Seeking advice on orchestral templates

While I played trumpet as a kid growing up, my background has been rock bands over the years so I don’t really think like a film composer. However, I do the occasional bit of orchestral writing and would like to do more, so I’m trying to get a good template set up to make things easy.

I’ve used GPO for years and it’s been fine for what I do, so I created a full template last night with it. By the time I’d added all instruments and articulations it was around 250 tracks, with 20 instances of GPO. Around instance 18 GPO started getting flaky (no audio) even though all instances were disabled. Unload a few earlier ones and 18 - 20 worked fine. Even with all 20 loaded, memory and cpu was minimal so I’m sure it’s the plugin, not Cubase or the box. In fairness, I’ve had GPO 4 for over a decade and it probably wasn’t designed to run 20 instances.

This leads me to a couple of questions.

First, when you’re setting up a full on orchestral template, do you include everything? That was my thinking, to have it all there disabled when I create a project from a template so that I can just turn on the ones I want and focus on the music without the buzz kill of having to screw with software configuration. However, there may be other approaches and I’m keen to learn from those of you who do a lot of orchestral work.

Second, it looks like it’s time to upgrade to a newer orchestral library, and I could use some suggestions. I’m not Hans Zimmer and I don’t do music for a living anymore, so I’d like to find something that’s a few hundred bucks at most. Preferably something that I can create the appropriate templates with, and if it happens to support the expression maps right out of the box, that would be convenient as well.

I’d be grateful for any template and library suggestions you might have.

I just dabble considering some users at VI Control which is where I would look for good advice. A lot of users use VEPro with whatever DAW/Library.
https://vi-control.net/community/forums/composition-orchestration-technique.13/
https://vi-control.net/community/forums/your-daw-digital-audio-workstation.47/

Hopefully you can get some good ideas there.

I use EWQL Hollywood Gold which is more than enough for my needs. It’s a bit old, but to me still doesn’t sound very dated and has everything I would need. Unfortunately the best time to buy is BF when they are half off.

Also with Hollywood Gold, I didn’t have to set up hundreds of orchestral templates in Cubase. Pay $10 and let them do it.
https://poundsound.co.uk/collections/cubase-templates

They also have some good Cubase icons if you are into that sort of thing.

Since the string section is the common section in most of my orchestra setups I have templates with complete string sections, articulations set up in expression maps for the strings and then add winds, perc, voices as necessary per project. In my templates I also have my reverbs setup for each section to route the different instruments to.

Thanks, man.

Cool stuff, I’ve bookmarked the vi-control site. Prefab templates are a great idea as well, though I’m too much of a control freak on colors and stuff (meaning any whining about how long it takes me to set up templates is a self inflicted wound).

I’ll have to check out the EW stuff. $500 is around my max pain point so it’s in the running price-wise. They also have a great reputation for quality.

That sounds like a good approach for string-centric stuff. I’m hoping to do the same thing you’ve done with strings for all instruments, so I can just load a disabled template, click an instrument and start playing.

There sure are a lot of good options these days.

FWIW, I just received an advertisement that EWQL Hollywood Gold plus most of their other products is 50% off. Thats a BF price, and they dont perpetually have sales like Waves does.

Keep in mind you really need SSDs and large RAM for the Hollywood Series.

A pity you can’t get these templates for Vienna Ensemble Pro!

Send him an email…you never know. IMO his prices are very generous.

I took a look at EW’s hardware requirements the other day and I’m thinking 2.5 ghz Xeon / 24 gig memory is going to be too weak to run their stuff.

What does EWQL actually say these days?

I think for EW Hollywoold Orchestra Gold, 24 may work…ok. Keep in mind Hollywood Gold has been out for a long time. They have improved it and probably made the demands a bit higher, but I don’t think there has been that much of a change. I was at 16gigs for years and can say that there were some issues, especially with what they call the “long powerful system.” However to be honest, you may never even wish to use that. I made it work with 16 gigs, but became aware over time that it wasn’t enough. Anyway, I’m now at 64gigs and everything works great. Hopefully others will chime in here or check VI Control.

Please understand that I’m not a composer or doing film/game/trailer work. You have links for those. My use is usually general strings for minimal use in pop.

A couple other options when before I went with EWQL was LASS and Cinematic Studio Strings. Of course these are just stings…no woodwind, brass, or percussion.

Thanks, Greg. I can’t remember the specs but it was their wording that got my attention, warning that they needed even more horsepower than others. I took that as a cautionary tale.

Tonight I bumped into the surprisingly low priced Vienna Smart Orchestra. It’s a simplified entry into their ecosystem, but it was only 200 bucks so I figured I’d give them a go. Hope to install and play with it tomorrow. Their system specs were very low, I think 8 gigs of memory. They also have a free Big Bang Orchestra that uses the same player so I tried that and it works just fine.

One of the things I like about the entry level nature of the Smart Orchestra is that sections are all arranged in what would be a sensible manner in terms of octaves, etc. I haven’t played in an orchestra since I was in high school so this simple setup lets me just bang on the keys and have something reasonable come out the other end without having to go to arranging school.