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  • Initial VSL purchase - advice?

    Hi,

    I've been researching for a while and posted a couple of queries on this forum but now ready to place my first VSL order. I was hoping for a little advice on a few of the following queries. I will be purchasing Solo and Chamber Strings (std+hoping for extended libraries with the holiday special on) plus Dimension Brass as they all suit many of my needs perfectly: I'll also be buying VE Pro 5/MIR Pro, VI Pro 2 and Vienna Suite,

    From there it gets a little more challenging regarding supplementing these with SE & SE Plus libraries or just adding say Woodwinds 1 and a few download instruments for now..

    1 I won't require much solo brass but would like to use smaller sections from time to time. Can Dimension Brass be used, and sound OK, with say 2 trumpets and 1 trombone as a small section (and even perhaps outside of the typical classical/film genre)?

    2 SE/Plus instruments don't appear to have any cresc/dim articulations - are they easily achieved by other means with perhaps VI Pro?

    3 Can, for example, the full DVD Chamber Strings be doubled in the background "quasi divisi" with the SE Chamber Strings without phasing (given the whole tone/half tone difference between libraries I'm unsure)?

    Thanks, any advice on the above would help a great deal with my decisions on the rest of my order in regard to SE or no SE in the mix. I'm a "reborn composer" with 15 years of previous "real" full time professional orchestration experience and have been in IT for the past 20 years so while I'm starting out I'm thankfully not in totally unfamiliar territory..

    Robert


  • Dimension Brass can be used as perfectly with the smaller ensembles you are talking about. There are presets that let you run through different ensemble size matrices, you can design your own matrix, or even better, assign each solo instrument to discrete tracks in VEP for more control over divisi and ensemble arrangements. The library is meant to be used with all different configurations.

    Not sure how the crescendos will sound without the actual performance articulations. I believe you can sort of do what you want  with the APP sequencer in VIP 2, though again, not sure how this will sound. (I believe the APP presets assume you have the articualtions, so you would have to program your own.) Someone else with more experience re crescendo/diminuendo techniques may want to jump in here.

    The chamber strings in SE and the DVD collection are the same (short of the full complement of articulations), no? Divisi of course would require having different size ensembles taking different parts instead of repeating the same full ensemble per note as you would get even with emulating 1st and 2nd violins,etc.; this is esp noticable in polyphonic passages. What you can get is the appearance of Violins 1 and 2 etc. by way of eq, filtering, and other means. There is also a way of doing it with impulses. But phasing would occur if there is an offset; here you would just have redundancy of libraries (so whay not just use your DVD collection if that's what you intend to buy) and emulate a 1st and 2nd VN arrangement?

    Not sure what your needs are, but you may want to consider getting orchestral strings and/or appassionata and perhaps use the chambers that come with SE/Plus standard and extended, if that helps with your decision re Woodwinds 1 vs. SE/Plus (you get a lot of woodwinds with the SE bundle.) RE the latter, definitely get the extended libraries for both SE and Plus so you cover many articulations of solo and chamber strings (in other words, get the bundle). I have all the strings and I can tell you that the chambers sound great. I esp like the con sordinos (in which case, you would need chamber strings 2 dvd), but orchestral would seem (to me) to be the most useful across the board. Again, I don't know what your needs are. Appassionata are fantastic, though lack some important articulations. I've found that all VSL strings work well in non-orchestral genres.

    Finally, I'm not sure if this works well, but a 1st and 2nd violins arrangment might be attainable using orchestral and chamber strings respectively (also layering with solo strings works nicely to get a more authentic, less anemic feel). Others might want to jump in with their own suggestions as they may be more experienced with arrangement techniques.

    As always, you might want to contact VSL directly with some of these questions. They obviously know more than I do and will help you with the best purchase decision. Others on the forum should help as well. A plurality of opinions is always best. There are a few things I may be wrong about here :)

    HTH

    Mike


  • Thanks for the comprehensive reply Mike. Looks like Dimension Brass will work well for me, I just need to contemplate the strings set up a little more. To be honest I have thought of adding LASS to the VSL Chamber Strings mix for flexibiliy and divisi, not sure how well LASS works in MIR PRO though..

