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  • Special Edition vs Vienna Ensemble

    Hi all! I'm planning to take the plunge into the VSL djugle in a near future. Though I'm not finacially ready to buy the cube I hope that I can get some advice in the following matter: I'm working with film music and have up til now made my own live recordings. I starting to feel the need to make accurate mockups for my clients and also want to mix VI:s with live instruments. How 'accurate' does one get with the special edition string section vs the vienna ensemble string section? I am a string player myself. Will I regret myself if I buy the special edition or is it better to get the Vienna String Ensemble? All the best/ Anders Peev

  • Hi Anders. There's no such product as Vienna String Ensemble - you may be thinking of the Vienna Ensemble, which is a host for multiple Vienna Instrument players. The alternative to Special Edition would be the bigger VI collections Solo Strings, Chamber Strings I & II, Orchestral Strings I & II and Apassionata Strings I & II. Alternatively you could buy SE and then add the extra articulations found in SE Plus. SE is a very good, comprehensive orchestral library and has quite a lot of detail for the strings, including VSL's very cool interval legatos and portamentos. You can check the contents of all these collections on this site's 'Products' page. Each title has its own 'Sample Content' menu.

  •  You can get a hundred answers for this questions which are all half right and half wrong. Anyway I give some answer with my little experience. I started with Vienna Special Edition last June and have upgraded to Orchestral Strings 1 ,Solo Strings and Woodwinds 1 so far.

    SE (Special Edition) is perfect to learn the system of Vsl. You can get a lot out of it with a normal computer. If you want to really take advantage from the full versions you have to consider a computer with a lot of ram. At least for me, once you have all the options, you want to try them and keep them ready. For now, I have now a system with 8 gb of ram (XP 64) and thats a big step forward for me. With 32 bit systems (Windows) you will need gigabit switch that opens up more usuable ram for you. If you are a string player you will lust for the full versions after some time. 

    A common consense seems to be that the Appasionata strings are exceptionally good. Those and the Solostrings (Which I like to the max)  would cover a lot of ground for a long time.

    Anyway, for starting you cant go wrong with Special Edition. You will get price reduction on the complete editions as an owner so it is unlikely to be a wrong investment.For virtuosic passages SE is not always prepared because it does not have the fast legatos, marcatos etc.

    Just listen to ALL the demos and after a while you will get a feeling what you can expect. For me , the demos of the solo strings are just outstanding(.....)

  • Thanks for your sincere and swift answers! It was the lager string packages I ment anyways. I'm on an Mac Pro tower with 4 GB RAM. So I'll be OK with the Special Edition then. I the kind of guy that probably would record all the instruments track by track even on larger projects, is it recommended to to that with the solostrings? Or perhaps better to use the chamber strings in order to create an orchestra? I'll check out the demos right away. Thanks/ Anders

  • Hello,

    I own SE + Solo Strings, Chamber Strings & Appassionata Strings (standard) and find myself using ALL of them! They each have a very specific sound which really enhances your mockups. Take a listen to the demos and you'll hear the difference in sound between the different ensembles. I'm an aspiring film composer and unfortunately dont have the budgets to allow for live orchestral recordings, so I personally need all the different string sounds. I've also worked as a mockup creator for a hollywood composer, and find that though live strings add something special to most music, in all honesty, I sometimes think they dont sound much better (at least not $10,000 better) than the mockup (this could be attachment on my part though :-). But what you save in money using samples, you loose in time. It can take much effort to create convincing mockups, so its a trade off.

    I do feel if you can afford it, the complete sets are well worth the money, especially the strings. Each added articulation give you the variety necessary for a convincing mockup. However, if your end goal is to record live, I think you'd be just fine using only Vienna Special Edition as they are convincing enough, and since you dont have all the articulations available you dont spend as much time perfecting the mockup.

    As for your idea of tracking each part, this is a good idea, but doesn't always work in practice. First off, if you plan on trying to replicate an 50-60 piece string section with solo strings, It will take you all day, and frankly, it won't sound very good if all you use is the single Vienna solo violin (not enough variation in sound). Before I got Chamber Strings I was trying to make solo strings into chamber, and though I was able to do so, it took too much time to record the same violin part over and over. If I wasn't on deadlines this would probably be my main way of working (using multiple solo string libraries to create my own "orchestra" but alas us film composers need to work quick, thus the need for the different libraries. Chamber strings would get you closer, but again depending on the piece of music and the size of the orchestra you're trying to replicate, this may not work either. However, I almost ALWAYS add solo strings over top of these larger sections in order to create the slight variations in rhythm, pitch, etc, and find this is a quick but effective compromise to recording each part.

    Anyway, I'm rambling now. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. All the best.

  • Thank you JT3_Jon! I've gone through the many of the demos so far. They sound very different and some are more convincing than others. One thing I'm certain that I will need is to be able to add sampled strings underneath real playing. Mostly in small ensembles. In that case maybe the solo strings would be my best bet? Or is it stupid not to start with the Special Edition? / Anders