With over 67 sample libraries covering over 40,000 virtual instruments in nearly every music style for only $29 a month, what more could you want as a composer? Purchasing enough high-quality sample libraries to have a working studio can get pricey, and there’s always more to buy. EastWest seems to have come up with a solution that sounds like a dream, but is the EastWest ComposerCloud really worth it?
About EastWest ComposerCloud
ComposerCloud is a subscription-based service that gives you access to 67 sample libraries including Hollywood Backup Singers, Ministry of Rock 1&2, and Piano Gold Steinway. To see a full list of all the libraries included in the EastWest ComposerCloud, visit their official website.
Signing up is simple; you choose your subscription plan and download the samples. Then you download PLAY 6, EastWest’s sampling platform.
What’s the catch?
The biggest drawback of the EastWest ComposerCloud is that you’re really only getting a handful of high-quality sample libraries along with a lot of mediocre ones. The libraries that I have found to have the best quality are:
- Silk (instruments from China, Persia, and India)
- Hollywood Backup Singers
- Ministry of Rock
- Voices of Opera
- Voices of Soul
- Hollywood Choir
- Stormdrum (ethnic drums)
Let’s take a look at what we’ve got here. Most of these are either ethnic, choirs, or both. They sound great if you have projects that use them, but they are not going to be the go-to libraries for most people.
What’s missing from this list? Orchestral sample libraries. They sound passable, even good, but not amazing. With so many better orchestral sample libraries out there such as the BBC Symphonic Orchestra by Spitfire and Native Instrument’s Symphony Series, the EastWest Hollywood Orchestral Series is not going to be your go-to for professional gigs.
Another downside is the speed and usability of PLAY 6, the sampling platform software. It does have some nice features, most notably the search feature. Play includes columns listing each category, type, style, and timbre. You can search through individual libraries or through the entire database. The ability to search for specifics styles and timbres allows for easy discovery of the perfect sounds.
However, that’s where the software stops being easy to use. In order to hear what each sample sounds like, you have to upload the sample first. If you don’t like the sample, then you have to offload it and replace it with another one. If your connection is good this doesn’t take too long, but if your connection is lacking then this process can take up a lot of precious studio time.
Speaking of taking up time, it also takes a long time to download all of the sample libraries when you first download PLAY 6. Even with a good connection, it took me about a week to finally download everything. (That being said, I didn’t have the computer sitting and downloading continuously. I would just work on the process of downloading a few hours at a time. Either way, not a fun process.)
The Price Breakdown
If you were to purchase every sample library in the EastWest ComposerCloud, the total would be somewhere above $13,000. Even at a discounted price (which happens often), your total will still be around $6,000. Slightly more reasonable, but still a large chunk of change.
Let’s compare that to the subscription price:
The best value subscription option is the annual plan, paid yearly. Currently, you can subscribe to this plan for $199 a year. (This is a sale price, I think the usual price is around $349). This is quite the deal, as it would take 17-65 years for the cost of your subscription to equal what you would pay for all of the sample libraries individually (depending on sales, etc.).
This breakdown is a little different if you are only interested in a handful of sample libraries. The cost of each sample library varies, but it averages out to be $199 each. This means if you only want one or two of EastWest’s sample libraries and they are ones you will use for years to come, then purchasing individual libraries will be your best option. If there are 10+ that you would consider buying, then definitely go for the subscription.
Is the EastWest ComposerCloud worth it?
If you are on a tight budget, in need of access to a large variety of instruments, and mainly work with demos (not final products), then EastWest ComposerCloud is definitely worth it. For those who work with a lot of final products that involve ethnic instruments and choirs, the EastWest ComposerCloud is also a good option.
If, on the other hand, you are serious about film composing, orchestration, producing, etc. and you work with a lot of final products, then the EastWest ComposerCloud may not be worth it to you. It may be a great addition to an arsenal of great sample libraries from a variety of companies, but ultimately EastWest ComposerCloud shouldn’t be the only sample library collection you work with.