    Cheers,

    Robert


  • Regarding #3, you will get phasing if you use the same note/articulation in each part, as the SE samples are taken from the full library samples.

    The most common way to avoid phasing (though a bit of a pain) would be to transpose the notation/sequence part of the SE chamber strings down a whole step and then using the mod wheel, raise the pitch back up a whole step to get the part into the correct key.  By doing this, each part will use different samples when playing unisons, and will avoid any phasing issues.


  • Yes, you will get phasing this way. I only meant that the SE chamber samples are the same as the DVD (with fewer articulations), so it is redundant to use both. Rather, my suggestion was to perhaps get orchestral strings and use them in conjunction with chamber strings; that is, you might be better served buying the orchestral DVD collection and use the SE chamber strings. Nevertheless, the transposition trick sounds interesting. Haven't tried that. Think I'll give it a go.

    I have LASS. They are good but a bit anemic for my taste. They do supplement VSL nicely if you put them low in the mix. The divisi is the main selling point IMO, but I would opt for quality over divisi if it is a matter of one or the other (read, maybe wait for VSL divisi :)) To my ears VSL sounds far better and is MUCH more flexible. LASS is quite limted with re to articulations. If you're getting MIR, VSL is definitely best. The instrument profiles make life much easier, and MIR really is the realization of the VSL "dry" sample technique come to life. Finally, VIP 2 is hands down the best sample host available.  Good luck with your purchases!

    Mike


  • Thanks Mike, you've struck a nerve with my dilemma. With the holiday specials on and the size of my purchase I could buy the Orchestral Strings Bundle for about the same as LASS and use Orchestral/Chamber/Solo strings (inc sordino) in combination for a larger and more flexible string section. There is also something simpler about staying within one platform and the VSL software and tools look unbeatable.

    I've heard a lot of very nasty sounding LASS demo's but a couple I've heard (especially with LASS lite ironically which doesn't have the divisi or FC) have sounded very lush and totally convincing. You've helped me decide that SE is out of the equation, just now need to flip the Orch Strings/LASS coin. Just to clarify,  the main sound I'm looking for for my own work is a more intimate chamber orchestra sound, but given the investment involved I want reasonable coverage from quartet to huge.

    Just in passing, do you have any views on VSL Percussion v Spitfire? I wondered if VSL Percussion might now roar a lttie more in the "epic" sense now that MIR PRO is in the picture.


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    @Arbee said:

    I've heard a lot of very nasty sounding LASS demo's but a couple I've heard (especially with LASS lite ironically which doesn't have the divisi or FC) have sounded very lush and totally convincing. You've helped me decide that SE is out of the equation, just now need to flip the Orch Strings/LASS coin. Just to clarify,  the main sound I'm looking for for my own work is a more intimate chamber orchestra sound, but given the investment involved I want reasonable coverage from quartet to huge.

    Hi Arbee,

    This site may be helpfull to you concerning VSL vs LASS. My advise here would be the Orchestra Strings given your needs and background btw.

    Best,

    Erik


  • Thanks Erik, I'm aware of your site and it was actually your examples there that swayed me back towards Orchestral Strings - they simply sound great! While other libraries seem to do particular things very well it still seems to my ears anyway that VSL has the agility, articulations and realism to cover most bases. I don't thnk I can go wrong with Solo + Chamber + Orchestral strings and respective muted libraries as my foundation. If I get desperate for the couple of things LASS does well I might just pick up the lite version as an add on

    Keep up the great work, I hope there is reward in there somewhere for your efforts!


