Vienna Symphonic Library Forum
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  • Sample Library Bake-Off

    I'd like to start off by saying thank you to VSL for allowing me to announce my new website/composer community here on their forum. I think it speaks well of their openess and positive attitude towards giving the best possible support to their customers. (Sample Library is a site I decided to build to meet needs I have as a user of sample libraries and which I hope will prove useful to many of my fellow VSL user peers. The basic issues I am trying to address are as follows:

    • When I visit forums I hear a lot of opinions about libraries, but how do I know which opinions to listen to when either trying to decide what to buy or whether the investments I have already made were good ones?
    • Most Vendor websites offer demo tracks (this more than most!), but they are often using the instruments in a way I don't intend to or in a style of composition I don't produce. In my template I have samples from several vendors which I often layer, on vendor sites I can't hear demos prepared in that way, so I can't judge how the instruments will sound when used in my template
    • VSL is I think alone in offering 'tutorials' for some of their demos. In addition to reading the manual, I spend hours of trial and error often before I get the results I want from a new purchase. How do I know I need a new library? Maybe I just need to learn how to get the best out of the ones I have - but that's not really a 'silver bullet' when I'm up against a tight deadline

    The basic purpose of the site (following the 'bake-off model') is that members can post challenges in the form of midi files or musical notation of the kind of composition they feel they struggle to programme effectively with their current set up. Other members can then use that challenge in order to respond with a version produced using their set-up and libraries. They can also use the site to offer tutorials on their 'challenge responses' - which they can sell or offer gratis - so members not only discover what libraries to buy but also how to use them to get the sound they're looking for.

    At this point I want to make it clear that there is no mechanism on the site to rank responses or libraries or determine which is best. It is down to each member to listen to what is posted and make that decision for themselves. My role is to organise the 'work in progress' posted within the site's forum onto the main site in a structured way that makes navigation quick and easy in a crisis.

    So how is SLB-O different from this forum or VI Control (for exmple). Firstly, it is vendor neutral, so you can hear all available libraries in one place, back to back, reproducing the same compositions - a level playing field. Secondly, it's primary function is not discussion - discussion is restricted to a specific area in the forum; so if like me you don't want to have to wade through the 'holy wars' between advocates of different sound palettes to get to the useful information - then you don't have to.

    Anyway, I have rambled on enough - there is comprehensive information about the concept and how it works on the site if the above makes you think it may be worth a look. To start things off, I have posted a challenge entitled 'Sinematic Siegfried' ( details of which you can find at! ) which is a sectional brass challenge I have responded to using my own template. I would love to hear a version of this bit of Wagner created using DImension Brass - or in fact any of the VSL products, on their own, or as I have, combined with other libraries.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this announcement and once again thank you to VSL for letting me post it. I would welcome feedback on anything I can do to make the site better meet your needs, so please get in touch.