I’ve realised that expecting a good VST to do all the work in making my music sound good is like buying a fine instrument and waiting for it to play itself. Hollywood Orchestra is a high-quality VST, but an excellent VST is just a VST with potential. In the end, the sound I get from it will depend on how much time I put in to understanding it.
I think an important part of using a VST orchestra is remembering that it’s not a real orchestra. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s something I missed while I was making ‘Onwards‘. I looked at pictures of orchestras to make panning decisions. I only used realistic combinations of instruments. And then I got frustrated when my adherence to orchestral norms didn’t pay off.
A VST orchestra isn’t an orchestra; it’s software. So far, the only rule I’ve found in my VST orchestra is that the rules don’t match those of a real orchestra.
I found a tutorial while I was looking for a way to improve the sound of my strings. A good chunk of it was jargon to me, but one sentence stood out: ‘All that matters is what sounds good.’
It really is. I need to stop thinking about real orchestras and spend more time learning from musicians who have experience in using VSTs. I’ve heard their VST-composed orchestral music, and it sounds incredible. I know it can be done—I’ll get there eventually.