  • Arbee,

    No experience with Spitfire. I just started tinkering with VSL Percussion within MIR Pro. So far, really good results. However, I tend to do a lot of modern production and sound design, so I often compress the crap out of percussion to make it pump. I've gotten interesting results putting compresion on a sub post-MIR, parallel compresion, etc.--but this is all "modern" oriented. The good thing about VSL, esp now with MIR Pro, is the felxibility it gives you with the dry samples. Very forward looking. 

    It is a good idea to stick with one platform to an extent. I  look at it as my go-to platform, doing the heavy lifting. As always, mixing librries, layering, even adding synth pads (and sordinos!) low in the mix helps you get that harmonic distortion and lushness dificult to attain with samples. Having a couple of libraries is a good idea, but the diversity you are contemplating with VSL can prob do that. Adding a solo string to an ensemble really does wonders. I've even pitched them (solo strings) up a few cents and have gotten nice results. To me Chamber Sordinos is incredible. Listen to the demos. I use them more than the Chambers themselves, but again, layering sordinos is fantastic. The good thing with Orchestral is that you get the sordinos. Nevertheles, you will eventually wnant at least two libraries. With the holiday offer, and the superior quality and felxibility of VSL, it seems like a no-brainer to go with VSL now.

    finally, get good at VIP 2! The possibiliies are vast. Other libraries promote things like pronounced legatos ("Hollywood" style) etc., but you can get almost anything you want once you avail yourself of the vast editing features of VIP. The ability to customize matrices, the number of switching modes (try velocity switching horns with horns blare or slot x-fading them for ex), stretching, the APP sequencer etc. humanize, filtering, etc goes WAY further than other hosts.

    You are making a considerable purchase. I've been there. Considering it carefully is a must. All I can say is that you can't go wrong wtih VSL, esp with MIR PRo and VIP 2, as long as you are willing to put the time into developing your programming chops. The curve is steep but rewarding. Also make sure that you have a system that can handle it all, though VSL is comparatively lighter than other libraries. To reiterate, with the holiday offer, it seems like a no-brainer given you have the money to invest and the willingness to get good at working with a non- out-of-the-box library (not to say you can't jump in right away and do some great work, but you can go much further. The depth is personally a selling point for me whereas for others, not so much.)

    On a side note, I've found the plug Decapitator by Soundtoys to be very helpful in creating harmonic distortion, taking the edge off, coloring (esp when used in parallel). If I could afford a Culture Vulture or a Fatso I would get them but the plug is quite good at emulating. This is just my own personal taste, but the demo is worth trying.

    HTH

    Mike


  •  Thanks Mike, great info - much appreciated.


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    @mboc said:

    . If you're getting MIR, VSL is definitely best. The instrument profiles make life much easier,

    Mboc, 

    Can you elaborate on what the instrument profiles are and how you use them? I have not been able to find anything on this feature. Is it simialr to the presets in Vienna Suite?

    thx!

    ds


  • An instrument profile is sort of like an uber-preset that refers to a specific VSL instrument within MIR. They are located at the top right of your MIR Pro/VEP5 GUI, in the instrument section. Once you load an instrument (say, OR Violins) select the appropriate profile from the pull down list or right click the icon on the MIR stage and select from the context menu. . They do a lot of the work for you, making mixing much easier. Here's a detailed explanation from the manual (preliminary manual pp22-23).

    Understanding the concept behind MIR's unique Instrument Profiles is almost as IMPORTANT as having some insight into the variable Output Formats described above, if you want to make use of MIR Pro's features to their full extent.

    As you may remember, MIR's impulse responses are not only taken from a multitude of sources and main microphone positions. MIR Pro handles directionality (i.e., “room”) both from the listener's perspective (the microphone) as well as from the signal source's perspective (the instrument).

    This is why we implemented detailed, individual Instrument Directivity Profiles for almost every Vienna Instrument. The underlying data were gathered over (literally) years of extensive research and development, and are now saved within so-called Profiles. Measured with the aid of our newly developed method (based on sectorized microphone swarms), we gathered an enormous database of spatial frequency profiles for all kinds of instruments and other sources. Taking into account these directivity-dependent changes in sound, we can now supply MIR Pro with a direction-dependent acoustic fingerprint. This is made possible by the way we recorded the multi impulse sets of each room: The impulses were sent into the room in the same sectorized way we used for measuring the instruments – in 60° steps, plus the room’s ceiling and floor.

