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  • Adagio vs VSL Violins

    Hey all,

    I may be late, but I just learned of the new Adagio library from 8dio. Does anyone have any thoughts on how this library compares to VSL's violins? Some of of the technical demo's sound better than I expected from them and the different types of bowing techniques looks promising. I'm all the more excited for a new VSL string library now, but I'm curious if anyone else has anything to say about how the sound in the demos compare to results with VSL.


  •  I thought the demo's sound quite synthetic in places, and the trouble with the 8dio libraries is that they are recorded in a live hall, so it will be difficult to make these sounds sit in a mix with other libraries - plus the biggest downer for me,  is it uses that horrible Kontakt user interface again.

    It's been 16 months since a VSL library release, the odds are, that it will be Dimension Strings - but there are so many competing string libraries appearing now, that perhaps now is the time for a new VSL library - I thought we would see it at Christmas,  but maybe I just got the wrong year !

    Come on VSL,  the cash is waiting to buy it......

  • You ever play VSL strings live?  They can sound quite synthy/jumpy too.  :-)  I thought those Adagio demos sounded quite amazing and quite expressive considering real time playing.

  • I think that whether or not Adagio Strings is any good can't really be gleaned until it is released. From the demos it sounds pretty useless for what I do. The idea that you don't need to "perform" your music, because it is all built into the samples is a dead duck for me. It also sounds out of tune, which I don't like.

    Having said that, for people who don't have performance skills, or understanding of performance, it may be useful. Time will tell.


  • There are a lot of strings libraries. And of course there are a lot of very very nice demos for each of them as well.

    But when it comes to produce a mockup of a famous piece (Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms) we always land up at VSL.

    All the rest sounds poorly, the company doesn't offer such mockups or at best they sound not really better.

    Why this?

    It's easy to make a fantastic demo along the samples you have.

    It's not so easy to come as close as possible to an original with a library because this way shows the limitations of it.

    Recently, there was a post about a piece of bach ( and about "the good old chamberstrings".

    ...So, do not doubt about the VSL-Strings until you can listen to a bunch of mockups of another library which sound really better than those from VSL.

    Nevertheless, I (we?) admit that there are libraries available today which sound very nice and very musically (more than VSL) with single tones/notes.

    But strings do change their tones sometimes and more and more we get an impression over all... which can lead back to VSL.

    All the best


    - Tips & Tricks while using Samples of VSL.. see at: - Tutorial "Mixing an Orchestra":
  •  Concerning this Adagio library and other recent ones, which I have also heard, has anyone noticed something about them all? - they are incomplete.  Adagio is just violins, and mainly legato.  Others are strings only.   (Of course East West is complete but no one would seriously compare it to VSL.)  The fact is, the VSL library is the only one that has taken on seriously, with current technology, the gigantic task of actually representing the enormous range of expressions of an entire symphony orchestra.  Suppose you get this Adagio, then what?  So you have a nice violin line. And it must be a slow one. Congratulations, you now have the rest of your music, not to mention all of the other instruments of the ochestra, to deal with.  

    On top of this, what I keep noticing is how the interface of VSL is what keeps me coming back to it, in addition to the complete sounds.  All of these new libraries are either a feeble poorly designed interface such as Play which is very clumsy, or NO INTERFACE except for Kontakt.  In other words, just dump a bunch of sounds in your lap and you figure out how to use them.  The great thing about the VSL setup is how it has been intensively figured out in advance as a means of using the entire orchestral tone pallete with a truly elegant system. 

  • they have the first demo, a fully produced piece with other instrumentation and it sounds pretty lush.

    I checked out particular articulations demos and none of them were remotely convincing, were simply clunky and inept. either they aren't any good or someone just isn't any good at sequencing strings parts what done the demo. In either case I certainly would not risk the money for just vlns. My take is that it's basically good for legato, that's the main marketing hype it seems like. a big no here.

  • unless it's ground not covered (jazz brass and winds, eg), if it's something that uses a lot of articulations, I'll go for VSL because of the interface. Kontakt isn't it, Play isn't any better...

  • The BIG question is ....

    Will VSL release new Strings Libraries ? 

    I surely hope they will, and in the very near future. 

  • Thanks for the replies.

    I personally don't think Adagio is as unconvincing as most of you seem to think, but to each their own. I still prefer most everything about VSL anyway. I found there legato examples VERY unconvincing (except for in one case). Some of the articulations were pretty convincing to me, and the 'room' in their recordings sounds better to me than the room in EW's. The thing I liked so much about Adagio was the different bowing options for legato and spiccato, etc. This is something I would prefer VSL completely adopted.

