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  • Any tips or tricks in thickening Violons Dimension Strings?

    Hello! I would like to create a 24 piece violin section with only Dimension Strings, and was curious if anyone has attempted this set up. Thanks Mos'art

  • The only thing I could think of is the transposition trick.  Do one section as is, do another section half-step down with pitch shift, and then one section half-step up with pitch shift.  


  • And possibly use different Humaize values in the normal and transposted versions.

    This is an aboslutely valid question; but I must say that I am quite surprised by how full Dimension Strngs sound by themselves.  I use it instead of Orchestral Strings quite often.  It is a bit more "present" than orchestral strings, if that makes sense, but it sounds gorgeous.


  • The main way to do this is use two instances of the full sections with pitch shift down/transposition up (not the reverse) equally on all players of one full section.  If you do it for all of them, you will maintain the "Dimension"  interaction of the players properly within each group and double the size.   Also as pointed out it is essential to use different humanize settings for both delay and tuning for each player.  Keep in mind that with strings, it sounds natural to use a lot of humanizing.  I was just noticing the other day that humanize in tuning which sounded horribly out of tune in a woodwind section sounded perfect in strings.  It has to do with just how much lack of perfection there naturally is in even great string ensembles, far more than one might imagine.  


  • Thanks for your input, but I want all 24 strings to play in unison, unless i don't understand your transposition trick! Thanks Mos'art

  • Do the "force G string", "force D string", "force A string", and "force E string" share any samples with one another? If each set is completely independently sampled, then they could be used together without phasing. Perhaps one solution would be to have a 1st Violin section comprising the "regular" samples and "force G string" samples, and a 2nd Violin section comprising the "force A string" and "force E string" samples.Of course, if the sets share samples, then phasing would preclude this solution. Has anyone tried this?


  • the sul-g, sul-d and sul-a have different samples until they reach the e-string. up there they use the same samples. i forgot from which note on but it was low enough for me not to use them for stacking. what works well for me is using slightly different articulations (mixing vibrato, vibrato-fade-in, performance trills and espressiovo-legatos) as in a string section the articulation is also slightly different from player to player. time stretching is also a possibility as is has to be offline calculated only once and will be saved like a new sample on disc.

  • So do you mean:

    Violins 1 = 12 players

    Violins 2 = 12 players

    If yes, I probably would not approach it this way. Dimension Violins has 8 players. I would mimic the LASS approach and simply use a second group of 8 to create Violins 1 = 16 players. I've done this and have not had phasing.

    Then, using William's approach, I'd use the transposition trick to create Violins 2. Then I would mimic the LASS approach and use a second group of 8 to create Violins 2 = 16 players.

    With this approach you now have div a 2 of 8 players in Violins 1 and 8 players in Violins 2.

    If you want more than that, you can now do div a 4 with 4 players each in Violins 1 and 4 players each in Violins 2.

    With this approach you can now approach the scoring techniques of Wagner, Bruckner, Mahler, Vaughn Williams and others, that previously could not be executed with any other library.


  • Thank you Peter, this is a great approach and trick. I will definitely use it Cheers Boris

  • lol wait for the violas!! haha


  • I'm still not clear on a few points. Let me use a real-world example: Schnittke's Concerto for Piano and Strings. The string section is 12-12-8-8-6. At times, all 12 1st violins (for example) play in union. Often they divide in 3, or in 6 or in 12. Quarter-tones are sometimes used. The other choirs are divided similarly. To create all of the violins would require 3 DS instantiations (I). Is it possible to combine 8 violins from I1 + 4 from I2 in unison (using the humanizing tricks mentioned above)? Is it also possible to write 3,4,6 or 12 completely separate parts for the 12 violins? Thanks for your help. John Melcher

  • Yes. You don't have instances of Dimension Strings as such; you load up to eight violins in an instance of Vienna Instruments. If you assign a single violin to its own instance of Vienna Instruments, you can write for each violin seperately.

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    @johnstaf said:

    Yes. You don't have instances of Dimension Strings as such; you load up to eight violins in an instance of Vienna Instruments. If you assign a single violin to its own instance of Vienna Instruments, you can write for each violin separately.
    I'm still a bit confused by the VSL technology. Is this correct: To create 24 separate violin parts, I open 3 instantiations of the VI player, each loaded with 8 DS solo violins. At times, each violin has its own part, and at others, the full Violin I or Violin II choir (12 violins each) play in unison. Since DS provides 8 violins, in order to build the full choir, I would use 4 violins from another instantiation, subtly repitched and humanized to avoid phasing, . Thus, VI instantiation #1 has I Violins 1-8, instantiation #2 (pitch shifted) has I Violins 9-12 and II Violins 1-4, and instantiation #3 II Violins 5-12. In experience with other string libraries, I've found that pitch shifting identical samples, which reducing phasing problems, doesn't sound much like two instruments, rather a thicker version of one instrument. I wonder if building a full symphonic string choir this way will sound artificial, with 16 violins represented by 8 unique samples. Herb Tucmandl says in his interview, "...the timbre of a huge string section, such as our Appassionata Strings with 20 violins, cannot be replaced by 8 violins". Thanks for your help. John Melcher

  • If you load eight violins in the same instance, they will all play the same line, so if you want each violin to have its own part you would have a separate instance for each violin. If you wanted 24 violins playing their own unique part, you would need 24 instances of Vienna Instruments, and each instance would have a single violin loaded; you can coose which of the eight violins you load into each instance.

