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WURLI LIBRARY SHOOTOUT -- ALL LESS THAN $35 USD each ​​​​​​​ - VOTE FOR THE BEST

Wurli Sample Library Shootout  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Which Wurli library do you think sounds best? Listen to the linked SoundCloud file below and pay close attention to the dynamics. First, you'll hear each Wurli in the context of a full band, then you'll hear them by themselves. The same MIDI file was used for each time through.

    • Wurli library (1) one / uno
      8
    • Wurli library (2) two / dos
      0
    • Wurli library (3) three / tres
      2


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THREE WURLI SHOOTOUT -- ALL LESS THAN $35 USD each
Most people at the forum probably realize by now that I'm a bit obsessed with Wurlis (Wurlitzer electric pianos). I have a long history with them and I've collected A LOT of Wurli sample libraries and plugins over the years. But this year I set out to buy a better Wurli library. Unfortunately, I bought a library that I find poor and one that I find very good. I wanted to do a shootout with those two plus an old Wurli library I have that many of us have had for a long time. Right now, during Black Friday pre-sales, you can by any of these libraries for under $35 USD. So I threw this together very quickly. I did a first take on the Wurli, electric guitar, bass and drums and just cut and pasted those MIDI files for the other two Wurli libraries, so you're hearing the identical MIDI file played by each Wurli library. I'm going to share what each of them are and I'll link to the best sale prices on each, but first I'd like you to listen without prejudice of knowing what each library is named. I'm playing the riff from "Where It's At" -- live, sloppily and from memory (all libraries you hear were played live), so I may have gotten the riff wrong; I just played basic guitar and bass parts that kept the groove; they're not based on the original song. What I would like you to pay close attention to are the tone and the dynamics of the Wurli libraries. A real Wurli sounds gorgeous when you play softly and has a bite to it when you play loudly. I don't think any of these three libraries do a perfect job of capturing that. But I find one does a very poor job of capturing that. Of course, that's my opinion. I would like you to judge with your own ears. 

I played electric guitar, bass and drum libraries (from a MIDI controller) along with the Wurlis so that you could hear the Wurlis in a mix. After we go through all three Wurli libraries with other instruments in a mix, I then let you hear just the Wurlis alone. The guitar, bass and drum kit sample libraries used are: Orange Tree Samples Evolution Texas Twang, Orange Tree Samples Evolution Vintage Violin Bass and drums ezDrummer Big Rock Drums played in SD2 (bought from our own ccLarry). I'll tell everyone the libraries used after we get some voting and -- hopefully -- other posts in, because I would prefer that you judge with your ears rather than from developer's or libraries' names.

 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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I am pretty sure I know which ones are which, but I'm finding it a tough one to judge, because the second seems to have too much reverb for my liking (sorry) and the third has more tremolo which always imparts a lovely quality, and the first one is a little louder in the bitey parts 🙂

 

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10 minutes ago, Fleer said:

Lovely. Now go try that Pianoteq Wurli :)

I'd love to, but I'm on a tight budget and that's it for my Wurli spending for 2022. I'm not looking to be an influencer getting freebies. I prefer being able to be completely honest. My completely honest take is that one of these three libraries is greatly inferior to the other two. And I'll plainly state that the one that's inferior is SoundPaint's Wurli released this year. One of the other libraries is Scarbee's A200 originally released at least a decade ago and it blows away the SoundPaint Wurli,  no contest. The best one, IMO, is the e-Instruments W. So those are the three I played, but I'm still not saying which is which. I'd like others to judge and then share the order I played each one. 

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21 minutes ago, Craig N said:

I am pretty sure I know which ones are which, but I'm finding it a tough one to judge, because the second seems to have too much reverb for my liking (sorry) and the third has more tremolo which always imparts a lovely quality, and the first one is a little louder in the bitey parts 🙂

 

I used presets I liked that didn't have a great deal of distortion. Of course,  they're not identical. But one not only has no difference besides volume when the dynamics change, it has these strange bursts of sound. I'm not going to lie, I kinda loathe one of these libraries. It's a huge disappointment and, ironically,  it's overhyped for having a lot of velocity layers. Oops. I just realized,  I wrote these are all KONTAKT libraries,  they're not. I'll fix that. I did this stuff in between watching a football game!  But my bottom line point was really about the dynamics. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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i picked #3.

but its interesting in that in the full band context, i really was gravitating towards 2. what i like about it is the band context is, it really stands out in the mix. i dont know if anything extra was done to it in eq.

