The absolute perfect starting point for any composer is to go with all-in-one libraries. These contain all the standard sections of the orchestra, and have the most basic and fundamental articulations that you need:
- Sustain (longs)
- Spiccato/Staccato (shorts)
- Marcato (longer shorts)
- Pizzicato (plucked strings)
- Tremolo (strings)
With the occasional, but frequent:
- Legato (connected notes)
- Col legno (hitting the strings with the wood of the bow, percussive sound)
- Con sordino (muted, both brass and strings)
- Trills (Maj and minor 2nds mostly)
This is what you mostly use as an orchestral composer anyways, so these all-in-one libraries are highly useful. Some of the full orchestral libraries have more articulations, and some less. Once you buy the section-specific libraries, you’ll get more bespoke articulations for those sections, because the sample developers have spent a lot more time on that specific section.
Apart from the orchestral sections, in several ones of these you also get extra content like organs, synths, ethnic percussion, and more.
Here are some of my favorite all-in-one libraries:
- The Albion Series (Spitfire Audio, Kontakt)
Different pricings, but a lot for the money. These libraries have great articulations for strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion and sound design. Fantastic libraries for beginners, but also for professionals. Big and awesome sound. My favorite ones of these are Albion 3: Iceni which is specifically for that low end and dark orchestral sound, and Albion One for big and bold full orchestra. Definitely would recommend buying something like Albion One as your first big orchestral sample library. The albions also contain synths, extra percussion, loops, and more.