Linux: Good Orchestral Instruments

I just saw the Nebidaan orchestral video on the webpage. Sounds really great. It seems that the orchestral sounds comes from the “Edirol HQ Orchestral” vst, which is windows only, and since I’m running linux (and I’d rather not run renoise through wine) this is bad news :frowning:

What options do I have for doing orchestral music that sounds this good under linux? Is it for instance legal to grab these sounds from the VST as renoise instruments? If so, would such renoise instruments be limited compared to the vst version and did someone already grab such a collection that I could get somewhere?

I couldn’t figure out the pricing of this vst, but if it’s not too expensive, and a grabbed renoise-only-instrument-version isn’t (too) limited in expressive power, I could grab them through wine/renoise and use them under native linux renoise…


you can also look here


Hmm, massive.

However I already grabbed 5.9G of OLPC when it just came out. From searching the page it seems the only orchestral strings are in (which I’m downloading as we speak), but if you actually have any experience with using the OLPC samples for doing orchestral work, I’d appreciate a pointer to which samples you found useful, since shifting through 10G is a huge job.

Anyone know where I can download the whole 10gb OLPC library as one torrent? The link up on to miniova returns no results.


It seems it’s “only” 5.6G, not easy to figure out what goes where…

I’m not aware of any Linux-specific orchestral instrument library.

But problem is that most orchestral libraries are not inexpensive at all. That’s because they’re pretty massively multisampled with velocity layers and different expressions and they also can take tens of gigabytes of disk space. Some well known are Vienna Symphonic Library, Miroslav Philharmonik, EastWest and Garritan Personal Orchestra. Garritan is cheapest ($149) and mostly directed for sketching orchestrations that will be later performed by real orchestra. EastWest and Vienna are more directed towards final rendering and that is reflected in price and in size. Miroslav is quite inexpensive in comparison to these two. There is free version of limited EastWest Silver and demo of limited Miroslav available (after demo period it’s down to 4-note polyphony). From these EastWest is wet (recorded in concert hall, big hollywood sound), Miroslav is wet and Vienna and GPO are dry (so you can use your own reverbs). If you only want brass and woodwinds, then WIVI is very impressive and comes with a demo (it has modeled instruments, no samples at all, very fast too).

You could capture these instruments but you would lose velocity layers as Renoise doesn’t have those yet. To my understanding it would also be legal as they seem to allow use in your own musical works but distributing these rendered libraries or reselling their samples is not allowed. I think you would lose quite a lot if you use rendered version instead of actual plugin, they have quite extensive performance controls via MIDI.

As for samples, best location I know for free orchestral instruments, orchestral effects and solo instruments (including multisampled tuba) is:
Philharmonia Orchestra / Sound Exchange

Only sad point is that navigation is bit of pain for collection that massive…

Free version of EastWest
Miroslav demo
WIVI demo

So basically I’m out of luck, right? The good orchestral instruments sounds good, because they’re massive and carefully layered. They are not available for linux and could not be resampled into renoise instruments. And building something that great from single samples would be a huge task for me.

Are there anything useful available in either soundfonts or gigasampler formats?

That I’ve no idea. Garritan (maker of GPO) bought Giga some time ago so there might any not be new products based on it. Orchestral samples seem to be on the expensive side.

But maybe you’re not totally out of luck. In any case you’d need to layer even those massive sample collections (you can’t play chords with orchestra section sample without getting synth-like sound) and do tweaking and programming to make them sound like real thing. Maybe you can sample instruments from some VST at different velocities and crossfade between two identical tracks in Renoise, one playing the soft version and one playing loud version. I tried this poor man’s velocity layering with free Philharmonia tuba samples and it was passable for my needs, but it’s messy and eats tracks.

And you can render free EastWest instruments into samples and see if you can live with them and their limitations. Cheaper/smaller libraries don’t have that many multilayers anyway (though they may still have complex programming)*. Also listen to demos at the respective sites and you’ll hear how different libraries sound like when they’re excessively tweaked.

Depending of your needs you may just build some instruments from single samples (like cello, french horn and oboe) and have a go just with them. Building your sections with solo instruments and varying them will make it sound more “real”. And you can combine single Philharmonia instruments and those rendered from free EastWest.

Convolution reverb makes dry samples sound more convincing**.

*edited because of bad wording

Well, the East-West Free Symphonic Orchestra edition has its samples in full .WAV format.
I think just getting the installer to unpack the whole thing through Wine would be enough, but i think you will need to either find a tool that can enumerate the Play instrument configuration files (.EWI) or just use the .wav samples and create your own instruments.

Might not be ideal, but Highlife has a Linux version ( and AFAIK supports velocity layers so if you had suitable samples you could at least reintroduce a little bit of the performance element. It imports SFZ if you want a platform for commercial sound packs.

I’ve never used it personally but it might be worth inspection.

Still doesn’t sift thru your 10 gigs of samples tho ^_^

There are no specifical Linux format audio libraries, but you can use what everybody else uses: You are in luck actually. Have you ever heard of Linuxsampler? It uses Gigastudio format libraries and there are quite a few in that format. I have used Linuxsampler for ages now to run a high quality piano (Bösendorfer B290), you can then connect Linux sampler to renoise via Jack. Jack is really powerful when it comes to connecting together different Linux audio tools.
I just recently got Kontakt 4 running under Wine in Linux, using Wineasio. That is a little more complicated beast, but this way you can combine the best on Linux with the best on Windows.
Linuxsampler exists also on Windows and as far as I know it is the only free sampler that exists out there and it is pretty good for that and well, open source.

I’m not a huge fan of garritan, but I have it and I believe the multisamples are in SFZ format.