Virtual Instrument Libraries | The Hybrid Score

Jan 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By Gary Eskow



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Nathan Furst

Nathan Furst

Strings lie at the heart of many film scores. What string libraries do you rely on?
LA Scoring Strings and a few patches from VSL. LASS sounds great, and it’s very easy to use. VSL requires more time than I generally have to spend, considering the huge time pressures that I generally operate under.

Furst: LASS, as well as a privately recorded library. In my opinion, nothing currently commercially available comes even close to the orchestration and production flexibility of LASS.

Newman: EastWest’s Hollywood Strings, VSL and some custom samples.

O’Malley: Hollywood Strings, Spitfire Bespoke Strings, LASS.

Kliesch: Hollywood Strings and to some extent VSL. East West really nailed it when it comes to legato string runs.

And for brass?
Hollywood Brass, the new library from EastWest, is excellent. I also use the Project SAM brass quite a bit.

O’Malley: Spitfire Bespoke brass coupled with a private library I recorded in Bratislava. EastWest Hollywood Brass is also really nice when I want a really punchy stage sound versus a larger hall.

Furst: Currently my brass is a stew of custom reprogrammed Project SAM, a private library, VSL Epic Horns and SampleModeling’s The Trumpet, which works very nicely in an orchestral environment with a little elbow grease.

Kliesch: I really like the VSL Dimension Brass section. VSL is the first manufacturer to incorporate random (but controllable) tuning imperfections into their libraries. This feature really helps the Dimension Brass horns come alive. I also use Cinebrass.

Pottorf: Cinebrass, and as of tomorrow’s release, Cinebrass Pro. I also use Hollywood Brass and blend in some VSL horns.

Reverb, the great mystery. What hardware or software do you use to create a space for your virtual orchestra?
I use a Bricasti m7 and the Lexicon PCM Native plug in, Random Hall mostly. I’ve previously used tons of Altiverb instances, and was very mathematical about pre-delay and impulse sizes to place things. I’ve completely abandoned that approach. I only use samples that are recorded in rooms or halls that I like.

Newman: Reverbs are kind of a work-in-progress for me. I wish there were more custom reverbs for different instrument groups that were better. I have started using UAD plug-ins and I like them very much.

Pottorf: Waves and EWQL Spaces and ProVerb (using third-party convolution reverbs).

Furst: I’m currently using Altiverb for close early reflections and then Aether for larger space. I’m investigating supplementing VahallaRoom or Nebula 3 Pro for close ERs. I do agree that it’s best to use multiple instances of ’verbs for different groups, especially ERs. Doing it with a single preset, such as the Todd-AO room for Altiverb, is good. However, I’ve been moving away from strictly marrying myself to a particular room or space. If one studio sounds great for a section, but another blends better for another, go with that.

Kliesch: I use a combination of different plug-ins for reverb; Altiverb (Vienna Concert Hall) works really well for strings. I use the VSL Vienna Suite reverb on most of the other instruments. I set up six separate instances of the same reverb setting (Konzerthaus) and bus it to different groups. This is especially important when I’m doing finals here in my room, which is generally the case with the TV shows I write for like Thundercats. I’ll give the mix engineer stems with the reverb built into the separate groups—brass, keyboards and so forth. That way all the engineer has to do is mix levels.

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