.

    Unfortunately, i don't  think this would be an option for me, due to the cost. I have a good friend who is a professional mezzo, and can play the piano parts myself.... (and these days mostly have ended up, for some reason, writing for mezzo... i think because that's my voice range, and I sing as I write !) It would be too costly however for all my choral works (about 32, many with orchestral acc and some with 8 vocal parts ,up to 20 mins long !) I could always sell up and live in a tent I suppose ?!

    Still, could still be useful, as I do have a couple of new things for tenor/ counter ten. solo as well.

    Tanks so much for you input, I am sure I shall be using them one day !

    Suzanne



    Gav Brown said:

    The proprietor is a man named Carlos Cordero and he does all the singing. I sent him a Finale File and an MP3 and he uses those to come up with a price quote. Not sure if he works with other notation programs.

    Here is a sample for one voice, Alto. This cost me 100.00$

    https://youtu.be/Gi8Lw1RNz6w

    Here is a sample for two voices, Baritone and Mezzo-Soprano. This cost me 200.00$

    https://youtu.be/Imx5PHKkU4k

    sound libraries for choral works comparable with Sibelius
    I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present. The bi…
  • Hi Stephen, yet another useful reply. I like this forum, as one does get real help when one posts a query !

    I wonder why the demos sound better? I heard Note Performer on a sound sample from a member here, and thought it sounded great. We downloaded the 30 day free trial, and it didn't sound as good. I guess there must need to be a lot more tweaking behind the scenes. Still, I will get better than my current basic midi, where some of the instruments are unrecognisable ! (Only me, in my head or an outsider reading the score as it plays would now what it should actually sound like !) I am happy with "Oos and Ahs" at present, and like so many of us, just don't want to spend all my time on word builder... the piano is so much more appealing !

    I will search out vst choir,  but also likely outside my budget, as a musician, who has lost over half my pupils in lockdown, and who is going to continue vie Zoom for the next term at least (so can't take on any new young ones really) I haven't got the budget for anything more than a one off to use for all the scores I have. Its a shame, isn't it, that we are all finding composing so pricy ? It uses to be just the manuscript paper and ink / pencil lead ! We need REAL choirs and orchestras !!

    but for performances, not because we pay them !!

    Thanks for this though, useful to know that once I try East West, I may have to be prepared to be "slightly disappointed"? Better to be prepared.

    Suzanne

    Stephen Williams said:

    Hi Suzanne,

    I saw some reviews of the East west subscription service and overall it got about 2 stars.

    Mostly because people were getting charged for a year, even after cancelling after a month.

    Also, their libraries are getting old and the quality is nowhere near newer libraries.

    I bought their Silver Orchestra a few years ago and am disappointed with the quality. 

    Demo's always seem to sound much better that the actual product.

    If you don't have much to spend, you can find people on Fiver who have good vsts and can make something fairly cheap.

    I bought the Genesis children's choir for half price after seeing good reviews. 

    I thought they could sing any  words, but it turns out the choices are very limited.

    The oos sound best but also the Ohs, Ahs, and mms.

    Its $199 at the moment.

    The program works well, but if I could go back I would have saved for a better word building choir.

    Search for vst choir shoot-out on  youtube. 

    There is an independent guy who compares 3 newer choirs.

    Sadly they are all outside my budget.

    sound libraries for choral works comparable with Sibelius
    I am looking to seriously upgrade (or rather purchase from scratch) a sound library better than Sibelius, or the basic midi I have at present. The bi…
  • I doubt this is going to be helpful but, going through some past bits and pieces I unearthed a wordless madrigal I wrote and mocked it up with Peter Siedlaczek's classical choir - a set of samples covering several styles. While I believe it's still available it runs in Kontakt which I believe is difficult to use with Sibelius.

    This is the tail end of that madrigal - unusual in that the cadence is V11a - Ia. Surprised I got away with it.

    madrt2 tailend.mp3

    https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/8897374699?profile=original
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