Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Master Keyboard for Vienna Standard Edition

    Hi everybody, I would like to ask what is or which is the better masterkeyboard for using VSEdistion I mean weight, and particuler Pich wheel or Joystick thank in advance Jorkax

  • Well, I'm sure many will be responding to your post with their own opinions but I'll tell you what I use and it works very well for me.  I use a Korg Triton with 88 wieghted keys and an X Y joystick controller.  I think it's important to have 88 keys so as to not limit your keyswitching potential (VSL can be keyswitch intensive depending on your matrixes).  Whether they're weighted keys or not I don't think matters all that much unless you write for and plan to use keyboarded instruments in your work.  Like I said, I use a joystick controller and it works very well for me but many users swear on the breath controller.  So you might want to get a keyboard that allows you to set up a breath controller.  I had a real hard time trying to get my ribbon controller to work convincingly so you might want to stay away from that.

    Just my thoughts. 


  •  The keyboard weight, hammer action, 88 keys, all mean nothing.

    You can use a plastic keyboard with 2 octaves. 

    How well you key in notes means absolutely nothing.  Unless of course you are using the piano samples.    But suppose you play something brilliantly with all your pianistic technique.   And it is for sampled flute.  Who gives a crap about your piano technique?  it is wasted.  So a cheap-ass controller that can be switched instantly between octaves is just as good as the biggest "Hammer-action, fully weighted" masterpiece of plastic engineering from whomever.


  • For VSL Special Edition or the larger Vienna collections, doesn't matter. Both collections have the same instrument ranges, and programming engine features. I think you should go for a large keyboard. You should have room for keyswitching articulations. If you are a piano player, and you are used to, and maybe feel more comfotable using weighted keys, then you should have that into consideration as well. It won't matter unless you are playing piano samples, but you should feel comfortable so that you can focus on the writing only. Some assignable knobs, buttons, and faders, won't do any harm. I think you will need them for modulating several parameters, and for switching articulations. I use M-Audio's Keystation Pro 88. It has lots of features, it feels good, and it won't break your bank.


  • Can I borrow the thread? I need to invest too. I was just wondering if someone can think aftertouch is usable with VSL. Or is it just throwing money away?

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    @Roger Noren said:

    Can I borrow the thread? I need to invest too. I was just wondering if someone can think aftertouch is usable with VSL. Or is it just throwing money away?

    I don't think aftertouch is of any use with VSL or many other sample libraries that are strictly orchestral. I currently use a Kurzweil PC2X that is 88 note weighted. But that's because I play piano and harpsichord works for fun. Otherwise, if you're not particularly a keyboard player, then you might get something less complicated.


  •  Aftertouch is a variable controller, just like a knob or a fader, though not as accurate. If you can assign it to a controller in VSL player, you migh find it useful. Perhaps assign it to cell crossfade, have a non vibrato patch loaded in the top cell, and a vibrato patch in the bottom.


  • One thing that might be good for aftertouch, if possible, is the application of variable vibrato; but frankly that would be only good for people comfortable with playing a keyboard in the first place. Therefore, the simple application of a mod wheel, for example, remains first choice for the many, I would imagine.


  • Actually it is good NOT to have aftertouch.  It is a useless controller most of the time because it is too hard to control for the varying conditions of playing encountered with different samples.  Also, with VSL, there is no artificially added vibrato controllable by such data.   In addtion with aftertouch you can accidentally record a lot of irrelevant data with it if it is not switched off.

    What is needed is a few octaves of keys, mod wheel, pitch wheel, sustain pedal and a few assignable controller knobs.  Every little controller has that.  Some people demand 88 key but it is a luxury as there is no reason for having the conventional range of a piano unless you are playing piano parts. 


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    @William said:

    Actually it is good NOT to have aftertouch.  It is a useless controller most of the time because it is too hard to control for the varying conditions of playing encountered with different samples.  

    Yes I agree. I remember when this was introduced on synthesizers and actually it was quite a crappy thing to try and control. One has this idea that somehow when one is playing a keyboard with aftertouch, in some fantasy world it would be possible to play say, a  solo violin line and apply vibrato through aftertouch in the same way as one does when playing the violin, and get it to sound the same. Nonsensical of course.


