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REVIEW: Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 Review

REVIEW: Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 Review

For many bedroom producers and small studio set-ups, being able to obtain a truly great orchestral sound has always come at a price - spending serious money on orchestral samples that eat into valuable disk space being a main issue.

Garritan Personal Orchestra 5 delivers a fantastic orchestral ensemble, which is more than flexible enough to meet the demands of producers and academics who are looking for the sound of more expensive libraries but without paying the cost associated with them.

Using the ARIA engine to power the sounds in GPO5, 16 instruments can be assigned to 16 MIDI or 16 individual outputs, with the engine streaming samples direct from disk, thus keeping RAM usage at a minimum, and CPU low. All the instruments (500+ in total) are what one would expect from a contemporary symphony orchestra, including strings, brass, woodwind, harps, percussion, keyboard and choirs. In particular, the choirs are impressive; there are a selection to choose from, including male, female, children and soprano, with the ability to choose from different vowels being an added bonus.

Another neat feature of GPO5 is the ability to create an ensemble size to suit the track that you’re working on, without having to employ full orchestral samples. This is enabled by the samples of individual instruments, which in turn give a much more detailed and expressive sound, allowing the user to build up ensembles, without the unnecessary tone of larger samples.
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There’s also a great sample of strings being tuned, which deployed correctly can be very effective, along with other nice effects to add a realness to the recordings, such as string scrapes and harmonics. The navigation has also been updated from GPO4, providing a much quicker workflow than on previous versions.

Historically, one of the big issues regarding Garritan has been the lack of any effects to any sample, with nearly all instruments being close mic’d. For me, this happens to be a bonus as you can play around with the reverbs in the ARIA engine and create some stunning sounds, adding to the flexibility of the software, with some nice visuals in the display to help you with the actual reverb that you require for that particular track.

The samples of the instruments are generally quite brilliant, and you’d expect to pay a lot more for the quality on offer here. GPO5 is the perfect addition for pop producers on a budget, or academics looking to score work on the go, or without the hassle of real instruments.

The samples themselves remain user-friendly and suitable for most applications; there’s a nice movie-score feel with the strings and brass, without being over the top. Vibrato is included as and when, and suits the general atmosphere of the samples on offer.

The piano samples are really impressive, although they do take up the most space in the library, as one would expect. Along with the harps and choirs, these samples are the most entertaining and certainly the most fun to play with and track with.

Parameters for each instrument are controlled from the GUI, adding flexibility with ease of use. Legatto and portamento can be activated/deactivated to taste, allowing the user to play chords with instruments that would normally be solo, again adding variation and flexibility. An innovative addition to the software, known as Sonic Morphing, produces seamless dynamics from quiet/loud performances and keeps the samples true to tone.

In general, GPO5 is the ultimate orchestral solution for any budding producer or academic on a budget, without compromising on sound quality or flexibility. If you’re looking for a comprehensive orchestral library that can be customised to individual tastes, then look no further…

Available to download from Time&Space

Also available to retail as a boxed USB, for more information contact

Tags: studio , Software , Review , Reviews , Garritan GPO5

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