    I've never heard a library that sounded as real and convincing as VSL. I think VSL's dry and quality sound is hands down the best. But I don't think that making VSL more human and organic is as convincing as these other libraries that record performances less perfect from the start. I don't think that VSL should abandon the 'ideal performance' mentality at all. I agree with that in most ways, but real human performance requires imperfection. We all know this, and this is why we make the effots to humanize VSL. I'm just saying that VSL humanized is less organic than other libraries recorded imperfectly. If VSL can produce a new string library that is VSL quality in sound, and more flexible for human or perfect performance, and more bowing / articulation options- then I think VSL would hold up to their reputation. Again, I still think VSL sounds the most convincing- I'm only trying to say how I think VSL could improve and I think perhaps looking at other libraries helps to reflect on that.


  • iscorefilm, I have to ask, which VSL strings libraries do you have?  If your signature is current, and all you have are SE related libraries, you are not getting anything close to the full picture of all the articulations that are part of the full DVD libraries.

    I also started with the SE libraries, and they are very good.  But, for maximum realism, there is no substitute for the full DVD string libraries.  The dynamics patches are of importance, and the additional bowing techniques round out the primary articulations in the SE libraries.

    In terms of my own RL experience, of the various marketplace offerings I am familiar with, in terms of solo double-bass, only the full DVD VSL solo double-bass library begins to approach what I am actually able to do with a bass bow (side note: natural harmonics are of great importance in the solo bass literature, and VSL, unlike others, includes them).  VI Pro 2 helps as well, as one can begin to program more variations for any given bowstroke, much as a real player will do.

  • the whole 'real human performance requires imperfection' should not be at the level of the recorded source. it is really a function of timing and idiosyncratic imperfection of the pitch, etc, during performance, by particulars, in context. I would never want bad attack per se, bad playing, bad intonation. we are working towards a bit of the ideal in virtual performance. I don't want to have a poor start. It's not very well thought-through, that argument.

    I'm good at sequencing because I have studied in depth what happens when people play instruments. it's a very subtle thing really.

    I don't know how good Adagio is until I got busy using it. Whoever made the articulation demos isn't good at sequencing string parts, or it's crap. I won't risk money operating under the assumption, 'sure, the lib. has to be better than that'. If the person sequencing built the library chances are good they aren't really a strings person.

    I wanted it to be good so there's an option. It's your money, though.

  • noldar12,

    While I only own the SE libraries myself, I indeed have used the full string libraries on more than one occasion. I found that the full libraries are more extensive, but I still find that what I'm wanting out of VSL still applies. I wasn't trying to say that Adagio is more articulation heavy or more 'able', just that they seem to have tried to make their library with as organic-flexible of an approach as they could. Maybe I'm wrong and VSL is doing just as good of an 'organic job' as everyone else. But I still think that there is a void to be filled here. I play my share of instruments, no strings... yet. But in the little time I've spent practicing my violin I have learned that there are so many ways one can bow something and far more than what the current libraries are offering. Again, I'm not a string player so I'm not sure exactly how to translate this- but oh well. Suffice it to say that I wish the ability of a stringed instrument was more represented in the abilities of a VSL string library.


  • Civ,

    Perhaps I didn't communicate well, but I think you misunderstood me. "Real human performance requires imperfection" is not a debatable statement. It's about as plain blunt fact of music making as it gets. A human being is not a machine and a real performance will not sound exactly the same every time, a sample library can. I don't doubt you understand that, but that's the only thing I meant by that statement- to point out the obvious. I said it to make another point, which I think is where the lack of communication is. I don't want a bad performance at all, I prefer VSL for this. But if I want a less perfect performance at moments, in order to make a convincing mock-up- then obviously humanization has it's place. The point- I wasn't trying to suggest VSL record things imperfect, but that sequencing imperfection isn't as convincing as recorded imperfection (being real human performances)- that I want VSL to accomplish this better. You may feel that you can recreate humanization as well, I don't feel like I can (maybe it's my approach to it?)

    Loose staccato and tight staccato are both recorded, why not 'perfect performance and not-so perfect performance' also? That's the only point I was trying to make by that. If you still disagree, I welcome the opinion. I just wanted to make my opinion clear (hopefully I didn't make it more confusing, lol). I definately don't think that VSL should stop recording the 'perfect performance', I just want more convincing humanization in using VSL. Maybe that's my approach, maybe VSL should record both, maybe more software features can help. I'm not claiming to know the exact problem, just that this is what I'm wanting from my library.


