Questions about sample libraries

A couple brief questions. I have dug around on the web but I’m not quite sure how all this works in Dorico.

My goal is to create realistic audio mock-ups of original orchestrations. Ideally I would like to add orchestration to studio recordings and have it be pretty convincing to most listeners.

I have NotePerformer3 and I’m pretty happy with it, but I’d like more control. And I do have several decent libraries, like Cinematic Studio Strings and Brass, but I’ve never used them, because I realized pretty quickly that a lot of fine-grain control was required. Just buying an expensive sample library doesn’t make your music sound good! :blush: I’ve never really wanted to get into the world of CC input and such. That’s why NP was so appealing. And it’s pretty good for quick demos, but not good enough for recordings.

My question: Those of you who use 3rd-party libraries for satisfying mock-ups, how much manipulation beyond the score do you find you need? Lots of CC input?

Would a quality sample library sound better “out of the box” than NP3? Or is NP more based on the engine that makes intelligent decisions, rather than the quality of the samples?

When people talk about Iconica someday becoming “native” to Dorico, do they mean no mapping required? At that point, would Iconica be a more realistic result?

Thanks in advance. I realize I could download and install these libraries and just start fiddling around, but it’s a massive investment of time. And before I get into that, I want to have a realistic idea of how much it could actually improve my recordings, while still staying primarily focused on the written notation, and not becoming a DAW wizard.

And of course I’m willing to put in the time to learn, so if anybody can recommend links to helpful resources, I’d appreciate that as well.

Hi Dan,

You ask a great question and of course you’ll probably get a dozen different answers. Many of the major sound libraries sound fantastic and would probably suit your needs, but what you hear in their demos is not what you can expect “out of the box” because a lot of work is involved to make them sound convincing.

I have used VSL special edition which has some great sounding winds and percussion, but personally I was not too happy with the strings. They have other string libraries, but all of their stuff is quite expensive.

I have all of East West’s Hollywood Orchestra, but don’t like the PLAY plugin, and apparently many other people don’t either. The strings are great, but very taxing on a system because there are so many articulations. A lot of work is necessary to really make them work well. I also have LASS strings, but didn’t find that they worked well for my needs.

I recently purchased Iconica and absolutely love the library. It all just makes sense to me, and I enjoy using the Halion plugin. The winds, brass and percussion are extremely good, and although there are better sounding strings in other libraries, Iconica’s are really very good, yet not humongous like Hollywood Strings. The library was recorded with five or six mic positions which gives a lot of flexibility in mixing and editing. All of the sounds are simple to use with keyswitches and modulation wheel to switch between sample layers. They just sound great “out of the box” and that’s what I wanted.

I think the Iconica library is great value for money compared to many of the other libraries, and I feel sure that it will be very well integrated into Dorico in the future (allowing for easy and simple articulation changes). As for making CC changes, you’ll really only need CC01 and CC11.

Having said that, although I have never used them, if money was no object, I would probably buy everything that Spitfire Audio has ever made. They sound incredibly good.

That’s my ten cents. You’ll get many other answers, but as a Dorico user, you just can’t go wrong with Iconica, so check out the trial version.

David, that’s really helpful, thanks. I will definitely check out Iconica (with the added bonus of it eventually being tightly integrated with Dorico). I don’t need “epic” strings so Iconica sounds like a good fit!