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Eastwest Symphonic Orchestra - Comparing Platinum, Gold, and Silver

Published: Thu May 26, 2005  News Feed

Here are the six most significant ways that the three levels of EWQLSO differ:

  • Platinum provides 24-bit samples; Gold and Silver provide 16-bit samples.
  • Platinum and Gold are chromatically sampled; Silver’s samples are “stretched.”
  • Platinum provides samples from 3 separate mic positions; Gold and Silver only one.
  • Platinum and Gold provide release trails on the samples; Silver does not.
  • Each level has its own set of articulations.
  • The larger the library, the more computing power it usually takes.

Platinum provides 24-bit samples; Gold and Silver provide 16-bit samples.

Sampling depth is a measure of how precisely the digital data in a sample describes the original sound picked up by the microphones. With 16-bit precision, sounds waves are described using numbers from 0 to approximately 65,000. With 24-bit, the numbers up to almost 16.8 million can
be used. The extra precision allows the subtleties of the orchestral sounds to be included in more detail. The difference contributes to more lifelike capture of all sounds, but is especially apparent in very soft sounds, including the hall’s natural reverberation after the instrument has stopped playing.

Even when music will eventually be mixed down to 16-bit precision so it can be written to a music CD (using a process known as dithering), working with 24-bit samples, a 24-bit mixer, and a 24-bit sound card can capture with more detail the way the sounds interact, decay, and reverberate. To
most people, the improvement in going from all 16-bit to all 24-bit processing, though subtle, is And for those planning to create 24-bit tracks for DVDs or other media more advanced than CDs, working entirely in the 24-bit realm is practically essential.

Platinum and Gold are chromatically sampled; Silver’s samples are “stretched.”

Chromatic sampling means that every note in the instrument’s range has its own samples. Silver, though, sometimes uses resampling technology to play one sample for two or more nearby notes.

This resampling technology, the common practice in many other sample libraries, can yield satisfactory results because the timbre of two or three consecutive notes is not effected much by stretching or compressing the waveforms. Chromatic sampling is truer to the original sounds because less processing is done to the waveforms; the only downside to chromatic sampling for users is that it can increase the size of sample on the hard drive several times, requiring more capable hardware.

Platinum provides samples from 3 separate mic positions; Gold and Silver only one.

Users of Gold should note that the installed files include a few close (C) and surround (S) files so you can try them out and see how they help the sound of your orchestrations. There’s the hope that once you get a taste of them, you’ll want to upgrade to Platinum. You can see which files include
these extra mic positions by looking for the asterisks in the tables in Chapter 4. A single star (*) indicates that one file, usually C, is included. Two stars (**) mean that both the C and S files are installed. Or look for articulation files in the on-screen menus that start with C or S, instead of the
usual F.

Platinum and Gold provide release trails on the samples; Silver does not.

Release trails, which play the sound of the hall after the note stops, are not included in Silver. The quantity of articulation files varies from Platinum’s 605 separate articulation files recorded with the F mic (and an equal number for each of C and S) to Gold’s 484 and Silver’s 185 articulation files. Note that the number of articulations in Silver is actually somewhat higher than that because of the way its keyswitches are used. The Silver library includes three instruments not in Gold and Platinum: a Steinway B grand piano, an organ, and a choir.

The larger the library, the more computing power it usually takes.

Computer hardware needs to match the power of the software. All the many extra samples, the functionality, and the precision of the larger libraries come with a price: a need for more—and more powerful—hardware. Where Silver can often run on a typical up-to-date home computer, even a laptop, Gold benefits from a high-end computer, or even a pair of computers to share the processing load. Platinum works best with four or more high-end computers, though small projects may get by with a more modest setup.

 
 
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