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Hollywood Orchestra

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I have been yearning for a good orchestral library for a long time.  But who doesn't want a good selection of strings, woodwinds and even brass available no matter what genre of music?   And the cheaper sample sets just don't cut it. I finally decided to bite the bullet, and waited for a sale, and got the full EastWest Hollywood Orchestra Platinum collection.

I knew it sounded good.  Really good.  But I was still hesitant.  I've heard enough demos to know that.  But how hard was it to use?  It's massive.  I added a second 1TB SSD to handle those samples alone, and they take up 870GB of that drive.  And the patches/presets are not minimal either.  All of the different articulations an instrument do mean you cannot simply just "Pick a patch" and go and expect to get a convincing sound.

Fortunately they narrow down the choices a lot by having some quick start and template patch folders which narrows down the 400+ patch choices down to 20 or so, and you can pretty much accomplish a convincing sound with one or two of those.  Much easier to start with, but the tools are there if you want to actually replace a full orchestra.

I settled on using those and KeySwitch patches for my first foray in to using these patches.   KeySwitch is EastWest's Play engine's manner of changing articulation in a patch.  For example, if I am using a violin patch, I will never be in the low end.  Their patches are true to the instrument, and it will not play a C0 on a violin, nor will it play a C7 on a tuba.  So, they use notes outside of the instrument's range to choose the articulation used.  With violin holding C0 while playing gives me a long sustain, where holing E0 might give me a shorter sampled note.

That's just scratching the surface. The EW Play engine lets you load multiple patches, and depending on your DAW you can create your own articulation settings to switch between them.  And the Play engine does do crossfading so it won't be jarring, but at a cost of CPU horsepower.

I did not jump that far in to it on my first night though.  I decided to keep it simple, and used the bread and butter patches.  But I did decide to push myself a bit musically and went full orchestral rather than just adding a string line to a rock song or horns to a pop song.  I set some simple parameters for myself in that context too.  I limited myself to bowed strings and brass since I have played both of those instrument types,
and have a much better grasp of the articulations and range of those instruments.

From there, I did a simple chord progression and melody line, and worked on orchestrating it.  From start to finish, it took me a little over 2 hours to do.  That included learning the software, setting up a couple of articulation maps by hand, composing, tracking, arranging and mixing the piece.  It seems like a lot for one minute of music, but I learned a lot during the process.

And what pleases me the most, is just how good the samples sound.  The music I wrote and recorded is simplistic, but with just dipping a toe in, I can see just how good this sample set could be.


This is a very capable orchestral sample set.  Strings, Brass, Woodwinds and Percussion (Sorry, no woodwinds or percussion in my example, but they are just as good).  And probably very hard to beat for the price.  I went Platinum, but if you are looking to just add a few parts to existing tracks the Gold version is just as capable and probably more than enough.  Other than bit depth (24 bit vs 16 bit) what Platinum really offers is more mic positions, so with enough effort you could really make it sound like you are sitting front and center.

Pretty damn tight ;)  [joke]
Yes, it's fairly quick take, and, as you mentioned, lots of details that can be worked on.
I never heard of this library, sounds good to me.
It'll be interesting to hear later what you got out of it.

That was very cool!  I can tell that it's only just scratching the surface as well.  Would love to hear more!   :thumb-up:

Nice, I really liked it,well done!

This thread is right up my alley!!

Ad your first attempt is quite wonderful!

I use EastWest Gold which is much smaller and older than your platinum version, I'm sure.
Although for strings I use LASS. They have a script that does auto-arranging (Not writing notes for you, but dividing the violins over the number of notes you supply in your chord).
So this helps to make everything sounds realistic.
Only one note? All 10-12 violins plays it.
2 notes? then 5-6 of each will ply one or the other.
3 notes, you get the idea, 3-4 violins will play each note...
It allows you to make divisi arrangment up to 4 voices.

And that with each string section: Violins, violas, cellos and contrabass.

I wouldn't mind upgrading my EWGO (East West).

But even with great samples, most of the work to make things sound realistic has to do
with the composer...and all the dynamics. It's a very tedious process.
Changing tempos a lot really makes a great difference in the end result.

Talking about first trials, this is my "test" piece I did a few years back to try LASS for the first time.


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