Composing : Libraries by Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson


I'm new to film scoring and was curious which libraries you all prefer. The ones I've come across are Eastwest, Garritan, and 8Dio, but I'm sure there are many others. Also, what software do you use to record them? Pro Tools? Logic Pro? Something else? I would love to see pictures of your studio setup as well. Thanks guys! Ian

Johannes Kern

Hey Ian - there are plenty of cool library developers out there... a cool place to discuss about virtual instruments is this forum: I do work with Logic Pro. Besides 8dio you can check out: Native Instruments, Cinesamples, Spitfire, Projectsam, Sonokinetic, Soundiron, ... ;-)

Arhynn Descy

Hi Ian, I'd say its all up to individual preferences really and what kind of music you make. I use logic and have protools... I have a good composer friend who swears by cubase and also has protools. I think if you're going to be dealing with recording and studios at all protools is good to use. As regards sound samples....go with the ones you like and that enable you to write the music you want to write. Sometimes that quirky sound that hardly anyone else uses will be perfect for what you're writing and make you stand out! I have East West, Sonic Implants, Kontakt, VSL and then other things such as Omnisphere and Stylus RMX and plenty of other little instruments that I've picked up here in there for specific projects. There is Spitfire Audio, Sonokinetic and Soundiron too. Listen to the demos and go with what you are drawn to, because it will help with your writing. Good luck with setting up.... its exciting! Arhynn

Michael Christante

I've done quite a bit of scoring for short videos, and whenever possible I hire a real live composer. But that isn't always practical. It also depends, as Arhynn said, on whether you need to work in tandem with other studios. If you're working solo, you may want to try using a loop-based application like Acid Pro, which is my program of choice. Big-time pros snicker and turn their noses up at Acid and similar DAWs, but you can do an incredible lot, in an extremely wide range of musical styles, with the right loop libraries, and the learning curve is much less than with Protools and the like.

Dean Reynolds

Yep You are on a good path there ... Spectrasonics ... Hollywood Strings ... Vienna Symphonic Suite are all worth a look at ... also access demos... they are amazing to work with. There is a mountain of excellent sampling nowdays. As for software... majority of us use ProTools ... big learning curve but its an industry and worldwide standard around the world. Logic Pro is not bad either. Jump into the software you are comfortable with. Have a substantial bank account firstly !!!

Mike Milton

I have lots of east/west libraries (mostly the ethnic ones) and really like 8Dio's whole catalog. Soniccouture has some really interesting material as well. I like Geosonics and their Pan Drums particularly Also have a look at Galaxy Instruments (you might like rise&hit)

Jimmie Williams

I use Logic X and Sibelius. I think EastWest is great, but I don't really like their proprietary PLAY sample causes my session to crash when using a large template. I really like Orchestral Tools libraries...Berlin Woodwinds and Strings...they have a fantastic harp library too. Check them out. Also Spitfire is ALWAYS on point. I guess it depends what kind of music you write. If your template is for primarily orchestral based instruments...I'd say you can't go wrong with Spitfire libraries. What kind of music do you compose?

Thomas Zobrist (a.k.a French Thomas)

all depends on the music you compose ( regardless of scores, wich nowadays include different mixes from different sound-sources). for an electronic oriented music, fruity loops, cubase or any sequencer and all the VST plugins you can find will be enough and ok ( + external controllers for real time recordings if you don't want to spen hours in editing). if you write music, and you're more "classical" oriented : try the East-West Complete Composer + hollywood platinum series (brass/strings/winds) ... add some extra pluggins librairies, like berlin woodwinds- excellent library - or fable sounds broadway big band for jazz scores, spitfire Hans Zimmer london percussions and L.A.Scoring.Strings. sybelius or finale for music writing. logic or ableton live for the sequencer. if your aim to compose "modern" soundtracks, all of the above .. plus : - spectrasonics omnisphere ( complete edition, it includes the trilian bass module : one of the most versatile, powerfull and amazing snth I've ever tried ). - reason, spectrasonics RMX Stylus..rewire instruments - any good rated KONTAKT instrument library (browse youtbe, there are enough of them to make an opinion ) For any of the 2 last above : traditional instruments kontakt libraries. unless you can record it by yourself ABOUT THE SEQUENCERS : - logic X, cubase, fruity loops or ableton, are sequencers that accept various controllers. they're mostly used to compose and record the mockups. - pro-tools is a RECORDING / MIXING SYSTEM : one can use pro-tools software on any PC or mac, but what makes it powerfull, is the synergy "hardware + software" (thank you AVID) that comes with it. a good studio setup depends on if you are a composer or a musician who compose. a composer only needs music paper . newly released "film-scoring" libraries are good but it a smoke-screen - and shall i say an insult - to the composer's role and involvement in a production : these libraries are "easy work" but nothing will replace the interaction between a director and a composer. and so far too, nothing beats a live orchestra, at least for live recording. good side (?) of the bad economy, orchestras are cheap in eastern-europe if you need to export sessions from your home-studio to a "bigger-one", a typical home-studio is : - mac pro ( full RAM and HD ) - any type A recording interface - logic & pro-tools -external storages -midi controlers (keyboards, etc.. ) -a good auditorium Any quality live recording, mixing or mastering needs a professional studio. oh, you may also be a good communicant and entrepreneur ( and you need an agent AND a lawyer ). hope this helps.

Ian Hudson

Wow, thank you Thomas! That was really helpful. :)

Lonny Ray


Jeff Clement

I'm an amateur composer at best - self taught - and record from my home studio. I produce audio and music for a couple of YouTube channels and have scored some independent films, so the requirements are on the DIY/extremely low budget side of the spectrum. I use Cinematic Strings; EWQL Colossus, Symphonic Orchestra Gold and Stormdrum; Symphobia 2, Camel Audio's Alchemy and several Native Instruments VSTs. I'm able to rout all my strings/symphonic libraries through Kontakt, which is really nice. None of those libraries are particularly cutting edge or super robust compared to what others have suggested, but they were what I could afford and I've learned to massage them to sound better than out-of-the-box at least, I think. I have a particular fondness to Symphobia. I'm on PC and for a DAW I use Cockos Reaper, which I love to death. It may not be as slick as ProTools or Logic and has a steep learning curve because it can take a few steps to achieve what the big guys can do in one, but it's just as powerful and has fantastic developer support and is very affordable. I also record audio on a Shure SM58 connected to a Focusrite 2i2 USB interface and use a M-AUDIO ProKeys Sono 61 as my MIDI interface.

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