Collection System Requirements
Orchestral Tools produces world-class sampled collections that are highly adaptable and flexible.
Resource use varies greatly by use case and workflow, so general system requirements are hard to give.
This section gives pointers about specific resource areas of your system and what you will likely need to run Orchestral Tools collections with their full feature set.
If you are not sure if your system will be able to handle a certain collection, do not hesitate to contact us.
All Orchestral Tools collections are highly CPU-optimized in their scripting.
The demands on CPU vary greatly from patch to patch. In general Legato patches pose the greatest demands on CPU power. Regular non-legato articulations are very light.
Our collections rely exclusively on sampling and do not use any extensive calculations. Most adjustable settings are calculated on patch load and do not use resources at runtime.
Most regular patches will run even on low-end Intel i3 or similar CPUs. Lots of demanding legato patches with multiple microphone positions are not recommended for low-end CPUs.
Any dual or quad core CPU (Intel i5 or higher) will be able to run a good number of demanding legato patches without issues. In general any mid to high-end CPU from about 2010 on should be able to run all our collections well. Extensive use of Tempo-synced patches as well as legato patches requires a quad core CPU.
RAM (System Memory)
System Memory (RAM) is the most important factor with sample libraries. The simple rule is: The more you have, the better.
RAM is mainly used by two factors:
1.The patches themselves with their scripting. Each patch reserves some memory for itself and its script. The more patches, the more memory.
2.The samples within the patch. The more samples and the longer the samples in a patch, the higher the memory usage will be.
Our Multi Articulation patches allow you to load multiple articulations. Since they only need to load their script once, on system with less RAM (less than 16 GB) they are good for saving resources.
In general Legato patches take the most memory due to the many transition samples. If you have little memory, try using sustain patches whenever legato is not needed.
All our collections provide multiple microphone positions. Each position takes about the same amount of sample RAM. So if you use 5 positions, the samples will need 5 times as much memory compared to using a single position.
A neat trick is to compose with one position; then purging all samples when you are done and then enabling additional positions for export.
To run a small to medium project with a few legato patches and some basic articulations with one or two microphone positions you should have at least 8 GB RAM. 16 GB for a medium template would be better to have headroom.
To host for example a full Berlin Strings template with all articulations we recommend 32 GB RAM. If you intend to use a lot of microphone positions and want to use a lot of collections, 64 GB is perfect.
Disk Space / SSD or HD?
The disk space required by all our collections after installation is roughly identical to their download size.
During download and installation, you temporarily need to have free space twice the download size. This is because the downloaded files need to extracted. After installation the space used by the downloaded files can be freed. The process is described in detail in the Installation Guide.
We generally recommend to use SSD (Solid State Drives) for hosting Orchestral Tools collections because these drives provide superior speed and user experience, especially when using multiple microphone positions. However even our large collections like Berlin Strings run fine from regular Hard Drives.
To use SSD drives at their full speed, note that your mainboard needs to support SATA III connections.
If you are using external drives connected via Thunderbolt or USB3, make sure you have the best drivers installed to get optimal speed
Other Standard Requirements / Suggested Gear
We also assume that you have some standard gear that is useful for making great music, apart from your actual composing machine.
MIDI Master Keyboard
You should have a good MIDI Keyboard to enter notes. Whether you go for synth action or piano-like hammer action is up to you; both work fine. As long as your keyboard has a good velocity curve and plays nice, all is well.
You should have a sustain pedal connected to your MIDI keyboard to be able to hold notes. Some instruments like piano, harp and other keys sort of require such a sustain pedal.
Strictly speaking, you could control all articulations with keyboard velocity, but using some sort of MIDI controller that is able to send MIDI CC messages is very useful. At the very least, your keyboard should provide a modwheel assigned to CC1, or you can use an external MIDI controller.
Decent Studio Monitors/Headphones
The best samples only sound as good as the system they are played back on. Having good studio monitors or headphones goes a long way!
Operating Sytem / Mac or PC? What about Linux?
All Orchestral Tools Collections use Native Instruments Kontakt and will run on all platforms and operating systems Kontakt will run.
The Current Versions section shows you which version of Kontakt a collection needs. Visit the Native Instruments Website to find out if your operating system is compatible.
We recommend OS 10.11 on Mac and Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 10 on PC as these systems have proven to be most realiable.
What about Linux?
We often get asked how to run our collections on Linux. Unfortunately there is no version of Kontakt that runs on Linux, a lamentable fact.
You can use our collections with any sequencer supported by Native Instruments Kontakt.
But what do YOU use?
Many people want to know which sequencer we personally use. All Orchestral Tools collections are edited solely with Steinberg Cubase plus our own custom-built software.
We personally use Cubase Pro 10.5 for our own music work, too.