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    @johnstaf said:

    If you load eight violins in the same instance, they will all play the same line, so if you want each violin to have its own part you would have a separate instance for each violin." If you wanted 24 violins playing their own unique part, you would need 24 instances of Vienna Instruments, and each instance would have a single violin loaded; you can choose which of the eight violins you load into each instance.
    Wow, that's certainly a brute-force method. As I understand, 1 instantiation gives me 1 violin, 1 viola, 1 cello and 1 bass part, so a full string section (16-14-10-8-6), full divisi, would require 30 instantiations. I suspect that's a massive CPU load. Are there any stats on this, how many can be loaded on a computer with some standard CPU, Mac and Windows? It would be frustrating to invest in this and then discover that my system craps out after 20 or 30 instantiations and I have to overdub.

  • John, that also depends on your definition of a "full string section".  DS only comes with half the instruments you've listed.  You'll find that only huge Romantic writing requires nearly that many string players.  That style of writing, however, would not require each of the sixteen first violinists to play separate lines!  So either way you'll need a lot less instances than that.


  • I'm trying to virtualize something of mine which is scored 16/16/12/10/8. At times complete divisi, most of the time divided by desk, sometimes a5 (3-3-3-3-3/3-3-3-3-3...), a4 (4-4-4-4/4-4-4-4/4-4-3-3/3-3-2-2/2-2-2-2), a2 (8-8/8-8/7-7/5-5/4-4) or undivided. I could rewrite it to make the divisi simpler, but then I'm composing to match the library, which seems backwards. If the required instantiations lock up the computer, I'll overdub (or if I win the lottery, by two licenses and two computers).

  •  I think you're still not clear on how to set up a standard template. Some people, myself included, would use VEP5 to do that since it helps manage various things and also plug MIR into the end result, so let me speak in those terms (sorry if this adds another bit for you to consider, that is VEP).

    On one single instance of VEP as your host, add 8 VIP instances, and add each one of the individual DS violins to each VIP. So VIP1 will play DS Vl1, VIP2 will play DS Vl2, etc. So you have 8 individual players for you to write for as you wish, each routed to a separate MIDI channel. Now, on your DAW or notation software you replicate the setup, and have 8 separate staff parts. Unison play? You write once and copy+paste to all parts. You want Div2, write the two different lines on Vl 1 and 5, copy/paste 1 to 2,3,4 and 2 to 6,7,8. And so forth if you wanted other divisi configurations. So that takes care of your first 8 violins. Hope that's clear.

    This is not extremely CPU or disk intensive, but it does take much more computer power than most other libraries, as in the end, DS is comprised of a set of individual instruments, just as if you had 8 instances of the Solo Violin playing simultaneously. But I don't want to digress much.

    Now for your second group of 8 violins, you have a few options. First, what has been mentioned about detuning and transposing another group of individual violins just as above. Second, could be for you to utilize the desks or 4-player presets included in DS by VSL. You could set up the 4 desks and the 2 4-player groups and use different humanization parameters, and use different EQ settings, to make them sound slightly different to the individual violins above. Then on your DAW, you'll include separate staff lines for each desk/choir, separate MIDI channels, and write there whenever you need to.

    In the end, the most you'll have is one VEP port, with 16 MIDI channels / 16 VIP instances (or less if you use the pre-mixed desks), for all your complete 16-players violin section. Then do the same for the Cellos, etc.

    This is what I do, and I didn't win the lottery... yet.

    Hope this helps.


  • There is nothing difficult about this.

    You simply have 8 players (for violins) and 8 instruments.  Though if put together they sound correctly as an ensemble. 

    If you transpose/pitch shift them, you have 16.  You can conceivably do it again, in the opposite directions of transpose/pitch shift, for 24.  Though that is questionable.   I have only done transposition/pitch shift for a total of 16 players.  I then go to Appassionata Strings for larger groups.  You can hear that on the "Vertigo" demo here.  The reason I say it is questionable is - it is best to pitch shift DOWN and transpose UP.  Otherwise, vibrato is speeded up weirdly.  You can always slow down vibrato, but speeding it up sounds weird.  So you would have to pitch shift up and transpose down a second group to get 24 - not the ideal.

    But in general,  with the Dimension Strings, you can assign them and control them, however you want.  But they are individual MIDI instruments that will sound like an ensemble.  So there is no great difficulty in dealing with them.  That is the nice thing about all the VSL instruments- they are totally consistent.  if you know how to use a VSL piccolo, you know how to use every other instrument including all the way down to a contrabass tuba.


  • Thanks, it makes sense :). Not sure if I'd use VEP, as it adds more cost and another layer of mixing complexity within the DAW. BTW, Xenakis often wrote for 32 or more violins, though when he showed Metastasis to Scherchen he was told to reduce the strings: "We don't have 12 cellos."