Edited by telecode 101

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1 hour ago, PavlovsCat said:

I'd love to, but I'm on a tight budget and that's it for my Wurli spending for 2022. I'm not looking to be an influencer getting freebies. I prefer being able to be completely honest. My completely honest take is that one of these three libraries is greatly inferior to the other two. And I'll plainly state that the one that's inferior is SoundPaint's Wurli released this year. One of the other libraries is Scarbee's A200 originally released at least a decade ago and it blows away the SoundPaint Wurli,  no contest. The best one, IMO, is the e-Instruments W. So those are the three I played, but I'm still not saying which is which. I'd like others to judge and then share the order I played each one. 

And the Acoustic Samples Wurlie?

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On 11/20/2022 at 4:04 PM, Esteban Villanova said:

Which one is the Spitfire one?

Well, we're enough posts down where people won't see this right away and my hope was that they'd judge for themselves and see my point. But I do realize that my playing is so poor that it doesn't illustrate my point as well as if I was a better player. I mainly just tried to play softly at the beginning and loudly a little later so that people could hear how each library reacts in terms of dynamics, because having grown up having a Wurli in our home, the dynamics of a Wurli are a HUGE part of what makes it great -- that it  doesn't illustrate my intended point as well as just jamming on it would. Also, I paid for every library played and didn't approach any developers asking for freebies. I don't have any affiliate marketing relationships with any sample or plugin developers or any other financial relationships. These are my unfiltered, honest opinions. I rounded the stars up or down to what I felt most acccuarelty reflected my opinion of each library. 

THE FIRST LIBRARY / UNO: e-instruments Session Keys Electric W 
MY RATING: 3.5 - 4 / 5  

MY TAKE: This is a very good quality Wurli library that responds well dynamically. Also, this library a lot of controls that let you apply various effects and modify the sound of the included samples in useful and interesting ways. e-instruments put together a very good Wurli library and I've come to respect and trust the brand. Kudos to a quality sample developer. 

CURRENTLY ON SALE FOR $33.43 (the price I bought for the other day, thanks to @cclarry
https://www.bestservice.com/session_keys_electric_w.html

THE SECOND LIBRARY / DOS: SoundPaint Wurli    
MY RATING: 1 / 5 / 

MY TAKE: This is a very disappointing library that I initially enjoyed due to one heavily distorted patch (named aggressive something or another), but after my enthusiasm wore of for that and I paid attention to the quality of the samples, I realized that it's a pretty poor library that sounds as if it came out 20 years ago. Despite all of the hype about SoundPaint's 127 velocity layers, this sounds like one velocity layer. A giant part of the Wurli is that when you play it softly it has this tone I consider magically, almost like celeste. And when you slam the keys, it has bite to it. It's alive, like an acoustic piano. SoundPaint's library sounds like it's one velocity layer that was recorded with a player playing neither soft or loud, but somewhere in between, and when you play soft, it's just a lower volume of that recording and when you play loud, it's just a louder volume of that (and yes, I'm the son and brother of classically trained pianists/organists who took years of piano and organ lessons and can explain that using more technical language and lovely Italian words, but I opt for the simple jargon-free language that everyone can understand whether they formally studied music or are self taught). To put it in the purest, most direct language, I find SoundPaint's Wurli a total disappointment.  It's only value for me is creating programs with other SoundPaint libraries I've bought. Doing this comparison and considering my several other SoundPaint libraries all being disappointing with only one exception -- the Bazantar -- I love that library, I am going to hit pause on buying anymore SoundPaint libraries and I apologize for those who might have bought the library due to my posting about it immediately after I purchased it. I was excited by one patch and thought for $20 USD it was awesome. But now, with e-instruments on sale for around $13 USD more, I would never recommend this library to anyone and would even go as far as recommending AGAINST buying it. Again, if you bought this library because of my past post, I am sincerely apologize. I wrote that post sincerely and I really should have spent more time with the library. That is part of why I did this post. Candidly, I find that SoundPaint is ridiculously overhyped and this library, the Soul Guitar library are especially poor. They certainly are not up to the same standards as a high quality KONTAKT library, not even close. My SampleTank libraries are better than both (yes, SampleTank 4's Wurli is better than SoundPaint's Wurli, IMO. I can add that if anyone wants me to and update this later this week. 

