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Tips for Choosing an Orchestral VST

Technologically speaking, we are living in a very interesting time to work as a composer. It’s almost impossible to reliably tell whether a score has been made using a well-programmed sample in DAW or recorded live.  As a result, many have raised all kinds of philosophical questions vis-à-vis the increasingly blurred distinctions between human and machine.

Even simple tasks such as choosing an orchestral VST have evolved to become such a confusing experience for many. If you are looking to pick up your first orchestral VST as a newcomer, you need to ensure that you have a wide variety of instruments and sounds to get started right away, which can be difficult. Here’s a list of key factors to consider before shelling out a new orchestral VST.

  • Features and Functionality. Does the library have all the features and functionalities that you consider useful? How does the VST complement other libraries, what angles does it take? Before you settle, make sure it does everything you need it to do.
  • Compatibility. You have to consider if the sampler is compatible with your computer. Is it 64 bit or 32 bit or is it both? Make sure that the sampler is up-to-date, so it can run the library smoothly. Keenly look at the version and the sampler the library is written for before you purchase.
  • Purpose. What purpose do you want your orchestral VST to accomplish? If you have a variety of situations to cover, you’re better off with an all-in-one solution. You may want to settle for a deep-sampled library if you are looking for a library to accomplish one specific task.
  • Resources. How powerful is your computer? Take into account all the things that drain your processing power during a mix. This includes automation, effects, vis, etc. Consider processing power, RAM, as well as ROM.
  • Sound. Pay attention to the quality of sound. Listen to demos on the manufacturer’s website before you purchase. How good is the sound? Is it Mono or Stereo? Is it 16, 24 or 32 bit? Don’t just focus on the pro demos as they can be misleading, also watch review videos by amateurs.

Technology has reached a critical stage in its maturity, and every well-trained composer or producer with extensive experience working with both samples and live musicians will attest to this fact. As a composer, making good music has become more challenging with improvements in technology. The tips given above will help you make the right decision when choosing an orchestral VST.

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