    Instrument Directivity Profiles are not directly visible to the user, but selected from a list in accordance with the required Vienna Instrument's samples. Apart from directivity information, Instrument Profiles contain data about other aspects, too:

    Natural Volume
    The Stereo Width inherent in the original recording Instrument and / or ensemble size
    Natural timbres and possible changes to them
    Typical playing techniques and ways of sound production

    In combination with all these aspects saved in an Instrument Profile, the directivity patterns greatly enhance the possibilities of MIR, and thus the achievable realism of a virtual orchestral performance.

    Please select the appropriate Profile from the pull-down menu below the Instrument Display in the Instrument Channel. Virtually every Vienna Instruments is listed here. (IMPORTANT: This is NOT a list of the valid Vienna Instruments licenses on your computer!) In addition we supply “General Purpose” Profiles for use with any source MIR Pro is able to process. 


  • Thanks for spreading the word, Mike, and thanks for quoting the manual.

    For everybody who's interested in some (easy to understand) technical and "philosophical" background, there's an add-on available for the manual, called "Think MIR!":

    -> http://dl.vsl.co.at/downloader.aspx?ID=7629

    Kind regards,


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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    PS:

    @mboc said:

    [...] On a side note, I've found the plug Decapitator by Soundtoys to be very helpful in creating harmonic distortion, taking the edge off, coloring (esp when used in parallel). If I could afford a Culture Vulture or a Fatso I would get them but the plug is quite good at emulating. This is just my own personal taste, but the demo is worth trying.

    +1!

    Another great source for nice harmonic distortion are UAD's Ampex and Revox emulations.


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Yes, thank you so much Mike. That was very helpful. And thank you Dietz. Very cool stuff.

    Mike, do you use the instrument EQ presets from VSL Suite alongside the MIR instrument pofiles?

    Now I just wish UAD was 64 bit (though I suppose VEP5 would take care of that!).


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    @Another User said:

    Now I just wish UAD was 64 bit (though I suppose VEP5 would take care of that!).

    You could either use VE Pro as a 32bit application, or wrap the plugins using a utility like jBridge -> http://jstuff.wordpress.com/jbridge/

    HTH,


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Thank you very much for this reply, Dietz. You have really added to my understanding of what MIR does.

    A few follow up questions to your reply...

    Does MIR have a Compressor  or is the compressor only found in the Vienna Suite?And, if MIR does have the compressor, does the compressor have the presets from the Vienna Suite?

    Does MIR include an EQ that can be dedicated to each track or just to the master out?

    Does the MIR Pro's own EQ have presets for for Vienna instruments like one can find in the Vienna Suite?

    I know that MIR comes with the algorithymic reverb found in the Suite's Hyrbid rever, but does it come with Suite's convolution reverb presets as well? And if not, can one 

    Thanks, Dietz!


  • Arghh .... I just wrote an extensive reply to your question, but I inadvertently closed the browser-window before I sent the message .... *sigh* ... hold on a second, I will write it again ... [st]


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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    Vienna Suite and MIR Pro are different products which complement each other nicely.

    @Another User said:

    I know that MIR comes with the algorithymic reverb found in the Suite's Hyrbid rever, but does it come with Suite's convolution reverb presets as well?

    MIRacle - the algorithmic reverb add-on that comes with MIR Pro - is of course related to Vienna Suite's Hybrid Reverb, but it's a different plugin. For obvious reasons it has no convolution reverb section, and it is fully surround compatible. Therefore the presets aren't interchangeable.

    HTH,


    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Thanks Dietz. That really helps.

    I just wish you guys offered a complete software bundle: MIR Pro, VEP5, Vienna Suite and VIP2.  Any chance?[:)]

    d.