REGULAR PRICE $20 USD. When I looked at SoundPaint's website just now, I found that they removed the Wurli from their site, That was a good choice. I had informed them of problems with the library. My guess is that others have complained and probably returned the library after noticing the same problems (you can hear the sound sometimes spike in the linked shootout I did. Hopefully they can improve on more than just the technical problems and make this into a better library. As it stands, it's like using a Soundfont library. Add in the problems with the sound randomly spiking and it makes the library unusable, IMO. 
https://soundpaint.com/collections/keyboard

THE THIRD LIBRARY / TRES: Scarbee 200A
MY RATING: 3/5
 
MY TAKE: Scarbee makes good libraries. But this library is probably 15 years old by now and I'm sure that today they could make a far better library. But it's a good library. Not as good as e-instruments Electric W and it lacks all of the effects and sample modification options of e-instruments Sessions Keys Electric W. 

ON SALE FOR $34.50 USD.  IF you don't own the full version of KONTAKT, this uses the FREE KONTAKT Player, so it might be a good choice for those that don't own KONTAKT.
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/keys/scarbee-a200/

Edited by PavlovsCat
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My Wurli budget is spent for 2022. I do think that, based on demos, AcousticSamples Wurli is the best sounding Wurli I've yet to hear and the second best would  Skybox Audio's 200A that's included with another library, which I think was selling for more than $100USD last time I checked. I didn't buy AcousticSamples Wurli because it was a lot more expensive than e-instruments' Wurli. The same goes for SonicCoture's Broken Wurli, it also sounds like a winner. 

At this point, past my budget, if any developers of Wurli libraries want me to compare their libraries, I would accept an NFR to do so. However, on the conditions that there are no conditions on my review, that I can be as savage as I feel is appropriate. I actually know and like Troels. He called me several years ago for marketing and branding advice and I loved our conversation. He's a super talented composer and a very interesting person. Absolutely delightful to talk to. But I'm not going to put myself in a position to where I have to censor myself. I actually declined NFRs back then, because I wanted to be able to not have him feel I was beholden to him in case I posted anything critical of his libraries. I've led digital marketing and advised on marketing at global brands everyone here knows -- including affiliate marketing and advising on influencer marketing/relations.  Developers aren't appreciative of hyper critical reviews and once you do one, they will not provide you with more free products, sponsor you (AKA, pay you for promoting their products, which influencers refer to as reviews). When I had a publication on marketing strategy, I used to do book reviews. Over a decade I did a total of maybe 12 reviews. I was easily sent more than 100 books. Most were not worth reading. I would get publicists upset. I had a policy of only publishing reviews of books I could recommend, which ended up being maybe 12 out of more than 100. I told book publicists that they should be grateful I didn't review the books they sent because I would be advising people not to buy them. That's how I used to operate. But part of me would have found real value in giving both good and bad book reviews because honest, journalistically valid reviews are helpful to people. I seek them. Anyhow, that is what I did here. Obviously, I'm not a talented musician anymore I'm a guy who used to play a long time ago that had an injury that ensures I'll never be even worthy of the title musician again. But I thought I could at least pull off a demonstration. and share my insights and maybe do a little to make up for my recommending SoundPaint's disappointing library due to my initial enthusiasm from one patch, when I should have taken the time to really pay attention to the library. In fact, it was only after I recorded something with it -- long after I recommended it here -- that I discovered the weird pops/volume spikes that occur when it plays back MIDI. I have no idea what's going on, but that makes an already disappointing library unusable. My hope is that they'll not only fix that problem but there's some way they could make their library more dynamic.   