  • I don't know what the 'problem' is actually. I don't buy your argument as you have it now. You're making a case that this 8DIo Adagio is preferable due to being more 'organic', which isn't a word I really get here. The implication in your argument is that's so because it's less 'perfect'. You're still saying that as far as I can read it.

    I don't want someone in the recording soundstage's purposeful mistakes, I might not like them. I'm sure I don't want error built in. I don't think VSL is going to help you with that.

    I think there could be even more tools in VI Pro 2, but as far as a comparison with that library in a kontakt instrument there's no comparison. I know devs that seek to make a solo instrument playable and script the hell out of it for that, but strings are a super-versatile thing and expecting a performance patch to cover everything isn't that reasonable really. IMO.

  • one can fabricate some fairly god-awful idiosyncracies with VI Pro 2 (humanize pitch, mos def), no worries. Trust me. ;)

  • The problem with "built in errors" in a sample library is that each time the note with the recorded error is used, that error will be present in an identical manner each time.  In performing, that simply is not how errors occur (one can get into strings "wolf tones" but players learn to massage and work around any particular wolf tone they may have).  The degree of an error will also change from performance to performance or phrase to phrase.  Simply stated, error is never constant.

    For example, I am thinking of a recorded error in ye olde EWQLSO Gold... a particular buzzy key click on a particular oboe note.  Did that make the instrument sound more real?  No, rather, it made the instrument sound more fake, or perhaps being played by an inept player (or an instrument that needed serious repairs).

    As for overall library sound, and the comments that VSL needs to do new libraries... maybe so.  But, the key question is what sort of sound is one looking for?  All libraries have strengths and weaknesses.  For me, I wish I had migrated to VSL much sooner... it is one of the few series of libraries that is not more or less strictly "out of the box Hollywood" and fits my interests much better than all the various cinema libraries that are out there.  While it can do "Hollywood" it can also be used to create pieces in all kinds of traditional classical styles (Beat stated it far better than I can).  Conversely, if I was first and foremost after the stereotyped lush "Hollywood" sound, there are other library options that would be well worth considering.

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    @noldar12 said:

    No, rather, it made the instrument sound more fake

    I found the same thing within the EW libraries, where some errors literally ruined the library imo. But unlike EW, the ideal sample library would be utterly massive. Every articulation has repititions, no? Assume every articulation having 10 reps per articulation (if not more in some cases). Now imagine 10 less than perfect tunings as an alternative articulation. I'd rather have a base 'perfect performance' for all my articulations, then a respectable section of 'imperfect' alternatives I could put it it's place if I want. That would not sound more fake, but only allow for more control and more convincing than a sequencer can mimic it.

    Pitch bending a whole string section isn't realistic. Using a solo violin, chamber, and orchestral and pitch bending each or some of them- again is not realistic. 100% divisi would probably be as realistic for fake humanizing as it can get, but of course this comes with it's own problems. Faking the human touch can never be as convincing as the real thing. The real thing is the ultimate goal of a sample library. If you wanted to fake everything, get Wallender's instruments instead of VSL. But as it stands, if a library's goal is to be as convincingly real and as flexible as real as they can be- then eventually real recorded 'human factor' would have to be a part of that plan.

    Ultimately, a real orchestra is preferable for several reasons including this one. But where I'm not in a position to make my own library or budget a real one- then I can't see how my suggesting more actual realism is being so disputed on here. Call me crazy, but that just seems odd to me. [:S]


  • I've just been reading about Adagio and thought I'd pipe in with two things about their approach that I really like and would love to see in this future VSL string product we're all fantasizing about. Well, two things apart from divisi and second violins, which we're all counting on. 

    1) "round-robin" legato

    2) several legato patches with different feels. I wouldn't have thought to ask for that from one prduct, and I think it's a great idea.

  • Didger, it is interesting that with VI Pro 2, different legato feels are possible (at least to some extent).  As one can change the timings of different portions of a legato patch, it is possible to create alternatives.  Most of the full string libraries (though not all) contain both slow and fast legato.  One can then make further changes and end up with at least 4-6 different legato feels fairly easily.  Whether the results are what one is after is, admittedly, another question.  From my own initial testing, I have found that I sometimes prefer some of my VI Pro 2 alternate legato patches to the original "stock" ones (depending on desired result, of course).

    In general, IMO, it is helpful to test and try different things, to learn what the existing software can (or cannot) do before seeking new libraries or additions to existing library additions.