Judge for yourself! What is your impression? Where are the differences and what was your emotional response?
At this point, I should mention that here the live recording was layered on top of the Mockup, so basically in the right example you are hearing both samples and the live orchestra at the same time, although the samples (brass, woodwinds, strings) are much lower in volume in the mix. This method is also commonly used in film scoring, as it provides the wonderful emotional quality of the live players while the samples add a lush, big sound to the recording. Percussion, vocals and synths are all created with samples in both versions.
Even though I put a lot of effort into the Mockup, I feel that the live orchestra sounds so much better. While the version relying solely on samples does not sound bad at all, the live players have truly performed this piece of music, putting all their heart and soul into it and really brought it to life! If you listen closely, you can even hear the “air and depth” of the scoring stage! By the way, this track was recorded at The Bridge Recording Studio with some of the top session players in Los Angeles, conducted by Bruce Broughton.
I think this little example proves that a score recorded with real musicians is money well spent! And even for smaller productions with limited budgets, keep in mind that a single player layered on top of virtual instruments can really make a difference!