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  • Adding Chamber Strings Standard to Special Edition Extended

    Hi, I'm new to this forum and just starting over after a 15 year break from composing. The new home studio is ready and now I'm shopping for instrument libraries. I've researched until my eyes bleed and, to me, VE Pro + Special Edition is a no brainer as a foundation. VE Pro is an easy choice and I'll definitely be getting that. Chamber Strings will be a key sound for me and, despite comparing SE Extended with Chamber Strings 1 Standard on this site I'm still in the dark about the specifics of "Chamber Strings in SE Extended" v "Chamber Strings 1 standard". Can someone shed a little light on this please, I will undoubtedly build my library further but this is a real start up dilemma given the extras with SE Extended. The Epic Orchestra in VE Pro could however provide some of the "weight" for a while if I bought SE standard + Chamber Strings 1 standard to start. Price would be comparable either way. Another way to look at this, if I bought SE Extended and then Chamber Strings 1 standard later, what extras am I actually getting in Chamber Strings? Thanks, phew! Robert

  • HI Robert,

    When comparing VSL libraries, click on the button "Sample Content". There you will see specifically what articulations are included with the DVD you're looking at.

    This link will show you what's in the Special Edition. The column on the left is the standard SE, the right colum is the extended SE.


    And this link shows you what's included with the Chamber Strings, standard and extended.


    Remember that the extended version of each DVD is active for a 30 day demo period, even if you just buy the standard. So you can test out the extended vesion before purchasing it.

    Good luck,


  • Like you are intending, I started with the SE libraries.  If SE is going to be your "go to" sample set, the additional articulations in the SE Plus libraries really help to round out what is in the basic SE libraries.

    Generally speaking, when getting the full libraries, if at all possible aim to get both the standard and the extended libraries.  The additional articulations in extended, while not "essential," are important when seeking to better emulate the variety of techniques available to a live musician. 

    As for the differences between SE and the full libraries, SE is sampled in whole steps, while the full libraries have chromatic samples; SE generally has at most two velocity layers, while the full libraries often have four.

    Regarding your options, one key question to consider: which do you need more, the additional instruments in the SE extended library (there are many), or chamber strings?  Nevertheless, if chamber strings is that important, strongly consider going directly to the full library.  In some respects SE serves as the introductory means of getting one hooked on the full libraries.

    Last, you did not mention anything about your computer specs.  If you are using an older computer, the SE libraries run quite comfortably on older computers with less ram.  You can easily run all four of the SE libraries on 8 gigs of ram and a Q series processor.  As one starts using full libraries, you can quickly need much more ram and a better processor.  For large VSL templates using full libraries, 24 gigs of ram is more the norm, and at least some form of an i7 (900 series or better).  High end power users tend to end up with dual xeons, but for many of us, that is not an option.

  • Thanks for the feedback, I have a new i7 970 with 24Gb RAM and 3 x 1Tb drives, so not too concerned about specs at this stage. I did compare the articulations on those pages between SE Ext and Chamber Strings but even then was still a little unclear. Velocity layers however is a big factor so thanks for that. For a while I was thinking about LASS as my go to "full string sound" but have come back around to VSL for my whole string library. Cheers

  • Nice computer. 

    To help try to clear things up a bit regarding the articulation page:

    Most of the basic articulations are stardard bowings: everything from staccato to detache, sustains and the like (as you know).  Unlike some libraries, VSL features several different types of connected bowstrokes: legato, marcato, etc.  There are six of them in chamber strings.  Most of these are in the extended library portion of the library, not the standard portion, though the most critical one, legato, is in the standard library (VSL's legatos are very, very good).

    There are also several performance repetitions.  While the performance interval bowings include transitions between different notes, the performance repetitions are round robin samples where a different sample is triggered when the same note is repeated: very important in avoiding what is called the "machine gun" effect with repeated notes.  The critical ones are included in the standard library, while the ones in the extended library are also important.

    The fast repetitions are something else yet again.  These are of use if playing in parts via a keyboard.  If you trigger the note once, depending on how you play the note, up to nine repetitions will sound (think of it in terms of writing 8 consecutive 16th notes on the same pitch, and hitting the keyboard key once).

