Thread: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

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  1. #1
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    Default Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I'd like to add some virtual instruments to my library. I'm just dipping my toes into these waters, but google mostly keeps giving me list ot the best free plugins. Not that I dislike free... It's more that I'm a skeptical of free usually. I might not be able to splurge on the best of the best, but something with usable strings/pads, horns, random sounds.
    I'd also like to find decent piano plugin, one that can do grand, Rhodes, some organs. Some fun keyboard options.
    Any recommendations on things you guys like or dislike are as always, very appreciated.

    -r
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Just curious... what kind of controller do you use? Keyboard is typical but there are wind and guitar controllers as well as step sequencers.

    I'm not an expert on the subject, but when I use soft synths I've been using GSi VB3 for Hammond organ and Garritan for the rest of it.

    There are a couple of popular drums plugins -- Steven Slate Drums and BFD come to mind. But so far I've been using real drummers (sometimes with an assist from Slate Trigger 2) so my experience with them is quite limited.


    http://www.genuinesoundware.com/?a=showproduct&b=24

    https://www.garritan.com/products/
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Omnisphere for 89% of the synth sounds. Add Keyscape for all the keyboards. EWQL Symphonic orchestra for the symphonic parts.
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    both Waves electric pianos are really good.
    and they're due to release a grand piano one any week now.

    in general, the Native-Instruments Kontakt libraries are good.

    Pro Tools comes with enough virtual instruments to get you more than started.
    just saying...
  5. #5
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    oh, and I'll add:

    this dead on Juno clone is cheap, and great

    https://tal-software.com/products/tal-u-no-lx
  6. #6
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Nobby, I"m using a Novation Launch Key 49. Had it for a while, but I've never tried to accomplish anything with it until this weekend. I've been forced to dig into programming some MIDI drum tracks. It's been interesting and I'm glad I got pushed down the path.

    I bought Slates Trigger plugin a while back and I like it pretty well. Haven't really put it to work yet, but messing around with it has been intuitive. BFD seemed to get the best reviews for usability, but Slate didn't get any complaints. I'll likely wind up with which ever of those I find on sale first. haha.

    The two Waves pianos are what got my wheels turning weedy. As for included instruments, chalk one up for ProTools ... and probably any other DAW for that matter. Reaper doesn't come with anything. :(

    Appreciate everyone's input so far. I'll make a list and start looking them up.

    -r
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Omnisphere for 89% of the synth sounds. Add Keyscape for all the keyboards. EWQL Symphonic orchestra for the symphonic parts.
    Ghhhood lawd, Kanstratt! You're must be making that Kanye money!!

    -r
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Reaper doesn't come with anything. :(
    How could you forget ReaSynth?

    I use tons of software instruments. I'll list some of my favourites:

    Superior Drummer (because the samples tend to be more dry than other drum software I've heard) - the stock kit is good, Roots and Indiependent are my go-to libraries.

    TAL Juno - Weedy is right, and this is probably the synth I use the most (as well as being one of the cheapest I own).

    Audiobro strings - I've got the 1st chair package, and the legato scripting is a pleasure to use (works in free Kontakt player).

    I love Pianoteq (sympathetic resonance makes a big difference over sampled pianos), but for a quick pop/rock piano it's hard to beat XLN Addictive Keys (I got their upright free with an offer recently and it's very good).

    Everything at Samplemodeling is amazing, but not cheap. I've got the sax's and trumpets, and they are so much more expressive to play than sampled horns.

    I love the Arturia synths, but they are probably overkill if you're not a synth geek. I like their Rhodes, and Wurli, even though many don't, I think you just have to dirty them up a bit, and/or use a different amp sim than the one included. Not used the Hammond enough to comment - but it doesn't have pedals which is weird. Their Vox Continental and Farfisa I like too.

    Don't forget the free content you get with the free Native Instruments Kontakt Player and IK Multimedia's Sampletank 3.

    The other 2 instruments I use a lot are the Ondes Martenot and Novachord by Soniccouture for the free Kontakt player, but they are admittedly niche.

    Here's something interesting I heard about on the Working Class Audio podcast: http://www.roomsound.com/kurtballou.html (careful if you're going to order any of those drum libraries, because some of them require the full version of Kontakt).

