Orchestral Soundsets Question

I’m mainly an orchestral composer. I’ve been writing with Cubase since the Atari days, and I’ve tried many VST orchestral libraries and external sound modules. Using any one program or module has always been a compromise, pivoting around the number of realistic-sounding instruments and those instruments that are not all that convincing. One of my biggest complaints across most platforms is the sound of the bassoons. For many years, I’ve been using the old Edirol Orchestral bassoon as my go-to, but I’m gearing up to drop a few hundred $ on a newer orchestral collection, and I’m wondering which programs you orchestral guys are using and recommending, and especially for the bassoon sounds. I can’t afford anything like the Vienna samples, but among the Miroslavs, the Garritans, and the EWQLs of the world, what might be my best bet for all-around realistic sounds with adequate expression controls? (I should say that I have tried the Garritan sounds, and that bassoon just doesn’t cut it.) I appreciate any opinions. Thanks.

Have you tried HALion Symphonic Orchestra? The woodwinds are demo track 9, but check out the bassoons in track 2. Personally I think it’s really good value, but there is a bit of a learning curve, although by the sound of it you know what you’re doing and I don’t think you’ll have much problem – it’s just not a “preset” type of library (“Awsome Orch #22:slight_smile:).


I do have the HSO. It isn’t my favorite soundset, but it has some usable things in it. I wasn’t happy with the bassoons there either, but it’s been a while since I reviewed it, so maybe I’ll go look at it again. Thanks for your input.

I use HSO because I’m too much of a dabbler to spend big bucks on East/West or Vienna. So I have to work with what I 've got.

I’m not in love with the HSO bassoons either, but I found that I could improve them using the quick controls, especially body and air. When there are 2 bassoons, I’ll give the top line a bit more air, and the bottom line a bit more body. There’s a subtle timbre shift on each bassoon.

In general, I avoid parts that are in sync down to the millisecond, as it can sound like a car alarm or smoke alarm. I nudge the notes a tiny amount before or behind the beat. But a new problem appears: Doing this with 2 oboes having identical sounds may lead to phase cancellation artifacts. Whether that theory is correct or not, something sounds off when they play together, and it isn’t around when they play separately. The timbre shifting trick helps with this new problem. (It worked with bassoons. The problem was more severe with oboes, where I used the same trick, but also introduced 1 or 2 cent tuning errors to help keep them from interfering.)

The attack quick control also has potential. I’ve noticed that all the winds in HSO seem to have the same default settings for quick controls, and I don’t know why.

Thanks for your thoughts, Colin. Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty familiar with, and adept at, making 2 identical instruments sound like 2 different players, so that’s not a problem. My current issue is that I need a solo bassoon that sounds great from top to bottom, because it is being used in a small ensemble and is completely exposed and also needs to be pretty agile. From what I’ve listened to in the last few days, I think the Miroslav Philharmonik has possibilities, so I might be going in that direction.

I think it’s unlikely you’ll find something of that quality as part of a budget collection. If you have Kontakt, you might consider Bassoon Virtuoso from 8dio.

Thanks MrSoundman! THAT’S the kind of information I’m looking for- until this minute, I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Normally, yes, I would be looking for an all-in-one budget-conscious solution, but for something as critical a great bassoon sound, I will splurge a little. It DOES irk me a bit though, that my favorite instrument is such a complex and difficult-to-sample beast, while EVERY cheap collection of orchestral sounds has a fantastic-sounding oboe or F horn, e.g. That being said, I DID start working with the Miroslav stuff, and it seems that most of the sounds (so far) seem to be salvageable with a few tweaks to the velocity and envelope controls. But I will definitely be checking out the Bassoon Virtuoso.

I have similar troubles with oboe editing. In Cubase 7 it does not sound really realistic, especially in higher notes. What to do to make it sound better?