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    @William said:

    Actually it is good NOT to have aftertouch.  It is a useless controller most of the time because it is too hard to control for the varying conditions of playing encountered with different samples.  

    Yes I agree. I remember when this was introduced on synthesizers and actually it was quite a crappy thing to try and control. One has this idea that somehow when one is playing a keyboard with aftertouch, in some fantasy world it would be possible to play say, a  solo violin line and apply vibrato through aftertouch in the same way as one does when playing the violin, and get it to sound the same. Nonsensical of course.

    Yes, the violin vibrato thing was what I had in mind. I would love to be able to control that separately and still keep the mod wheel free for expression. Maybe a foot controller would be better? (I am a quite new VSL SE user so that's why I feel insecure how to best control it)

  • Yes. I as I have already said, the aftertouch controller, can be used. Therefore I don't suggest it. I think its un accurate, and not so comfortable. I never used it. An expression pedal is fine. Therefore keep in mind that you might need that for cc11 (expression), or maybe you assign it to velocity crossfade, in VI. That's why earlier, I mentioned that some assignable faders, knobs and buttons would be useful. If you assign a continuous controller to velocity crossfade, you might need to assign a button to toggle the feature on and off, since you might want it off when playing short notes.


  •  One more thing. If you are using VSL SE, then I have the impression that you don't have vibrato and non vibrato patches. I think that sustain and legato patches are with vibrato only in SE.


  • Regarding Aftertouch: As far as I can tell, it isn't available in VSL, or for that matter, in many software sample players. The reason for this is that in the MIDI code, aftertouch is NOT a controller message; it's what is called a channel message. All controller messages are another type of channel message; pitch bend another, etc. The only way to use it with VSL as far as I can tell, is if you have a keyboard controller that can remap (change) aftertouch messages to a controller #. I think this is the reason it has sort of fallen by the wayside. Pitchbend is a little more accessible and obviously useful, so it is included, but using aftertouch is a keyboard skill that needs to be developed in order to work well. When skill is gained, and it is programmed beyond bad vibrato presets, it allows an extra expressive parameter to be controlled by the fingers without moving from the keys. 'Not saying it's useful for everybody, and not even easily available. However, I'm a total hacker as a pianist, but also a guy who's used plastic digital keys for 25 years; aftertouch can work well and precisely for me. As example, I'm a brand newbie to VSL but I may try remapping aftertouch (at my keyboard) to velocity xfade for controlling long note swells. btw, I love VSL so far, and the forum is really great!

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    @Roger Noren said:

     Yes, the violin vibrato thing was what I had in mind. I would love to be able to control that separately and still keep the mod wheel free for expression. Maybe a foot controller would be better? (I am a quite new VSL SE user so that's why I feel insecure how to best control it)

    You have to remember that with most samples, the vibrato is built in as it were. In other words, it's effectively dynamic. One of the big bugbears of all sample libraries, especially with regard to strings and in particular, solo string instruments, is the vibrato and how to control it. I understand what you mean re: the mod wheel, but aftertouch and solo strings vibrato is probably light years away from being as effective as a real player in real time.


  • Thanks for the info. The built-in vibrato in solo string samples was what I felt annoying with GPO, the first library I bought. Since controlling the vibrato with a mod wheel is standard on synthesizers since many years back, I was expecting VSL to have solved that problem even on entry level libraries, but I didn't check that before I bought VSL SE. But I feel quite happy with the library anyway.

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    @Roger Noren said:

    Thanks for the info. The built-in vibrato in solo string samples was what I felt annoying with GPO, the first library I bought. Since controlling the vibrato with a mod wheel is standard on synthesizers since many years back, I was expecting VSL to have solved that problem even on entry level libraries, but I didn't check that before I bought VSL SE. But I feel quite happy with the library anyway.
     

    Nobody has "solved" that problem with solo strings yet. The Garritan Strad attempted to, but not very successfully, IMO. In any case, vibrato on an acoustic instrument (as opposed to a synth) can't be controlled with just one continual controller; it needs at least two.

    I'm sure that eventually none of us will be using sample libraries in the traditional sense. Samplemodeling's The Trumpet has already made strides in that direction. However, it is always the simple sounding passages that trip it up, and its these that VSL does so well.

    DG