    Summer sales or March madness are good times to buy!
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I thought the Kuntakt player was repaced by the ARIA player
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I thought the Kuntakt player was repaced by the ARIA player
    Nope: https://www.native-instruments.com/e...free-download/

    A quick search shows that you may be thinking of when Garritan changed to the Aria Player (which is made by Plogue, not Native Instruments).
  11. #11
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Hmm, okay. I got a little confused, somehow.

    I still have a kontakt player that came with Personal Orchestra and it still works.

    Maybe because the only soft synth I've been using lately is piano, and I've been using the one from Big Band, which uses the ARIA player.

    Native Instruments B4 II was discontinued though, which is the reason I went to VB3.
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Native Instruments B4 II was discontinued though, which is the reason I went to VB3.
    These are the consistently the preferred Hammond sims of organ players.

    The one potential bummer of VB3 is that it is only 32bit.
    Last edited by Rev. Juda$ Sleaze; March 20th, 2017 at 08:18 PM. Reason: grammar
  13. #13
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I find I do an incredible amount with Air Xpand

    http://www.airmusictech.com/product/xpand2#
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I find I do an incredible amount with Air Xpand

    http://www.airmusictech.com/product/xpand2#
    I bought that on sale for a dollar recently. Must spend more time checking it out.

    The thing is, people who are good at playing/programming software instruments can make cheap ones sound good, and people who don't know enough about the instrument they are faking can make quality ones sound bad.
  15. #15
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Not sure if lounge lizzard is still around, but they made a pretty decent rhoads/Wurlitzer clone.
  16. #16
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    Not sure if lounge lizzard is still around, but they made a pretty decent rhoads/Wurlitzer clone.
    Yup.

    https://www.applied-acoustics.com/lounge-lizard-ep-4/
  17. #17
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    "The thing is, people who are good at playing/programming software instruments can make cheap ones sound good, and people who don't know enough about the instrument they are faking can make quality ones sound bad."

    ~ Antonio Stradivari
    Man! You have GOT to try a hit of this RANGE SUNSHINE!

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    CMIIW = Correct Me If I'm Wrong
    Never underestimate the amount of contempt a failed musician has for those of us who are still trying.
    If the party's good enough, you can actually suck to a remarkable degree.

    Greedle
  18. #18
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    "The thing is, people who are good at playing/programming software instruments can make cheap ones sound good, and people who don't know enough about the instrument they are faking can make quality ones sound bad."

    ~ Antonio Stradivari
    Haha!

    But really, it is a similar "putting yourself in the shoes of the player" that you need to compose well for an instrument, whether real or fake.

    Forgetting to give brass and woodwinds any time to breathe is a common mistake, for example, and will make a part sound more fake. Similarly, not having enough dynamics, having all notes snapped to grid, or not making good use of different articulations can also make a part sound more fake.
  19. #19
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I'd read similar sentiments about programing drums. May have been in one of mixermans books, but I'm not sure. Basically said you still have to think like/be like a drummer when you're doing it. I'm not a drummer... like to make noise, but it rarely hits the level of "playing the drums". My approach was get a kick line going, add a snare and see what it feel like as I add things in. I caught myself adding things that weren't possible for a drummer with only 2 arms. I guess it was good that I caught what I had done.
    As much as it would help me out if it were, it's easy to see making music sound good isn't about being proficient with computer programs. It still very much requires musical ability.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Good set(s) of Virtual Instruments to start on

    I'd read similar sentiments about programing drums. May have been in one of mixermans books, but I'm not sure. Basically said you still have to think like/be like a drummer when you're doing it. I'm not a drummer... like to make noise, but it rarely hits the level of "playing the drums". My approach was get a kick line going, add a snare and see what it feel like as I add things in. I caught myself adding things that weren't possible for a drummer with only 2 arms. I guess it was good that I caught what I had done.
    As much as it would help me out if it were, it's easy to see making music sound good isn't about being proficient with computer programs. It still very much requires musical ability.

    -r
    Yep, though you don't have to be able to play an instrument to write good parts for it, you just have to have an awareness of the attributes of that instrument. When writing for specific players, you also need an awareness of the attributes of that player.

    If you're unsure of a part, use references in the ball park of what you want, and figure out what the players are doing.

    One common mistake I notice with programmed parts is not thinking of an imaginary player when you write. Having one part play the same note in block chords for strings or horns is a common one. I like to make parts at least vaguely interesting for the imaginary people playing them, and I think that leads to more interesting writing. I got that from writing for actual musicians and not wanting them to be bored out of their minds (that doesn't lead to a good performance).

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