    One of the other important aspects of the extended chamber strings library (and the other extended libraries as well) are the many different types of crescendo and decrescendo samples.

    As for purchasing libraries, one first has to purchase the standard library.  While you can buy a standard library alone, you must have the corresponding standard library in order to purchase the extended library (or be buying it at the same time, of course).

    Finally, depending on how far into the world of VSL you intend to get, look at purchasing a bundle if you can afford one over purchasing individual libraries.  The discounts for the various bundles are significant.  Depending on needs/budget, doing so may or may not be possible. 

    Anyway, hope that clears things up a bit for you.

  • A further comment regarding bundles:

    For chamber strings, chamber strings I purchased alone - standard and extended - runs $1,130.  Chamber strings II, muted strings - standard and extended - runs $610, if purchased on its own.  If both are bought at the same time in the bundle, the effective price of chamber strings II (muted strings) drops to $320 (almost 50% less).  The bundle is, of course, also available for just the standard chamber strings libraries as well - one does not have to buy the extended libraries in order to get bundle pricing.

  • Thanks, you now have me wondering about buying the Chamber Strings bundle and just relying on the VE Pro Epic Orchestra for other things for the time being. I'm keen on Cinebrass and a few other specific libraries to mix up my overall sound. I may perhaps be better off building my library section by section rather than just settling in to Special Edition. Not sure if this makes a difference to my choices but I am much more likely to play orchestral lines in by part than to program them. One of my main anxieties is just buying anything and everything and ending up with a homogenous, nothing-in-particular sound. Based on my orchestration style and preferences from when I did this professionally earlier in life, I do know that Chamber Strings is "my" string sound. Cheers


    To cut to the chase, I ended up getting EWQLO which has the kitchen sink when it comes to 'Epic'. I used the money I saved (and the headache from trying to compare SE buying options)  to get CS 1 & 2. And CS is magnificent.

  • Thanks, I saw your earlier thread and figured we shared the same dilemma! I'll start with VE Pro (inc. Epic Orch), SE Std and CS 1(Std + Ext) first and see where that gets me. How are you getting on with EW Play? Cheers

  • If you mean software gitches, Play is (so far), OK with VEP. There are horror stories.

    An issue for me vs. when I started 11 years ago is that I no longer trust the 'vox populi' with most any music software. IOW: If I post a question or search around on Tom's Hardware for example, I'm pretty sure I'll get a good answer... or there are enough people who have the same issue as me. The community still cares and is engaged. But it's a bit frustrating that this sense of a 'balanced community' no longer exists for most of the DAW products I use.Either the truly experienced users don't take the time to mentor, or inexperienced whiners rule, or happy users will shout down -any- criticism as 'troll behaviour'.

    In short: My fingers are crossed---I have no idea how well Play and VEP work together when pushed hard. I'll find out!

    Of immediate concern to me is that EWQLO and the VSL instruments I own have a -very- different soundstage. So they're harder to 'blend' than I'd hoped. And each has litle nigglies that you can't know -until- you pay. (For example, you can't easily load only 16 bit samples in EWQLO Platinum.)

    If I had $11,000, I'd get the cube...  (nahh... I'd probably get a boat. :D )

  • Watch out, I'm coming around for another lap on this dilemma! If I buy the SE full bundle (std + ext with Plus for both) I'll get Chamber Strings with a useful range of articulations (and some other goodies like Appassionata Sordino). If I then upgrade to the DVD Chamber Strings 1 std + ext, the SE version becomes redundant. The question then is, as someone with a reasonable amount of orchestration experience (although a while ago now), would I easily notice the quality difference in sound between the full SE bundle Chamber Strings and the DVD Chamber Strings. If there are chromatic samples and more velocity layers then I assume yes, but with the overall quality of these sounds anyway, perhaps not! The same goes for Solo Strings and the other individual component libraries in SE. This hurts.....the answer perhaps is to live and learn with the SE bundle until the curiosity to compare against the upgrade gets the better of me (and my wallet:-)) then cut my losses on the SE components as I go.