Complete Orchestral Collection by

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The String Essential 2nd Edition has recently gone on a diet in pricing. That might not be good for its seller but it’s great news for prospective buyers, so you might want to take a closer look.

by A. Arsov, Sept. 2013

Do you know the proverb “Everything bad is good for something. That’s our motto.”? That was an answer I got when I’ve asked a friend of mine, the owner of a funeral company, if she could tell me any joke about their business. The sample library world is a nice and tidy place where everyone knows his position, being strict about what you should get for your money. Cheap string libraries sounds pretty good, surprisingly good, but they can’t compete with the expensive ones. For less than 200 bucks, you can get a more-than-decent library, but if you push it too hard, things start falling apart. However, use it wisely and no one will notice.

So what is my story? The fact, my dear fellows, is that the Peter Siedlaczek String Essential 2nd Edition, which is a part of a Complete Orchestral Collection, is not some cheap string library. It used to be fairly pricey. I’m not so sure, but as far as I remember two or three years ago  it used to be around 400 Euros. Peter Siedlaczek was a big legend in his time and even that price was a really nice one for that library back then. It sounded as good as those even more expensive libraries in the range of 800 to 1000 Euros.


What’s Going On?

I don’t know what was happened – to be a bit mean, I don’t even care. Maybe they broke a contract, maybe the library went out of fashion, maybe just Peter celebrated his jubilee … I just hope that he is good and well. Anyway, I don’t know what happened, possibly something not so good for Bestservice, because they dropped the price so dramatically, even adding plenty of additional material to the String Essential initial edition. But it is definitively good for us, the raven funeral musicians that eat only bargains.

So, for 180 Euros, or 199 bucks, we get the heavy-weight String Essential 2nd edition. I have made plenty tunes using this. I recently switched to String Ensembles 2, also from Bestservice, but still use String Essential for some arrangements as it has different dynamics and it can bring some extra excitement in fast passages if you use an expression controller synced to the modwheel. In String Essential 2nd edition you can find full presets along with light versions of all articulations, (except the full orchestra patch) and it is an ultra-nice solution if your computer is not loaded with large amounts of RAM. All strings are recorded with three mic positions, ambient, normal and dry. Ambient presets sound quite realistic, but I found that they can sound even better if you add a bit of additional convolution reverb ambiance. The end result can be heard here: Action Hero. All strings are from PS String Essential 2nd edition with a touch of EQ and additional convolution reverb, the one that comes with Studio One 2.5.

My dear friends, that is only the beginning. In the Complete Orchestral Collection you get a ton of extra material, the stuff that was pretty famous back in a hardware sampler days. So all additional things are ultra-light (by today’s standards). It still sounds surprisingly good.

The first extra is Classical Choir which maybe can’t compete with new ultra-big libraries which can be programmed so precisely that Choir can even spell your name through the harmonies. But still, there are an enormous number of articulations that sound very realistic in big arrangements. And it is not just a standard oh-and-ah collection. You don’t want to know how much this thing cost ten years ago. It sounds very far from your typical General MIDI bank, and it comes even in a smaller size than most of those GM presets.

A similar case is Advanced Orchestra, Strings from that package. It’s not something to write home about, but you already have your Strings Essentials 2nd Edition, so there is no room for complaint. The Woodwind section is pretty good. It doesn’t sound fake, and it is good enough that you can add extra colour to your string arrangement. Of course you can’t make solo brass bravura – not for that money. But adding a big brass part to strings is more than satisfying. They are somewhat dry, but spice it with convolution reverb and compressor, and no one could tell if they are real or fake. The problem with cheaper libraries is that dry instruments are extra thin, and when you add some convolution, they sound big, but still somehow fake being so soaked in reverb. Instruments in Advanced Orchestra sound boring when they are dry, but they are not thin. Therefore when you soak them in reverb, they don’t sound fake. You don’t get those well-known feelings from Roland keyboards where instruments are drowned in reverb, they sound great, but you still know that something is wrong. Advanced Orchestra also offer you Woodwind, piano, mallets, harps and choirs (but you already get those in Classical Choirs). In a Notation section of Advanced Orchestra you get even some key switching sets with nice number of basic articulations. There are also two additional very handy collections in this Classical Orchestral Collection. The first one is Smart Violins, offering a nice and very useful collection of runs, licks and similar bangs. You know the procedure, convolution, compressor etc…

Almost the last addition is the Orchestral Colours library where you could find various orchestral phrases, ends, crescendos, small phrases in few essential scales. Over the time I found this very useful, especially when you come up on a dead end where you simply can’t programme some extra parts. Those phrases also come in very handy for colouring pop arrangements. This one is like a basement – you simply can’t believe what you can find down there: everything from some wild glissandos, low ends, or nice baroque small phrases to various pompous finales.

OK this leaves only Total Piano library as the last part of this collection. Let’s say that there are plenty of interesting and unusual piano patches. I could not say that the grand piano from this library would be your main to-go piano, but in all of those piano patches I’m sure you will find something useful.


Let’s Drive

All in all, for that money all you need is a touch of compressor and convolution reverb and you can feel like you’re driving a Mercedes. This is definitively not one of those typical under-200-dollar libraries. It sounds far better, and those parts that do not sound better are still far more useful than they might seem on a first sight. For 199 bucks you can compete with all those boys that use expensive toys. Yes, you will need some extra programming as those new expensive libraries are more and more on point, but the end result will be almost the same.

This is definitively one of those great flea-market buys – one that you will never regret. Everything bad is good for something. Their “bad” that they have to drop the price so radically, even adding some extra material to prolong the selling period, and our best for getting such a good product for such nice a price. It happens, every now and then.

Visit, Bestservice  buy the library and enjoy your Orchestral quality time.


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