Edited by PavlovsCat
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I suppose what I'm not sharing that over the years, I have had a total of three developers who contacted me angry over my making posts critical of their libraries or praising a competitor's libraries. Two of those developers were developers I had given hours of free consulting and declined free libraries (NFR) in return and one actually had owed me several thousand dollars in consulting fees but refused to pay me because I had publicly praised one of his competitor's libraries as being innovative (Orange Tree Samples). So my opinions in this specific forum have actually cost me several thousand dollars. True story. So yeah, I am the most unsuccessful influencer of all time. That experience and not having as much free time caused me to stop consulting. But I was telling developers I gave free advice to provide NFRs to KVR members from third world nations that I got to know because they shared that buying a sample library would cost multiple pay checks., I found one of the developers I was giving free advice to was already doing that. He and I ended up becoming good friends, but I'm sure he doesn't want me to reveal his good deeds. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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Shootouts like this are tricky. With just a tiny mismatch between how the dynamics of a library got sampled, I mean its velocity response and your keyboard touch it can quickly get very deceptive. For example in the video in the other thread where the guy was playing a real wurlie on weighted keys and a few libraries on a synth keyboard... man! I mean that was an instant major fail even before he started because synth keys are much lighter and still he was bashing on them same as on the real one effectively making most of the libraries sound much much brighter than the real Wurlie. If you used the same MIDI with different libraries, it takes just as little as a small adjustment to its velocity data to make it bright or darker while there's nothing wrong with the actual sample library. Especially that we're talking on such a dynamic instrument like a Wurlie. Best thing you can do is to actually play them to get the feel. If you're after a library for use with MIDI files than there's a lot you can do by playing with the velocity data making most of them sound really good most of the time.

Edited by chris.r

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12 minutes ago, chris.r said:

Shootouts like this are tricky. With just a tiny mismatch between how the dynamics of a library got sampled, I mean it's velocity response and your keyboard touch it can quickly get very deceptive. For example in the video in the other thread where the guy was playing a real wurlie on weighted keys and a few libraries on a synth keyboard... man! I mean that was an instant major fail even before he started because synth keys are much lighter and still he was bashing on them same as on the real one effectively making most of the libraries sound much much brighter than the real Wurlie. If you used the same MIDI with different libraries, it takes just as little as a small adjustment to it's velocity data to make it bright or darker while there's nothing wrong with the actual sample library. Especially that we're talking on such a dynamic instrument like a Wurlie. Best thing you can do is to actually play them to get the feel. If you're after a library for use with MIDI files than there's a lot you can do by playing with the velocity data making most of them sound really good most of the time.

But I've spent hours playing each library and the differences are far more profound than my demonstration reveals. My poor playing and mixing skills keep me from doing a better job conveying these differences. And no doubt, I'm not skilled enough to do a great job at a shootout. But I was focused on dynamics and wanted to convey what I've found using each library and do it as fairly as I could. 

Interestingly,  it was only after I recorded and mixed this and made the poll that I went to all the sites I bought from and discovered that, for some unknown reason, that I'm speculating is related to the problem I reported,  SoundPaint pulled their Wurli library. I don't know why and if anyone knows the reason and SoundPaint  has made a statement  somewhere that I'm aware of. If any of that is the case, please share that information here. 

Edited by PavlovsCat
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2 minutes ago, PavlovsCat said:

Interestingly,  it was only after I recorded and mixed this and made the poll that I went to all the sites I bought from and discovered that, for some unknown reason, SoundPaint pulled their Wurli library. I don't know why and if anyone knows the reason,  please share it here. 

Maybe they took your comments to heart 🙂

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3 minutes ago, Barrie said:

Maybe they took your comments to heart 🙂

Although,  I only reported the problem.  I didn't share my disappointment with them. Though I have posted about it in the past. 

Edited by PavlovsCat

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